When your pet stops eating, determining the cause is the first step in resolving the issue. This is a guide about dog won't eat.
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My chihuahua who I have had for almost 3 years recently stopped eating. I have her on the B.A.R.F. diet (for those of you who don't know it's Bones And Real Food, basically home cooking for your dog) - She has been on this diet her entire life and the only change has been a new addition to our family; a little chihuahua boy. She started wanting to eat his food (kibble) and I worried since it wasn't something she was used to. Out of desperation to get her to eat, I let her have some. Now I'm stuck with her not wanting kibble or her normal diet. I worry because with her being such a small dog, her blood sugar can get very low very quickly. - I know she doesn't have some sort of blockage, cause she definitely can eat her treats (which I have also stopped giving in hopes of her wanting to eat her food) - I've owned dogs all my life and am still confused on what is wrong with her. Can anyone help?
Lish from Scottsdale, AZ
Ask your vet for help.
By Sandra (Guest Post)06/22/2007
A jar of baby food, preferable chicken or beef usually gets them going enough to start eating again. The trick is to smash some on the roof of their mouth and then put just a spoonful on a plate in front of them. If they gobble it all up, wait a few minutes until they are really begging for more. Then when you get them started eating it regularly, start mixing it with their reg food. until you don't have to use it anymore. In the meantime you can purchase Energel from the vet to put in their mouth to help with blood sugar and to stimulate their eating. Often what happens is they don't eat, blood sugar starts to drop, then they really don't want to eat cuz they don't feel good, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
By Jill (Guest Post)01/05/2007
This happened recently with one of our rescue dogs. He is very tiny and we were so worried that if he continued to refuse to eat, his blood sugar would drop like you said, and he can't afford to have that happen or to lose any more weight, either.
Since we feed dry food, I decided to try a bit of low sodium, low fat canned chicken broth drizzled over his food. Eureka! He loved it and has been happily eating his food ever since with no more refusal.
He only gets 1/4 C of food at each of his two feedings, and all it takes is about 2 tablespoons of broth. Whenever I need to open a new can, I pour the broth into a squeeze bottle and keep it in the fridge, then squeeze out just a bit over the dry food in each feeding dish at mealtime. So simple!
We discovered this little trick also keeps our other rescue dog from choking on her food from eating too fast. Now we have two very happy little dogs, and it's not an expensive fix at all.
I hope your little one perks up soon!
I have a 1 year old miniature Jack Russel. She has already had her 1st season. (all fine). For a little while now my dog has gone off her food. She is still very active, still drinking, no loose poos, she might have a little every now and then, but not much.
As soon as she see the kids eating, she wants what they have or what we are eating. It is probably my own fault, for giving her some treats of our food. But it has gotten to the point where she refuses to eat her food because she wants our food! Can someone please help on what to do.
By Michelle from UK
I feed my dog "human food". Dogs were wild animals and ate meat, like we do. I make her a stew from meat (beef or chicken), potatoes and peas. I simmer it for a few hours until it is nice and tender, because she is 16 years old and likes soft foods. It smells delicious and has none of the preservatives store bought food has. The vet gave me some vitamins to give her, as she needs calcium, etc. and she is very healthy and very old! If you give your dog "human food", just make sure it isn't junk food like processed meats (wieners, sandwich meats, sausages, etc.) which we shouldn't be eating anyway!
Do not give your dog human food, only their dog food that is how I get Jack to eat his dog food and I also have Border Collie.
What can I feed my small dog he only weights 12 pounds? I have tried everything on the market and he will only eat a few bites. All he wants is people food and that's not good for him. I have even made homemade gravy to pour over his food. Should I try canned cat food or dry? That I haven't done yet. I'm going crazy over this dog I call Beanie. Please can you help?
By Gloria from Cedar City
Sometimes, warming up the food helps. What food are you feeding? I am no expert. I do not know if puppy is eating kibble or not, but if she is, you can add warm water to kibble. It should bring up aroma and she may want to eat it more.
Or is it possible that you are putting the food out all day long? If so, you can feed it only when it is meal time.
Cat food has too much protein for dogs, try Blue Buffalo, its natural and none of the garbage the other companies add in for fillers. If your dog still won't eat, put a little water in his bowl with the food and warm it for a few seconds and mix it up. The heat will bring out the aromas of the food.
This happened to me. I have a 2 yr old Chihuahua.I use to share my meals with her."Don't do it". You have to be "mean".Stop feeding your dog human food. Stop! Offer your dog dry dog food and water. You have to be strong! Keep talking to the dog. Say "Eat your food, cant have my food anymore". My dog went 5 days without eating. I just knew she was going to die of starvation. But on the 6th day she started eating her food. She still begs for my food, but I say "NO" you have your own food. She gets her treats also. Once in a while, i will give her a raw carrot, the baby ones. She is happy now. Its hard, but you have to be tough for you dogs sake.
The first thing you need to do is have Beanie checked by his vet. Make sure there's not a medical or dental reason for his not eating dog food. Assuming he gets a clean bill of health, then you need to get stubborn yourself.
You need to be persistent and more stubborn than Beanie is. He won't starve himself to death. Many dogs are extremely stubborn, but their will to live is stronger.
Start out by adding a handfull of dry food to the people food you feed him now. Don't give him anymore till he's cleaned his dish. This is where your persistencce comes in. Even if it takes him 2-3 days to finish it, YOU BE MORE STUBBORN THAN HE IS. Make sure he always has plenty of water tho.
After about a week, lessen the people food and put 2 handfuls of dog food in.
In another week, lessen the people food again and put 3 handfuls of dog food in. Continue to do this till he's eating all dog food. Don't worry if he goes on a stubborn streak and refuses to eat again. Just remember that his will to live is stronger than his stubborn streak. He will eventually learn that you can't be conned into spoiling him with the people food.
Lorelei was right in that some people foods are good for dogs. But they are not intended to be the dog's entire diet. Like cat food, it's called people food for a reason. Dog foods have the specific nutrients that dogs need in their diets. Feeding a dog nothing but people food will cause his system to not work properly over time. Also with a dog as stubborn about his diet as Beanie is, you're better off not giving him any people food at all because it will negate everything your've done to get him swtiched over to dog food. If you want to feel like you are giving him special people food treats, there are many online sites which have recipes for homemade doggy treats that you can make for him. Just google "homemade doggy treats" and you'll get lots of sites listed.
So gradually switch Beanie over to dog food, and you be more stuborn than he is. In the end his system will thank you, even if Beanie doesn't!
I have a 12 yr. old German Shepherd mix male dog. I went to the vet and everything, he checked out fine. We took him in because he drinks a lot of water and all of a sudden he stopped eating his dog food.
We mix it with wet for 12 yr. and add water. We even switched food. He doesn't get much table scraps to live on and he gets one Greenie a day. He just won't eat. I've hand fed him.
I'm at a loss as to what to do next? Any help besides he'll eat when he's hungry? I'm use to him eating once a day. He use to eat twice. I know his metabolism is low. But what else can I do for him?
By _Snug212_ from Hag., MD
I would get a second opinion. I wish I had done that with my dog that passed on. One vet said he was fine and she died the next morning.
My dog won't eat. What can I do?
Jack from Brooklyn, New York
Get him or her to the vet.
My dog hasn't eaten for 10 days today. She is a Dachshund and is 4 years old. We have taken her to two vets and they have done all the tests possible, xrays, you name it. Right now she is dying so if someone can please give us some advice. We have tried all dog and human foods even junk food such as Mcdonald's and KFC. Please help.
By Donovan from Middelburg, South Africa
You need to see a different vet. Go to a specialty hospital in your area. Force feeding could lead to him getting sicker! Good luck
Try putting a lot of fish flavored cat food on your fingers and sticking it to the roof of her mouth. Do this every few hours. My son had a dog with Parvo and it got well after I did this.
When my dog Maggie was very, very ill ( the vet had almost given up hope after giving her IVs) and wouldn't eat, I gave her Nutrical. it's a paste that comes in a tube like toothpaste and is very high in calories. It's given to hunting dogs. Maggie started eating a bit at a time off my fingertips and eventually got better. She went on to live another 5 yrs.
Kato and I will be thinking of you and your dear dog.
Grandma Jan & Kato
You will have to force feed the dog - easiest is to get a syringe take off the needle part suck up the liquid milk formula and from the side of the mouth gently keep releasing the milk by pushing the syringe. Also I give my dachshund lemon grass -the very tender shoots from the center of the plant - they don't eat the leaves on the outside - also yogurt -force fed is very good. Good luck with your little doggy - I do feel for you!
By Sandra from Wilson, AR
Agree with so many other posters here in that you have to realize that though they're not humans--believe that they grieve. When you've suffered a loss, your appetite suffers, too.
I'd cease the hand-feeding, though, because the repetition of it is going to reinforce a bad habit that you really don't want to continue long-term. Cuddle him and love him, but put down his regular portions and leave them there only fifteen minutes and take them away. If you feed twice a day, set the food down at the next feeding for the same time period.
If he wants nothing to do with it the first day, he won't languish and die and chances are that by day two he'll be looking forward to mealtime. This isn't cruel--it's also a method used when trying to regulate the house-training of young puppies to introduce some sort of schedule and sense of normalcy. Your pup's world has been abruptly changed, and often they revert to puppy-like behavior.
Give him (and yourself) time to grieve; his missing a couple of meals is really quite normal and the situation will usually get better on its own if you try to preserve the routine that was in place while the other dog was alive.
This may sound a little morbid, but: if the other dog passed away in the house, that could be presenting you with another issue. Just as there are service dogs who pick up on chemical changes in their owners' bodies and can detect seizures coming on--death (and impending death) presents a scent that dogs often pick up on, trained to or not.
If the bedding, feeder/water and toys of the dog that passed away are still present, the bedding should be discarded and the rest thoroughly washed and either stowed away for memory's sake or be otherwise removed and apart from your surviving dog while he adjusts to life without his pal.
Would also run it by your vet to rule out any health problems in your surviving dog--just in case.
One thing that will help you understand is to ask yourself, when you are hurting emotionally due to a loss or whatever, are you hungry? If you're like most of us, the answer is a profound NO. The same goes for your dog. He's hurting from the loss. Plus he doesn't understand why his best friend isn't there anymore. You can't explain to a dog that the other dog has gone to heaven. So he's confused too.
Be patient and give him time. In his own time he'll come around. Plus right now is NOT the time to get another dog or companion for him. If you lost your child, would you be in a hurry to get pregnant again to replace him/her? Of course not. Don't expect your dog to want a replacement either. Once he's been through his grieving, then and only then would be a time to consider another dog. Just because he's got 4 legs instead of two and barks instead of talking, doesn't mean he feels any less intensely than we do. For that matter most dogs feel even more intensely than most people do.
I had a dog that did that too. She grieved intensely for her lost son (she was 12 and the son was 6 and died from a respiratory problem). Here's what I did (I had started feeding her by hand just like you are doing):
1. I stopped feeding her by hand all together. Instead I put a small dish in the spot where she spent most of her time. In her case it was the bed she had shared with her son. Only put a little bit of food in at a time--she was a Welsh Corgi so I only put about 1/4 cup in at a time. Any animal's survival instinct will kick in before they starve, so don't worry about that. I checked it every couple of hours though and as soon as it got eaten, I'd give her another 1/4 cup.
2. Another thing I did was I took a small amount of beef and boiled it up good. I didn't use processed or canned broth as it has too much salt in it. But by boiling it myself I knew it was good. I kept this water in the fridge and added 1 Tbs to her water every day. This also helped to get her hunger activated.
3. Once she started eating better, I slowly moved it back to her normal feeding place. I only moved it a few feet at a time though, because whenever I tried to move it more she'd refuse to come and get it.
4. All through this time, I gave her all the loving I could possibly give. You have to realize the dog is grieving just as you would if you lost a close family member. They need your love and support. And patience. It may take a while but he will come around. And the two of you will be closer for the experience.
5. Oh, also through this time I also gave her a doggy multi-vitamin daily too just to make sure she was getting the vitamins she needed while she wasn't eating enough.
My 7 year old Schnauzer has started going under the bed and will not come out, even for food. Does anyone have any ideas? I dragged him out, gave him a kiss and a hug, and he went right back under the bed. Could it be the heat or hormones or what?
By Jrtjingles from Pensacola, FL
I'm gonna say pain, bring the dog to the vet as soon as you can. When my mini Schnauzer had a very painful surgery a few years ago, she did this not long after I had gotten her home. I called my vet and he said that that is the way they behave when they are in pain (he had given her pain meds before she left the office but it must have worn off). I ushered her back to the vet and he gave her another shot of meds. After this, I kept her on a strict pain med schedule for the first few days so the pain would not return and she never hid again.
If this is not normal for your dog, don't assume it's hearing loss, or needing alone time or anything else. Go to a vet.
Why won't my dog eat dog food? She is a miniature America Eskimo, good dog but she is not eating any of her wet or dry dog food. I did change both and nothing! She went all of yesterday and this morning without eating. We have stopped giving her treats and if we feed her any of our food it goes into her bowl and it is mixed in. But sure enough she finds just what we put in and neglects her own food. PLEASE HELP!
Lauren from New York
By jan (Guest Post)02/06/2009
Please help. My mini American Eskimo has stopped eating. She will eat her treat at times. She's drinking water, and going out, we had her to the vet all test are normal. The vet did find she has left side heart failure, she is on medicine for this. She has to be hungry, she turns her nose up to anything I fix her to eat. She is my baby and she's 13. Please help I just lost a 15 year old black lab, so worried.
We rescued this girl 6 months ago. She wouldn't eat the dog food the shelter had so I tried 6 others. She eats a bowl when she first gets it, but after that she'll go a week without eating. She's been checked by a vet. When she came home she had ring worm and hook worm, which is fixed. I don't know if there's something wrong. I tried mixing it with egg, gravy, so much stuff. She just won' eat. Please help! I love this dog sooooo much.
By Anna from MA
How old is the dog and have you had her teeth checked to make sure she doesn't have any broken or cracked teeth that make it hard to eat.
When ever I get a new rescue dog, for the first week, I actually hand feed it canned food and gradully add dry food. Some dog foods are better and though I prefer Lamb and Rice for my dogs, even mine snub it but know it's all they're going to get.
I had one rescue that I probably spent $150 before I found something she liked. She finally liked Kibbles and Bits but if you don't close the bag super tight, the food quickly dries out.
There were a couple of dogs who refused to eat any sort of dog food because they were use to eating out of trash cans and had to be taught to eat out of a bowl. With super fussy dogs I keep brown rice mixed with chicken in small containers in my freezer and even the fussiest of the rescues would eat it.
She looks like she may have some boxer in her and if her bite is off it may hurt her to eat and also check her teeth and make sure she doesn't have any dry kibble stuck between her them.
Can my Shih Tuz eat homemade food? I have a problem with my puppy not eating his food. He will wait until we are not looking and then go and eat the cat food all the time. Can you please help me with what kind of food to feed him?
By Mary from Pittsburgh, PA
Start mixing in some cat food into the dog's dish with his dog food, see if that changes things. Maybe the dog is telling you something else, and that is that he prefers the cat meal to his own.
I have tried so many different brands, I have added water and warmed it up, added food that we are eating to it and she will pick through the food and spit out the dog food. I am going crazy with her; she will only eat people's food. She will go days with out eating if we don't give her people's food. Please any ideas?
I feed my 2 Bichon/Poodle crosses with people food. I also have my Veterinarians approval to do this. Ever since they were 8 weeks old, we have fed them; diced cooked chicken and we mix in cooked carrots (the carrots are mashed and I use about a teaspoon at each meal).
I also give them about 2 tablespoons of Wellness or any other brand of canned food with each meal. Please buy a premium canned dog food, you will see a difference in your dog. Dogs cannot eat just chicken and carrots, they need the nutrients in the canned food. As a treat I make their treats from a recipe we have at our hospital.
I am a retired Veterinary Practice Manager. Please do not feed your fur baby from the table or give her any bones. My whole family feeds their dogs this way. Our Welsh Corgi lived to be 16 years old on this diet. You can go online and find recipes for homemade dinners & treats. My dogs will eat a cooked carrot or zucchini for a snack and we also put cooked sweet potato in with their chicken. They love it. Good luck
My 3 yr old Lab was pulling away from her regular dog food the last few weeks and now will not eat it at all. I took her to the vet, who did comprehensive lab work and everything is okay. I had her teeth checked too. She will readily eat human food, even dog biscuits and today I gave her some cheap dry dog food and she ate it. I want to get her back on her good food, any suggestions?
I had this problem a few months ago with my four-year old female Pitbull Terrier. She was still eating, but only about a quarter of what she should have been! We tried a few things that worked:
Mixing plain, organic yogurt with the kibbles - you can gradually decrease the amount (applesauce works too!)
You can buy dehydrated liver pieces at pet stores (they come in a shake bottle). A few shakes of these and they'll be in love with their food!
A drizzle of olive oil over the food may help, too.
Worst case, try boiling up some plain chicken breasts and white rice. This will serve as a suitable mix-in to the food until the pup gets back on track.
(in the end, we ended up switching our girl to raw. She LOVES to eat now... although it's a bit more expensive and time consuming, I feel the end result was worth it).
My dog stop eating yesterday. I don't know why.
Hi George, Sometimes Pets like people don't feel right and lose their appetite. If he or she is drinking water that is a good thing:) If not and after 2 days she should really be seen by a vet, good luck, Jacie
Does anyone know how to get a Pekingese to go to her food plate and eat dog food? We have an adorable one, but she does not like to eat. No, letting her go hungry does not do it. I am quite positive she would starve if allowed to.
She will eat summer sausage and Steak'Um sandwiches. She also loves cream cheese muffins, etc. She is now 4 years old. How does one get a spoiled dog like this to eat her dog food? I would like to keep her healthy.
By Janet C
Tough love is what is called for here. Completely stop all people food. Choose a brand of dog food, and feed only that. Put the bowl down for 15 minutes twice a day. If the dog does not eat within 15 minutes, the bowl goes up, and nothing to eat until the next meal.
The next meal time, bowl goes down for 15 minutes. If the dog doesn't eat, then nothing till morning. Trust me, a healthy dog will not starve himself to death. He'll eventually eat the dog food, and learn to like it. Treat your spoiled dog like you would a stubborn child. Good luck!
My 17 yr old dog has totally quit eating her food. I tried to ignore it as usually a dog will go back to eating once hungry enough. She lost 10 plus pounds and I have given her cat food and baby food and she gobbles up both. She will not eat chicken broth either I tried that. At 17 and being so skinny is cat food really that bad for her? I have been mixing rice in with the food to keep her from getting the runs.
Bless you for trying to keep your old dog happy and healthy. I dont see any problem with feeding her cat food or baby food. One thing to consider is whether she has a dental problem. This can cause dogs to stop eating food that may hurt a bad tooth. It might be a good idea to have that checked out. Best of luck to you both.
I have a crossed-bred Pomeranian and Japanese Spitz. It's already three months old. Before it used to eat dog food, but when my boyfriend fed my dog Tinola, a Filipino dish (chicken soup) it started not to eat dog food. It only likes to eat rice with soup and some meat. What can I do?
By Angel G.
By Gloria Z08/22/2012
Dogs have a keen sense of smell and I think he knows what bad things are in it. Check out "4 D meat" in your search engine you'll want to throw up. You can't tell me that corporate America isn't putting it in the dog food. I'm a strong advocate for feeding dogs real food like cooked chicken,meat loaf, etc.
My family has done this and our dogs lived a longer time longer than the average age for their breed. Switch the dog over to people food gradually so his system adapts to it. If he gets watery stools make sure you aren't feeding him watery food.
It comes out the same consistency as it goes in. If he continues to have watery stools then just given him cooked rice and cooked hamburger but make sure the hamburger isn't greasy. Don't listen to those people who say it's wrong to do. There could be a reason they say it, and that is they probably have a dog club and get nice donations from the dog food industry.
Whenever I feed my dog, a Chocolate Lab, he is trying to bury his bowl. He pushes it with his head around the floor. I had a small rug under his bowl and he tried to pull it up and bury his bowl with it. Most of the time he won't eat either. I have tried all kinds of dog food. I have to coax him to eat. I usually end up mixing it with some of our food to get him to eat, but I don't like doing that. Anyone else had this problem and any suggestions? I have tried everything, I even changed his feeding bowl.
By Deb F.
By Gloria Z06/21/2012
It's the quality of the dog food that is repulsive to him. Search the web for 4D meat you will be horrified with what you find. It's meat that comes from: Diseased (cancer), Drugged, Down & Dead animals carcass's.
With corporate greed running rampart you can't really trust what they list on the dry & moist dog food containers. As an example: 20 yrs ago a "Top High Quality (expensive) dog food was caught putting old rubber tires in the dog food! The dogs coats started to dull and flake so one owner had the food analyzed and that's what they found. That was then - what do you think the industry is doing now?
I've had my dogs go into convulsions from a brand. Another brand made them sick with some type of bad bacteria.. Another brand made it impossible to switch from their product without making my dogs sick (It was also a "Highly" recommended brand.
Also read the ingredients and if it has corn in it you don't want it! Very bad for dogs the only reason they eat it is the sugar that they put in it. Don't-buy it if it has colorful pictures of fish, meat veggies & corn on the bag the dog would be better off eating the bag not the contents.
After spending a lot of money at the Vets I decided to cook for my dog and skip the bagged crap. Chicken is cheap, rice and veggies are always on sale. My dogs never got sick again and they always ate everything in their bowl. My suggestion is search the web for making dog food yourself the dog will probably live several years longer - mine did.
My dog won't eat dog food. What should I do?
I agree have you talked him to the vet? Is it the same food you have feed him in the pass? Is there any reason that you can think of to course him don't to eat? Is he just old because if he is then maybe you need to soak the biscuits with warm powered milk so he can eat it.
Good luck and hope everything is ok with your dog.
Why wouldn't a dog eat their food?
By Martin from Houston,TX
Good advice from nonniebeth. You will need to give your Vet some information so he/she knows where to start. Has the dog found food elsewhere? (he isnt hungry) Have you recently changed food? (he doesnt like it) Has something changed in his day that may be causing anxiety? (he is too nervous to eat) Have you seen changes in behavior that might be a clue? (crying, sleeping a lot, limping, vomiting, fever, hiding, unwilling to move around) If it is none of these things it is likely an internal problem that only your Vet will be able to diagnose. Be sure and see your Vet within 24 hours if he continues to ignore his food. Good luck.
I have a 6 month old Rott/Huskey mix. All she gets is dry food, never human or canned food. Occasionally she gets a raw diet. I have tried foods from Blue Buffalo down to Eukanuba and she eats it for three weeks, then she will just sniff at it then walk away. I do not want to give her foods with many by products or brands such as Iams, Puppy Chow, Old Roy, etc. It was hard for me to even get Eukanuba.
She's done this since we got her 3 months ago. When she's around other dogs she eats just fine. I don't know what to do and I want to stop wasting so much food. Please help!
By Sarah A
I have had dogs for over 40 years; Great Danes and Aussies. Some times they will go off their food depending on the weather, and some times they are just not hungry. When it is hot they eat a lot less. Some dogs will stop eating because they have learn that you will change the food and get some thing different. Don't do it! You will end up with a picky eater. As long as the dog isn't losing weight and isn't sick it will go back to eating, just give it time and make sure you get a good dog food.
Also if you are giving a lot of treats stop. Why eat dog food when you can get treats. Most dog wont go to long with out eating. When I work as a dog groomer that was the biggest complain people had was their dogs wouldn't eat. I have never had a problem with any of my dogs not eating. I hope this helps.