13 Ways to stimulate a dog’s appetite: detailed guide

Decreased appetite is one of those problems that concerns dog owners the most. In this guide you will learn how to stimulate your dog's appetite (fast & easy ways!)
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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!).

dove e come accarezzare un cane - Accarezzare il cane, dove e come farlo (6)


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?

How to Stop Your PupHow to Stimulate a Dogs 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. 

Dog treats are often highly processed and full of artificial flavors, colors, and other things humans wouldn’t even consider eating. So instead, give your dog a 100% natural, healthy, low-carb treat like this one here.

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100% All Natural Beef Esophagus Jerky Treats for Dogs

Beef Esophagus Jerky are a perfect anytime snack and are also great as a training treat. These all-natural treats are packed with essential vitamins and minerals which makes them ideal for improving oral and joint health. Each esophagus strip is naturally rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, which may reduce inflammation and improve your dog’s joint function.

Get this natural snack for your dog
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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.

But if besides just adding flavor, you also want to add a lot of essential nutrients in your dog’s food, you can opt for a quality supplement like ruff greens.

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Ruff Greens - 100% Naturally Extracted & Premium Dog Supplement

“Ruff Greens” claim to provide LIVE nutrition for your dog that is free from dead constituents such as preservatives and dyes. They mainly feature sourced food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, omega oils, and probiotics.

It offers reliable means to feed your dog with processed food that is 100% extracted from natural ingredients such as barley grass, blueberry, blackberry, broccoli, flaxseed, kale, papaya, mushroom, kelp, parsley, pineapple, rice bran, sweet potato, etc.

Try a free bag of Ruff Greens supplement
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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 Oil

CBD oil is a safe way to stimulate your dog’s metabolism and bring back his appetite. CBD oil is a new technique through which dog parents stimulate their dog’s appetite, and in addition, many veterinarians recommend it for various dog health problems.

A CBD oil like King Kanine 600 MG makes it easy to help your pet eat more and feel better.

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KING KALM™ 600MG - CBD Oil With Powerful Natural Constituents

“King Kalm CBD” is a natural cannabidiol oil that is professionally formulated with cannabis extract as the major active constituent (600mg). The composition also contains small percentages of Krill oil, DHA 2, Copaiba oil, fiber, fat, and protein. It is usually recommended for pets who suffer from anxiety, noise discomfort, and inflammation. 

  • It is a purely natural product and composed of natural and organic ingredients, so there will be no side effects on your dog’s health.
  • Has a calming effect to help hyperactive dogs relax and sleep.
  • It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Recommended for pets who suffer from anxiety, noise discomfort, and inflammation.
  • Lab-tested by a third party that eliminates any uncertainty about quality and promises reliability.
  • It is made in the US which helps to ensure compliance with quality control procedures.
  • It is not for all dogs. The composition of this product is dedicated to anxious dogs who are in discomfort. So professional advice is needed before starting this supplement.
What Do We Think: King Kanine CBD oil can help with a range of issues that dogs face, including separation anxiety, pain-associated discomfort, and discomfort due to underlying disorders they may have.
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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?

How to Stimulate your Dog’s Appetite

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. 

5. Trauma/Fear/Anxiety

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.  

6. Parasites

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.  

8. Indigestion

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.  

9. Stress

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. 

If you don’t have a lot of time to walk your dog, you may consider getting a dog treadmill. This way you can let your dog use up excess energy, right from home, and without having to go out and walk your dog after a long, stressful day at work.

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. 

15. Illness

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

why is my dog not eating his foodpy from Eating Poop

Some tried and tested tricks for picky eaters or dogs not wanting to eat are mentioned here. Follow them and thank us later. 

Kidding bud!

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;

#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. 

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My Ollie - Freshly Cooked Dog Food Supplies At Your Doorstep

Ollie is a dedicated food supplying platform where dog food is prepared with premium quality ingredients in human-grade kitchens. They deliver precisely portioned and naturally driven food to your home, such as protein, minerals, and vitamin-packed beef; chicken; lamb; turkey, etc.

In addition, they feature many recipes suggested by nutritionists, including hormone-free meat, and healthy meals without any by-products or funky fillers. 

  • No excipients or fillers are used in the formation of pet food.
  • Customized meal plan for your dog after undergoing a short quiz.
  • Deliver fresh food in small portions.
  • Change your plan or cancel your subscription at any time.
  • The meal comes with a feeding guide and free tools such as feeding scoops, and little containers.
  • Only once a week shipping.
What Do We Think: ​​It’s an excellent option for those who place high value on their dog’s diet plan or for dogs struggling with a certain medical condition and requiring a specific nutrition plan.
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#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; 

#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.

Be careful about the ingredients and amounts you feed your best friend, because even if you’re cooking your dog’s food with the best of intentions, you may be using an ingredient that is toxic and unsafe for his health, or you may be causing your dog to miss out on some important nutrients.

You can cook SAFE, homemade dog food for your dog thanks to a great ebook called dog food secrets, by Andrew Lewis.

In the ebook, Andrew will share with you tips and tricks to prolong your dog’s life, and he will also provide you with many detailed recipes and tips for making homemade dog food that is nutritious, delicious, and affordable.

Healthy & Delicious Recipes For Dogs
Dog Food Secrets - Commercial Dog Food And Its Adversities

Healthy-k9 is a great online source that features deep research into how commercial food can pose bad impacts on canines' health and is proven to be fatal for them. It describes the reasons that invite the early death of a dog and what role food industries play in promoting this. 

The main goal of the program is to teach dog owners how they can easily prepare fresh meals for their pets that are healthier and tastier than anything bought from the local pet store.

  • You will find everything you need to give your dog a healthy diet so that he or she can live a happy and energetic life.
  • Contains over 50 nutritionally well-balanced and tested recipes that your dog will love.
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  • Presents facts and truths from proven research and data collection.
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What Do We Think: People who love to gather facts and truths about dog nutrition and health will love exploring this site. Here, they can get authentic information and implement best practices of feeding all-natural quality food to increase the quality of life of their canines.
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#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

FAQ - Frequently asked questions (1)

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?

Try switching to delicious and organic commercial food brands such as Ollie, Raised Right Pets, or Orijen. Change ingredients and introduce more variety to excite your dog. 

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 Stop Your dog from Eating Poop

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 or King Kanine CBD oil.

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. 

Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!
Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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