Dog Not Eating? 5 Possible Solutions to Boost Your Pup’s Appetite

Is your furry friend, especially your picky eater puppy, refusing to eat their meal? As pet owners, we know that a dog’s diet is essential for their health and wellbeing. However, it’s not uncommon for pets, especially puppies or adult dogs, to turn up their noses at their food bowl. Whether they’re avoiding dry kibble, new food, or even people food, it can be concerning for pet parents when their pup won’t eat.

If your puppy consistently refuses dry kibble meals, pet owners may want to try some at-home solutions before consulting with a veterinarian. But before you do, there are some things you can try at home to encourage puppies to eat.

If you’re one of the many pet owners wondering how to get your old dog or puppies eating kibble again, or what to do when your pup isn’t interested in their dry food, keep reading for some helpful tips and advice for pet parents.

Common Reasons Why Dogs Won’t Eat

If your dog isn’t eating their dry kibble, it can be a cause for concern. Many reasons, such as dental issues or stomach problems, can cause dogs to become picky eaters. It’s important to identify the underlying issue so that you can help your furry friend. You may want to consult with a vet to rule out any medical conditions and check if there is any issue with their food bowl or meal routine.

Many Reasons Can Cause Dogs to Become Picky Eaters

Dogs are like humans in many ways, including their appetite. Just like how people have different food preferences or may not feel like eating at times, dogs can also become picky eaters. There are several reasons why this could happen, such as when they don’t feel like eating their kibble meal, when they’re not feeling well and need to see a vet, or when they’re just looking for something different to eat.

  • Illness: When a dog is sick or has an underlying medical condition, they may lose their appetite for kibble or dry food. It’s important to take them to the vet and consider offering them canned food instead.
  • Stress: Changes in routine or environment can stress out pets and make them less likely to eat their kibble or canned food.
  • Aging: As dogs get older, their metabolism slows down, and they may not need as much food as before. This is important for pet parents to keep in mind.
  • Dental problems: If your dog has dental issues such as tooth decay or gum disease, they may find it difficult to chew and swallow food.

Possible Causes of a Dog Not Eating Include Illness, Stress, and Changes in Routine

One of the most common reasons why dogs stop eating is due to illness. If your dog is showing other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea along with not eating, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately. Some illnesses that could cause loss of appetite include canned food.

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Infections such as parvovirus or distemper

Stressful situations such as moving homes or introducing a new pet into the household could also affect your dog’s appetite for canned food. Similarly, changes in routine such as feeding times or diet could make them hesitant to eat canned food.

A Reason Why a Dog May Not Eat Is Due to the Type or Brand of Dog Food Being Offered

The type or brand of dog food you offer your pet could also be a reason why they’re not eating. Some dogs may not like the taste or texture of certain foods, while others may have digestive issues with specific ingredients. If you suspect that this is the case, try switching up their diet and see if they start eating again. You could also consider adding some variety to their meals by incorporating wet food or homemade meals.

Obstruction in the Digestive System Can Be a Cause for a Dog Not Eating

If your dog has ingested canned food that’s causing an obstruction in their digestive system, they may stop eating as a result. In severe cases, this could be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an obstruction include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Forcing a Dog to Eat Can Lead to Further Problems and Should Be Avoided

While it can be tempting to force your dog to eat canned food when they’re not feeling well, this could do more harm than good.

Potential Health Issues Related to Loss of Appetite

Dogs are known for their love of food and will often eat anything in sight. However, if your furry friend suddenly stops eating, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Inappetence, or loss of appetite, can be a symptom of various medical conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, and infections.

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Appetite Loss

Liver Disease: The liver plays a vital role in digestion by producing bile that helps break down fats. If the liver is damaged or not functioning correctly, it can cause a decrease in appetite. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and reluctance to eat canned food.

Kidney Disease: The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and regulate electrolyte balance. When the kidneys are not working correctly, they cannot remove toxins from the body effectively. This can lead to nausea and vomiting and eventually result in appetite loss. If you are suffering from kidney disease, it is recommended to avoid consuming canned food as it may contain high levels of sodium that can worsen your condition.

Infections: Infections such as parvovirus or distemper can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea leading to decreased appetite, even for canned food.

Side Effects of Medications or Pain

Certain medications prescribed by veterinarians may have side effects that cause a decrease in eating habits, including canned food. Pain caused by injuries or illnesses such as arthritis may also contribute to appetite loss.

Symptoms That Contribute to Appetite Loss

Nausea: Dogs with nausea will often drool excessively and swallow frequently. They may also lick their lips more than usual and show signs of discomfort when touched around their abdomen.

Diarrhea: Frequent bowel movements that are loose or watery can cause dehydration leading to decreased appetite.

Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels can cause weakness, lethargy, seizures which will lead to reduced desire for food intake.

Potential Health Issues Resulting From Loss of Appetite

Weight Loss: A significant reduction in food intake over time will result in weight loss in dogs. This can lead to a weakened immune system, making them more susceptible to other illnesses.

Dehydration: Not eating or drinking enough water can cause dehydration which can lead to kidney damage and other health issues.

Malnutrition: A lack of proper nutrients can cause malnutrition, resulting in anemia, muscle wasting, and other severe health problems.

Mouth-Related Problems Causing Anorexia

If your dog has suddenly stopped eating, there could be several reasons behind this behavior. One of the most common causes of anorexia in dogs is dental problems. Dental issues can lead to oral pain, which can make it difficult for dogs to eat.

Dental problems can cause dogs to stop eating

Dental disease is a common cause of anorexia in dogs. If your dog has bad breath, loose teeth, or swollen gums, it’s possible that they’re suffering from a dental problem. Dogs with dental issues may also drool excessively or have difficulty chewing their food.

Dental issues can lead to oral pain

Oral pain caused by dental problems can also lead to stomach issues in dogs. When a dog experiences discomfort while eating, they may not want to eat at all. This can lead to further health complications if left untreated.

Dental disease is a common cause of anorexia in dogs

Dental disease is more common in older dogs but can affect any age group. It’s important to get your dog’s teeth checked regularly by a veterinarian and maintain good oral hygiene practices at home. Regular brushing and providing chew toys can help prevent dental problems from developing.

Teeth problems can affect a dog’s ability to chew and swallow food

Teeth problems such as broken or missing teeth can affect a dog’s ability to chew and swallow their food properly. This may cause them discomfort while eating and result in anorexia if left untreated.

Oral pain caused by dental problems can also lead to stomach issues in dogs

When a dog experiences oral pain due to dental problems, they may not be able to eat as much as they need for proper nutrition. This lack of nutrition may lead to digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Emotional and Behavioral Causes of Anorexia

Anorexia in dogs is a condition where they refuse to eat. It can be caused by several factors, including emotional and behavioral issues such as anxiety and separation anxietyIdentifying the underlying cause of anorexia is crucial in addressing the issue. A thorough physical examination and evaluation of the dog’s behavior can help diagnose any underlying conditions contributing to anorexia.


Anxiety is one of the most common causes of anorexia in dogs. Dogs who are anxious may not feel like eating or may lose their appetite due to stress. Loud noises, new environments, or unfamiliar people can trigger anxiety in dogs.

To address this issue, it’s important to identify what triggers your dog’s anxiety and then work on reducing or eliminating those triggers. You can also provide a safe space for your dog where they feel comfortable and secure. This could be a quiet room with familiar toys or bedding.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is another common cause of anorexia in dogs. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety become anxious when left alone or separated from their owners for extended periods.

If you suspect that your dog has separation anxiety, there are several things you can do to alleviate their symptoms:

  • Gradually increase the amount of time you spend away from them
  • Leave them with familiar toys or objects that have your scent on them
  • Provide plenty of exercise before leaving them alone
  • Consider crate training as it provides a safe space for the dog when you’re not around

Underlying Conditions

In some cases, anorexia may be caused by underlying medical conditions such as dental problems, gastrointestinal issues, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, or infections.

A thorough physical examination by a veterinarian can help diagnose any underlying medical conditions contributing to anorexia. Blood tests, X-rays, ultrasounds may also be necessary to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions.

Behavioral Issues

Behavioral issues such as aggression, dominance, or submission can also cause anorexia in dogs. In some cases, a dog may refuse to eat due to fear or anxiety caused by a dominant dog in the household.

To address this issue, it’s important to identify the behavioral issue and work on correcting it. This could include training sessions with a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Environmental Factors Contributing to Anorexia

Anorexia in dogs is a concerning issue that can be caused by various factors, including environmental factors. Changes in routine or surroundings can contribute to a dog’s loss of appetite, leading to anorexia.

Stressful Situations

Stressful situations such as moving to a new home or the addition of a new pet can cause anorexia in dogs. Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. When their environment changes, they may become anxious, stressed, and refuse food. Separation anxiety is another factor that contributes to stress and loss of appetite in dogs.

To help your dog cope with stressful situations, try the following:

  • Stick to a consistent routine
  • Provide plenty of exercise and playtime
  • Offer comfort items such as blankets or toys
  • Use calming aids like pheromone sprays or diffusers
  • Consult with your vet about anti-anxiety medication

Poor Feeding Practices

Poor feeding practices or lack of access to clean water and food can also lead to environmental factors contributing to anorexia in dogs. Overfeeding or underfeeding your dog can disrupt their digestive system and lead to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

To ensure your dog is getting proper nutrition:

  • Follow feeding guidelines based on age, weight, and activity level
  • Provide fresh water at all times
  • Choose high-quality dog food with essential nutrients
  • Avoid table scraps or human foods that are toxic for dogs

Treatment for Anorexia

If you suspect your dog has anorexia due to environmental factors, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Consult with Your Vet: It’s essential first to rule out any underlying medical conditions causing anorexia before addressing environmental factors.
  2. Address Environmental Factors: Once medical issues have been ruled out, address any environmental factors that may be contributing to your dog’s anorexia.
  3. Encourage Eating: Offer small, frequent meals throughout the day and make sure they are eating in a quiet environment with minimal distractions.
  4. Monitor Your Dog’s Weight: Keep track of your dog’s weight and adjust their food intake accordingly.
  5. Consider Appetite Stimulants: If your dog is still not eating, consult with your vet about appetite stimulants or other medications that can help increase their appetite.

Tips on How to Increase Your Dog’s Appetite

If your dog isn’t eating, it can be concerning for any pet owner. A lack of appetite in dogs can be caused by various factors, such as illness, stress, or a change in their routine. Fortunately, there are several ways to stimulate your dog’s appetite and encourage them to eat more. Here are some tips that can help:

Offer a variety of food options to entice your dog’s appetite.

Dogs can get bored with the same type of food every day. Therefore, offering a variety of food options can help pique their interest in eating again. You may want to try different brands or flavors of dog food and mix them up throughout the week. You can add canned food or wet food into their diet for added flavor and moisture.

Another option is to try homemade meals for your pup. Cooked chicken or turkey mixed with rice and vegetables such as carrots or green beans can be an excellent alternative to commercial dog food.

Stick to a consistent feeding schedule to help regulate your dog’s hunger.

Dogs thrive on routine; therefore, establishing a regular feeding schedule can help regulate their hunger levels. Feeding your pup at the same time each day will also create anticipation for mealtime and make them more likely to eat when it is time.

It’s essential not only to stick with a regular feeding schedule but also ensure you’re not overfeeding them during mealtimes. Overfeeding could lead to obesity and other health issues down the line.

Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or human food as it can decrease their appetite for their own food.

While it may be tempting to feed our furry friends table scraps or human foods from time-to-time, doing so could significantly impact their appetite for their own meals. Human foods tend to have higher salt content than what dogs need in their diets which could cause dehydration leading them not wanting to eat their meals.

It’s essential to stick with dog food and avoid giving them human foods, which could also lead to obesity or other health issues.

Consult with your veterinarian for advice on appetite-stimulating medications or supplements.

If your pup still isn’t eating despite trying the above tips, it may be time to consult with a veterinarian. They can help determine if there is an underlying medical condition that needs addressing. They may prescribe medication or supplements that can stimulate your dog’s appetite.

Some medications and supplements that veterinarians may recommend include mirtazapine, cyproheptadine, and CBD oil. However, it’s crucial to discuss any potential side effects of these options before administering them to your dog.

When to Be Concerned About Your Dog Not Eating

In conclusion, there are several common reasons why your dog may not be eating, including health issues, mouth-related problems, emotional and behavioral causes, and environmental factors. It’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior and take note of any changes in appetite or eating habits. If your dog refuses to eat for more than a day or two, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

To help increase your dog’s appetite, try offering different types of food or adding tasty toppings such as bone broth or canned pumpkin. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Remember that every dog is unique and may have different reasons for not eating. Pay attention to your pup’s behavior and seek professional guidance if necessary.


1. What should I do if my dog isn’t eating?

If your dog isn’t eating for more than a day or two, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

2. How can I increase my dog’s appetite?

Try offering different types of food or adding tasty toppings such as bone broth or canned pumpkin. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.

3. Is it normal for dogs to skip meals?

It’s not uncommon for dogs to skip meals occasionally due to stress or changes in routine. However, if your dog consistently refuses food for more than a day or two, it could indicate an underlying issue.

4. Can emotional problems cause loss of appetite in dogs?

Yes, emotional problems such as anxiety or depression can cause loss of appetite in dogs.

5. Can dental problems cause anorexia in dogs?

Yes, dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease can cause pain while eating and lead to anorexia in dogs.

6. Can certain medications cause loss of appetite in dogs?

Yes, certain medications can cause loss of appetite as a side effect. If you suspect your dog’s medication is causing this issue, consult with your veterinarian to explore alternative options.