Why Is My Dog Not Eating?
It can be a very common issue however your dog not eating can cause concern. There are many reasons as to why your dog may not be eating many of which, with a slight change can be easily solved.
Before you get worried about your dog not eating ask yourself a few questions.
Has your dog lost weight or energy?
If your dog hasn’t been eating for a long period of time or has always gone off of their food every now and then is maintaining a healthy weight, the chances are there’s nothing to worry about. The same applies to energy levels. If your dog has the same energy levels as usual then there’s probably not too much to worry about.
However, if the weight hasn’t changed and the energy levels are as normal you may still need to look at your feeding to check all is ok.
Is your dog hungry?
The most common reason dogs don’t eat is simply that they’re not hungry. Most of us have heard about the obesity issue in dogs. It’s so easy to overfeed a dog without knowing it. The feeding guide on your dog food is based on an average dog and it’s only ever a guideline. Every dog is different just the same as every person is different. It’s not uncommon for a dog to be perfectly happy, healthy and content being fed 60% of what a guideline would suggest. If you’re concerned about your dog being overfed and they’re a healthy weight, slightly reduce the amount you feed and see if this helps.
Too many treats?
As with the overfeeding, too many treats can cause an issue. Most treats are very high in calories. As with people; treats will often be loved by a dog more than their actual food, so it’s very easy to overdo it. This is especially the case when training a dog. I’ve known cases where dogs have been getting over half or even all of their recommended calorie intake from treats. It’s also worth bearing in mind other members of the household. Very often there’ll be a member of the family who likes to treat the dog more than another, or two people are treating the dog without even knowing the other person is too.
Is your dog bored?
There’s a lot of controversy about whether a dog gets bored with their food or not. If you’re worried your dog is just bored with the current food then trying a different flavour, protein source or type of food may be another way to switch it up a bit and help.
Does your dog’s food cause an upset stomach?
As with people, dogs don’t get on with every food. There may be something in the food you’re feeding that causes intestinal distress. No one would want to eat anything that upsets their stomach and it’s the same with dogs. To tell if your dog is upset by their food there are two main things to look out for. Are your dog’s stools firm and not runny? Does the food contain any fillers such as grains or white potato? If neither of these are true it’s worth noting that dogs can be upset by so many things and it may be worth changing the flavour or food to rule out any issues.
By no means are we experts in dog behaviour. But behavioural issues can lead to dogs not eating. If you suspect behaviour is playing a part, it may be worth having a chat with a dog trainer/behaviourist.
Sickness and illness
As with us, if the dog is unwell it can affect their eating habits. How many of us eat as well when we’re ill? If you’re concerned that your dog is unwell the first port of call is to speak to a vet. When it comes to eating there can be underlying issues which can cause a dog not to eat and it’s always best to get these checked out by a vet.
What to do now?
If you think you may be overfeeding. The simplest thing to do is slightly reduce the amount of food your dog gets. If you've tried this and are still worried we're here to help we’re more than happy to talk this over with you and can give you some guidance. We know it can be a worry if your dog stops eating and we’re always here to help.