It can be worrisome if your dog is not eating or drinking. One thing to keep in mind is that dogs undergo biological reactions and metabolic activities as they eat and drink.

Sometimes, irritations can get in the way which could make them lose their appetite, hence slowing down their consumption of food and water.

However, a dog that’s not feeding or drinking well stands the risk of dehydration and sickness. Hence, the consumption of food and water must be properly monitored.

Why is my dog not eating?

You shouldn’t consider it normal if your dog keeps turning down its meal bowl. If you have observed this, you need to get your dog checked. Several factors could be the reasons behind this.

The medical condition of a dog not eating is referred to as anorexia. Anorexia is a condition in dogs that could be diagnosed when a dog does not eat properly.

This condition, however, occurs in two forms. Perhaps the dog is sick or has complications, hence, finds it hard to chew or swallow. For a dog that eats well, this is likely to be a worrisome situation.

Endurance levels of dogs towards food and water

Dogs require water daily, but if your dog refuses to drink because of illness, there’s a length it can go without water safely.

A dog can go 6-10 hours without water in typical settings without experiencing itches at all. Should you forget to refill his water bowl before leaving for work, or if your dog knocks it over while you’re gone? It shouldn’t be a cause for alarm.

He’ll be fine if he’s indoors and in good health; just make sure he has water as soon as you arrive home. Do not deprive your dog of water on purpose. Dogs can last 72 hours without water, but the effects of dehydration show after the first 24 hours.

You may create irreversible damage if you go further than that. Dogs can go five to seven days without food, but barely three to five days without water. They could stay healthy without food for 5-7 days with access to water.

Common causes for loss of appetite in your dog

Loss of appetite could be because of many factors, including:

A change of environment

Ensure you pay attention to your dog’s behavior. If your dog has been active till you moved or travelled, it might have developed a motion sickness or be uncomfortable in the new environment. While some easily switch to the new tone, other dogs might take a while to adjust.

Dental problems

The cause of a dog’s loss of appetite can be a broken tooth, infected or swollen gum. However, it is important to identify the dog’s oral health to prevent it from deteriorating.

Bowel obstructions

If your dog is vomiting repeatedly and whining, having abdominal pain, weakness, diarrhea, inability to hold any water down, bloating, and to cap it up, loss of appetite, your dog is probably having a bowel obstruction.

This is caused when a dog has swallowed objects like toys and rocks that cannot pass through the intestines and becomes trapped.

Illness, infections, and diseases

If your dog is not eating, watch out for other symptoms that occur alongside.

In dogs, a loss of appetite is a sign of illness, especially if other symptoms can be seen at the same time.

Although a loss of appetite in dogs does not always signify a serious illness, it is important to seek veterinary help immediately as this could show more serious sicknesses, such as cancer, systemic infections, discomfort, kidney failure, or liver difficulties.

Mourning a death

Dogs are emotional animals. When they lose their companions — another dog or human, they grieve too. Dogs also change their behavior when they are sad: they can become irritable and gloomy and sometimes lose their appetite and stop playing. They might also reduce their movements and sleep more.

Reactions to medications

Dogs are usually vaccinated against a variety of dangerous and contagious dog diseases they could be prone to. Of course, these injections have saved the lives of millions of dogs over the last century. You must also note that they occasionally produce side effects. Many of them are mild and transient, such as a dog’s momentary loss of appetite.

What to do with your dog’s loss of appetite

When a dog has lost its appetite for food, there are certain ways to trick your dog to regain its lost appetite.

Clean and wet its nose

This is to ensure that the sense of smell is perfect and the dog can easily gravitate towards the meal. When a dog’s nose is wet, it easily captures odor and smells better. That’s the more reason a dog would lick its nose when it is interested in something. Allergens like sinusitis and influenza can cause a dog to lose its sense of smell and should be treated as urgent.

Serve strong smelling food

Dogs’ sense of smell influences what they perceive as tasty. To them, it is likely for something to taste good if it smells good. That’s why they could leave their kibble untouched and wag their tails over your dinner.

Try different brands

Your dog could be selective or picky and might not like the meal anymore. You can try out different brands to test the acceptability of the meals before concluding.

If you used to serve dry food, try wet food

Wet foods are exciting treats, and they stimulate appetite in dogs. This also doubles as a hydrant for the dog’s body.

Ensure the food is warm

Heating your dog’s meal makes it more palatable and increases its smell. Sick dogs have their senses of smell and taste impaired, but warming food makes it smell more aromatic, which may persuade your dog to consume it. This will also improve your dog’s flavor, encouraging him to eat more after the first bite.


When dogs are hand-fed, they would feel encouraged and comforted. These dogs respond to care and they eventually hop on the meal bowl to eat the remaining meal by themselves.

What to feed a sick dog that will not eat

When a dog has not eaten for a while, you need to be very careful about what you feed the dog afterwards. It is advised you consult a vet to know the dog’s health condition before proceeding to feed. This is to ensure that you feed the appropriate meal. Should the vet tell you to trick your dog into eating, either of the meals listed below is the one you want to try first.

Appetite Stimulant

The vet could recommend stimulants based on the diagnosis conducted to help the dog that requires appetite support to feed well and maintain a healthy weight.

Meat-based Baby food

Dogs enjoy baby food because it is easy to eat and appetizing. It’s also possible that it’s healthy. Look for meat-based infant foods that are free of onion and garlic. Good choices are chicken, lamb, or turkey. Unseasoned Chicken cut into small pieces and white rice.

Chicken broth

Not only will your dog like the chicken broth, but it will also sit comfortably in his stomach. If you’re experiencing a loss of appetite because of an upset stomach, this is a good food to try.

Bone broth

Most dog diets have chicken and rice as ingredients. If you don’t season it and use white rice, it’s bland enough to soothe an upset stomach. Make sure the chicken is fully cooked (by boiling it) and that the pieces are small enough for your dog to devour.

Shredded chicken serves as an incentive

Shredded chicken is easy to consume for dogs with upset stomachs and can be a powerful motivator to get your dog to eat. Chicken is a favorite of dogs, and as long as it’s unseasoned (seasonings might aggravate a dog’s stomach) and cut into small enough pieces, it’s an excellent option.


Pumpkin is beneficial to your dog’s digestive system. It is high in fiber and has a variety of vitamins such as iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and others. Feed your dog four tablespoons of canned pumpkin that is not seasoned. Don’t feed your dog with pumpkin pie filling since the sugars and seasonings content may upset his stomach.


Water should also be encouraged but not forced. You may be so concentrated on food consumption that you neglect to drink enough water. However, water consumption is arguably more significant than food consumption. Meanwhile, if your dog refuses to eat, you should encourage them to drink water to keep them hydrated.

Dogs can survive longer without meals than humans, but their tolerance for not drinking water is significantly lower.

A dog can only endure three days without drinking water but can go five to seven days or more without eating. Realistically, you don’t want to push your dog’s boundaries, but forcing him to drink can lead to aspiration pneumonia.

You must note that whatever you feed must not contain harmful substances like onions and garlic.

How to rehydrate a dog that won’t drink

Dogs can go a long period without food than without water. When your dog goes 24 hours without drinking water, it shows symptoms of dehydration. This is because it loses water that is not replenished in its system.

A dehydrated dog appears pale. Its nose and mouth get dry and it could also pant mildly. However, there are tricks you could use to rehydrate a dog that won’t drink.

Try out various bowls

Just as humans have preferences for various foods, so do pets. Aside from bowls, use a plate or saucer to serve water. Bowls come in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and plastic. Variety keeps things fresh for the pet, so it doesn’t feel stuck in a rut. If your pet has a favorite, start using it often.

You may also experiment with different water bowl sizes to see which ones your pets like. Maybe they like the material, but it’s either too tiny or too big for them.

Feeding wet food to your dog is a good idea

Some pets have trouble drinking enough water, but this is something you can work around. Because dry food only contains about 10% moisture, try adding water to your pet’s food. Although canned food is preferable, pets still require extra water. Water can be mixed into their food.

There’s no need to be concerned because water can be added to pet food, whether it’s kibbled, canned, cooked, or raw.

Canine rehabilitation professionals would recommend soaking the kibble in water and then chilling it to absorb the moisture. Your pets will be better hydrated if you use this strategy. If you have trouble keeping your dog hydrated, wet food is a better option.

Water can be spiced up

Pets make a fuss over their drinking water. Water doesn’t always taste good for them, and they don’t enjoy certain flavors. To encourage pets to drink more, you can brew flavored water. The flavor of distilled, filtered, bottled, and tap water differs. Allow your dog to try each one to see which one they like.

Have water bowls in every corner

Setting multiple water bowls in several places will encourage your pet to drink more. This means they won’t have to move too far to get a drink. Canine rehabilitation professionals advise owners to supply fresh water regularly and to clean the bowls daily as well.

Also, monitor the water bowls to make sure they’re clean, especially if they’re left outside. This is because leaves, dust, or particles could have gotten into the water. Seeing dirty water will make your dog reluctant to drink, so keep everything clean. By scattering water bowls around the house, the pet will become more accustomed to the fact that water is readily available.

When you should your dog

When dogs turn down meals consecutively, it is usually the result of an underlying factor and that’s why it should not be ignored. As soon as you notice your dog has refused its food, consider calling on the vet even if you have noticed no effects.

When should I worry about my dog not eating

If your dog used to eat well, this can cause a little worry. However, you need to reach out to the vet to run check-ups on your dog if it has not eaten after two days. Professional veterinary care can keep your dog’s condition from worsening.

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