Health & Hygiene

Why Isn’t My Dog Eating? Appetite Loss In Canines

Written by Nancy Boland

Why isn’y my dog eating? It can be cause for concern when your beloved pooch appears to have lost his appetite, especially if he has always loved his food. Loss of appetite, whether gradual or sudden, could mean the early stages of illness. A dog that’s been off their food for any length of time would need to be taken to the vet for a thorough examination so an early diagnosis can be made followed by the right type of treatment.

Dealing With Fussy Eaters

Some dogs are just extremely fussy about their food and develop rather peculiar eating habits. As an owner, it can be really frustrating as they stare at their untouched bowl especially after having spent ages finding something they will really enjoy.

fussy dog eater

Many vets believe that manufactured dog food just does not “cut it” with certain pooches because they prefer the cooking odours that regularly come out their favourite room in the house – namely the kitchen. If tests at the vet  come back all-clear then it’s just a question of having to cope and deal with a dog that’s just not that interested in food and to try to figure out why this is.

Finding Out Why

If you find your dog is just not interested in food whether it’s a behaviour that has come on slowly or suddenly, as previously mentioned they would need a thorough check up at the vet. However, there are other signs to look out for which would be a good indication of whether your dog is sick or not and these include asking yourself the following questions about your pet.

 

appetite 1

 

Is your dog too thin?
If you think your dog is underweight there could be a real problem but if they are just the right weight or even slightly overweight, it could just be that you are feeding your dog too much food! This could be the reason why they never seem to be that hungry and don’t get excited at meal times. With this said, the majority of dogs will eat until they burst so it’s worth  re-examining your feeding routine and the amount of food you offer your dog on daily basis to see if this needs to be changed remembering that the amount of exercise they get would have a bearing on how much they should be given to eat.

What breed of dog do you own?

There are certain breeds which are naturally much slimmer than others and some dogs boast faster metabolisms that others. Then there are the breeds that are well known for having quite sluggish metabolisms with giant breeds tending to eat less pound for pound than smaller canines. It is weird but a tiny Miniature Pinscher may well eat the same amount as a much larger English Bulldog and it’s all to do with their metabolisms.

How much daily exercise does your dog get?

A dog’s food intake has to match the amount of daily exercise they get. If you own a true couch potato then it stands to reason you won’t have to offer them as much food as you would a very energetic dog like a Border collie. Dogs that spend a lot of time asleep,  or just lazing around the house may just not be that hungry at meal times.

Age

Another consideration is your dog’s age and as our four-legged friends grow up and pass through the different stages of life, their appetites too will change. Typically, an adolescent dog will have a bigger appetite but this changes as they grow out of their adolescence. In reality this is quite normal as long as there is no underlying medical reason for them being off their food. In their senior years, dogs will ask for less food as their sense of smell and taste diminishes which again is all part of the natural ageing process.

If you are concerned that your dog has suddenly or gradually lost their appetite you should take them to the vet for a thorough examination. However, some dogs are just fussier eaters than others so if your vet can’t find a medical reason for them not enjoying their food, it’s just a question of figuring out why this may be happening and then trying to rectify the situation by taking a close look at their home environment, lifestyle and food choices for your canine.

About the author

Nancy Boland

I'm Nancy, owner of a very spoiled, one eyed Jack Russell called Basil. I'm a trainee veterinarian with a love for all things dogs. I'm especially passionate about dog adoption and always advocate rescue and enjoy writing about canine health and nutrition, alongside overall well-being tips for happy dogs!

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