Why is my dog not eating?

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There can be a wide range of reasons your dog isn’t eating, ranging from harmless to potentially fatal. So, if your dog shows signs of going off their food, it’s time to investigate. 


What should I look for when my dog isn’t eating?

Sometimes a dog won’t eat simply because they’re not hungry. Check how much food and the number of treats your dog is getting and be sure to ask all family members. 

Observe your dog to see if they’re showing any other symptoms of ill health such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, or an increased thirst. If your dog isn’t eating and is showing these signs, book an urgent veterinary check-up.

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Check toys regularly for signs of wear and tear to ensure the'y safe for your dog to play with.

What causes dogs to stop eating?

There can be a range of health reasons that might cause a dog to stop eating. Whether due to a disease or illness of the gastrointestinal system, or a disease not related to the gut. Because every dog and condition are different, it’s very important to take your dog for a veterinary check-up if you have any concerns. The veterinary team may suggest further tests such as blood and urine tests or an X-ray.


What items around my home should I look out for?

Be mindful of items around your home that your curious dog might eat. Corn cobs are a classic example, many vets have a story about a dog that raided the bin and then developed a gut obstruction 

Make sure any toys you give your dog are safe and size appropriate. Unsafe and broken toys can be ingested and lead to an obstruction in a dog’s gut, which can be life threatening, so ensure you’re checking toys regularly for signs of wear and tear to so they’re safe for your dog to play with.


Is my dog’s food fresh?

There are times when a dog might not eat their food because it has spoiled or gone stale. It’s important to read any instructions on pet food packaging for how to store the product safely before and after opening. 

Always store unopened dry and wet food in a cool, dry location. Dry food that’s been opened should be stored in its original packaging inside an airtight container and used within six weeks of opening. Wet food that’s been opened should be sealed, put in the fridge and used within two to three days of opening. 

Keep an eye out for how long food that’s been served to your dog is left out, especially if the weather is warm. It’s better to discard uneaten portions and feed them something fresh for their next meal.


Is my dog fussy or doesn’t like the food I’m serving?

There can be times when we inadvertently train our dogs to display fussy behaviour. This can happen when we teach them that we’ll offer them something else, if they hold out. 

Sometimes your dog simply may not like the food you’ve offered. In this case, try different flavours and textures to see what your dog thinks of them. Some dogs also don’t enjoy food straight from the fridge. It’s best to let food warm slightly to take the chill off before serving.

Remember, when your dog has stopped eating it’s always good to observe them for any other symptoms. If you have any concerns, take your dog to the vet for a check-up

Month2 - Dog not Eating Infographic

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Meet our expert
Dr Fiona Patterson, Veterinary Advisor
Making the decision to become a veterinarian at just 10 years old, Dr Fiona Patterson has always had an inherent desire to improve the lives of animals.