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Why did my dog stop eating?

A dog that stops eating all of a sudden is any dog parent’s nightmare. When you witness your pup devouring every morsel of food, it’s hard to understand why he/she is suddenly straying away from food. While dogs can stop eating for a number of reasons, knowing some of them may help you take quick action when deciding whether or not your dog needs to see veterinarian. That said, here are the top 8 reasons for your dog to stop eating -

 

Dental Disease

Oftentimes, teeth and gum problems go untouched until a dog stops eating. Broken teeth, bleeding gums, tartar buildup (yellowing of teeth), cavities, loose teeth etc are dental problems that cause pain and/or discomfort to a dog when he/she eats. As a result, dogs often stop eating. It is best to check up on your dog’s oral health once every week. This can either be done at the vet or at home - any signs of bleeding, inflammation, pus, pain (when touched), discomfort must immediately be looked into to avoid further complications.

 

A New Environment

A new environment is most often a new/unfamiliar home. However, for some dogs, new feeders, new guests, eating in unfamiliar surroundings etc can trigger the same response of food withdrawal as does a new home. Hence, it is important to ensure that your dog is as stress free in his/her new environment as possible.

New Home - Sometimes, it is best to allow your dog to take his/her time to find comfort in the new home. Until then, you can choose to feed wet food as it is far more palatable and appetising as opposed to dry food.

New Feeder - A new feeder is someone unfamiliar, hence, your dog requires time to build a relationship of trust with them. It is best if the feeder engages in other activities with the dog - playing, training, walking etc so as to encourage a strong bond to form.

New Guests - If you have guests over, it is best to feed your dog before or after they leave. Some dogs are anxious by the presence of unfamiliar people and tend to feel stressed by their presence. In turn, this stress manifests through food withdrawal, panting, pacing, scratching etc.

 

Hot Weather

Hot weather lends itself to both physical and mental stress on dogs. Regardless of whether your dog loves inside or outside, it is crucial to ensure that they have access to a fan and/or AC during the day and night. Dogs with thick coats such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Huskies etc tend to overheat in weather above 22 degrees Celsius. Overheating and dehydration can lead to seizures, kidney failure, and even death. Hence, always ensure that your dog, no matter the breed, has access to clean, fresh water and good ventilation.

 

Old Age

With age decreases palatability and appetite, simply because the taste buds on a dog’s tongue somewhat wear off over time. Senior dogs this benefit from wet food diets or age-specific dry food diets.

 

Illness and/or Infection

Like with our appetite when we are sick, illness and/or infection can cause a dog to give up eating. This is often accompanied by pain, discomfort, constipation, vomiting, diarrhoea, unexplained bleeding etc. In such cases, it is best to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

 

Too Many Treats

Frequent snacking through treats and table scraps fills a dog’s tummy before mealtime. As a result, he/she no longer feels hungry and misses out on essential nutrition from wholesome food. Remember to feed your dog a limited number of treats only during snack time or training sessions. If you find it hard to not skip food under the table, then lock your dog in a well-ventilated room with toys until you are done eating.

 

Lack Of Exercise

When all your energy is just built up as a result of not exercising, you seldom feel hungry. A dog that isn’t exercised as per their age and breed requirements doesn’t feel hungry because he/she hasn’t burnt off the energy synthesised from the previous meal. Remember, exercising a dog as per their breed requirement is as crucial as feeding them good quality food.

 

Stress

Dogs can be stressed for several reasons and it is most often not cited as a cause for food withdrawal. However, since stress affects a dog psychologically, it can have a significant impact on their eating habits.

Here are few of the top stressors that often cause food withdrawal -

Being tied/kenneled

Female dog on heat

Pain/Discomfort

No ventilation

No water

New Environment

 

The earlier you find the cause of the problem and seek prompt treatment at the veterinary clinic, the better it is for both you and your dog. Remember, dogs can stop eating for a number of reasons and before attempting to solve the issue on your own, it is best to visit a veterinarian to ensure holistic healing!