Raleigh, NC Dog Owners: Why Is Your Dog Not Eating?
It can be pretty worrisome for dog owners when they have a dog that won’t eat, and they usually want to find out the root cause of this behavior in their dog so that they can get it resolved. This will leave many dog owners asking themselves: why is my dog not eating?
Although a dog that won’t eat can be a sign that they are sick or have a medical condition, this isn’t necessarily always the case. Sometimes dogs won’t eat because they are anxious or stressed out, and other times they just might not be hungry or not like the food that you are offering to them.
In this article we will be giving you all of the reasons why a dog might not be eating. In addition to this, we will be explaining when you should see a vet about this issue as well. Let’s get right into it!
Your Dog is Stressed or Anxious
Not eating is a very common sign of stress and anxiety in dogs, especially if this stress or anxiety is chronic. This means that dogs experiencing stressful or anxiety inducing situations are more likely to have problems with eating than dogs who do not. Some other common signs of stress and anxiety in dogs include:
- Obsessive behaviors like excessive pacing, licking, or scratching
- Excessive panting
- An increase in vocalizations (can include barking, whining, whimpering, yelping, howling, etc.)
- Frequently hiding or attempting to escape
- Exhibiting fearful body posture (i.e.: tucked tail, ears back, wide eyes, crouching low to the ground, etc.)
- Sleeping less often than usual
The only thing that you can do to get your dog to eat when they are stressed or anxious is to reduce their stress or anxiety. You may be able to do this easily by removing the stressful or anxiety inducing stimuli, but sometimes it is not that easy.
You can help to reduce your dog’s stress and anxiety in these kinds of situations by seeking the help of your vet and a qualified dog trainer. Your dog may need some special training and some anti anxiety medication to help them cope in extreme situations.
Your Dog is on a New Medication
Some medications can cause a dog to eat less than usual. If your dog is suddenly not eating and they are on a new medication, then this could be the cause. If this is happening to your dog as a result of taking some new meds then you should call your veterinarian. They may be able to get your dog on a different medication that suits them better, or they could give you some pointers on how to get your dog to eat if the situation is only temporary.
Your Dog is Feeling Sick
Both illnesses and medical conditions can cause a dog to eat less than usual or even stop eating all together. This is likely the cause of your dog’s poor appetite if they are also showing some other signs or symptoms of being sick or being affected by a medical condition. Although this can sometimes be a sign of something serious, this is not always the case. However if you are unsure, you should still call your vet for advice. A professional can tell you for sure if you should take them in or just wait to see if the illness passes.
Your Dog is in Pain
Pain can also cause a dog to stop eating. This includes both pain within the mouth or throat and pain in other areas. Your pup’s eating habits should return back to normal after the pain subsides, but you may need to alter their diet to encourage them to eat regularly again.
It is important to note that you should see a veterinarian if your dog is not eating because of pain.
Your Dog Just Isn’t Hungry
To some it may seem obvious, but oftentimes dogs won’t eat simply because they are not hungry. Although this will not be the case for every dog, some dogs will not eat their dinner if they have just had too many treats. As a result, if your dog is not eating but otherwise seems to be just fine, then this may very well be the cause. This is especially true if you know that your dog has just had some treats recently. This does not usually require that you take your dog to the vet for this, especially if they are eating normally again the next day.
Your Dog Just Doesn’t Like the Food
Sometimes, dogs won’t eat simply because you do not like the food that you have left out for them as well. This is usually the case if you have recently bought a new dog food brand or if you bought a different flavor than your dog is used to. However, this can happen even if your usual dog food has just changed their formula. Usually this does not require veterinary attention, especially if your dog starts eating normally again after you have given your dog a food that they like better.
When to See a Vet
We have already briefly mentioned when you should take your dog to the vet for not eating and when you can probably wait the situation out. However, it can sometimes be helpful to have a list of times when you should take your dog to the vet if they are not eating. You should definitely take your dog to the vet for not eating if:
- They have extreme stress or anxiety that isn’t easily resolved
- They are showing symptoms of illness in addition to not eating
- Your dog is showing signs of being in pain
- They are on a new medication
- They have gone for more than one day without eating anything
Of course, it never hurts to call your vet if you are worried about your pet not eating, especially if they are exhibiting any of the above occurrences. The vet should have a good idea about the severity of your dog’s eating problem, and they will be able to tell you if the problem is minor or if it requires veterinary attention.
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About Bowman Animal Hospital & Cat Clinic
Established in 1986 by Dr. Gale Bowman, Bowman Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic is dedicated solely to the health and well-being of our pet community. We are a team of compassionate veterinarians and pet lovers who invest our time and resources into providing the very best medical care to your pet.