home Dogs What to do if your dog doesn’t want to eat

What to do if your dog doesn’t want to eat


Food intake is influenced by the quality of food and feed, health, mood, and even relationships with family members. If your pet refuses to eat and drink water during the day, do not rush to panic. But a long refusal to eat and the appearance of other symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, seizures) are a reason for excitement.

What tests will help determine the disease?

If you suspect an animal is ill, contact your veterinarian. The doctor will prescribe special tests and examinations that will help to understand why the dog is lethargic, does not eat or drink.

Method What diseases helps to detect
Visual inspection of the veterinarian Dental problems, trauma, gastrointestinal diseases. The examination makes it clear which diagnostic methods to apply further
Temperature measurement Viral infections, poisoning
Stool analysis Worms, liver failure
Analysis of urine Diseases of the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract
Blood chemistry Colds, viral gastroenteritis, poisoning
Abdominal ultrasound Intussusception, diseases of the digestive system, liver failure,
X-ray Injuries, cancerous tumors

Sometimes an examination and 1-2 tests (blood, urine) are enough. But if you suspect a serious illness, you will have to undergo a comprehensive examination in the clinic.

Why does the dog not eat or drink anything, but only lies sluggish?

A caring owner is seriously worried when his dog does not eat, does not drink, is sluggish, and lies on the couch all day. In this article, you will learn the natural causes of hunger strikes and when you need to sound the alarm and contact your veterinarian.

What are the causes of hunger strikes and lethargy

Below are some common reasons a dog looks lethargic and does not eat.

A dog is as emotional and vulnerable as a person. He gets upset because of loud scandals, criticism, the departure of his beloved owner. By refusing food, he protests against moving to a new apartment or the appearance of other people’s animals. Some pets react sharply even to changes in weather and seasons, easily fall into the autumn blues. As a rule, a hunger strike is prolonged for a maximum of 2-3 days due to stress.

The pet refuses to eat tasteless or low-grade food, monotonous food, drink stale water. Perhaps she was once accidentally given a spoiled product, which led to vomiting and diarrhea. Now the dog is wary of him, does not want to risk his health.

A common mistake people make is pampering pets too much. For example, they put dry food in a bowl, and the four-legged friend does not eat up the pellets. Then the owners, wanting to please him, put something tasty: a piece of fish, sausage, beef tenderloin.

The animal quickly becomes accustomed to such a privileged regime. Why chew dry food or porridge with liver if a person offers something tasty after an hour? The lethargy of the pet is a consequence of voluntary starvation.

Another reason associated with poor nutrition is overfeeding. Because of this, an excess of fluid and nutrients is formed in the animal’s body: proteins, fats or carbohydrates. The pet feels oversaturated and refuses food herself. Please note that an adult dog is able to starve without harm to health for 5-7 days (but at the same time drinks water).

Dental problems

Due to physical pain when food and liquid come into contact with the oral cavity, the dog does not eat, does not drink, and looks lethargic. The following problems cause a hunger strike:

  • teething in small puppies;
  • tartar, provoking inflammatory processes: periodontitis, growths, abscesses;
  • broken tooth;
  • gingivitis. damage to the soft tissues of the gums;
  • stomatitis. inflammation of the oral mucosa;
  • mechanical damage to the mouth and tongue (wounds, ulcers);
  • dislocated jaw.

Periodically, the animal comes to food and water. Perhaps trying to eat or drink, but is behaving strangely (for example, shaking his head sharply, swallowing liquid with his jaws, not tongue).

This disease affects not only people, but also pets. Puppies and old dogs are at risk, because they have weak immunity. During a cold, the animal is worried about muscle weakness, so it looks lethargic, is lazy to go to a bowl of water or food.

Also, the appetite is reduced due to fever. The body throws all its strength to fight the virus, so it is difficult to digest food.

You yourself know that after poisoning you don’t want to eat for 1-2 days, you have no strength to move, your mood is sluggish. The same thing happens with a pet. Poisoning is not only caused by spoiled food. The list is much broader:

  • dirty or contaminated water;
  • household chemicals (solvents, chlorine-containing bleaches and paint are especially dangerous);
  • insecticidal agents: shampoos and drops against fleas, worms;
  • cheap dry food with allergen additives;
  • medications;
  • mercury;
  • some indoor plants: azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, garden palms, tulips;
  • penlight batteries (contain lead toxic to pets);
  • fertilizers for plants;
  • pesticides;
  • human food: chocolate, alcoholic beverages, grapes, avocado, xylitol.

Now remember if your pet has been in contact with any of the above. If vomiting, diarrhea, dry skin, yellowing of the whites of the eyes have joined the lack of appetite and lethargy, take your pet to the veterinarian urgently.

A common reason why a dog is lethargic and does not eat. Parasitic worms reduce the intestinal lumen, interfering with the passage of food. Therefore, the pet refuses to eat because of the pain and feeling of fullness. The worms attach to the walls of the colon, blocking receptors that transmit hunger signals to the brain. Also, parasites secrete waste products. toxins that lead to lethargy.

If the pet does not eat, does not drink, and is sluggish for a long period (more than 2 weeks), it is likely that she has a serious illness.

  • Viral gastroenteritis
    Older dogs and puppies are more likely to get sick. The following symptoms are observed: refusal to take food, water, nausea, loose stools, indifference to others. Vomiting is not always the case. The disease is curable if you do not hesitate to go to the vet.
  • Intussusception
    Appetite drops sharply due to intestinal obstruction. The disease is caused by blockage of the gastrointestinal tract by foreign objects (cellophane, paper, bones, hair), vascular pathologies, volvulus of the stomach and hernia infringement. Intussusception requires surgery. Untimely detection of pathology is fatal.
  • Liver failure
    It occurs due to damage to the organ by toxins and viruses. The owner should be alerted to the following symptoms: refusal of food and water, lethargy, dull hair, yellow skin, vomiting, alternating constipation and diarrhea, white feces and bright orange urine, cramps in the limbs. Treatment prolongs the life of the pet.

Sometimes stomach ulcers, metabolic disorders and cancers (bowel, kidney, bladder) lead to decreased appetite.

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When refusing food and water is the norm?

The reasons listed above are caused by various problems and require the intervention of the owner. But there are cases when the refusal of the dog from food and water is the norm, and you can not worry.

  • Lack of movement or excessive exercise. If the pet rarely goes outside, plays little, its body does not have time to burn all the calories. Therefore, she regularly arranges fasting days for herself. And what does excessive physical exertion (hunting, running, performing tricks) have to do with it? They lead to an increase in blood glucose, which dulls hunger by 3-6 hours.
  • Advanced age. After 12-15 years, the dog’s metabolism slows down, which leads to a decrease in appetite. And lethargy is a consequence of old age.
  • Heat, pregnancy, postpartum. Decreased appetite and changes in eating habits are caused by hormonal disruption.

In such situations, you do not need to do anything. The animal itself will regulate the required amount of food without harm to the body.

Ways to normalize your pet’s appetite

If your dog is lethargic and does not eat due to improper routine or stress, you can easily help him yourself. Observe the following guidelines.

  • Caress and praise your pet, offer fun games. This will strengthen the psyche and contribute to the establishment of trusting relationships.
  • If the animal has not finished eating a portion of food, hide the bowl. Feed the pet in 4-5 hours.
  • Do not spoil your favorite dog with treats between meals.
  • Change the water at least once a day. Please note that pets drink from deep bowls.
  • Let’s eat at the same time of day. It disciplines.
  • Avoid drastic dietary changes.
  • Try not to mix dry food and organic foods in one meal.
  • If your pet is worried about diseases of the teeth, gums and mouth, temporarily offer her only soft and liquid food (viscous cereals, grated boiled meat and offal, broth) at room temperature.

As a rule, with this approach to nutrition, normal appetite and vigor are restored in the animal after 1-2 weeks.

When to see the vet?

Problems such as colds, viral gastroenteritis and even food poisoning are especially dangerous for puppies, because the latter have weak immunity. Delay is often fatal. If a small family member refuses to eat, walks lethargic, do not take risks and show him to the veterinarian.

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Another reason for going to the doctor is the duration of the hunger strike and apathy. It is bad if the painful condition lasts longer than a week.

Also, the dog must be shown to the veterinarian if the following symptoms are found:

  • alternation of constipation and diarrhea;
  • admixture of blood in the stool;
  • prolonged vomiting. more than 2 days;
  • dullness and hair loss;
  • dryness and yellowness of the skin;
  • inflammatory process in the oral cavity;
  • purulent discharge from the eyes;
  • limb cramps;
  • discoloration of stools and urine;
  • abrupt change of character.

In the situations described above, waiting and self-medication can cost you the health and even the life of your pet. Have pity on your four-legged friend and see your vet.

Why isn’t the dog eating? How to treat?

Once the diagnosis is established, the veterinarian will prescribe treatment. Treatment is divided into two types: specific or supportive.

A specific treatment should be considered a treatment, the main purpose of which is to eliminate the causes of the disease. In this case, it will be aimed at eliminating the causes of the dog’s lack of appetite. This could be a course of antibiotics to block the infection in the dog’s body, or if a foreign body is present in the body, surgery is relied upon. It can also be a treatment for gum disease (the dog has a hard time chewing and therefore does not eat).

Supportive care is used to help the dog maintain a weakened body: infusion or subcutaneous therapy, appetite stimulating injections or pills, etc.

Why doesn‘t the dog eat?

There are many reasons for a dog’s loss of appetite. It is often considered the first sign of illness. A dog may not eat if it has a condition of the digestive system, kidney, blood, eyes, mouth, nose, throat, or even skin. Diseases of other organs and systems can also cause refusal to eat. Even trivial pain can cause a dog to refuse to eat.
Don’t worry too much if your dog is very sick, as there are many other reasons why your dog doesn‘t want to eat. For example, a dog doesn‘t like the taste of a new food, or you change your place of residence and is going through a period of adaptation, or you have a new family member. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons and they are all different, but a dog’s lack of appetite within 24 hours can adversely affect its body.

What to do when your dog is not hungry?

Since there are many reasons for poor appetite, we advise you to call a veterinarian at home in Kiev for an examination and diagnosis.

What may be required besides examining the dog:

  • Examination by a veterinarian. In such a situation, it consists of examining the oral cavity (buccal examination), listening with a stethoscope (auscultation), palpating the abdominal cavity (abdominal palpation), measuring temperature and weight;
  • It may be necessary to take blood and urine for a general analysis in order to search for hidden diseases;
  • Stool analysis (search for parasites);
  • For a free consultation with a veterinarian, call the phone numbers listed on the website. Call now!

Help at home.

Self-help by the owners of the dogs can be provided when the reasons why the dog does not eat have been previously established. Let’s try to understand together in what cases this can be done.

The dog may not eat, because you have recently moved, having changed the usual living conditions and environment, or a new person, a new animal, lives in the house. The listed reasons should be voiced to the veterinarian.

Take a closer look at the dog. You may notice other symptoms as well. In such a situation, it is better to call a veterinarian at home in Kiev earlier than later.

In order to prevent the dog’s body from losing a lot of fluid, it is worth giving Pedialyte®, but you should first consult your veterinarian about this.

Recommendations for increasing appetite at home: if the dog does not eat or drink, then the feeling of hunger can be somewhat increased by simply heating the food. This is done to make the food smell intense. Then you need to feed your beloved dog directly from your hands, thereby showing attention and care. Attention! It is necessary to warm up the cooked food carefully, because if it is very hot, the animal will burn itself and thereby harm itself (burn the stomach or alimentary tract).

New food. For example, the veterinarian prescribed a strict diet for you, but the dog completely refuses to eat new food. The transition to such food should be done smoothly so as not to discourage the dog’s appetite. You should gradually mix food from the new diet with regular food, then the dog will not give up on it and will eat with pleasure.

If your puppy is between 1 and 6 months old and does not eat, the dog is potentially at risk as a 12 hour loss of appetite can be fatal (especially between 1 and 6 weeks of age). Cow’s milk is good for puppies, but homemade soups are not very good, as they are very salty and do not contain the necessary amount of nutrients for the full functioning of the body.


The reasons why a dog does not eat can be divided into two parts: medical and psychological.

  • Medical reasons are a cause for concern, because they indicate the presence of a disease process in the animal’s body, provoking a lack of appetite.
  • Psychological reasons indicate that something has changed in the dog’s environment. This causes a lack of appetite and the dog does not eat. Examples of such situations have been voiced earlier: moving to a new house or apartment, a new family member or a new meal.
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The difference between both causes (medical and psychological) is the presence of other symptoms (in the case of medical reasons). So, in addition to a lack of appetite, you can observe in the dog salivation, vomiting, diarrhea (normal or bloody), lethargy, weight loss, shortness of breath, infections (discharge of pus, blood, or changes in behavior).

Diseases in which the dog has no appetite and does not eat:

  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • Liver disease;
  • Diseases of the pancreas;
  • Diseases of the urinary tract;
  • Diseases of the blood;
  • Diseases of the eyes, mouth, throat, nose;

The dog does not eat

  • Causes.
  • What to do? How to treat?
  • What can be done at home?
  • Accompanying illnesses?

If your dog is not eating and you are unsure of what to do and are looking for advice on the Internet on the forums, we recommend that you do not self-medicate and experiment on your beloved dog. After all, there are many reasons for the lack of appetite in an animal (more on this later in the article), and the consequences of an experiment can disappoint you and your family.

Call us at any number from the contacts section and get a free consultation or make a call to a veterinarian at home at the nearest time convenient for you.

How to call a veterinarian at home?

What questions will need to be answered?
In order to call a veterinarian, you need:

Why My Dog Won’t Eat Its food- Why is that and how can I help my dog?

  • Call the operator using the numbers indicated in the Contacts section;
  • Tell what happened to the animal;
  • Provide the address (street, house, front door, floor) where the veterinarian will arrive;
  • Specify the date and time of the doctor’s arrival

Call the veterinarian at home and he will definitely help you.
At home, as they say, and walls heal.

The dog doesn‘t want to walk. What to do?

It is safe to say that most dogs love walking. Many people are familiar with the picture, as at the mere mention of the street, the pet hurries up, wags its tail and in every possible way shows its readiness to leave the house. But, alas, this is not always the case. What to do if your dog doesn‘t want to walk?

There are different reasons why a dog does not want to go for a walk. To establish the true, it is important to take into account the age of the pet, and the state of his health, and the character, and the lifestyle in general.

Why the dog doesn‘t want to walk?

One of the most obvious reasons is health problems. It may be difficult for the dog to walk, jump, run, climb or descend stairs because of pain in the joints or spine. Lethargy and lethargy can be signs of many health problems. If there is a suspicion of a disease, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.

Sometimes the dog does not want to walk out of fear. This can be seen by how uncomfortable the pet feels on the street: he runs home, keeps behind the owner, tuck his tail, or even refuses to go beyond the threshold. If you notice this in the behavior of your pet, then, most likely, the problem lies in the psychological state, which means that you need to consult a veterinarian.

A not too obvious reason why a dog does not want to go for a walk outside is bad weather. Yes, animals are also capable of showing character: some flatly refuse to stick their nose out of a comfortable apartment in the heat, rain or frost. On such days, you can simply limit walks or buy suitable clothes for your pet.

It also happens that the dog gets bored with the usual route or is simply not interested in walks. This happens with animals that the owners limit communication with other dogs. The same happens with pets that walk in the same place every day. In such cases, it is recommended to diversify the walking route and visit the dog grounds more often.

Puppies and teenage dogs sometimes get stressed out on walks because they are intimidated by new things. The reason may be improper socialization. for example, if the owner too early and abruptly began to introduce the pet to the outside world.

Adult dogs, who previously lived outside the city in a private house, often refuse to walk. They are simply not familiar with cars, bicycles and other features of life in the city.

When faced with the problem of refusing to walk, the first thing a dog owner must understand is why the pet is behaving this way. Only after this should you begin to correct behavior.

If the dog refuses to walk because of fears, you can try to work them out on your own.

You need to let your pet know that he is safe with you. But you need to act very carefully, gradually bringing the dog closer to its fears.

For example, if the dog does not want to go for a walk, resists in every possible way and demonstrates its displeasure, then in not very difficult cases, the pet can be lured out for a walk using the game. If the animal still does not give in to persuasion, you will have to resort to more serious measures.

Try moving your food bowl closer to the front door. Let the dog get used to the hallway: with the help of treats and feeding, a positive associative connection with this room will be developed. In the next step, try opening the front door ajar while feeding. And after a while, feed the pet outside the door. It is important to do everything slowly, not to rush. After the pet has got used to it, you can move on to the next stage and take him outside.

In more serious cases, consultations with a zoopsychologist or dog handler cannot be avoided.

It is often much easier to take several private trainings with a specialist and see the result after a couple of sessions than to try to solve the problem on your own without having the necessary knowledge and skills.

Pete The Vet. Help! My Dog doesn‘t want to eat!

Features of physiology

Often, bitches lose their appetite during estrus, and males, when they hear a “walking” girl nearby. Such changes are normal and do not require intervention. The animal during this period has more important things to do than nutrition.

Possible reasons for refusal

First of all, it is necessary to determine why the dog, which has always been not against pellets, now refuses to eat dry food, only after that you can decide what to do next and how to regain appetite?

Health problems

Often, health problems lead to a lack of appetite. For example, diseases of the mouth (stomatitis), as well as the upper respiratory tract (runny nose). serious internal diseases can also lead to loss of appetite.

Not all diseases are accompanied by pronounced symptoms, therefore, loss of appetite is the first alarm bell to go to the veterinarian.

The dog stopped eating dry food: what to do?

Sometimes it happens that the dog has stopped eating dry food, and not always the reason for this lies on the surface. For some owners, refusal of the dog from ready-made feed becomes a real problem. Usually this is encountered when a pet needs to be transferred from “natural” to drying. And it happens that the dog does not want to eat dry food, although before it ate it with pleasure. Let’s figure out what to do in such cases, how to find out the reason for the hunger strike and not harm the pet?

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Lack of physical activity

Many dogs, especially those who live in an apartment, lead a sedentary lifestyle. Their everyday life is limited to short quiet walks with a minimum number of games, or even without them at all.

Animals simply do not waste all their energy and over time they become more lethargic, indifferent to all kinds of entertainment. As a result, there may be a decreased appetite.

Try increasing your physical activity a little, and then pay attention to your appetite. It is important to remember that you can feed your pet no earlier than an hour after the walk.

Stressful situations

Many dogs refuse to eat dry food because they are stressed, just like humans. They can have a hard time living alone for a long time, moving, losing the owner, and sometimes even the noise from a neighbor’s renovation or the appearance of small children. Owners often do not know or forget that stress is not only a psychological but also a physical reaction of the body to situations that are difficult to quickly adapt to. Analyze recent events, perhaps they are the reason why the dog refuses to feed.

If there is any stress factor, it is necessary to eliminate it or try to accustom the dog to the irritant. It is possible to use light sedatives on herbal ingredients, but in any case, adaptation will take a long time.

The problem is in the stern

Such concepts as “proper nutrition” and “healthy diet” are familiar to everyone, but not everyone understands and adheres to them. Here are some examples when a dog refuses to eat dry food due to the owner’s fault.

  • Unusual food. If the pet eats natural food, you have to constantly cook, but on trips or due to strong employment it may not be convenient. Drying becomes an alternative. The owners offer the pets to eat with the pellets, but this does not generate enthusiasm, they do not seem attractive to the dog, not tasty or too tough.
  • You can’t fool your nose. If the dog constantly eats dry food, the reason for the refusal may be a sudden change of brand or the purchase of low-quality food (for example, by weight), which tend to oxidize in open packages. The appearance and smell seem ordinary to a person, but a sensitive dog’s nose cannot be fooled.
  • Spoiled nature. Many small breeds by their nature are very picky about food, and here the owner is also trying to feed the pet in every possible way. “If you don’t want food, eat at least a piece of meat (cheese, potatoes, cookies, etc.)”, “If you don’t want it from a bowl, eat from your hand…”. The regular meal is eventually replaced by a slice of delicacy. The dog refuses to eat dry food, because he knows that in the end he will get a tasty treat, what the owner decides to do in this case: either remove any feeding or switch to “natural”.
  • Make it tastier! Dogs are not very demanding on a variety of food, but they can also “get bored” of food with the same taste. Especially in those cases when they periodically receive delicacies from the master’s table and know that food is tastier. Perhaps the reason for the refusal was the abrupt lack of the usual flavorings. Some owners soak drying with kefir or yogurt, and when they stop, the dog refuses dry food. Mixed feed is allowed only during the transition from one type of feed to another.
  • The issue of quality and quantity. The dog needs dry food many times less than other food. It can be difficult for owners to get used to the idea that now the pet needs not 2 liters of porridge, but only 500 grams of granules. The portions increase exorbitantly, the animal does not eat everything and complaints begin: the dog has stopped eating dry food.

What to do?

Most often, dogs are transported to dry food because of the convenience of such feeding or because of the need to switch to a dietary therapeutic diet, which is produced in the form of dry granules. To transfer a dog from one type of food to another, you need to follow several rules:

  • The transition should be gradual. Not only the dog is taught to dry food, but also its digestive system, within 2 weeks.
  • Drying begins to be mixed into regular feed in small quantities. Every day, replace a fourth of the entire portion until the granules completely displace the porridge.

Do not forget that with the addition of dry food, portions need to be reduced, since granules are needed much less than liquid food.

  • If the dog does not want to eat dry food, the pellets can be soaked in boiled water. Puppies are allowed to soak drying with kefir or homemade yogurt. You just need to make sure that this does not provoke the disorder.
  • The food must be of high quality (at least premium) and, of course, the dog likes.
  • It is undesirable to leave food in the public domain. Also, as with natural food, the dog should have its own regimen and fixed portions.

If the dog has given up dry food, then there is always a reason for this. Finding out and solving it is the task of any responsible and loving owner.

What to do if you don’t feel like eating at all

An instruction for those who are not inspired by even the most delicious dishes.

“We need to eat less,” the great Maya Plisetskaya bequeathed. But sometimes the question arises: “How much less?” You go through a cake, ice cream, steak, salad with caramelized chicken, a good old sandwich in your mind. and on none of the items on the undoubtedly tasty list does not your stomach yank.

Why regain your appetite

Or maybe, well, him? Some deliberately limit themselves, they sit on strict diets, they only dream of cakes. but you just don’t want these cakes. Conveniently! But nutritionists do not recommend rejoicing in the lack of appetite. If food indifference persists for more than two weeks, it can lead to a lack of nutrients and a general depletion of the body.

Other long-term effects of decreased appetite depend on the underlying causes of the condition. What are these reasons and what they will lead to in the end, only a qualified physician can establish.

Why don’t you feel like eating

There can be many reasons for the lack of appetite: from completely harmless to those threatening with serious troubles.

Mental disorders

Unlike common bad mood, clinical depression Depression Overview causes loss of appetite in almost 100% of cases. This is due to the accompanying disorder, a general decrease in metabolic rate.

Another fairly common malfunction is Anorexia nervosa. This is what doctors call a mental eating disorder caused by a desperate fear of gaining weight.

Endocrine Disorders

If the thyroid gland produces less hormones The lowdown on thyroid slowdown. than necessary (this condition is called hypothyroidism), the appetite is significantly reduced.

Cardiovascular problems

Smoking and other reasons

Food poisoning, smoking, a reaction to a particular drug, the first trimester of pregnancy, gallstones, gastroenteritis, various immune disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and so on up to latent oncology. all this can make Appetite. you have decreased indifference to food.