Why Is My Dog Not Eating?

Why my dog won’t eat? This is one question every dog owner is likely going to ask during their dog’s lifetime. It is gradually becoming common amongst dogs. This behavior is usually alarming for dog owners, simply because they have been used to seeing their canine companion chow down their kibble every day, and now this.

If you are one of the many dog owners with this concern, you are about to discover the possible cause of your dilemma and how you can possibly handle it.


How Long Can A Dog Not Eating Go?

In most cases, dogs love to eat. They are known to pretty much gobble up anything you put in front of them. Without the slightest hesitation.

But, like we already established, a dog’s refusal to eat is not unusual. There are a lot of dogs that can go as much as three to five days without food. While there are some that can survive seven days or more. Also, some dogs may be picky, or uncomfortable because of the situation under which they are being fed.


How To Know Why Won’t My Dog Eat?

We have already established that there are many reasons why a dog won’t eat or drink. This makes it tough and somewhat overwhelming to fix the problem or take the desired action. Whenever you observe this behavior from your dog, there are several steps that are necessary to take to get you started in finding out why.

This will help you understand why the dog won’t eat and as a result making a positive change.

Steps to include:

  • Watch their behavior
  • Check your surrounding
  • Examine their body
  • Take a look at their feet
  • Take a look at their food
  • Address any noticeable bad habit
  • Change up their diet where necessary


Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Isn’t Eating

Why Is My Dog Not Eating

Most of the time, when a dog begins resisting food, it is likely a sign that there’s something not right somewhere. Even though refusal to eat is not a sign of health issues, it is important to be sure that it isn’t. This way, you can be sure there are no fowl traces that will end up developing into something unlikely. Let us take a look at some reasons your dog won’t eat.

Dental Issues

Even as humans, if you have ever tried eating with a toothache, you will agree with me that it is quite a painful experience. This also applies to your dog. Dental disease is one issue that is quite common amongst dogs. Since they lack the ability to communicate with their owners, the pain, problems often go unnoticed.

With a broken tooth, periodontal disease, and/ or foreign bodies in the mouth of your dog, it makes eating difficult for them. And thus they are likely to avoid their food and chew toys. If this persists with swollen or bleeding gums, it may need a visit to your veterinarian to resolve and avoid becoming worse.

Change of Routine

One thing every dog owner must realize is that dogs are creatures of routine. Once you have already established a daily schedule for them, they tend to stick with it. Thus, when you change something up, no matter how little, it can make them uncomfortable.

Changes such as are related to their feeding times, daily exercise, or adding a new family member into the mix are likely to have them feeling anxious. So, it is important that when changes have to be made, it is done carefully and slowly to ensure that they are comfortable.

Sudden differences in their everyday life can cause them to not eat for some time until they gain confidence in their routine again.


While it is true that dogs are creatures of routine, they can sometimes get bored from the same things and food every day. For instance, if your dog has been fed the same flavor and brand of dog food for a good number of years, these dogs are likely to get bored.

What they couldn’t wait to have now turned into something they avoid. In such a case, it is usually good to mix things up by adding something new or extra. For example, it could be as simple as mixing canned wet food and dry food and thus get your dog to start eating again.

It is generally recommended that you switch up your dog’s food every once in a while to encourage them to continue to eat.


As dogs grow old, their body, and senses will change or get old as well. When that happens, they can start rejecting or avoiding eating food. While it is very easy to chalk it up to aging, it’s often the developments that come with it.

Some dog teeth tend to be very sensitive and hurting as they age. Also, as a result of age, their change in the sense will cause them not to find the scent and taste appealing as they used to.

Typically, older dogs that avoid eating should be provided with softer foods with more flavor to make it more appealing for them.

Medical Issues

One of the factors to look out for when your dog not eating is an underlying health issue. Loss of appetite is one of the most common symptoms of many illnesses. Illnesses such as infections, liver problems, and kidney failure, and cancer can make dogs lose their appetites for a significant amount of time.

Even though your dog’s refusal to eat does not mean there is an underlying illness, it is also wise to look out for other signs beyond not eating that might be pointing to a health-related reason.

Environmental Changes

There are a lot of dogs that react to stressful situations and new environments, and doing so leads to a decrease in appetite. If you think back to one of the times you were in a stressful or unfamiliar situation, you would understand that sometimes you get too concerned with what was going on around to eat.

For some dogs, it may be if your family has traveled or moved to a new house or unfamiliar destination. For others, it could be when their owners leave them with the pet sitter for a few days. There’s usually a feeling of nervousness, and as such can make them temporarily avoid food.

Picky eating

Some dogs are just picky. Like humans, they have their preferences when it comes to food. It is important to note that dogs often develop a taste for what they like over time. This means that there are certain flavors they may enjoy over others.

On the other hand, there are flavors they are repulsive to.

Stomach Upset

There’s no doubt that even the most well-trained dog is likely to gobble up bugs, trash, and other seemingly tasty and nasty objects.

When dogs have eaten something poisonous or what they shouldn’t have, such an offending snack can lead to gastrointestinal problems and may take some time to get over.

This often comes with stomach pains. And in an attempt to get rid of whatever they ate, they may start to vomit or go as far as eating grass.

The worst-case scenario is when this feeling in their stomach makes them avoid food until they begin to feel better.


Final Words On Why Is My Dog Not Eating


Seeing your dog won’t eat or drink can be quite frustrating and worrisome. But you must always be supportive, observant, and diligent. While trying to encourage your dog to take in something, it is wise to seek the help of professional guidance from a vet.

A trained professional has the resources and expertise to perform a more thorough examination of your dog. Providing them with the necessary tests to help uncover the underlying health issues. This way you can get the necessary care for your dog and possibly saving his/her life.

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