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Pet Eating Problems: Why isn't My Dog Eating?

Our veterinarians at Mahopac explain some of the common reasons why dogs lose their appetite and what you can do about it.

Have You Noticed That Your Dog Won't Eat?

Dogs may experience a loss of appetite, which can be referred to as either inappetence or anorexia. Unlike in humans, anorexia in dogs does not necessarily indicate a severe medical condition. Dog anorexia can be partial, where a dog only eats certain types of food but not enough to maintain good health, or complete, where the dog refuses all food. Pseudo-anorexia is another condition where a dog wants to eat but is unable to do so due to an underlying medical issue.

Dogs may stop eating due to environmental or behavioral stressors or, more seriously, an underlying medical condition that requires immediate attention, including surgery. In this text, we will discuss common causes of appetite loss in dogs and provide information on how to address them effectively.

Behavioral & Environmental Factors

There could be several reasons why your dog has lost its appetite. Some minor causes may include environmental or behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, which may cause your dog to refrain from eating only when left alone. Irregular feeding schedules or sleeping habits can also be contributing factors. 

If your dog has suddenly stopped eating, it could be due to environmental changes. For example, introducing a new pet to the household, drastic changes in weather, or other stressors may cause your dog to lose its appetite. These changes can cause your dog to feel uncomfortable and out of their usual routine, leading to a lack of interest in food.

Medical Conditions Affecting Appetite

Medical conditions that can cause a loss of appetite in dogs can range from minor issues that may resolve on their own to severe conditions that require immediate attention. Even if you believe your dog's loss of appetite is due to a behavioral or environmental cause or a minor medical condition, it's important not to take risks and seek veterinary care. Some medical conditions that can cause your dog's loss of appetite include:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Allergies
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Poisoning
  • Oral hygiene issues
  • Parasites
  • Tumors
  • Autoimmune/neurological diseases
  • Organ troubles
  • Recent vaccination

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please get in touch with a veterinarian.

What You Can Do To Help Your Dog

If you suspect that your dog has a medical condition, it is essential to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. This will give your pet the best chance of a speedy recovery.

However, if a medical condition does not cause your dog's lack of appetite, here are some general tips that could help get their eating habits back on track:

  • Be sure that your dog is getting the necessary amount of attention and exercise that they deserve
  • Be patient and supportive with your dog, and do not force-feed them
  • Try to avoid feeding your pet table scraps
  • Keep them on a consistent routine that is easy for you to maintain
  • Cut back on the number of treats you give your dog
  • Mix up the food you give your dog (switch from dry to wet food or vice versa, add dressing or sauce to dry food, etc.)

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are concerned about your dog's eating habits, please contact our Mahopac vets today to book an examination for your canine companion.

New Patients Welcome

Mahopac Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Mahopac companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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