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Pet Eating Problems: Why Won't My Dog Eat?

Pet Eating Problems: Why Won't My Dog Eat?

Is your dog suddenly not eating their food? There are many reasons a dog may stop eating out of nowhere. Our Thousand Oaks vets discuss some of the common reasons, along with how to respond when your dog won't eat. 

Why isn't my dog eating?

Loss of appetite in dogs is known as either anorexia or inappetence. Anorexia in dogs is not the same level of a medical condition as in humans. 

Doggy anorexia can be either complete or partial. Partial anorexia occurs when a dog will only eat certain types of food, but not enough to maintain physical health. 

If your dog won't eat anything at all, you might be seeing complete dog anorexia. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs occurs when a dog wants to eat, but is unable due to an ongoing medical condition, or issue with their behavior or environment. 

We sometimes receive calls from pet owners who ask, "My dog doesn't want to eat?"  Dogs that are not eating typically do so due to behavioral or environmental factors. These are usually caused by stressors. In more serious, an underlying medical condition may also be to blame and may require ongoing care or even surgery. In this post, we'll discuss some of the most common examples of each, and provide information on how your dog's problems can best be resolved. 

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions that may lead to a dog losing their appetite can range from minor concerns that disappear on their own, to potentially fatal conditions that need immediate veterinary attention. Even if you suspect your dog's lack of appetite is caused by a behavioral or environmental issue or a minor medical condition, have your canine friend examined and treated by your vet as soon as possible. 

Some medical conditions that can lead to loss of appetite in dogs include:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Allergies
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Poisoning
  • Oral hygiene issues
  • Parasites
  • Tumors
  • Autoimmune/neurological diseases
  • Organ troubles
  • Recent Vaccination

If you notice any of these symptoms present in your dog, please contact our Thousand Oaks veterinarians to schedule an exam.

Behavioral & Environmental Causes

There may be many reasons your dog won't eat anymore. Some minor contributing factors can include behavioral or environmental issues such as separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time (which would likely cause your pup to stop eating only when he spends time alone). 

Even the absence of an owner or family member may result in a loss of appetite. If your dog eats inconsistently or sleeps inconsistent hours, putting them on a more consistent routine may resolve the problem.. 

If your pooch has stopped eating, changes in their living environment can be a potential culprit. If a new family pet is introduced into their environment or drastic changes in weather occur, these may also be to blame, along with other stressors that push your dog out of their comfort zone. 

When should I worry about my dog not eating?

If your dog is especially quiet, not acting like themselves, or is exhibiting other concerning symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, lethargy or diarrhea, or has not eaten for two days, it's time to seek immediate veterinary medical attention.

What to Do If Your Dog Won't Eat

If your dog has, or you expect they have a medical condition, contacting a veterinarian is crucial as it will give your pet the best chance at a strong and speedy recovery.

Here are some general tips that could help get your dog's eating habits back on track if their appetite is not a medical condition:

  • Be sure that your dog is getting the necessary amount of attention and exercise that they deserve
  • Be patient and supportive with your dog and do not force-feed them
  • Try to avoid feeding your pet table scraps
  • Keep them on a consistent routine that is easy for you to maintain
  • Cut back on the number of treats you give your dog
  • Mix up the food you give your dog (switch from dry to wet food or vice versa, add dressing or sauce to dry food, etc.)

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For a diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

If you are concerned about your dog's lack of appetite, please contact our office in Thousand Oaks

New Patients Welcome

VSEC Thousand Oaks is accepting new patients! Our board-certified specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions.

Contact (805) 492-2436