Why Is My Dog Not Eating?

There are many reasons why a dog might not want to eat. One reason is that they might be sick. If your dog hasn’t eaten in 24 hours, it’s important to call your vet. Remember, you can contact Small Door vets 24/7 via the app if you have any questions or concerns.

Dental Problems

Dental problems can cause your dog to lose their appetite; when people have a toothache, dogs may not feel like eating if they have a problem with their teeth. This is why it’s important to check your dog’s mouth for anything stuck in their teeth or gums.

A dental problem in your dog includes a foul smell, loose teeth, or lots of tartar build-up. If you spot any of these, make sure to take your dog to the vet right away.

Make sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly and take them for a dental check-up at the vet at least once a year. This will help keep their teeth healthy and free of cavities.

Environmental Changes

Some dogs get upset when their environment or routine changes. When this happens, they may stop eating for a while. If your dog recently experienced a stressful event, this may be why he’s not eating.

After the initial anxiety, dogs will normally return to normal eating habits. Try some of the tips below to help encourage them to eat, and make sure to give your vet a call if they’re still not eating after a couple of days.


When dogs get a vaccination or take a new medication, they temporarily lose their appetite. This usually goes away within a day or so. If your pup isn’t on a hypoallergenic diet, you can sometimes help them by feeding them chicken and rice.


There are several reasons why a dog might not want to eat dinner. Sometimes there may be no medical or behavioral problem, and the dog might not be hungry.

It is easy to give dogs too many treats or overfeed them. Remember that the suggested amounts on food packaging typically overestimate the amount a normal dog needs.

Try keeping track of how many treats your dog gets in a day. Make sure nobody else in the house is giving them food without telling you. And always speak to your vet if you’re unsure how much food to give your dog.

Picky Eater

If your dog refuses some foods, but not all, that is a good sign. This usually means that there is nothing seriously wrong with your dog. Your dog may be a picky eater. Dogs that have been fed a lot of different foods or who are fed inconsistently are more likely to be picky eaters.

Most puppies are fussy eaters. If your new puppy doesn’t want to eat, it doesn’t mean they are sick. Puppies usually need time to adjust to their new lives, and you may need to experiment with their food.

If dogs are used to getting human-food treats, they may not want to eat their regular food. This is because they hope that something better might come along later.

If you believe your dog is simply being choosy, read on for some suggestions on how to get them back into eating.

Food Quality

If your dog suddenly stops eating food they’ve liked for years, first check to see if the food has gone bad.

Open a new pack of kibble to see if your dog will eat it. Dogs can smell mold that we can’t see. The ingredients might also have changed, so it might be worth trying a different flavor.

Owner Absence

Some dogs will not eat their food when you are away, but they will start eating as soon as you return. Dogs are pack animals and may feel more comfortable eating when you are home. If this is the case, try to make sure you feed your dog at least 10 to 15 minutes before leaving so they have time to finish eating their meal before you part ways for the day.

If you give your dog human-food treats all the time, they may not want to eat their kibble.

Tips on How to Get Your Dog to Eat Food Again

If you and your vet are certain that there is no medical problem causing your dog not to want to eat, try the tips below to tempt them.

1. Try Rotating Through Several Alternative Dog Foods

You can try different food flavors to see if your dog likes a different kind of food. You can also mix dry and wet food or switch between dry and wet food to see if that makes your dog like the food more. Make any changes gradually so you don’t upset your dog’s stomach.

2. Add a Tasty Topper or Mix to Their Food

If your dog is not eating, try giving them some human food. Good options are plain chicken, fish, low-sodium beef/chicken broth, steamed or boiled butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin. Ensure you don’t give them any ingredients harmful to dogs, like onion or garlic.

3. Warm Up the Food

Most people prefer a warm meal. You can add a little warm water, just a tablespoon, or briefly pop the food in the microwave. But make sure it’s not too hot so your pup doesn’t burn its tongue.

4. Go for a Walk Before Meals

If you want your dog to be hungry, make sure they get a lot of exercises before you feed them.

5. Feed at Consistent Times

You can divide the food into two or three meals and serve them at consistent times each day.

Do not leave food out for your dog to eat all day. If the food is not eaten in a short time, take it away so the dog knows that it is only allowed to eat during mealtimes.

You can use your dog’s kibble as a treat. But only offer meals for a short period. This will help your dog get used to eating their food.

When to Seek Help if Your Dog Isn’t Eating

If your dog doesn’t eat for a day or two but starts eating again without other problems, you don’t need to worry too much.

There are some signs to watch out for if your dog is not feeling well. These include changes in eating habits that last more than a couple of days, repeated vomiting or diarrhea, being very tired, losing weight quickly, drinking a lot of water, not going to the bathroom, or having unusual poop. If you see any of these signs, it is best to go to the veterinarian for advice.

In Order to Help a Sick Dog to Eat

When a dog is sick, much like when a person is sick, the dog may lose their appetite, a sick dog might not want to eat for this reason. There is typically not much cause for concern when one meal is skipped. If, however, your dog continues to show no interest in eating, you should probably investigate the reason why.

Why Does a Dog’s Appetite Disappear?

The most prevalent causes of appetite loss in dogs are:

  • Illness
  • Infection\sDisease
  • Recuperating after surgery
  • Mourning a passing
  • Aging\Stress

When Should You Contact Your Vet?

Suppose your dog has any of the following symptoms connected to a loss of appetite. In that situation, make an appointment with your vet for an exam and any testing:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Gagging
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog

There is a wide variety of approaches you might take in the hope of persuading your dog to consume food. Your canine companion will determine the most successful method. If the first strategy you try doesn’t produce the desired results, keep looking into other options until you find one that satisfies your and your dog’s needs.


If your dog won’t eat, the first thing you should do is give it time. A dog can go for several days without eating anything. Just make sure they are keeping themselves hydrated with water. It is not unusual for a dog to refuse to eat one of its meals once in a while. Just like people, dogs don’t always feel the need to eat. You should keep the food your dog eats out for them so they can graze on it throughout the day when they get hungry.

Give Your Dog a Treat

Suppose you notice that your dog hasn’t been feeling well. In that case, you might consider giving a special treat different from regular food. Your dog may eat something if you give it some human food like chicken or baby food because it’s so appealing. If you want to try whether or not they will consume human food, give them a minimal amount at first. If not, you may always try adding a little bit extra.

It would help if you incorporated this into the dry food that they already eat to encourage them to consume their regular diet in addition to the reward. It is important to remember that giving your dog an excessive amount of these goodies can harm their overall health.

Change Dry Food Brands

You may consider switching brands if your dog is difficult to convince to eat dry food. If you think your dog would prefer a different brand to the one you’ve been purchasing for them, consider picking up a sample pack at the local pet store. You might also try mixing in some wet food, which is likely to boost your dog’s hunger more than dry food.

Heat Your Dog’s Food

If you heat the food for your dog, it will have a more delicious flavor and taste. A sick dog’s sense of smell and preference will be somewhat diminished. The aroma of the food after it has been heated up may be more enticing to your dog, increasing the likelihood of consuming it. Your dog’s sense of taste will improve as a result of this. It will be more likely to continue eating after the initial mouthful.

Add Broth to Your Dog’s Food

Adding heated broth to your dog’s meal improves its smell and palatability and helps with digestion (as will simply heating their food). Adding broth offers more taste. Suppose your dog isn’t used to having broth and has become disenchanted with the flavor of its present food. In that case, broth may be the perfect thing to get eating again if neither of those conditions applies.

Hand-Feed Your Dog

You might try giving your dog his food by hand, cutting it into bite-sized pieces. That may aid in reassuring a dog that isn’t feeling well and will urge them to continue eating. Completing this process may take some time, but after you have fed your dog a few pieces by hand, you can ideally get them to start eating out of their dish.

Read the Instructions on Any Medication

A dog’s appetite may decrease as a side effect of some drugs. It is possible that the cause of the problem is the drug, whether it be antibiotics or another kind. Before giving your dog any food, you need to make sure that you have read all of the instructions thoroughly and then wait at least fifteen minutes. If you wait, you may be sure the medication will have reached your dog’s stomach and covered it before any food is given.

Let Your Dog Eat Grass

If your dog is refusing to eat its regular meal but persists in wanting to eat grass, you should give in and let it. Your pet might throw up after eating grass, which could signify that its digestive system is working correctly. Your dog may be eating grass because its instincts tell it to, especially if whatever is making it sick can be alleviated by vomiting. Just be sure to keep your dog well-hydrated. On the other hand, you should take your dog to the veterinarian if it has been thrown up more than twice or if it constantly consumes grass whenever it is outside. Both of these behaviors are indicators that your dog may be sick.

Take Your Dog to the Vet

If your dog is ill and won’t eat, it’s best to take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Your dog’s doctor can assist you in determining what is wrong with them and what may be done to make them feel better. In addition, your veterinarian will be able to ensure that your dog is supplied with any medications that it may require, whether to treat the sickness or to stimulate appetite.

Stimulate Your Dog’s Appetite

Suppose your dog has been stubborn about eating for an extended period or has a health issue restricting its capacity to consume food. In that case, your veterinarian may prescribe or recommend a pharmaceutical appetite stimulant. Some stimulants alleviate nausea, and others imitate the hormone that causes your dog to be hungry. To use this strategy, you and your veterinarian must determine why your dog isn’t eating. Only then will you be able to select the appropriate appetite stimulant.

Use a Syringe

It would be best if you only resorted to using a syringe to force-feed someone since this is a more extreme option. All other approaches should first be exhausted. You can try giving your dog liquids through a syringe, such as broth or wet food diluted with water if your dog hasn’t eaten for the past two days. Suppose your veterinarian has prescribed medication for your dog. In that case, you can give it food and medicine simultaneously by using a syringe. However, your dog may not like the taste of the medicine.

Before attempting this, it is strongly suggested that you see a veterinarian. Syringe feeding is a technique that must be performed accurately to prevent adverse effects on the pet’s health.

What Dietary Supplements Should I Give My Sick Dog?

Certain types of food appeal to a dog’s appetite more than others when ill. If your dog isn’t feeling well, you can try feeding them more attractive meals and easier on the stomach. This page contains a list of these foods.

Wet Food

If your dog generally consumes dry food, you should introduce wet food. Many dogs find wet food to be a delightful treat. As an added benefit, the higher water content of wet food can help keep your dog hydrated.

Baby Food

Baby food is palatable and easy to consume for dogs. Moreover, it may be nourishing. Look for meat-based infant foods that are free of onion and garlic. Chicken, lamb, and turkey are all excellent possibilities.

Bone Broth

Extremely nutritious and calming, bone broth soothes an unsettled stomach. Consult your veterinarian if your dog hasn’t been eating and has a lessened appetite.

Chicken Broth

Not only will the chicken broth taste wonderful to your dog, but it will also be easily digestible. If an upset stomach is the source of your loss of appetite, this is an excellent food to try.

Shredded Chicken

Shredded chicken is easy to digest for dogs with upset stomachs and can be a powerful inducement for your dog to eat. Dogs enjoy chicken as long as it is unseasoned (seasonings can irritate a dog’s stomach worse) and cut into small enough pieces.

Chicken and Rice

The majority of dog foods include chicken and rice ingredients. As long as no seasonings are added, and white rice is used, it is sufficiently bland to be kind on an upset stomach. Ensure that the chicken is sufficiently cooked (by boiling it) and that it is sliced into tiny enough pieces so your dog may easily consume it.


Pumpkin aids in digestion for your dog. It is abundant in fiber and includes numerous vitamins, including iron, magnesium, vitamin A, and C. Four teaspoons of unseasoned canned pumpkin should be given to your dog. Avoid feeding your dog pumpkin pie filling since the added sweets and spices could irritate his tummy further.

Which Foods Are the Healthiest for My Dog?

Dog diets are designed to provide your dog with the nutrition it needs, but certain ‘human’ foods also benefit dogs. Here are some of these healthier alternatives:

  • Eggs are an excellent source of calcium, antioxidants, protein, and numerous vitamins.
  • Omega-3s are also beneficial for joint health in dogs.
  • Mushrooms are rich in vitamins and nutrients that are also beneficial for your dog.
  • Before adding any new foods into their diet, you should contact your veterinarian.

The Importance of Water

You may be so concentrated on food consumption that you forget to drink water. However, water consumption may be more significant than food consumption. If your dog stops eating, urge to drink water to stay hydrated.

Dogs can naturally survive longer without food, but their water tolerance is far lower. A dog can survive without water for up to three days but can spend five to seven days without food. Realistically, you should not test your dog’s limitations, and you should not force your dog to drink since doing so can result in aspiration pneumonia.

You must seek medical assistance immediately if your dog has not eaten or drunk for at least 48 hours.

How to Encourage Water Intake

If your dog is not interested in water, try the following techniques to entice them to drink again:

Offer your dog a piece of ice to lick.

Provide water on your fingertips Pedialyte, if prescribed and approved by your veterinarian

  • Add ice to the water bowl for your dog.

Signs of Dehydration

Observe your dog closely for signs of dehydration. These are the most prevalent signs of dehydration you should be familiar with:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry and sticky gums
  • Dry nose
  • Dry-looking eyes

Observe your dog closely for signs of dehydration. These are the most prevalent signs of dehydration you should be familiar with:

What Not to Feed a Dog

Rich foods should not be given to a sick dog. Occasionally, dogs can become ill from eating too many rich foods. If you frequently reward and feed your dog human food, you should reduce the number of goodies you offer them.

Your dog may potentially be experiencing symptoms owing to anything they ate. If your dog is already sick, make sure they haven’t had any of the following:

Don’t Feed Your Dog:

  • Xylitol – It can cause a drop in blood sugar and liver failure
  • Avocado – Avocado seeds can cause an obstruction, and the avocado itself can cause illness
  • Grapes or Raisins – It can cause kidney failure
  • Caffeine – It can be fatal
  • Onions or Garlic – It can cause anemia or poisoning
  • Alcohol – It can cause vomiting, breathing problems, and potentially death
  • Milk or Other Dairy – It can cause diarrhea and digestive problems
  • Human Medication – It can cause illness and potentially death
  • Chocolate – It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially death
  • Sugar – Sugary foods can cause weight gain and diabetes
  • Macadamia Nuts – It can cause muscle shakes, vomiting, and other symptoms
  • Raw Eggs – There’s a risk of salmonella or E.coli
  • Raw Fish or Meat – There’s a risk of parasites
  • Uncooked Yeast Dough – It can rise in your dog’s stomach or cause alcohol poisoning
  • Fat Trimmings – They can cause pancreatitis in dogs
  • Spices, Baking Powder, or Baking Soda – They can be toxic to dogs
  • Bones – They can cause choking or can splinter and cut your dog’s digestive system
  • Fruits with Seeds or Pits – Seeds and pits can cause digestive problems for dogs or maybe poisonous
  • Salt – Too much salt can dehydrate a dog

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why your dog might stop eating. This is usually not a big deal, but if your dog does not eat for more than a couple of days or has any other concerning symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions About What to Feed a Dog That Won’t Eat

What Is the Best Thing to Feed a Dog That Won’t Eat?

You can try giving your dog some human food to see if it helps them poop. Some good options are plain chicken, fish, or low-sodium beef/chicken broth. You can also try steamed or boiled butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin. Ensure you don’t give them any ingredients harmful to dogs, like onion or garlic.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food Before Dying?

Most healthy dogs can last up to five days without food. This is only if they are still drinking water. Some dogs can last up to seven days, but you should never let them go that long without taking them to the vet.

Will a Dog Starve Itself?

Dogs will never purposely starve themselves to death. They may refuse to eat, but this is because of their ancestral survival instincts. It is important to note that dogs do not get hungry like people.

Is Scrambled Egg Good for Sick Dogs?

If your dog is sick and has diarrhea or vomiting, scrambled eggs can help. Start by giving them a small number of eggs every few hours. If they keep the eggs down, slowly increase the amount. Add a little cottage cheese or boiled rice as the dog gets better.

Is Scrambled Egg Good for Dogs?

It is a good idea to cook eggs before giving them to your dog. You can boil or cook them in a pan without adding oil, butter, salt, spices, or other additives. It doesn’t matter how your dog likes their eggs — sunny side up, scrambled, or hard-boiled — as long as they are cooked.

How Do I Force My Sick Dog to Eat?

Adding a small amount of canned fish to your pet’s food is usually ok. But avoid giving too much, as salt and other preservatives can be harmful. A small amount to entice a sick pet to eat is usually ok.

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