Doctor C – My dog is not eating
Every dog owner knows that look.
It is common for dogs to develop a distaste for certain foods, just like humans do. So, feeding your dog the brand they like or preparing food the way they like is what pet parents do. However, if your dog is consistently not eating, it can be serious.
Q&A with Doctor C
Dog anorexia. When is it serious?
If anorexia (loss of appetite) is accompanied by a listless habitus and a loss of interest in playing as usual, then your dog is not feeling well. If your dog is vomiting and has diarrhoea at the same time, you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
If your dog does not want to eat, after how many days should you seek veterinary help?
Anorexia in a dog (also the term for a dog that is not eating) that persists for more than 24 hours indicates that your dog needs veterinary help. The smaller the size and the younger the dog is, the greater the urgency to get to a vet.
What are the common medical reasons for dogs not eating?
• Pain, including pain at any area of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT)
• Rotten tooth
• Inflammation in the masticatory muscles
• Swollen glands that makes swallowing painful
• Stomach ache
• Inflammation in any part of the GIT
• Fever associated with many different diseases
• Emotional stresses, such as missing an owner or a dog friend
• Poorly palatable food
Your vet is trained to determine the cause of your dog not eating. If you suspect a serious health issue or are concerned for any reason, make a trip to your vet as soon as possible.
What is the best way to introduce a new brand of food to a dog?
Ideally, new food should always be gradually introduced over the period of a week. It is advised to start a new bag of food when you still have 25% of the previous food left.
Mix the new food with the previous food in the following ratios:
Day 1 & 2: 25%:75%
Day 3 & 4: 50%:50%
Day 5 & 6: 75%:25%
Day 7: 100% of the new food
Should you stop neighbours from feeding your dog snacks during the day?
Yes. Just like with humans, snacking isn’t always a good thing. Plus, even ‘good’ snacks like biltong or droëwors can upset a dogs tummy. Also, we don’t want our dogs (or other pets) taking snacks from strangers. It’s the easiest way to poison them. Dogs should learn to only take food from their human parents.
Non-medical reasons why your dog is not eating.
If your dog is not eating their usual meal, try to cut back on feeding your dog treats. Oftentimes, dogs will skip a meal because they are already full.
In summer, some dogs feel just as miserable in the heat as humans do. Don’t be alarmed if your dog won’t eat at their usual time. On very hot days, try to feed your dog later in the evening when the temperature has cooled, or one meal in the morning and one meal in the evening.
A change in the dogs environment. If you have moved to a new home or your dog is tagging along to a party over feeding time, he might not want to eat. Once your dog is back home or finds a new eating spot comfortable, he will eat. If you have moved, keep your dog’s old food bowls for a while; they are familiar and will make him feel comfortable.