6 Common Reasons Your Dog May Not Be Eating | BrilliantK9 icon

6 Reasons Your Dog May Not Be Eating

a dog resting on a blanket with a ball nearby

Realizing your dog is not eating is very concerning to a dog owner. Any good pet parent will want to find out the reason why their dog is refusing to eat. There can be a lot of reasons behind a dog that is not eating. Of course, the first thought is that your dog is either sick or in need of medical attention. While this may be the case, it’s not always necessarily true. Let’s take a look at six reasons your dog may not be eating.

6 Times Your Dog May Not Eat

1. Is your dog anxious or stressed out?

Not eating is a common sign of anxiety, worry, or stress in dogs, especially if they deal with chronic anxiety or stress.  This just means that dogs that experience situations that induce stress or anxiety are more likely to stop eating. There are also a few other signs of anxiety to look for, including:

  • Obsessive behaviors like scratching, licking, or pacing.
  • Excessive panting.
  • Increased vocalizations (howling, yelping, whimpering, whining, or barking).
  • Frequently trying to hide out or escape the present environment.
  • Demonstrating fearful behaviors or body posture such as tucking their tails, putting their ears back, crouching low to the ground, or having wide eyes.
  • Sleeping less than normal.

The best way to get your dog to eat when they are anxious or stressed out is to reduce their anxiety or stress. Sometimes, this is easy, and can be accomplished by just removing the anxiety-inducing or stressful stimuli. Other times, it’s not that easy. Your vet or a qualified dog trainer may be able to help. Special training can help some dogs become calmer and less stressed. Some may need anti-anxiety medications to help them cope with stressful situations.

2. Did your dog start a new medication?

 Some medications cause dogs to eat less than usual. If your furry friend recently started a new medication, and then suddenly stopped eating, it could be the cause. You should call your veterinarian to ask them about the possible side effects of medications, including not eating. The vet may be able to provide a different medication that is better suited for your dog. If the situation is temporary, they may be able to offer some helpful pointers on how to get your dog to eat.

3. Is your dog not feeling well?

Medical conditions and illnesses can both cause dogs to eat less than normal. Sometimes, they can cause a dog to stop eating altogether. If your pup shows other signs or symptoms of not feeling well or being sick, they may not eat because of it. Not eating isn’t always the sign of a serious condition, but it can be. If you are uncertain, it’s a good idea to consult with your vet. A dog care professional can tell you to bring the dog in, or just wait to see if the illness passes.

4. Is your dog in pain?

When a dog is in pain, they may not be able to tell you, but they may stop eating. This could be pain in the areas of the mouth or throat, or another area. Once the pain subsides, your dog’s eating habits should return to normal. However, oftentimes, you may need to change up their diet a little bit to encourage them to eat regularly like they did before. If you suspect that your pup is not eating due to pain of any kind, it’s a good idea to have them examined by their vet.

5. Are you sure your dog likes your choice of dog food?

Sometimes, dogs stop eating because they don’t like your food choice. This is usually the case if you’ve recently changed brands or bought a different flavor. It can also happen if the dog food you use regularly changes its formula. This is usually a simple fix. You can either return to the previous brand or find a brand that your dog likes better.

6. Is it possible that your dog is just not hungry?

It may seem like an obvious statement, but sometimes dogs don’t eat just because they’re not hungry. Dogs are all different, but some dogs who get afternoon treats will not eat dinner. This may be the case if you notice that they eat otherwise. You may want to consult with your vet about when to feed your dog and when to offer or refrain from offering treats. The type of treats you offer your pet between meals can also affect their eating habits.

When to See a Vet if Your Dog isn’t Eating

You probably know when to take your dog to the vet if they are not eating. Sometimes, a vet can help. Other times, you may be able to safely wait it out. Here is a short list to help you know when it’s best to take your pup to the vet if they aren’t eating. Definitely take your dog to the vet if they are not eating and:

  • Your dog is experiencing extreme anxiety or stress that’s not resolved easily.
  • Your pup is showing signs or symptoms of being sick along with not eating like normal.
  • If your dog is showing signs of being in pain.
  • Your canine buddy started a new medication and then stopped eating normally.
  • Your pup has gone more than one day without eating any dog food.
  • Your dog shows signs of lethargy or doesn’t want to go for your daily walk.

You know your dog best, and you know when they are not acting like themselves. For instance, if they usually jump with excitement when you grab their harness and leash, but now they are uninterested in going outside for exercise, you know something is wrong. Your vet will be able to tell if you are dealing with serious health concerns, or if the problem is temporary and minor.


At BrilliantK9, we hope you and your dog companion are healthy and full of great energy! If not, please see a vet to ensure your pup is in the best of health. When you are ready for a nice walk again, grab a leach and custom harness from BrilliantK9! 




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