Some dogs scarf down their food before the bowl hits the floor, while others pick on their food all day long. When your dog’s eating habits change suddenly, or they don’t seem to be eating at all, there’s a few reasons why they may no longer have an appetite.
Dogs Crave Variety
Just like humans, dogs get bored of eating the same food every day. Some veterinarians advise that you always feed the same type of food, but this is not necessarily true; veterinarians seem to have differing opinions. It’s convenient to get your dog accustomed to eating different foods so that you will not be at a loss if your dog’s preferred food is discontinued or out of stock.
When introducing a new type of food, add just a small amount of the new food to the old formula for the first meal, and gradually increase the proportions if your dog does not seem to experience gastric distress.
You can also add tasty toppers to your dog’s food to pique their interest. Your dog may begin to hold off on eating until you add a topper, so you may want to keep easy additions on-hand.
Fruits and vegetables are difficult for your dog to digest unless you break them down by blending or steaming them. Blueberries, kale and spinach are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. You can make a puree and pour some over your dog’s food, one tablespoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
Eggs, tinned seafood (packed in water, no salt added), fish oil and lean meat are also tempting, nutritious add-ins that you can mix into your dog’s food.
How Do You Store Your Food?
Sometimes, dogs will refuse to eat food that has gone stale or mouldy. Kibble contains fats that begin to oxidize as soon as you open the bag. These fats break down faster if you transfer the food to a different container. It’s best to store your dog’s dry food in the original bag. You can store the opened bag in a sealable container with a spout to make it easy to pour, and to keep your dog from stealing a second helping.
If you must store your kibble in a container, avoid plastic, and make sure to wash it out before you refill it. The fats can cling to the sides of the container and become rancid if you simply top off the container without cleaning it.
Once opened, dog kibble should be used within three weeks. It can be frozen to keep it fresh. If you suspect that your dog won’t eat because their food is not fresh, try opening up a new bag and see if they begin to eat again.
Medical Issues That Cause Loss Of Appetite
If your dog is not eating, even if you offer a new food, they may have a medical issue that has affected their appetite. If they refuse food for over 48 hours, are losing weight, have a fever of more than 40 degrees Celsius/103 degrees Fahrenheit, you should make a veterinary appointment as soon as possible.
Sometimes, loss of appetite is caused by mild stomach upset, and may resolve itself in a day or two. Dogs tend to self-fast when they’re not well.
Infectious illnesses like parvovirus and canine influenza can ruin your dog’s appetite, and may be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. These infections are treatable, but can be fatal if you do not take your dog to the vet.
Bloat is a serious, fatal condition that should be treated immediately. It’s usually accompanied by a distended belly, vomiting and drooling.
Your dog may avoid eating if they have a dental issue. Swollen gums or cracked teeth can make it painful for your dog to eat. Dental infections can spread throughout the body, so you will need to see your veterinarian for treatment.
If possible, bring a fresh stool sample when you go to the vet. Many gastrointestinal problems are easy to diagnose this way.