You must know that loss of appetite doesn’t always mean your dog has an illness. If you’re giving the same food every day, your pet is likely to get bored. However, if there is an illness, you must stop the problem before it gets out of hand. 

This article is specifically catered towards people battling with the question — why is my dog not eating?

We have discussed some common reasons and solutions to help you assess your pet’s situation better.


Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Not Eating

There are several reasons why your dog might exhibit such behavior towards their food. We organized them under three main categories;  medical issues, food taste, and behavioral problems.

Medical Issues

These issues mainly focus on illnesses and other reactions from medicines your dog is consuming on a daily basis. This is quite common because, much like us, dogs tend to eat less when they have a fever. Therefore, you need to identify what the illness is and treat it right away.

When it comes to medical complications, dogs need to be kept in constant checkups with the vet. As a dog owner, you must be very punctual with the vaccines. Not getting your dogs vaccinated can leave them exposed to a wide range of medical complications. With the right amount of care and medical checkups, your dogs should be finishing up their bowls in no time.

Food Taste

The taste and smell of the food have a major role to play in determining how fast your dogs finish their bowl. If you’re someone who has spent hours on the internet to find the right meal to get your dogs, then great! But if you haven’t, then we suggest you get right to it. 

Certain breeds of dogs are picky eaters, and it will take quite a lot of patience to find the right food mix. But, if your dog suddenly stops enjoying their favorite meal, then that can be a bigger problem. 

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Often this can happen when the dog food has expired or hasn’t been stored properly. In that case, you must always secure the food in an airtight container and check the expiry date before you feed your dog.

While it is true that dogs can get tired of eating the same brand of dog food over and over again, frequent switching can lead to other issues. You should alternate between your pet’s favorites once a week or so. 

Be careful! Because making them eat different diets frequently can lead to diarrhea and nausea.

Behavioral Problems

These problems arise from the surroundings you keep your dogs in. Behavioral problems such as stress, fear, or anxiety are things certain dogs face all their lives. In order to help them, you must always give unconditional love and affection towards them.

Dogs are intelligent creatures with heightened smelling and hearing senses. This can be both a curse and a blessing. Constant exposure to high-pitched or just loud noise can irritate your dogs. This immediately translates into their body language as they are reluctant to eat or drink anything.

If you’re living near a busy street that has cars honking all the time, your dog may start feeling stressed and anxious. This can also cause them to sleep poorly. Some dogs are scared of loud noises such as thunder which makes them less inclined towards food.

What’s more, you can also make your pet feel uncomfortable by having other pets in your home. Dogs become competitive against one another, and they take a while before learning to be friends. You can start off by feeding them separately and slowly testing how they interact with each other. Jealousy is a common trait amongst all pets and if you don’t scold them when necessary, they might never learn to get along.

Medical Problems That Can Cause Loss of Appetite

Sometimes several kinds of medical problems can cause your dog to stop eating. Knowing them in detail will help you solve the problem at an early stage.


If you thought anorexia was something exclusive to humans, you were wrong. In the world of dogs, this is very normal. There are actually two types of anorexia that we see in dogs, true anorexia and pseudo-anorexia. 

Pseudo-anorexia refers to the loss of appetite in dogs because they might face difficulties in eating their food. This could be because of physical pain when swallowing or chewing. True anorexia, on the other hand, is when your dog is sick and doesn’t want to eat all.

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In such cases, it is best to change their eating habits and test whether your dog enjoys his/her food again. If they still won’t eat, you should make an appointment with a vet because a change in diet is not enough.

This medical condition is different from other reasons why a dog won’t eat. Mainly because anorexia tires your dog out to a point where they don’t get excited about even their favorite activities. If you are able to get it treated before it gets too serious, your dog will start acting normal and healthy again.

Medication Side Effects

This applies to only those dogs that are on some kind of prescribed medication. It is very common that dogs won’t eat when they are on medication. This is because the medicines tend to take most of the energy of the body. As the body is dedicating all its resources towards curing the illness, it becomes overworked. As a result, even if they are hungry, they feel so weak that they hardly have the energy to eat.

Dental Problems

Since dogs are carnivores, they tend to use their strong teeth to tear out the flesh or attack their prey. While some dogs can go years without a visit to the dentist, others need emergency checkups.

Dogs with troubled teeth tend to skip meals more frequently. Intense pain when chewing or swallowing can be a good reason why your dog isn’t eating.

When it comes to dental problems, you need to book an appointment with the vet as soon as possible. Tooth aches can soon lead to other painful problems like headaches which further decrease your dog’s willingness to eat.


Changes in Surroundings That Can Cause Loss of Appetite

As dogs are sensitive to changes in their environment and company, you might be risking their emotional wellbeing by making drastic changes. Here are some changes that often affect their interests in food.

Lack of Attention

Dogs are creatures that love seeking attention from their masters. Whether you’re simply patting them on the head or taking them out on a walk, a bond with their master keeps them sane. When you leave them feeling neglected, they will show little fascination towards food.


Another trigger that might cause your dog not to eat is the timing of the day. As they are sophisticated beings, dogs tend to have a fixed schedule for taking their meals. So, don’t get worried if your dog’s food bowl is still full after daytime passes. Their body clock will indicate when and how much food they should consume.

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However, this also depends on how responsible you are with the food timings. If you don’t follow a strict routine for when their bowls are refilled, it becomes hard for them to register the right time to eat. Feed your dogs at least 3 times a day, once in the morning, afternoon, and at night.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    Can I feed baby food to dogs when they lose their appetite?

We would advise you to use stage 2 baby foods (preferably with meat) or any dry food in them as it appeals to dogs more and is easy to eat. However, when your dog isn’t eating, giving baby food is unlikely to bring about changes.

2.    Why is my old dog losing weight?

With old age, dogs also tend to get tired of all the running and barking. Old dogs refusing to eat would suggest that they have some sort of medical issue, or they aren’t accustomed to the new food.  

3.    Why is my dog drinking water but not eating?

When dogs begin to drink more water than food, they tend to be hiding hidden infections or other internal medical problems that pains them. This can also be due to other factors like hot weather which makes dogs thirstier than usual.

4.    How can I lure my dog into eating?

Offer your dog their favorite treat after dinner to train them. So, the next time your dog isn’t eating, wave the treat around to signal them to eat.

Final Words

Why is my dog not eating? It’s a common question all pet owners face, and quite frankly, it’s a step towards getting to know your pet better. While most causes focus on infections and allergies, you should pay equal importance to the timing and diet switching routine.

We hope this article was able to give you the right guidance and knowledge on how to make your dog eat properly.

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