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Why is my dog not eating?

If your dog is refusing to eat? If so, you're likely feeling concerned. Today, our vets in Everett list a few potential reasons your dog is not eating their food, and what you should do. 

Help! My Dog Has Stopped Eating 

As a dog parent, you want the very best for your four-legged friend, so if your dog isn't eating regularly, you are probably getting worried. 

At Broadway Animal Hospital, we see a number of dogs who refuse to eat for one reason or another. Here are just a few:

Your Dog Doesn't Feel Well

Similar to their humans, dogs will often stop eating if they aren't feeling well. If you've noticed a drop in your dog's appetite, it's best to reach out to your vet for advice. In the meantime, here are a few tricks you can try to coax your pup to eat:

  • If your dog eats wet food, you might try warming it slightly in the microwave. 
  • Does your dog eat dry food (kibble)? Try pouring some broth or warm water over it to soften it a bit and make it more appetizing. 
  • Try hand-feeding your pooch some kibble to see if they will eat it. 

If your dog is also displaying other symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting in addition to not eating, it's time to book an appointment with your vet. 

Your Pooch is Feeling Sad 

In another parallel to human emotion and how our emotions can impact our eating habits, your dog's mood can also affect their ability to eat regularly. 

Being re-homed or adopted with new people, moving to a new house, losing another pet in the household or an important human can all cause your dog to lose their appetite. Be kind and patient with your pup as they go through this change in their life, and talk to your vet if your dog refuses to eat for more than 24 hours. 

Your Pup is Missing You (or Another Key Family Member)

Many a dog owner has come to us with concern written on their faces and their pooch in their arms, asking, 'Why isn't my dog eating?'

The answer may lie in what's going on at home, and who is (or is not) there. Some dogs will eat only if they know their primary caregiver or favorite family member is home, safe and and sound. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals, wired to eat and hunt together. If a key member of their pack is missing, it may cause them to postpone eating until their pack is together again. 

It's Not Your Dog's Preferred Time to Eat

It's not unusual for our canine companions to have a preference for when they eat. Perhaps your dog chows down first thing in the morning and fasts for the rest of the day, or maybe they wait until the sun goes down in the evening before devouring their dinner. Many dogs choose to eat just one big meal a day.

Whatever your pup's favorite mealtime is, as long as they are getting all the nutrition they need at that meal, it's likely not a problem. Your vet will be able to calculate your pup's caloric requirements based on their size, breed, age and lifestyle to provide you with accurate guidelines regarding what and when to feed your pooch.

Your Animal Companion Isn't Keen On The Food in Their Bowl

You may be surprised to learn that even if you always buy the same dog food for your pup, the formulation could change. While many brands will indicate a change (New & Improved etc) often these changes in formulation are only reflected in the list of ingredients and the nutritional information.

It can be a good idea to feed your dog a couple of different foods right from day one. That way, if one food's formulation changes in a way that your dog doesn't like, you have an alternative food readily available that you know they will enjoy. At that point, you can begin the process of introducing a new food.

To avoid any gastrointestinal upsets just as bloating, gas or diarrhea, it's best to ask your vet for advice on how to introduce your four-legged friend to a new food.

When Should I Worry About My Dog Not Eating?

That is an excellent question. Because our beloved animal companions are unable to tell us how they are feeling, it is always best to consult your vet whenever your dog is exhibiting behaviors that cause you concern.

When it comes to not eating, if you have tried the tricks above but your dog is still not eating after 24-48 hours a trip to the vet is a good idea, just to rule out anything serious.

If your dog is not eating and is throwing up or experiencing other symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or an uncharacteristic lack of energy, contact your vet right away to schedule an examination for your dog.

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.

Are you concerned about your dog's lack of appetite or other symptoms? Please do not hesitate to contact our vets in Everett, WA  right away during our daytime hours, or go to an after-hours animal hospital. 

New Patients Always Welcome!

Looking for a vet in Everett? Whether your pet needs routine wellness exams, surgery, geriatric care or emergency care, we look forward to welcoming you to our family at Broadway Animal Hospital located in Everett. 

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