If you’ve been looking for ways to increase your dog’s appetite, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide you will discover 18 reasons your dog won’t eat, and how to stimulate a dog’s appetite (13 different ways!).
As a dog parent, you may often find yourself turning to Google several times a week to get the best solutions to your dog’s problems.
Decreased dog’s appetite is one of those problems that concerns dog owners the most.
Unfortunately, there is no one-line answer for stimulating a decreased appetite, and to take care of this problem, you’ll want to figure out the reasons why your dog’s desire for food has shifted so you can better address that problem.
Dogs are full of personalities, and they have their ways to throw tantrums, show excitement, and express feelings of comfort or pain.
Refusing food is also one of the tactics dogs use to converse with their owner. So, if your dog won’t eat, be all ears, your best friend probably wants to communicate something to you.
After days of scanning available research, leafing through various informatory sites, and surveying several dog parents, I have pressed down some valid reasons why your dog may refuse to eat.
Remember! Your dog is not trying to cause you pain by not eating, rather he is in pain himself; So, a good strategy would be to also understand “Why” my dog won’t eat, and not just “How” to stimulate my dog’s appetite.
Scroll down and try not to miss any single point; otherwise, you may lose the golden key to stimulate your dog’s appetite.
How to stimulate a Dog’s appetite?
Here are the 13 best ways to stimulate your dog’s appetite:
1. Take your dog for a walk before mealtime
Physical activity before mealtime successfully increases a dog’s appetite, so take your dog out for a quick stroll and stimulate your pal’s appetite. Your dog will start eating while you may shed a couple of calories. Win-win!!
2. Cut back on treats
Who does not like desserts and treats? Dogs, unlike humans, cannot control their sugar cravings once they are accustomed to eating a lot of sugary treats.
Offer treats in moderation and only after good behavior; otherwise, your dog would not approve of standard food bowls.
3. Add Vitamin B to your dog’s diet
Vitamin B is believed to work as a rapid appetite stimulant to increase your dog’s appetite. Add vitamin B via a natural food source or as a supplement in your dog’s food. Ask your vet to recommend the required amount of Vitamin B according to your dog’s breed, metabolism, size, and age.
4. Spice Up Their Kibble
Traditional kibbles without flavor enhancers bore dogs, so you need to spice things up a bit. Add tuna juice in your dog’s food bowl, or add only warm water to soften the dry kibble before serving. Warming up food also enhances food’s flavor.
5. Add Seasonings and Herbs
Herbs and seasonings are also believed to be a common appetite stimulant for dogs. Adding seasonings like oregano or Italian herbs can be a good source to increase appetite in dogs.
Other than herbs, some natural stimulants to increase a dog’s appetite are peppermint, fennel seeds, ginger, and dill.
All these things add up a beautiful aroma and trick the dog into eating.
6. Make eating a fun experience
Make eating a fun experience and introduce different activities like playing hide and seek, scatter food, or kibble around and cue your dog to find it.
Combining indoor play with food lures dogs into eating and stimulates a dog’s appetite.
7. Change your dog’s feeding situation
The changing environment might also help. For instance, if your dog was used to eating in the lounge and suppose he hit the table and broke his leg at the same place, sitting in the lounge will trigger painful memories and will decrease your dog’s appetite.
So, try changing the place and serve food at different corners.
8. Use CBD
CBD is the new technique through which dog parents stimulate their dog’s appetite. Many vets recommend it for various dog problems.
9. Have a Consistent Eating Schedule
Dogs are naturally inclined towards a disciplined life and cooperate better if their master follows a consistent routine; make a regular schedule, and offer food accordingly, otherwise your dog would not eat.
10. Add a bit of warm water to your dog’s kibble to make it more appealing
Gobbling down dry and hard kibble often becomes difficult for dogs, and warming up meal bowls excites their hunger.
Add warm water over your dog’s food bowl before serving and see if it works for your dog.
11. Try Appetite Stimulants
Meaty affairs are excellent appetite stimulants but should be given in moderation due to high protein and fat content. Add chicken, turkey, lamb, or salmon chunks over your dog’s kibble to excite his appetite.
12. Try hand feeding
Often dogs want nothing but love and affection from their master. In such a case, hand-feeding works wonders.
Pat your dog’s back gently, offer food yourself, and see the magic instantly. Most dogs never refuse food if their master stays beside them.
13. Visit a vet if the appetite decreases without reason
As mentioned earlier, if your dog does not eat for more than 24 hours, it is high time to contact a vet without further a duo.
Tell your vet that you have already overlooked possible reasons why a dog is not eating, but you cannot trace down the culprit.
18 Reasons Your Dog Lost Their Appetite: Why does my dog not want to eat?
The most straightforward technique to test your dog’s appetite is to offer him treats or change his routine bowl with something special like grilled chicken or delicious human-grade food such as Ollie; if your dog starts eating upon changing the menu, Voila! Problem solved.
Your baby has just become a picky eater, so you need to offer something more appetizing to stimulate his taste buds.
But if your dog declines even the most delicious meaty feasts, now is the time to walk on eggs and guesstimate what is wrong with your precious fur-baby.
Here-have a look over some possible reasons behind your dogs’ decreased appetite;
1. Food quality
Often manufacturers change the formula to enhance the flavor or quality of the food bag, but your dog may not approve this manufacturing change. Dogs are sensitive beings when it comes to their food, and they tend to notice even the slightest change.
Scrutinize the food bag and look if there is any change in ingredients; if yes, then it’s high time you switch to another authentic dog food brand.
2. Old age
Aging slows down dogs’ metabolism, and they cannot digest food the way they used to a couple of years back.
If your pal has become old, this could be a convincing reason behind decreased appetite. You may contact a vet and ask for better recommendations to deal with this problem.
3. Pickiness or behavior issues
If you have spoiled your fur-baby by offering a huge variety and treats, it may be accustomed to trying something new every now, and a persistent menu might not excite his hunger.
The dog may have also learned that the master panics and offers treats if I refuse my food bowl; thus, he is now tricking you into giving treats.
4. Medication Side Effects
Battling illnesses or pain also decreases a dog’s appetite. If your dog has recently been through any medical condition and had to take medications, his stomach is not yet ready to gulp down a lot of food, and the body needs time to heal from the inside.
Offer wet food in small portions without being pushy and let your dog overcome the blow by itself.
Dogs are conscious of changing; therefore, the difference in the environment can affect a dog’s appetite. A change in home, separation from a previous master, any injury or accident, and even illness can provoke anxiety, fear, or traumatic feelings.
If so, focus on making the dog comfortable with the environment, and it will automatically resume eating.
Parasites make a home inside a dog’s guts and stimulate appetite both ways- increasing or decreasing it. Obvious symptoms vary according to the type of parasites but commonly, it causes vomiting, diarrhea, and irregular bowel syndrome.
Proper veterinarian visits can better help you understand such conditions.
7. Oral problems/Dental disease.
Dogs are susceptible to periodontal diseases such as tooth pain, accumulation of plague, and gum ulcers.
If your dog has pain in the oral cavity, eating can turn out to be an inappropriate activity; thus, examine your dog’s mouth for possible reasons.
Often a dog’s metabolism slows down for multiple reasons like old age, reduced physical activity, gut parasites, and obesity.
Lower BMI leads to indigestion, gastric ailments, constipation, or diarrhea, making your dog very uncomfortable and refuses to eat.
Boredom, lack of entertaining activities, change in routine, or any addition at home can stress out dogs big time, and they may refuse to eat.
Stress kills hunger hormones in many species, and dogs are one of those, so stress could be the reason your dog is not eating once triggered.
10. Respiratory diseases
Respiratory illnesses affect the olfactory response and taste buds of dogs. Flu, bronchitis, nasal congestion, mucus, nasal blockage, and other respiratory distress can make your dog refuse meals.
11. Physical Pain
Who likes to eat when they are in excruciating pain? No one does. Similarly, physical discomfort or pain stops the dog from eating, and your pal would want you to remove his pain first.
Look for any change in your dog’s behavior or signs that he has pain somewhere in his body and helps him heal.
12. Lack of Exercise
Are you unable to take your dog on walks lately? Lack of physical activity and exercise impacts your dog’s appetite adversely. If they do not move, they cannot properly digest the food, which leads to meal refusal in the long term.
13. Seeking Attention
Dogs are attention seekers and want affection from their masters. If you were busy and could not spend quality time with your pal, your dog not eating might symbolize that he misses you and wants your attention.
14. They’re Bored of Their Food
Let’s suppose your favorite food is Pizza. Now tell me, how long can you eat Pizza morning and noon?
Maybe for three to four days?
Dogs also get bored of routine food and traditional kibbles; thus, variety is required for appetite stimulation.
Is your dog sick or has just come out of an illness?
Not only dogs, pretty much everyone requires time to heal after battling an illness, so your dog’s refusal to eat might be because of a severe ailment.
16. Recent vaccination
Vaccinations can be tough, and a dog’s body aches for several days after getting a shot.
If your dog has recently been vaccinated and is now refusing food, do not worry, as it is normal for dogs to not eat after vaccination.
17. Travel and unfamiliar surroundings
Travelling and continuous change in surroundings can take a toll on your dog’s appetite, and it may refuse to eat for several days after vacationing.
18. Other motives
Hidden body ailments like pancreatitis, ulcers, skin irritation, or renal incontinence can make your dog uncomfortable enough to refuse food; therefore, immediately contact a vet if your dog has not eaten for more than 24 hours and you are unable to pinpoint the reason.
Best Remedies for dogs not wanting to eat their food
Some tried and tested tricks for picky eaters or dogs not wanting to eat are mentioned here. Follow them and thank us later.
All we want is to help you stimulate your dog’s appetite through our well-researched methods.
#1 Buy better quality commercial food.
Some best-tasting dog foods are available in the market to stimulate your dog’s appetite.
Several dog owners swore upon them and reported a significant increase in their dog’s appetite after using those brands.
Let us save you from wild goose chase in the dog food market and recommend best tasting dog foods for picky eaters or dogs not wanting to eat.
Pick any one of these and serve your dog a delicious meal;
- Origen original
- The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food
- Taste of the wild
- Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw
- Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
#2 Follow a homemade diet
Stirring up warm meal bowls at home can also increase your dog’s appetite. Often dogs are unable to digest commercial foods and require simple homemade kibbles.
Seeing their master making an effort for them also increases their appetite, and they tend to reflect upon all the love by appreciating homemade food.
If you are a busy person and cannot possibly cook several meals at home for your pal, worry no more and subscribe to Ollie food service.
Ollie will serve freshly prepared human-grade food at your doorstep, and you can give your dog a close-to-homemade experience with Ollie’s bowls.
#3 Try wet food
If your dog is tired of eating dry and traditional kibbles, you may switch to wet canned food to stimulate your dog’s appetite.
Several canned foods are available in the market, but we recommend using only the best such as;
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Variety Pack Wet Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon & Chicken Grill Grain-Free
- Wellness 95% Natural Wet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
#4 Vary the ingredients
Variety is often needed to stimulate a dog’s appetite; thus, if you used to serve only vegetables and fresh fruits to your dog, you need to spice things up by adding more meat and vice versa.
Offer treats once they finish the food bowl or give healthy desserts like lactose-free natural yogurt to keep mealtime a bit fun and exciting.
#5 Other Remedies
Some herbs and fruits like fennel seeds, peaches, and avena sativa are proven to be natural appetite stimulants, so you may use those after taking advice from the vet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to stimulate a dog’s appetite
What Should I Do If My Dog Stops Eating?
Dogs can stop eating due to multiple reasons such as stress, hunger strike, pain, physical discomfort, illness, periodontal disease, and others. Try to figure out a possible reason, but if you cannot trace down any and your dog has not eaten for 24 hours, contact the vet immediately.
How can I stimulate my dog’s appetite?
There are several ways to stimulate a dog’s appetite: adding seasonings, warming up food, offering wet bowls, adding more meat, pouring tuna juice, increasing the dog’s physical activities, and using natural appetite stimulants like vitamin B.
What to do if my dog has an Appetite But is bored by his food?
Can I switch to wet food if my dog is not eating?
You can switch to wet food but make a slow transition. Start warming up their traditional kibble with water before serving canned food to make their digestive system ready for it. Slow progressions work better than sudden changes.
How can I help my dog gain more weight?
Try to increase your dog’s optimal health and do not focus on body fats. Some dog breeds have naturally lean bodies, while others can look chubby. Forcing calories upon your dog can cause medical problems and obesity.
What should I do if my dog wants to eat more?
If your dog has a big appetite, you may need to incorporate more physical activities, daily walks, and indoor exercises to help your dog digest its food. You can also buy a dog treadmill for a full indoor workout.
How do I know if my dog has a serious problem or he is just picky?
Run the famous picky eating test. Offer your dog a treat or mouthwatering meal like a rotisserie chicken. If the dog accepts fancy meals and treats but refuses traditional kibble, you are dealing with a picky eater. But if nothing seems to stimulate your dog’s appetite, it may have a serious problem like emotional trauma or physical pain.
How to stimulate a dog’s appetite is still a point of concern for many dog owners; however, there is no particular answer to it, and dog parents may need to ponder upon it carefully.
Some dogs naturally have large appetites and faster metabolism, while others have slower digestion rates, which is a deciding factor behind your dog’s eating pattern.
Any change in the environment also subjects them to refuse to eat to be present and make them more comfortable before serving food.
In case of a medical condition, do not waste time at home and contact the vet for testified advice. Try not to panic in front of your dog and peacefully search for possible reasons behind your dog not eating food.
Dogs can sense your energy, so if they observe you panicking, they will learn to manipulate you and may demand treats or become picky eaters.
If there is no medical issue, but your dog is refusing food bowls, try delicious human-grade food such as Ollie food service.
Ollie provides nutritious recipes, including chicken, lamb, and turkey chunks, that dogs find hard to resist and slurps up their meals quickly.
We acknowledge the time and energy that you spent reading this piece of information for the sake of your fur-baby.
Feel free to contact me in case of further queries or feedback.
Additionally, try to emphasize how healthy your dog is rather than how large your dog’s appetite is.