My dog isn’t eating

My dog isn’t eating

If your dog is not eating, this can be due to a variety of reasons. This is by no means always caused by an illness.

Why isn‘t my dog eating?

Most dogs can hardly wait until their bowls are full and it’s time to eat. They stand beside you impatiently, wagging their tails and looking at you with their eyes wide open. Others, however, are rather fussy eaters. With them, it is no surprise if they only eat small portions or if they insist on their owner standing next to them when they eat. However, if a dog suddenly eats a much smaller amount or hardly eats at all, then this will worry any owner and they will wonder what the problem is. Sometimes the solution is quite simple, but on other occasions only a thorough examination at the vet will help.

Possible cause 1: Tooth change in puppies

The change of teeth is a very inconspicuous process in puppies and most dog owners do not even notice it. However, dogs can experience problems during this phase, which takes place between the ages of around three and five months: The new adult teeth try with all their might to push the baby teeth away. Here, the roots of the baby teeth break up resulting in loose teeth and bleeding gums, and finally these milk teeth fall out. This can be problem-free, but can also be painful for the puppy. In this case, a refusal to eat is normal. At the age of 6 months, the puppy should have completed its change of teeth.

Possible cause 2: Problems during puberty

Just when the puppy has been making progress with its training – all of a sudden nothing seems to work anymore. This is probably a sign that the puppy has reached puberty, which usually happens between the age of six and eleven months, depending on the breed. This is associated with a number of hormonal changes. During this time, puppies test boundaries to see what they can get away with, and this includes feeding.  Perhaps dogs hope that they will then only be given particularly tasty rewards. Here it is important to be patient and, above all, to remain firm. If you can rule out any health problems, you do not need to change anything in the puppy’s diet. If it refuses to eat, remove the bowl after twenty minutes. You should then completely refrain from giving your pet any treats. It should then receive its next regular meal at the usual time.

Possible cause 3: When a female dog is on heat

If your female dog is on heat and is eating less, there is usually nothing to worry about. A hormone-related reluctance to eat is common. This can also be the case during a phantom pregnancy. And hormone-related loss of appetite can also occur in male dogs when there are females on heat in the neighbourhood.

Possible cause 4: The dog is not eating due to stress

Stress can also be linked to loss of appetite in dogs. There are a variety of triggers for stress: family changes, for example when a baby is born or a new person moves in, or when a family member dies. Stress can also occur as a result of illness or psychological changes. A second dog can also be the cause. Think about whether there have been any changes recently: Has your home suddenly become less restful, and have you changed your dog’s feeding place or moved house?

Possible cause 5: Poor nutrition

During the growth phase, puppies need a lot of energy and are usually good eaters. When fully grown, their appetite may decrease, which is no surprise. This depends, among other things, on how active you are with your dog. The less a dog exercises, the less energy it requires. Also, the number of treats given to the dog in the course of a day is often overlooked. They should not make up more than ten percent of its daily food ration!

If the amount of snacks exceeds this 10%, it is hardly surprising if the dog leaves half of its food in the bowl. You should always remain firm and strictly reduce the amount of snacks. A change of food should also be avoided.  

Possible cause 6: Toothache

If your adult dog suddenly stops eating, you should check its teeth. Something may be stuck in its teeth or it may have lost part of a tooth. It is also possible that its gums are inflamed. In these cases, you should always consult a vet.  

Possible cause 7: An illness

If the dog’s lack of appetite cannot be explained, the possibility of an illness must be considered. Only a vet can investigate the cause. Possible reasons can be digestive problems, infections or organ diseases.

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