Can stress cause a dog not to eat? Essential Tips

Did Anything Change in Your Household?

Some dogs may be sensitive enough that a change in their environment may cause inappetence. Examples include a new addition to the family (whether a new pet or a new baby), construction, having people over, or even a change in the location of the food and water bowls.

While noise phobias aren’t specific to your household necessarily, things like thunderstorms and fireworks can also cause enough anxiety to discourage your dog from eating.

Is Your Dog Not Eating Dry Food?

Does your dog turn up their nose at dry food, only to wolf down canned food the minute you set it down? This is a common complaint from pet parents, and it can mean a few different things.

It may be that your dog has dental or oral pain. Many pet parents believe that if their pet is eating, they must not have oral pain, but that’s not the case. They have to eat, so many dog struggle silently with oral pain for months or years until a dental procedure is done to extract any rotten or infected teeth.

While some dogs will still eat dry food even with severe oral pain, many prefer canned food, as it’s easier to chew. If your dog is no longer wanting to eat dry food but will eat canned, they should be seen by their veterinarian for an oral examination.

It may also be that your dog prefers canned food to dry food, as it often smells stronger and may be seen as more of a “treat.” Try mixing canned food with the dry kibble to encourage your dog to eat, and gradually transitioning to a higher ratio of dry food, until your dog is back to eating dry kibble.

Some dogs simply refuse to eat kibble in favor of canned food. While this can have some negative consequences, such as worse dental disease or a higher food bill, it may not be a problem to have your dog on canned food long-term. Talk to your veterinarian to see if feeding your dog an all-canned diet may be the best option for them.

While senior dogs may have lower caloric requirements than young dogs, and therefore may eat less than they used to, marked weight loss or a refusal to eat is not normal and can indicate serious underlying health conditions.

These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Dental disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Stomach upset (eating something they shouldn’t have or a sudden change in diet)
  • Cancer
  • Cognitive decline, mobility issues, or vision loss can also cause a dog to not eat if they are unable to find or get to their food bowl. It is important for senior dogs to have a feeding routine, that the food bowl remain in the same area of the house so that they know where to find it, and that they have a rug or yoga mat to stand on while eating to avoid slipping or having trouble standing on hard floors.

    If your senior dog has gone longer than 24 hours without eating, they should see their veterinarian for a thorough physical examination and possible diagnostics to investigate the cause of their loss of appetite.

    A young, healthy puppy shouldn’t go more than a few hours without eating.

    Small breed puppies, especially, are at a high risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and should be watched closely for signs of lethargy or collapse if they are not eating. If this happens, they should be treated on an emergency basis.

    Some puppies may not like larger kibble, as it can be hard for their puppy teeth to chew, especially if they are just transitioning to solid food. This can be remedied by mixing in water and letting it soak to create more of a porridge consistency, or the kibble can be mixed with canned food as well.

    If your puppy still will not eat, they should be seen right away by a veterinarian. If they are also lethargic, vomiting, or having diarrhea, they should be seen on an emergency basis.

    She’s Getting Too Many Treats

    It’s hard to hold on to your sandwich when your dog is staring at you with those big, beautiful eyes, but her expert begging skills could be the cause of her lackluster appetite. Eating too much during the day will fill her tummy and spoil her dinner. It also matters what kinds of treats you give your fur baby. Pup parents who are in the habit of giving their dogs “human foods” are more likely to have picky eaters on their hands. Once a dog realizes there are better, more delicious, options out there, she might decide her regular dry dog food isn’t good enough.

    Whether your dog’s belly is already full or she’s waiting for something better, it’s time to get tough and pull back on treating. Make it a rule that no one in the family is allowed to give the dog table scraps. Only give her healthy, low-calorie dog treats during training sessions. Besides those training treats, the only time your dog should get food is during meal times. You can split up her daily calories into 3-4 small meals a day, but she needs to lose her dependency on treats. It’s also important to note that too much treating during the day can lead to overfeeding which can cause obesity and other related health issues.

    What to do when your dog not eating food or drinking water l Tips on LOSS OF APPETITE l

    When it comes to the canine appetite, most people are used to dogs gobbling everything in sight. They rush to eat their meals and taste test things you’d never dream of putting near your mouth. But on the opposite side of that spectrum, it’s not uncommon for dogs to be picky eaters or suddenly stop eating altogether. These are the dogs that barely nibble on their kibble and turn their wet noses up at everything in their dishes.

    Not eating is an obvious concern, and it’s important for you to figure out the reason behind your dog’s lack of appetite. If your dog won’t eat, it’s probably for one of these reasons.