8 Reasons Your Dog Has No Appetite

From illness and overfeeding, to behavioural problems or a new routine, there are lots of reasons your dog might stop eating. Most of the time, they’re back to wolfing down their food within a couple of days – but we know it can be a bit worrying if your pup suddenly stops eating, so we’ve put together some of the reasons they might be refusing their dinner, so you know how to get them back to their usual self.

What are the reasons they’re not eating?

The weather

Just like us humans, dogs will often eat less in the summer – we simply don’t want big meals when we’re all hot and bothered.

dog in hot weather

A new routine

Dogs love routine! If you’ve disrupted your dog’s normal routine, this might have left them feeling a bit upside down and off their food. A new baby, a new pet or a sudden change in climate (like working from home or extended school holidays) can throw your usual routine out the window.

A change in surroundings

Travelling to a new place or moving house can cause some dogs to feel anxious or uncomfortable, so they might lose their appetite whilst they adjust to their new environment.

dog moving house

Overfeeding

Feeding portions that are too big or lots of treats and snacks throughout the day might mean your dog just isn’t hungry! Try to make sure your dog has a set amount of food each day so when you get to the next mealtime, they’re excited to eat.

Food preferences

Some dogs simply prefer the taste of certain foods – but they’re also very clever and they know how to get what they want! If you’ve switched foods recently, it’s worth sticking it out for a few days to rule out fussy behaviour.

Tails.com dry food

Medication

Not feeling hungry can be a side effect of lots of different medications. If your dog has just started on some new medicine, or has just had their annual vaccinations, they might be feeling a dip in appetite.

Mental or emotional issues

Believe it or not, dogs can suffer from changes in emotions just as much as humans can. Stress, anxiety and depression can all affect your dog’s appetite. Stress and anxiety might be caused by humans, animals, environment or objects, whilst depression is often linked to boredom, separation anxiety or the loss of a fellow dog or their owner. If you think your dog might be suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, we’d recommend having a chat with your vet to get them back on track.

dog mental issues
dog mental issues

Illness

Lots of illnesses can put your dog off their dinner, but it’s usually something very common like an upset tummy or something they ate (probably during those 5 minutes they disappeared when out for walkies!). It might also be a sign of something a bit more serious like dental disease, pain or kidney problems, but it’s definitely best to check with your vet if you suspect something else is going on.

So… what to do if your dog stops eating?

The best way to get their appetite back is to try and figure out the cause of the problem first! Give your dog a bit of a check up – examine their behaviour, teeth and body for any obvious signs that they might not be feeling okay.

If there’s nothing obvious, but the behaviour is quite sudden and lasts for more than a couple of days, it’s a good time to give your vet a call. They can help you to work out if it’s something you can treat at home, or if you need to take your dog in for a check up.

Can’t find anything wrong or your pup is in perfect health? Here’s a few tips to get them eating again:

  • Cut back on treats and snacks.
  • Try smaller portions at mealtimes.
  • Make dinnertime fun with snuffle mats, puzzle toys and trick training!
  • Stick to a routine with set mealtimes (if you can) – usually twice a day for healthy adult dogs. ?
  • Work up a bit of an appetite by taking your dog out for a walk about an hour before dinner (try not to feed immediately after the walk to avoid bloating!).
  • Add some wet food or low-salt gravy to jazz up their kibble.
  • Tough love! If the food isn’t eaten within 20-30 minutes, take it away and try again at their next mealtime. It’s worth bearing in mind for young puppies you might need to feed the next meal a little sooner, but don’t worry – your dog won’t starve themselves!
  • Change up your dog’s feeding area so they can focus on their dinner in peace! Keep other animals and children away so there are no distractions.

Sometimes, it can be as simple as the food itself and the portions you’re feeding, but at tails.com we’ll take those worries away with a tailor-made recipe for your dog, filled with the delicious flavours they love! You can even change the recipe whenever you like if you’ve got a bit of a fusspot on your hands. We’ll also include our snazzy adjustable scoop, so you know you’re feeding the right amount, every time. Sign up for 50% off your first box today! 

16 comments

  1. I just wanted to say my poppy has been suffering from terrible dry skin and tablets off the vet for years . After putting her on your food her skin is much much better and her skin is a normal pink again . Am so happy am so glad this food is the one for her . Thankyou so much and thanks for the speedy delivery after just ordering yesterday it came today . Keep up the good work i thank you so much

  2. Hi jack still has a itch he has not got flees , he has hay fever and is on 1/2 Puritan . I give him sardines in oil. Twice a week -and the special blend of food from you , he does not have any other food unless it’s boiled chicken snd plsin rice , den tail sticks , any think else I can do to make him stop scratching

    1. Hi Maxine,

      Poor Jack! We can definitely take a look at what we can do to ease his itching. Can you send us an email to hello@tails.com so we can help out?

      Look forward to hearing from you.
      Jack from tails.com

    1. Hi Dan,

      We’d always recommend that your pup’s food is kept sealed to keep it as fresh as possible. You may choose to decant the food into a storage container, just be sure to keep the lid on in between meals to keep the food as fresh and tasty as when it first arrived.

      Thanks, Karri

  3. Coco my 8 yrs chocolate lab has suddenly decided she doesn’t want her dinner. She will happily eat other food, treats and bonios for example and doesn’t seem unwell, but when I put her food down she just looks at it like I’m trying to poison her. If I add dog gravy or a little cheese she might be tempted, and when it’s sardines added on Sunday she wolfs it down no problem. I tried her with just the wet food and she ate that too. I’m worried she’s just bored of the kibble; what do you suggest? Are there any other flavours?
    Bella Page

  4. Hi I have a 8 year old staffy only had her 4 months ago was OK eating her food but passed few days has lost her appetite I tried rice and chicken dry food but nothing she is drinking and still going to toilet both ways it’s driving me mad.

  5. Hi my staffie is 12 years old wont eat got the poohs been to the vets as he wasnt breathing propperly she gave him an injection hes breath smells really bad he will only eat of our hands now last week he was so full of beans now nothing but looking sad

  6. The cases I read involved a mix of mutts as well as several hunting or working dogs. Overall, most of the dogs were medium to large, with a beagle being the smallest breed to engage in scavenging in these reports. However, larger, more powerful dogs can do more damage, so those cases might be more likely to rise to the level of note.

  7. Hello,
    Your article is very important. We know this is big trouble for our pets. I face this problem. We need sensitive care for food for the dog. Your information helps me.
    Thank you for post this article.

  8. I like that you explain that if you try some of these methods and your pet still isn’t eating that you should look into consulting a vet to see if there is another problem. My husband and I just got a new puppy and he doesn’t want to eat at all. I think we should find a vet and ask for his advice on what we should do.

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