When Dogs Stop Eating Their Food

The worst-case scenario is that your dog’s disease may be preventing him from eating. Be alert for any signs of diarrhea, vomiting, or fatigue. Call your veterinarian if your dog is displaying any signs of distress in addition to not eating.

There might be a deeper problem that has to be resolved. It’s possible that your dog avoids eating because of liver illness, an infection, a blockage, a tumor, or kidney failure. If your dog doesn’t seem to be hungry but else seems healthy, there probably isn’t a problem. However, it’s time to seek medical attention if he doesn’t begin to eat within 24 hours.

Why is my dog no longer consuming his food?

Dogs can refuse food for a variety of reasons, just like people can. These consist of:

  • Illness. Dogs’ diminished appetites are frequently indicators of illness, especially if your dog is also displaying other symptoms. Although a dog’s loss of appetite isn’t always a sign of a dangerous condition, it’s still crucial to get them to the vet right away because it could be an indication of a serious condition like cancer, several systemic infections, discomfort, liver issues, or renal failure.
  • dental illness Your dog could not be interested in eating because something in its mouth hurts. Have them checked for an oral tumor, severe gingivitis, damaged or loose teeth, or both.
  • fresh vaccination For many harmful and dangerous dog diseases, vaccines are fortunately available. Millions of animals have been spared by these injections during the past century, although they can have unfavorable effects. The majority of problems, including dogs temporarily losing their appetite, are minor and transient.
  • traveling and being in strange places If your dog’s appetite was normal before you moved to a new place or went on a trip with them, it’s possible that the trip or the strange surroundings are to blame for their refusal to eat. Some animals could experience motion sickness, while others might feel uneasy or anxious in strange environments.
  • Pickiness or conduct problems. Some dogs are simply fussy, while others may refuse food if it is served to them in an unpleasant environment, such as next to an aggressive dog or from a bowl that is too high off the ground. Never assume your dog is picky without first ruling out other options because a lower appetite in dogs might be brought on by disease.

When should I start to worry if my dog isn’t eating?

  • If your dog isn’t eating and is also vomiting or has diarrhea, see a vet within 8 to 12 hours.
  • If your dog isn’t eating, there are a few other possible causes, such as emotional problems.
  • Although worrying, a dog not eating is a problem that frequently resolves itself, but it’s best to watch carefully.

When your dog isn’t eating on a regular basis, it can be very worrying. After all, maintaining a nutritious diet is essential to living a happy life. So what precisely is going on when your dog won’t eat? Discover some well-known as well as some obscure causes of your dog’s lack of appetite.


Your dog is probably not eating for the same reason that sometimes people don’t eat.

Ann Hohenhaus, a staff veterinarian at The Animal Medical Center in New York, claims that they are ill.

When you have a fever, you are not hungry. You want to get comfortable and take a nap. Dogs behave similarly. They frequently suffer a virus, go without food for a few days, and then recover.

Contact your veterinarian within 8 to 12 hours if your dog is not eating and is vomiting, has diarrhea, or both. To whet their appetite in the interim, try the following:

  • Warm up the food for your dog in the microwave.
  • To make the food more appetizing, pour chicken broth, beef broth, clam juice, or tuna water over it.
  • To soften dry food, cover it with warm water.
  • if your dog typically only consumes wet food, switching to dry food, or vice versa.
  • Try hand-feeding; often social eaters just want to be noticed.
  • In severe circumstances, your veterinarian might recommend a drug that might encourage feeding.

Hohenhaus states that it’s an uncommon cause of a dog not eating, despite the fact that many people think tooth disease is to blame. However, she does point out that a tumor in the mouth of the dog can make them stop eating.


Have you recently started your dog on medication? It’s possible that the medication and/or regimen modification is making them queasy.

According to Hohenhaus, a disease’s treatment may cause you to stop eating.

Your stomach may hurt if you take antibiotics. Some medications cause nausea.

Chemotherapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like Rimadyl are further potential offenders, she adds.

Social & Emotional Issues

A major life change, such as relocating, changing professions, or ending a relationship, can have an impact on one’s appetite, and the same is true for dogs.

Hohenhaus has even seen a dog patient who had been rehomed after losing her owner stop eating.

“According to Hohenhaus, she was somewhat on a hunger strike and I believe it was because her life was turned upside down. ” There are two types of individuals. When things in your life are chaotic, you either eat a lot or nothing at all because you are preoccupied with other things. The same, in my opinion, applies to dogs.

Owner Absence

Know that it’s probably not only in your head if it seems like your dog doesn’t eat or drink while you’re away but gobbles down their food when you get home.

Dogs are solitary creatures. Their pack won’t be home while you’re gone. According to Hohenhaus, they are waiting for the pack to arrive before eating.

Time of Day

Some dogs only consume food at certain times of the day. Maybe your dog just loves to eat at noon, or maybe they wait until dusk to finish their bowl.

Whatever their inclinations, most dogs tend to eat at the same time every day. It’s probably nothing to be concerned about if they only eat at certain times of the day.

Food Preferences

It’s also possible that the recent changes to the recipe of your dog’s usual dog food are to blame for their change in eating habits. Hohenhaus advises varying the food your dog eats to avoid this potential problem.

“According to Hohenhaus, if the packaging reads “new and improved,” your dog may not feel the same way about the food. “That indicates that the food has changed, and your dog may not enjoy the new formulation. Hohenhaus advises having a backup plan in case your dog stops like the food if it is recalled, goes off the market, or gets better.

Possibly another explanation for why your dog isn’t eating? The meal is no longer fresh. Examine the bag’s use-by or expiration date, or simply use your nose. Throw out any food that has gone bad or has an odd scent, and get a new bag. As a general rule, buy dog food bags that are around the same size as your dog. Consider purchasing one five-pound bag for your dog, who weighs five pounds.

“According to Hohenhaus, you generally shouldn’t purchase a 50-pound bag of dog food for a five-pound dog because the food will likely be rancid by the time you reach the bottom of the bag. ” You might wish to start over if the dog food doesn’t smell well.

When To Seek Help If Your Dog Isn’t Eating

If your dog stops eating for a few days, then starts again, there may be nothing to worry about. However, if the problem persists and any of the symptoms listed above appear, it may be necessary to consult a doctor.

“If your dog skips a few meals and there are no other symptoms—no vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, or accidents—then I’m not that concerned,” adds Hohenhaus.

However, as was already indicated, you should call your vet within 8–12 hours if your dog isn’t eating and is either vomiting, having diarrhea, or both. Hohenhaus expresses concern about changing appetites as well. A trip to the clinic may also be your best option if you detect a significant shift in your dog’s feeding patterns.

Have a question for a veterinarian that isn’t urgent? AKC Vetline is a live, round-the-clock service manned by qualified veterinary specialists and animal experts. Get limitless access to information about your pet’s health and wellbeing from a dependable source anytime you need it.

Why does my dog eat goodies but not his food?

A dog may be partially anorexic or be off food for a variety of reasons. Dr. Etienne Cote divides the causes of a dog’s refusal to eat into two main categories: psychological causes and medical causes.

Psychological Causes for Anorexia in Dogs

Things in a dog’s environment that made them not desire to eat are among the psychological explanations of refusal to eat. There is no underlying illness or medical condition. Anything that disrupts a dog’s routine or generates stress is a common example of psychological anorexia, including:

  • new animals living there
  • birth of a new baby
  • guests from outside the city
  • relocating to a new house
  • a thunderous storm
  • remodeling or building a house
  • Changing the dog’s diet
  • a shift in routines, such as a family member obtaining a job or losing their employment and spending more time at home
  • a member of the family moving away from the family home, such as a child departing for college

Medical Causes for Anorexia in Dogs

Any disease or condition that makes a dog unwilling to eat may be the cause of anorexia. There may be hundreds or even thousands of potential problems in them. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system, liver, pancreas, kidneys, airways, lungs, blood, and anything that might cause discomfort are among the medical conditions that can lead to anorexia. Information about a few of the most prevalent causes is as follows:

  • diseases of the digestive system The system that receives, breaks down, and excretes food is part of the gastrointestinal tract. This includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and lastly the large intestine. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Any of these illnesses might make a dog reluctant to eat, and they are frequently accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Infections of the bacterial, viral, or parasitic nature are included in gastrointestinal (GI) tract diseases. Hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and viruses like coronavirus or parvovirus are a few examples of diseases. Tumors, such as cancer, ulcerations, inflammatory conditions, food allergies, ingesting indigestible substances that result un a foreign body, ingesting damaged food or trash, or even changes in food, are additional GI tract illnesses. Pain and loss of appetite can also be brought on by diseases of the mouth, such as damaged teeth or ulcerations.
  • liver conditions
  • Filtering bodily waste and toxins out of the bloodstream is the primary function of the liver, an organ located in the abdomen (belly). Toxins can accumulate when the liver isn’t functioning properly, which might make one feel sick and unappetizing. Many dogs will exhibit extra symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea in addition to being generally lethargic.
  • Hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, toxic medication reactions, and congenital issues such a Portosystemic Shunt are among the liver diseases.
  • Pancreatic Conditions
  • The generation of digestive enzymes that aid in the breakdown of food in the stomach is one of the many functions performed by the pancreas, a tiny organ that is located close to the stomach.
  • Pancreas disorders include malignancies of the pancreas and pancreatic inflammation, sometimes referred to as pancreatitis (pancreatic cancer). The pancreas can release some of the digestive enzymes into itself when it gets inflamed, which can lead to additional inflammation, discomfort, nausea, and loss of appetite. Lethargy, weakness, lack of appetite, and general vomiting are further symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
  • kidney ailments
  • Loss of appetite is a symptom of renal diseases, most frequently acute or chronic kidney failure. Additionally, many pets will drink more, urinate more or less, have mouth ulcers, bad breath, and be lethargic.
  • lung and airway diseases
  • Issues affecting the nose, trachea, and lungs are all considered to be airway diseases. Pets with nasal conditions, such as infections or cancer, often refuse to eat or only consume treats because they are unable to smell their food. Because it can be challenging to eat and breathe at the same time, pets with lung disorders may have impaired breathing abilities. As a result, they may not desire to eat.
  • Blood Conditions
  • The blood serves a variety of purposes. Dogs who have blood loss or anemia may become lethargic, feeble, and lose interest in food. Anemia may be brought on by blood loss from trauma, ulcers, immune-mediated conditions where the body begins to attack its own red blood cells, or cancer. With blood disorders, we frequently observe lethargy and weakness as well.
  • Neurologic Conditions
  • The brain, spinal cord, and nerves are the main targets of the neurologic system. Lack of appetite can be brought on by illnesses that induce seizures, poor coordination, the inability to walk, or pain. Intervertebral disc disease, brain tumors, epilepsy, and vestibular sickness are only a few of the numerous neurological conditions that exist.
  • Other Conditions Any condition that results in discomfort, such as arthritis, a fracture, or even something as little as eye pain, might result in loss of appetite.

As you can see, any illness that affects an organ’s functionality might make dogs feel like they aren’t hungry. Please visit your veterinarian if your dog isn’t eating so they can determine the root of the problem and suggest the best course of action to get your dog to resume eating.

Do dogs occasionally stop eating?

Dogs typically have a voracious appetite and will eat everything you give them. That’s why when you devour a large, juicy burger in a matter of seconds, leaving only trickles of burger sauce on your face, you might have heard someone say that “you eat like a dog.” What occurs, though, if your actual dog stops consuming dog food? There are times when dogs lose their appetite, and that worries their dog owners. We’ll list the possible causes of your dog’s loss of appetite so you can determine why it might occur.

It’s not necessary to worry right away if your dog temporarily loses interest in food. Like people, dogs occasionally go without food or lose interest in it due to stress in their daily lives. A more worrisome indication that something is amiss is when your dog loses appetite for an extended period of time. What factors cause a lack of appetite? The brain, adipose tissue, and the digestive system work together to control our desire to eat.

Lifestyle choices and inactivity

Exercise affects two main hormones that influence appetite, but in distinct ways. Peptide YY inhibits appetite whereas ghrelin enhances it, resulting in hunger.

There is little question that the reduced use of metabolic calorie intake has been influenced by the sedentary lifestyle of the majority of urban residents and the pets that live in their homes. Caloric utilization becomes even more stagnant when combined with a lack of consistent activity.

A bad diet and inappropriate behavior

Foods having a high glycemic index, such as sugar, flour, rice, white potatoes, and bread, cause a brief “sugar high.” Then comes a feeling of hunger, which encourages a desire for more food. Additionally, well-meaning individuals may give their “hungry” pets inappropriate items like bacon, burgers, or fries in an effort to discourage them from begging, which just makes the problem worse.

gut microbiome

Gut bacteria create compounds that provide the feeling of satiety and can influence how various foods are digested. Due to the role that gut bacteria play in the digestion of fiber, people and animals who consume foods high in fiber tend to weigh less overall. Additionally, these bacteria break down specific flavonoid-containing antioxidants that are found in plants, which aids in preventing weight gain. Finally, the composition of the gut flora might alter the absorption of dietary lipids in the intestines and the subsequent storage of body fat.

The brain-gut axis is regulated by gut microbes. The key central locations for hunger regulation are the hypothalamus and brain stem, however the gut microbiota can activate peripheral sensory neurons (cells that transmit nerve impulses). The main neural system pathway involved transmits data from the gastrointestinal contents to the brain via the vagus nerve, which also controls gastrointestinal motility and feeding behavior.