Every now and then, our dogs like their human counterparts go on strike when it comes to eating their regular food. For whatever reason no amount of coaxing will get them to eat food that they loved a day or two ago.
Are they being fussy or is something wrong? Personally, I favor the thinking something is wrong attitude, and if by the second mealtime the reaction is the same, it is off to the vet we go.
Granted dogs can behave like we humans and just not feel like eating at one time or another, but to refuse two meals in a row for a dog that normally loves its food creates room for concern.
What are some of the things that can cause a loss of appetite?
The first thought that comes to mind is have you changed brands? If you are trying a new food or are adding a supplement to the current brand that may easily be the problem. Your dog does not like the new food or the supplement.
If you are using the same brand and have just opened a new bag, there is a remote possibility that something could be wrong with food! It might be moldy or spoiled, just because it looks okay does not mean it is okay. Remember our scary episode with spoiled dog and cat food a while ago? Most grocery stores will be glad to take back a bag of pet food if you are concerned about it.
The next thing to be concerned about is teeth and mouth problems! It is possible that your dog could have a toothache, a sore gum, or something wrong with one of its teeth. A sore mouth will cause a dog not to eat.
Is your dog suffering from diarrhea, panting, vomiting, or anything else out of the ordinary? Dogs are great at hiding symptoms of illnesses. If you are noticing any of these things, may I suggest a quick trip to the vet?
Have there been any changes in the household? New coming and goings can cause a disruption in the normal routine of the household and put a dog’s appetite on hold. Animals do not really enjoy change. They really go for the simple and constant life.
Is your dog losing weight? If not, check with the other members of the household and see if anyone is feeding the dog on the sly with extra people food or treats. A new and different source of food can cause a change in a dog’s appetite.
If your dog has an ear infection (which is usually related to food allergies or environmental allergies) this too, can be a cause for a lack of appetite.
Is your dog on any medication either prescribed or over the counter types, these could be making him/her feel nauseous or queasy? Remember medications have side effects that can cause many kinds of problems.
The important thing to remember is that any unusual change in your dog’s behavior is truly an important sign that something is wrong and should be attended to by your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Female dogs in heat tend to lose their appetite, as do males when a female is nearby. The important thing here to remember is that if your female stops‘ eating after the heat cycle has passed be certain to take her to the vet as she may have what is called pyometra.
Pyometra is pus in the uterine cavity that often develops after a heat cycle and is life threatening to your dog. Signs of this problem are loss of energy, no appetite and increased thirst. It is highly recommended that you have your pet spayed in order to prevent this problem.
As dogs get older, like people, their appetite changes, what they liked one day may not be what they prefer today. If you have had your dog checked out medically and your vet cannot find a reason for the loss of interest in food, you may just have to improvise and create a new interest.
Sounds like a lot of work, yes it might be, but if your senior dog has suddenly become a bit picky consider it a small price to pay for all the years of love and loyalty he/she has given you.
Your vet can prescribe some appetite stimulating drugs and you can go the extra mile and think up some new ways offer pet food and/or people food in small amounts at a time. Some dogs when they are going through this stage do not like to eat the same thing two times in a row. So take time to discipline yourself into thinking about your dog’s menu just as you would your own. Almost any foods can be offered except chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts.
Baby foods are a good choice, as are foods from your plate, fresh veggies, smelly food like liverwurst, chicken or beef liver sautéed in butter or gravies or sauces mixed in with the dry food.
Whatever you do, do not give up this might just be a phase or it may not be, whatever the end result is, your dog deserves your care, you wouldn’t desert your best friend, would you?