Why Won't My Dog Eat?

If your dog usually has a healthy appetite then it can be very concerning when they stop eating, especially if you don't know why. Our vets in East Setauket share some of the reasons why your dog won't eat and when it may be time to contact your nearest animal hospital.

What if your dog loses their appetite?

The loss of appetite in dogs can be referred to as either inappetence or anorexia. Anorexia in dogs is not the same level of a medical condition as it is in humans. Doggy anorexia can be either partial or complete. Partial Anorexia is when a dog will only eat certain types of food, but not enough that can keep them healthy. If your dog won’t eat anything at all, you may be looking at complete dog anorexia. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs is another condition in which a dog wants to eat but is unable to due to another ongoing issue.

Dogs who are not eating, usually do so because of environmental or behavioral reasons which are typically caused by stressors, or more seriously, an underlying medical condition that could require urgent care and even surgery. We will discuss some of the more common examples of each, and provide information on how your doggy's issues can best be resolved.

Dog Not Eating Because of Environmental or Behavioral Factors

There are a large number of potential causes behind dogs not eating their food. Some minor causes can be environmental or behavioral issues such as separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time (this would likely cause the dog to refrain from eating only when left alone). Even the absence of a family member/owner can result in a loss of appetite. Inconsistently feeding your dog, or inconsistent sleeping hours could also be a quick and easy solution.

If your dog does refuse to eat, the solution may be as simple as changing where they eat. You may notice a loss of appetite if your family introduces a new pet to their environment, drastic changes in weather, and other stressors that take your doggy out of their comfort zone.  

Medical Conditions Affecting Your Dog's Appetite

Medical conditions that could lead to a loss of appetite can range from minor concerns that could go away on their own, to possibly fatal conditions that need to be taken seriously immediately. Even if you assume your dog's lack of appetite is due to a behavioral/environmental reason or a minor medical condition, do not take the risk of letting your pet go untreated. Contact your nearest animal hospital or our East Setauket vets right away.

Some of the medical conditions that commonly lead to a decrease in appetite include:

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

At the first sign of any of the above symptoms, please contact our vets at East Setauket Animal Hospital.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself if Your Dog Won't Eat

If your dog is showing a noticeable difference in their appetite then it may be time to ask yourself some of the questions below:

  • Will your dog drink water?
  • Does your dog eat treats but not their food?
  • Is it only dry food that they don't want to eat?
  • Do you have a senior dog?
  • Is your dog a puppy?
  • Have you recently adopted your dog?
  • Are there any major changes at home?
  • Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?
  • Have you recently switched dog food brands?
  • Is your dog experiencing pregnancy or heat?
  • Does your dog have diabetes?
  • Has your dog recently had a surgical procedure?

What You Can Do If Your Dog Doesn't Want to Eat

If you have concerns that your dog's loss of appetite is due to a medical condition, contacting the vets at our East Setauket animal hospital is crucial as it will give your pet the best chance at a strong and speedy recovery.

When the cause of your dog refusing to eat is not medically related then you may want to try one the following tips:

  • 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 an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog lost their appetite or do you have other concerns about their eating habits? Contact Setauket Animal Hospital today to book an appointment.