In general, dogs will eat the food that is put in front of them, In some cases, they will continue to eat until they vomit (and then eat the vomit). This is because dogs are instinctually wired to eat when food is available as their ancestors never knew when the next meal would be available.
However, this isn’t always the case. Dogs can be fussy eaters and they can suddenly stop eating a type of dog food that they previously preferred. The reasons why our canine friends may not want to eat anymore vary greatly and can be for mild to serious reasons.
Consider the following causes for dogs not eating in order of priority:
1. Health And Wellbeing
One of the first signs that your dog is unwell is a loss of appetite. There are many diseases and illnesses that affect dogs that can result in them not wanting to eat. In some cases, the symptoms of the illness can be difficult to detect. It is highly recommended to give your vet a call or schedule a consultation when your dogs stop eating their food.
A dog that is in pain is also less likely to eat, especially if the pain is in the mouth. So check his teeth and gums. If your pets have been exposed to toxins, this may also be a reason they are no longer eating. Your vet can check for both dental health problems and toxic exposure.
Dogs that are distressed, anxious or depressed may also lose their appetite. If your dog shows signs of changes in behavior in combination with a lack of appetite, they may be stressed. Look for any environmental or other factors that could be negatively impacting their mental or emotional wellbeing. If you can’t figure it out, call in an animal behaviorist for help.
Older dogs, just like humans, will show a decrease in appetite as they age. This may be due to poor dental health or other health issues that plague older dogs. Changing their dog food to one that is more suitable for elderly dogs may resolve the problem. Soft food is also an option. If this does not resolve the problem, the issue could be more serious and a visit to the vet is recommended.
3. Type Of Food
Dogs are canines and therefore carnivorous. Their diet should therefore primarily contain protein (meat). However, most commercially produced dog foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates from food sources like maize or rice. These ingredients are added as a cheap means to bulk up the food but are not exactly good for your dog.
Your dog may stop eating his food because it is not meeting his nutritional requirements. It is also important to pay attention to your dog’s nutritional needs as they change over time. A puppy has different requirements to and adult dog to and elderly dog. Pay attention to the size of the chunks and flavor of the food. Just like humans, dog’s have preferences when it comes to the type of food that they eat.
Your dog may simply have become bored with the same old dog food. So try a new flavor or brand and see if this stimulates his appetite.
4. Old Food
Your dog is not going to be interested in food that has been standing in his bowl or your pantry for an extended period of time. This food has probably gone stale which means that it lacks in flavor and crunch that they may be accustomed to. Store food in airtight containers and check expiry or best before dates before purchasing the food. Also feed your dog as much as he needs in one sitting rather than letting food remain in the bowl.
5. Fussy Eaters
Some dogs are simply fussy when it comes to the type of food they will or will not eat. Never feed your dog human food as this will contribute to their fussiness and it isn’t healthy. You should also go slow on the treats. If you are feeding your dog treats throughout the day, they aren’t going to want to eat their food. Try out different types of food and add doggy approved gravies or other ingredients to get your dog to eat.
If your dog continues to avoid eating no matter what you try, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.