Why My Dog Won't Eat, and How Do I Fix It?

Dogs can be delicate creatures when it comes to food. Sometimes, they’ll love eating a certain food, other times they will hate it. Nevertheless, if a dog refuses to eat, it's not always on a whim. 

Although dogs can go days, and even weeks, without eating, health problems will appear after 3 or 5 days. This is why we need to detect what the cause is. 

It can be a worrying issue, like an obstruction, or a trivial reason, such as a lack of appetite. To differentiate the cause, we must learn how each of them manifests.

What Causes My Dog Not to Eat

The most common causes for a dog not eating are not usually a cause for concern. They are usually simple issues to solve and are comprised of the following:

New Food

Sometimes we are forced to change food because there is no brand we usually use or by the veterinarian's recommendation. Because of this change, although unusual, our pet refuses to eat the new food. It is because he got used to the previous one and did not want to replace it.

Much more common is when they stop being puppies and start eating adult food; many refuse to do so. A good practice is to make these changes gradually, mixing the food until, little by little, it is only the new one.

Already Full

Dogs are well known for their manipulative methods of getting food. Whether it's from a neighbor, someone in the family, or even oneself. If he has eaten throughout the day small portions, he may already be full.

The dog needs to eat every day on a similar schedule, it is okay to skip a day or two, but it should not become a habit. To avoid this, be sure to monitor the treats he is getting.

He's Bored

If a dog doesn't receive enough physical and mental stimulation throughout the day, he may become bored and refuse food. Eating may not be an enjoyable activity for your dog, or he may not be hungry due to low exercise.

You can try buying a puzzle feeder. This will present him with a challenge to get his food, thus stimulating his mind. You could also take him for more walks, buy him a toy, or do any activity that will tire him out a bit.

Dogs also get tired of eating the same food all the time. Sometimes they don't want to eat their food because they are bored of eating the same food. So cooking rice with meat, chicken, pork, or fish (without bones) could revive our pet's appetite.



The gifts that a dog usually receives from relatives or neighbors can sneak something challenging to digest. In this case, our dogs may suffer from stomach upset, causing them not to want to eat.

If you notice that your dog is eating grass or drinking a lot of water, something has caused indigestion. This behavior is instinctive and an effort to induce vomiting, thus expelling the cause of the discomfort.

Relax; it is normal and should only last 1 day; if it lasts longer, you will have to take him to the vet. Although it is not a problematic situation, you could cause chronic gastritis if repeated too often.

This behavior could mean that your dog has an underlying digestive system condition. Whatever the case, controlling what he eats out of his food is very important.

When Should I Be Concerned That My Dog Is Not Eating?

When the dog does not eat for more than 2 days or shows other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, decay, pain or losing breath easily. This could mean that the dog is suffering from something more problematic, such as:

  • liver or kidney diseases.
  • Infections or inflammation of the digestive system.
  • Gastrointestinal obstructions.
  • Intoxication.
  • Tumor in the digestive tract.

Any of these causes require medical diagnosis and analysis to be detected. It would help if you described all the symptoms you have noticed to help the veterinarian decide what study to do.


What to Do if My Dog Does Not Eat

If the cause is simple, we can help our dog regain his appetite. Take him for walks, change his food gradually, offer him softer meals and reduce the amount of "treats" he receives throughout the day.

On the other hand, if the inappetence remains despite everything, it is time to go to the vet and not wait any longer. It could get complicated quickly, and the sooner it is diagnosed, the better the chances are for our dogs.