Some dogs barely stop eating, but others sometimes lose interest in their food. If your dog has stopped eating, follow this helpful advice.
If your dog has stopped eating it can be a very worrying and distressing time. However, there is often no need to worry. Most dogs are able to go for a few days without eating without any negative effects. However, addressing the problem rapidly is always advisable.
Why Won’t My Dog Eat?
There are different reasons why humans stop eating, and there are just as many reasons why dogs refuse to eat. These could include:
· Illnesses – if your dog has a decreased appetite, he may be unwell. This is especially likely if your dog has other symptoms. Refusing to eat doesn’t necessarily mean your pet has a serious disease, but seeking advice from your vet is always wise.
· Dental problems – some dogs don’t want to eat when they are experiencing pain in their mouth from gingivitis, or loose or broken teeth.
· Vaccinations – although vaccinations are vital to keep your pet safe from contagious and serious canine diseases, they sometimes have an adverse effect. Luckily, most of these side-effects are brief and short-lasting and a lack of appetite is one of those effects.
· Unfamiliar surroundings – some pets avoid eating when they are travelling or in unfamiliar surroundings. Feeling uncomfortable or nervous in a new place can deter your pet from food while others may suffer from motion sickness that stops them from eating for a while.
· Behaviour problems and pickiness – there are some dogs, like humans, who are picky. Others won’t eat when they feel uncomfortable in a certain situation. Perhaps they don’t want to eat when they’re around another dog, or perhaps the bowl isn’t at the right height for them. Others prefer to eat certain foods and try to hold out until they’re given the treat they enjoy most.
Dealing With A Picky Dog
Dogs are intelligent and are able to manipulate their owners pretty well. They understand that, when they refuse to eat, their owner will often offer them something else that they may like better. When you’re trying to switch your pet to a raw diet you may find that your dog suddenly starts refusing his meals. This is sometimes because he is hoping you’ll go back to feeding him his old diet. Rest assured, if your pet is drinking water, going to the bathroom regularly and is bright and lively, you don’t need to pander to him.
Top Tips For Picky Eaters
Here at The Dog Box, I would say we have at least 2/3 customers come in each day and ask for advice with feeding their dog who won’t eat.This could be eating their kibble, canned or even their raw food. Dogs are just like kids and can have their preferences to what foods they like, when they like to eat, texture, warmth you name it. But there comes a time as owners we need to be firm and not so easily manipulated into what our dogs like to eat. And here are my top pieces of advice to help you on your way.
Firstly, before changing any foods around, I would always advise that you look at the bigger picture, if you have a puppy whose being fed three/four times a day and you notice that he will eat two out of the three meals and pick at the others then I would drop a meal and see if that makes a difference. We forget that puppies are being fed a lot of training treats or chews which take up space in their tiny bellies. If we don’t reduce the amount they are being fed this then leaves no space for their meals.
Don’t encourage your pet to eat. Rather, ignore him, leave the room, or focus your attention elsewhere. Avoid making eye contact. Instead, put the food down, allow him around 20 minutes to eat it, and then take it away and put it in the fridge ready for the next mealtime. Whatever you do, don’t give your pet a snack or alternative meal. Yes, you’ll sometimes need to throw food away, but keep offering the meals you want your pet to eat, replacing with fresh food if your pet continues to refuse to eat over several days.
I would also be feeding their me
als in puzzle feeders
, hollow treats and other items to keep their mind mentally stimulated
especially the breeds which need a hig
her level of physical exercise than your couch-potatoes. This is going to sav
e you your furniture, your arms, your ankles, and anything else you
r puppy can get its hands on during those teething stages.
Then there are the dogs who prefer exercising before their breakfast and
working up an appetite or just aren’t overly keen on eating in the mornings at all, if this applies to you then just feed once in the evening. A healthy dog won’t starve themselves; they are great at self-regulating their food. Studies have shown that fasting your dogs improves their digestion and their immunity, once their bodies are free of the consumption of food they can then concentrate on expelling the toxins through the usual passages which in time heals the inner tracts:
Next stage I would look about adding before changing anything too
dramatic would-be bone broth (alexander paws, boil and broth). Not only
is this great for gut health which works to restore the balance and microbiome but also for joints and the elderly dogs who are beginning to stiffen up slightly. Very cost effective and easy enough to make your own. For dogs who are fussy melting down the broth and pouring over the food can aid in releasing those aromas making it more appeasing for them and keeping them hydrated.
My next recommendation would be tripe, whether this is minced or tripe chunks both serve the purpose. For dogs this is the best thing since sliced bread, great if they are feeling under the weather, easy to digest, yes, it is whiffy but the benefits it adds to your dog’s diet are worth the few minutes of smell, especially if by adding this into the bowl gets them eating. Fish can also have the same effect, oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sprats and salmon can be mixed in with other proteins to enrich the dog’s nutrition, all those fishy juices can get their tummies rumbling on top of being high in fatty acids which are great at reducing inflammation.
Textures can be a big motivator when it comes to what your pet likes to eat, if you are a raw feeder and feed smooth textured completes, change it up to a chunkier mince or give DIY bowls a try. We forget that the dogs are designed biologically to crunch down on bones, tear up meat and its only due to human interference that we have conveniently made life easy with nose to bowl feeding. Next time that David Attenborough documentary is on about the wild dogs of Africa have a watch and see them using their paws to hold onto their meals, why should it be any different for our household dogs.
Within the times that you feed their meals you need to be mindful that you are also not being manipulated by your pet. What I tend to do with one of my dogs who occasionally tries to rock the boat is leave the food down for 20 minutes and leave him to it, I don’t fuss and fanny over him and don’t give him eye contact. If he hasn’t eaten then I remove the food, put back in the fridge and try again later, in that time frame he doesn’t get any treats, any chews, any leftovers otherwise in his mind there is always something better coming so why should I eat my own food. Sound familiar? I’m sure we have all applied the same rule of thumb to our kids now we need to take back control when feeding the dogs.
Remember, dogs can be just as stubborn as humans, but as long as your pet isn’t suffering and isn’t unwell, he won’t starve himself. If you’re concerned, take your dog to the vet, otherwise keep persevering!