It can often be difficult to determine the reason your dog is refusing to eat, however there are many possibilities that pet owners can explore. When determining if there has been a change in your dogs eating habits, pet owners should always look for changes in their individual dogs eating habits rather than looking to national guidelines for the recommended calorie intake. Each dog’s appetite is different and depends on many factors, such as their breed, age or how active they are. Any changes to your dog’s typical appetite should be observed. Their refusal to eat may be in relation to a particular food, which may suggest a dislike for a certain ingredients or products. Often modifying the diet to see if your dog responds to other food types can confirm this.
Sometimes changes to medications or the introduction of new medications can temporarily reduce your dog’s appetite, monitoring their condition to see if this continues is important. Side effects associated with medications, such as loss of appetite ease with time or when treatment stops. Similarly, adverse reactions to recent vaccinations may include reduced appetite, which should return after a short period of time. Stress and changes to the environment, such as being boarded in kennels, moving house or the introduction of new pets to your home, may temporarily reduce your dog’s appetite. Again this should resume once your pet becomes relaxed and familiar with their surroundings.
Alternatively, refusal to eat may be a sign of an underlying health condition. Even then, it is important to monitor your dog during this time to see if their reduced appetite is temporary. If after a few days your dog continues to refuse eating, it is important to arrange a veterinarian visit to have your dog checked out. Tooth problems and pain should also be considered, as these may also cause your dog to refuse eating. Female dogs may also lose their appetite during their heat cycle. Another cause for refusal to eat may be due to your dog being overfed during the day, particularly if they are being fed table scraps or too many treats. They may also be eating food they have found outside such as left over garbage.
Refusal to eat may not always be serious in fact in some case your dog may simply not be hungry and may have eaten enough at his last meal. Alternatively during hot weather your dog may not feel like eating as much or may not require as much food as during the winter months when they require more calories to help maintain their body temperature.
To help improve your dog’s appetite you may consider exercising them before mealtimes, dogs are more likely to be hungry after a good work out. You may consider rewarding your dog for eating by following this with a treat or their favorite toy. Experiment with different food types, products or even the type of dog bowls used. Consider the environment that they eat in, some dogs may prefer to eat in private away from noisy areas and minimizing stress during mealtimes. If after making these changes, or if refusal to eat continues for more than a few days, you should always consult with your veterinarian to rule out any serious health conditions.