Did your dog just refuse to eat and you are wondering why? Dogs aren’t the type of pets that like skipping their meals. So it can cause serious concerns when a dog just stops eating without any apparent reasons. A dog not eating is one of the major problems that are presented on vet clinics.
In medical terms, going off feed is called “anorexia” and there are a lot of factors that can cause this condition. It may be attributable to your dog eating something wrong or simply due to a sudden change in their location. It can even be caused due to the natural process of aging. So, to make your dog start eating again, you first need to identify its cause.
Some of commonest causes of a dog not eating are the following:
1. Gastric problems: Health problems, especially issues related to the gastrointestinal tract, are one of the most common reasons for a dog not to eat. These problems may range from a simple digestive pain to serious problems like cancer or gastric ulcers.
2. Stress: Stress is another big factor that causes your dog to lose its appetite. Stress may be due to any reason. Even the simplest things can sometimes cause stress in your pets. Did you just shift your house from one block to another? This reason may prove to be enough for your dog to feel stressed to be at a new place and go anorexic.
3. Oral/dental problems: Dental or Oral issues are also a significant cause for dogs to stop eating. If a dog has severe pain in its gums or teeth, they’ll not eat even if they feel hungry.
4. Motion sickness: Just like humans and other animals, many dogs do feel motion sickness when they are moved on a bus or a car. This illness is usually expressed in the form of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia.
5. Change in the feed: Some abrupt change in the type of feed or time of feeding can cause your dog to go off feed. Some dogs like a particular kind of feed, and if the feed is changed all of the sudden, they’ll most probably stop eating. For example, if your dog usually eats homemade feed, it is possible he’ll not respond to the ready-made feed and vice versa.
6. Recent medication: Some medicines, like vaccines, may cause temporary anorexia as a side effect. If this is the issue, then it is not a big problem, it will be over soon by itself.
7. Systemic Sickness/Infection: Infections and general diseases usually cause pain and fever. These factors can also play a role in the loss of the appetite of a dog.
8. Old age: With their slowed-down metabolism, older dogs can’t process as much feed as young ones do. So, this may lead to loss of appetite. Moreover, older dogs usually get more sleep and do less exercise. So, their diet should be planned accordingly.
What to do?
A. Try to identify the actual reason for your dog not eating. This can be done by following some simple steps:
1. Recall previous few days:
Did something happen that may be a possible reason for this lack of appetite? Did the dog eat something wrong that is causing his digestive system not to work properly? Did you change your house or traveled to somewhere with your dog? Is the feed of the dog changed recently? There are a lot of questions that you can ask yourself to identify to the root of the problem.
2. Ask other people who have close contact with the dog:
Did they see any change in the behavior of the dog? Did they feed them something they shouldn’t have? Do they have any idea why the dog is not eating? It is not easy to keep an eye on a pet all the time. So, this way you can find if you have missed something.
3. Check the feed:
Check if there is something wrong with the feed that may have caused this problem. Check the “best before” date of the feed and also read the instructions on the feed label carefully. You may have missed something before if you are a new pet owner or using that feed first time.
4. Look for other symptoms
If you are not able to identify the problem yet, you may want to look for the other signs in the dog. Note any change in the behavior of the dog. Check if there is diarrhea or vomiting. Is the animal showing the signs of pain? Does he/she have a fever or a subnormal temperature? Is he/she urinating and defecating properly? These observations will help you understand the problem and also to explain the situation to a vet when he/she comes.
5. Call your vet
If you found the source of the problem and removed it, then it is good. If otherwise, this is the time to call your vet and ask for their help. Especially, a vet should be called as soon as possible in the following cases:
1. You couldn’t identify the cause and the dog haven’t eaten for a long time now. (1-2 days or more)
2. There are other signs like diarrhea and vomiting along with the loss of appetite.
3. You have identified the cause, and it is a disease or a dental problem.
4. The dog (puppy) is too young or too weak to survive without food, even for a short time. (1-2 meals)
5. There is some change in the behavior of the dog.
6. Follow the instructions by the vet
The vet will notify the problem and choose a treatment accordingly. Most probably, he’ll prescribe some medicine and a diet plan. Try to follow the instructions word by word and keep in touch with your vet for further instructions.
How to minify the chances of dog not eating?
1. Get your dog vaccinated and dewormed on time to minimize the likelihood of infectious and parasitic diseases.
2. If you want to change the feed of your dog, do it gradually within a few days.
3. Ask your vet for some medicine for motion sickness if you are going to travel somewhere with your dog.
4. Keep the teeth and the oral cavity of the dog clean to avoid the chances of dental or gum infections.
5. Take your dog for a walk before feeding to stimulate the digestion.
6. Avoid giving any stress to the dog. Give it proper time and attention.
7. While administering any medication, ask your vet about its possible side effects.
8. Offer warm, strong smelling feed and make feed time fun for them by playing different games.
So, a dog not eating can be a sign of various problems including stress, old age and feed and health problems. The actual cause can be difficult to identify sometimes so you may need to call your veterinarian. This issue can easily be limited if we follow some simple tips to maintain the health and feeding status of our dogs.