Some dogs barely stop eating, but others sometimes lose interest in their food. If your dog has stopped eating, follow this helpful advice.
If your dog has stopped eating it can be a very worrying and distressing time. However, there is often no need to worry. Most dogs are able to go for a few days without eating without any negative effects. However, addressing the problem rapidly is always advisable.
Why Won’t My Pet Eat?
There are different reasons why humans stop eating, and there are just as many reasons why dogs refuse to eat. These could include:
· Illnesses – if your dog has a decreased appetite, he may be unwell. This is especially likely if your dog has other symptoms. Refusing to eat doesn’t necessarily mean your pet has a serious disease, but seeking advice from your vet is always wise.
· Dental problems – some dogs don’t want to eat when they are experiencing pain in their mouth from gingivitis, or loose or broken teeth.
· Vaccinations – although vaccinations are vital to keep your pet safe from contagious and serious canine diseases, they sometimes have an adverse effect. Luckily, most of these side-effects are brief and short-lasting and a lack of appetite is one of those effects.
· Unfamiliar surroundings – some pets avoid eating when they are travelling or in unfamiliar surroundings. Feeling uncomfortable or nervous in a new place can deter your pet from food while others may suffer from motion sickness that stops them from eating for a while.
· Behaviour problems and pickiness – there are some dogs, like humans, who are picky. Others won’t eat when they feel uncomfortable in a certain situation. Perhaps they don’t want to eat when they’re around another dog, or perhaps the bowl isn’t at the right height for them. Others prefer to eat certain foods and try to hold out until they’re given the treat they enjoy most.
Dealing With A Picky Dog
Dogs are intelligent and are able to manipulate their owners pretty well. They understand that, when they refuse to eat, their owner will often offer them something else that they may like better. When you’re trying to switch your pet to a raw diet you may find that your dog suddenly starts refusing his meals. This is sometimes because he is hoping you’ll go back to feeding him his old diet. Rest assured, if your pet is drinking water, going to the bathroom regularly and is bright and lively, you don’t need to pander to him.
Top Tips For Picky Eaters
Don’t encourage your pet to eat. Rather, ignore him, leave the room, or focus your attention elsewhere. Avoid making eye contact. Instead, put the food down, allow him around 15 minutes to eat it, and then take it away and put it in the fridge ready for the next mealtime. Whatever you do, don’t give your pet a snack or alternative meal. Yes, you’ll sometimes need to throw food away, but keep offering the meals you want your pet to eat, replacing with fresh food if your pet continues to refuse to eat over several days.
You may want to try presenting the food in different ways. For example, putting the food into a puzzle toy could help. Often, dogs like working for their food and they appreciate the mental stimulation that these toys bring.
Remember, dogs can be just as stubborn as humans, but as long as your pet isn’t suffering and isn’t unwell, he won’t starve himself. If you’re concerned, take your dog to the vet, otherwise keep persevering!