Dog not eating? Common causes and tips

We all know how our furry friends usually devour their meals with unmatched enthusiasm, so it can be a bit alarming when your pooch turns their nose up at dinner. But worry not! In this guide, we're digging into the reasons behind your dog's picky palate and serving up some tips to get those tails wagging again.

The Culprits Behind the Empty Bowl

Health Matters

Just like us humans, our four-legged companions can face health issues that affect their appetite. Dental problems, gastrointestinal troubles, and even pain from an injury can put a damper on their dining experience. If your pup seems disinterested in dinner, a vet visit might be in order to rule out any underlying health concerns. If they've recently visited the vets, medications like antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also play havoc with appetite.

Stress and Anxiety

Whilst you may think they're too blessed to feel stressed, stress can impact our dogs appetites too. Changes in their environment, new additions to the family (fur or otherwise), long periods alone, or even loud noises can make them lose their appetite. Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety, like excessive panting or excessive barking, and try to create a calm and comfortable environment for your furry friend.

dog barking

Dietary Changes

Whilst the majority of pooches won't bat an eye lid at a change in their diet, some can be surprisingly sensitive to even the most minute of changes. So, if you've recently switched up their food, it could be the cause of their culinary rebellion.

The larger the change in the recipe, the more likely they are to notice it. Especially if you're going between extremes, for example from a recipe that includes added sugars and salts that can be quite addictive, to one that doesn't. Equally, every now and then pet food companies may need to make tweaks to their recipes.

To combat this, gradual transitions between different foods can help their tummies (and brains) adjust more comfortably. Simply mix the new food into their old in increasing proportions over a period of two weeks. For this reason, it's always worth having a couple of weeks food to hand, so you've always got a back-up plan.

Don't be surprised if you notice your other dogs follow suite in their fussiness too. As social beings, they model behaviours they see in other dogs, so you might just have two rebellions on your hands.

Spoiled Taste Buds

We all want the very very best for our dogs, but as the saying goes, there certainly can be "too much of a good thing". If your dog has been indulging in too many treats, table scraps, or their very own cooked dinners, they might just be holding out for something more exciting. It's time to reign in the snacks and return to a balanced, nutritious diet.

Food Preferences (Just Because...)

Your dog's loss of appetite could also simply be down to their food preferences changing. Just like how you used to HATE Brussel sprouts, but now lap them up on Christmas Day. A couple of of things can also make preference changes more likely, like moving between lifestages. Especially as they move into their golden oldie years, as they may experience sensory decline. Changes in the climate could even be to blame, for example wanting to switch to a higher moisture food during hotter, summer periods.

old dog not eating

Tips to Woo Back the Wagging Tail

  1. Mix It Up At Mealtime: Not only is it great for your pooch's gut health to mix-up mealtimes occasionally, but it also helps your dog not get too set in their ways. After all, if they've eaten the same thing everyday for 10 years, they'll be a bit of a pro at knowing if it's changed. You can keep things interesting by introducing new flavours, types of food, or you could even experiment with toppers. For example a sprinkling of crunchy carrot over their wet food, or glug of homemade chicken broth on their biscuits. Just ensure that whatever you add aligns with their dietary needs.

  2. Scheduled Feeding Routine: Dogs thrive on routine, and having a consistent feeding schedule can help stimulate their appetite. Try to feed them at the same times each day, creating a sense of predictability that can make mealtime more enticing. Once the allotted time has finished, it's also best to remove the bowl, so they know when it's gone, it's gone for good!

  3. Interactive Feeding Toys: Your parents might have told you you can't play with your food, but you're not a normal parent, you're a cool pawrent. Try turning mealtime into playtime to distract your pooch from their fickle ways. Invest in interactive feeding toys that dispense kibble as your pup plays. This not only adds an element of fun but also encourages them to work for their food, sparking their interest in the process.

  4. Warm Up the Menu: Did you know that temperature plays a huge role in taste? Tastebuds work more efficiently in warm temperatures vs cold, why not  try serving their food slightly warmed. Either by gently microwaving or adding warm water or broth. The heat will also release enticing aromas, making the meal more enticing for your discerning canine connoisseur.

When to Seek Professional Advice?

Like any mammal, dogs need food to survive, and high-quality food to thrive. If your pooch just goes off their food for a couple of days, then it shouldn't be anything to worry about. However, if they remain disinterested for longer than this, then it might be time to consult the pros! A trip to the vet can provide valuable insights into your dog's health and eating habits. It's always better to rule out any underlying health issues before implementing changes to their diet too.

If your dog isn't eating, and you've also noticed symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea, then contact your vet within 12 hours.

Scrumbles, the best food for fussy dogs

Has your doggy gone off their dinner? Don't fret. We've got just the thing: Scrumbles! We're on a mission to help all pooch's do pretty poops through our gut-friendly and tasty recipes. Here's some of the reasons we'll have them clearing their bowl again:

  • All natural, clearly named ingredients. We stick to all-natural ingredients, and clearly name all our recipes so you know exactly what goes in and stays out. 
  • Plenty of choice. Looking for something with a crunch? We've got that. Looking for something luxuriously soft? We've got that too. Oh, and all in plenty of different flavours like chicken, duck, salmon, veg and more!
  • Up to 70% meat or fish. Not only is plenty of meat needed to help your pooch thrive, but it's what will get them licking their bowl clean time after time. 
  • Complete Recipes. All our dry and wet food recipes are complete, making them pawfect for mixing together or serving apart to keep things interesting.
  • Added pre or probiotics. Happy tums = happy pets, so we add gut-friendly pre and probiotics, to keep your pooch's microbiome eating well too.

So, what are you waiting for? Give us a try today!

Final Thoughts:

Remember, each pup is as unique as their paw print, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient, observant, and willing to adapt as you navigate this culinary conundrum with your furry friend. Stay scrumptious, canine comrades!

Whilst you're here, why not read:

  1. Can dogs eat cat food?
  2. Dog losing weight? Here's 5 possible reasons
  3. Miniature Poodle vs Toy Poodle

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