My Dog Isn’t Eating


As the proud parent of a lovable fur baby, the fact that your dog isn’t eating can be very distressing. Before you panic, take a step back and consider the possible reasons why your dog has lost her appetite. Once you pinpoint the most likely reason, you can pursue a treatment plan.

Initial Considerations

Perhaps you’re concerned because your new pooch refuses to eat as much as the guidelines printed on the food packaging. Remember, since these are just averages, many healthy dogs eat much less than the package suggests. 

If your dog normally eats well and suddenly experiences an extreme loss of appetite, it’s important to respond promptly to this new behavior. The best course of action is to take your dog to the vet for an exam.

Reasons Why Your Dog Isn’t Eating

Many of the same reasons humans lose their appetite can affect canines as well. Consider some of these reasons and what to do about them:


Often, refusal to eat food stems from an underlying illness. Look for other symptoms that may indicate your dog is unwell. While you shouldn’t jump to conclusions, you should still take your dog to the vet to rule out serious conditions that can lead to loss of appetite, including cancer, liver problems, kidney failure and systemic infection.

You and your vet should discuss how to address loss of appetite caused by illness. You may need to feed your dog a prescription diet while the underlying disease is treated. This diet may not be particularly tasty, but if your dog refuses to eat the new food, don’t let her starve. Instead, discuss alternatives with your vet, including appetite-stimulating medicine, syringe feeding or a feeding tube.

Recent Vaccination

Animal vaccinations have saved millions of pets’ lives in the past 100 years since they became available. Unfortunately, it’s possible for vaccines to come with negative side effects. Most of the time, side effects are mild and temporary, and may include loss of appetite.

Once illness is ruled out, continue to keep a close eye on your dog. Her appetite should return soon if she’s merely experiencing a side effect from a recent vaccination.


Traveling, moving to a new place and introducing a new pet to the household are examples of stressful situations that can affect your dog’s appetite.

Try to make mealtimes less stressful for your dog to encourage her to eat. Hand feed her until she feels more comfortable or move her food dish away from the new pet’s feeding area to reduce stress.


Perhaps your dog has developed a taste for human food and now refuses to settle for dry pet food. Maybe she doesn’t like her bowl or the feeding location you’ve chosen for her.

Be sure to rule out other possibilities before you assume your dog is just picky. Once you determine she’s not ill, you can help your picky dog eat better with these tips:

  • Cut back on treats.
  • Try a different brand of dog food.
  • Feed your dog on a regular schedule with at least two meals per day.
  • Walk your dog right before mealtime.
  • Try a different bowl or move her food dish to a different place.

Schedule a Visit to Germantown Vet Clinic

For help ruling out appetite-suppressing illnesses, or for more useful tips to get your dog to eat better, bring your pet to Germantown Vet Clinic. Our experienced team can offer the diet and nutrition advice you need to help your dog live a long, happy life.

Contact us online or call (240) 252-7467 today to schedule your appointment.

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