My dog doesn’t eat! This is probably one of the phrases that veterinarians hear most often. Accustomed to the greed and insistence with which dogs request food, owners frequently fall into a panic when they see their pet snub the contents of the bowl. It is never easy to understand why a dog has a lack of appetite. Let’s see what to do if the dog does not eat, without panicking and without even underestimating the reasons.
What to do when the dog is not eating
When the dog does not eat there can be various reasons behind it, not always serious: often a dog that tastes completely different tastes to those it is used to may have a sort of rejection compared to what it was used to previously. Sometimes it can also be a simple desire to change tastes, especially if you have not changed your diet for a long time.
In the case of a genuine prolonged lack of appetite, there may be more serious reasons, since anorexia is one of the most common symptoms of dog illness. The first remedy to be taken is to give fixed time for the meal, or the eave bowl available to the dog for 15-20 minutes, and if he does not eat and take it off only at the next meal.
If the dog has not eaten for about two days, we can try to stimulate his appetite by varying the diet, perhaps moistening the croquettes by mixing them in a spoonful of a can (without exaggerating, because the digestion times are different). Sometimes even discomfort to the teeth or nose can affect a dog’s appetite. If your dog hasn’t eaten for a week or more, then you definitely need to call a vet.
The dog does not eat and vomits
If the lack of appetite is accompanied by vomiting, paradoxically it could be a less serious situation than you think: the dog may have ingested something, such as garbage, feces, spoiled or toxic food that may have caused gastrointestinal inflammation. Usually, such situations resolve themselves in 24-48 hours. Insisting on a dry diet can facilitate the recovery of the animal in this case.
If the situation continues, the animal must be taken to the vet, since this state can also be caused by parasites (if whitish worms are found in the vomit or feces, the dog must be immediately taken to the vet), infectious diseases (even serious ones such as canine parvo or distemper) or from a foreign body that it cannot expel.
Sometimes, in dogs with weaker immune systems, veterinary treatments such as vaccinations or pesticides can also cause this reaction in dogs, but it generally resolves within 24 hours.
The dog does not eat and drinks a lot
When anorexia is accompanied by polydipsia (i.e. drinking much more than usual) in dogs, the cause could lie in the food, which could be too salty causing it to drink too much water and thus not have more space for food in the stomach. If it is a prolonged condition, however, it could be a symptom of something more serious, such as liver diseases such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, or a tumor. Often liver dysfunction leading to anorexia and polydipsia can be side effects of some medications.
The dog does not eat or drink
When the dog does not drink water in addition to refusing food, the problem can be more serious. If other symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea occur, the dog can experience rapid dehydration, which can be very dangerous in the case of puppies or older or sick dogs. A dog that does not eat or drink can have diseases of the digestive system, but also of the kidneys or heart. It is very important that the animal is rehydrated, so hospitalization may be required to allow for subcutaneous or intravenous rehydration.
The dog is convalescing and does not eat
A dog recovering from veterinary treatment following an illness may have a loss of appetite and not want to eat. Especially after having been forced to fast for a few days, a dog may have difficulty resuming eating as it did before the illness. You can take some precautions to ensure that the dog resumes eating regularly, such as using specific foods for convalescent animals, appetizing and with a pasty or even liquid consistency, asking for advice from the veterinarian.
Lightly heating the food stimulates their smell and consequently their appetite, but you must always be careful that they do not eat while it is too hot. Sometimes you can help the dog to eat dry food by soaking the kibble in the water a little so that they become softer and easier to digest. Especially after particularly debilitating treatments, it can help to offer food to the dog directly from the hand.