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Why is My Dog Not Eating Food? – Reasons, Symptoms & Solutions

Lack of appetite or Anorexia in dogs, is a symptom that might signal various underlying problems. A pet may opt to eat little or no food for up to 24 hours if they have an upset stomach or are stressed. On the other hand, a loss of appetite that lasts more than 2 days may signal a medical condition that should not be overlooked. It is normal for dogs to refuse a meal or two. They don’t eat much regularly and have a small appetite. The major cause for worrying why my dog won’t eat is when your pet usually regular and enthusiastic about its eating habits, chooses to refuse meals.

Signs of Loss of Appetite in Dogs

There are a number of potential causes for your question why is my dog not eating food? It can be difficult to determine the root cause. However, here are some common signs of loss of appetite in dogs that may indicate that your pet is not feeling well and has lost its appetite.

  • Eating less food than usual days
  • Refusal to eat food
  • Refusing to eat dog treats or favorite snacks.
  • Refusal to eat food at a regular duration 
  • Inability to consume food despite trying
  • Weight loss/Reduction in weight
  • Weakness/lethargy/fussiness
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
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Reasons Why My Dog Won’t Eat?

Following are the possible reasons why my dog won’t eat which should be ruled out first.

#1 Lack of Exercise and a Poor Lifestyle

Exercise and physical activity regulate animal blood sugar levels and appetite. It helps in maintaining the correct balance. Most metropolitan populations’ sedentary lifestyles that keep their pets in closed spaces without much physical activity have probably led to a lower use of metabolic calorie intake. Caloric utilization is further stalled when combined with a lack of regular exercise.

#2 Social and Emotional Issues 

Major life changes like moving to a new place, changing owners, losing someone close to the dog in the family, confinement, etc., can affect your dog’s mental health. These stressful situations can act as triggers for hormonal imbalance, which can lead to the dog no appetite. It’s important to understand the reasons for such stressful conditions in your dog.

#3 Illness or Disease in Dogs

A loss of appetite is typically a sign of illness, especially if your dog is displaying other symptoms simultaneously. It is vital to seek veterinary help because it could indicate serious sicknesses, such as cancer, numerous systemic infections, discomfort, liver difficulties, kidney failure, infection and other health conditions. Loss of appetite is a cause and consequence of sickness in your dog.

#4 Your Dog is Overfed

Today’s dogs are often overweight and overfed. This can be because of improper instructions given on dog food packets, the owner’s excessive caring attitude or ignorance on the owner’s part. Forcing your pets to eat more than they require can result in intestinal issues and lethargy, leading to further appetite loss. Giving too much than required can lead to obesity in dogs and refusal to eat the same food later. 

#5 Pickiness or Difficulties with Behavior

Some dogs are fussy eaters. In contrast, others may refuse to eat because they are being exposed to situations that aren’t familiar or are making them uncomfortable. For instance- travelling to a different place can make the dog uncomfortable or being fed by a stranger. But before reaching this conclusion, the owner should look for any causes or symptoms of the disease.

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A temporary loss of appetite in your dog is not a problem. On the other hand, a longer loss of appetite in your dog is a significant symptom that can indicate something serious and worth considering. If the dog refuses to eat for more than two meals or has been more than 48 hours, then one should be serious about the condition and seek support.

What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Eat?

If the dog’s loss of appetite is due to sickness or disease, consult a vet rather than feeding it according to your opinions. Your veterinarian may prescribe best diet for dogs that can be followed along with regular treatment. If your pet refuses to eat the prescribed diet dog food, and you don’t know What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Eat then consult the veterinarian for alternatives and tips.

When your dog not eating or drinking, keep an eye on his water intake. Dogs should only go up to a day without water. In other cases, the veterinarian may propose a dog appetite stimulant drug, syringe-feeding a liquid diet for dog, or the insertion of a feeding tube which are usually the last resorts to prevent malnourishment in dogs.

If your dog’s decreased appetite is due to social, behavioral, and emotional reasons, you can consider following these-

  • Cut back on treats and unnecessary snacks.
  • Create a proper schedule and keep the meals tied to a routine.
  • Take your dog for a walk or indulge in physical activity before mealtime.
  • Try using different bowls or plates at different heights to see what your dog prefers. Change the location where your dog usually has its meals.
  • Trying different kinds and brands of dog food. Experiment with other ingredients.
  • Add a bit of warm water to your dog kibble.
  • Try serving warm, fresh meals to the dog.
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When to Seek Help From Vet?

If there are changes in your dog’s customary eating habits, especially if they have regular and healthy eating habits, then one should seek veterinary assistance. Dehydration and malnutrition can arise if left untreated for several days. Thus, you should wait only for a day or two at maximum and not let your pet starve. Rather be very active in providing it with some alternative food and keep a check on water intake. If your dog is more silent than usual, acting strangely, or exhibiting other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, painful noises, sleeping too much, and weight loss, then medical help should be undertaken before the situation worsens.


Rapid fluctuations in a dog’s appetite can be extremely concerning to pet owners. Internal and environmental pressures might cause your dog to lose appetite and change his eating habits. Knowing how to keep track of your dog’s food intake is essential for his overall health. It can assist you in detecting any issues. Discovering why wont my dog eat will help you choose what, if any, actions you should take. Some causes of decreased appetite are unimportant, while others necessitate medical attention, which should be sought as soon as possible.