What causes loss of appetite in dogs? 10 causes (+ solutions)

Loss of appetite in dogs may result from several reasons. This article will help you identify the signs and causes of appetite loss, and how you can help your dog get back on track.
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Either you have just adopted a new dog or have had it for years; it would be quite distressing for you if your dog refuses to eat.

Loss of appetite in dogs may result from several reasons. Therefore, you have to find out what causes loss of appetite in your dog for designing a better treatment plan.

It is mandatory to keep in mind the exact criteria based on which you’re judging your dog’s appetite to help you know how to stimulate a dog’s appetite. 

For instance, if you are estimating the feeding pattern of your dog as mentioned on the food package, always keep in mind that these are just average numbers. 

Most healthy dogs consume about 60% to 70% of their food, as mentioned on the packages. Moreover, there is the possibility that your dog may not take one or two meals due to some stress. 

Duration of off-feeding more than 48 hours indicates something is wrong with your dog.

Furthermore, it may be the consequence of some gastrointestinal issues or dysbiosis. In this situation, there is nothing left behind but to visit a veterinarian for prompt treatment. 

Here in this article, I will try my best to throw light on different aspects of loss of appetite in dogs.

As always, I will suggest you read this article completely for a better understanding of things. 

Let’s begin with the reasons for appetite loss in dogs.

Reasons That Causes Loss of Appetite in Dogs

4. What Causes Loss of Appetite in Dogs – why my dog is not eating his food

There could be several reasons that lead to promoting off-feeding in your dog. Some of them are related to overall health, while others may be environmental and specific reasons. 

Some of the important physical and physiological reasons that cause loss of appetite in dogs are given below;

 1. Illness

One of the most critical contributing reasons that can cause loss of appetite in your dog is an illness. For instance, we feel the same thing whenever we are not feeling well or in pain. 

Almost all types of illness can bring about loss of appetite in your dog. These include;

Likewise, several other abnormal conditions that directly or indirectly interfere with the gastrointestinal tract could be the cause of loss of appetite in your dog. 

In such circumstances, you cannot treat your dog on your own no matter how much care you are offering to your dog. 

Therefore, I recommend you take veterinary assistance as your primary choice in such cases to avoid complications and know how to stimulate a dog’s appetite.

2. Stress or Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the leading causes of the lack of appetite in your dog. Sometimes it might happen that you cannot provide the necessary company to your dog due to some hectic routine. 

In such cases, dogs might feel abandoned and lose interest in feeding.

Moreover, dogs do it just for the sake of getting attention so that they can restore your company time. 

Dogs make a strong bond of affection with their owners; that’s why they can’t bear separation anxiety. Always try to spare time for your furry fellows to avoid them from anxiety.

3. Change in Routine

Environmental factors significantly affect the appetite of your dog. A better understanding of change in routine will answer your query about what causes loss of appetite in dogs. 

If you are on a trip with your lovely four-legged fellow, he might get motion sickness, leading to loss of appetite. As it may not be routine work for your dog, the unfamiliar surroundings will negatively affect them. 

Likewise, your dog may get nervous due to some discomforts while traveling. All these findings will make you sure why your dog is not feeding well after being on a trip. 

I will recommend you to wait until the restoration of the familiar surroundings and a veterinary visit.

4. Medication

Certain drugs impose an adverse effect on the appetite of your dog. According to a study, a famous anti-fungal drug named ketoconazole is seen to bring about loss of appetite (anorexia, a veterinary term) in dogs.

You have to figure out the medication that causes loss of appetite in dogs. 

Furthermore, dirlotapide also acts as an appetite suppressant in dogs. In such situations, you have to inform your veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid serious effects. 

Veterinarians will help your dog by prescribing appetite stimulant drugs to restore appetite.

5. Recent Vaccination

Vaccines are available against severe and contagious diseases of dogs. These vaccines have been proven life-saving over the past hundred years in the veterinary field. 

However, some dogs might face some mild side effects after getting vaccine shots.

Moreover, these side effects include gastrointestinal tract disturbance leading to loss of appetite in dogs. Therefore, by getting veterinary guidance, you can bring your dog back to a routine.

6. Dental Diseases

Oral health has its significance for ensuring the well-being of your dog. In some instances, dog owners don’t pay attention to the daily toothbrushing of their dogs. 

Therefore, the deposited food particles harbor bacterial growth, which leads to gingivitis which results in gum swelling and pain.

Moreover, the preliminary gum inflammation ultimately develops into severe dental diseases known as periodontal diseases. 

Furthermore, dental diseases result in severe oral pain; thus, your dog will refuse to eat and develop the signs of off-feeding. 

7. Behavior Issues

Behavior issues are pretty common in dogs that end up making them picky eaters. Such dogs may also refuse to take any meal because they are not in their comfort zone. 

However, the primary contributing reasons for this behavior of your dog are related to routine.

For instance, if the height of the bowl is not at an optimum level, there is the possibility that he may feel uncomfortable. 

Moreover, your dog may get nervous about getting fed in front of other aggressive/dominant dogs and become anorectic. 

8. Absence of Owner

The bond between a dog and its owner is always appreciated for the unconditional love of dogs. Dogs are emotionally attached to their owners by depicting strong loyalty and obedience. 

Therefore, they get panicked and anxious when they can’t find their owners. 

In addition, if you get stuck in your tight daily life routine, you might not be able to spend some time with your dog.  

No matter how much food is available, your dog will not enjoy feeding without having you by his side. Thus due to anxiety and stress, your dog will not eat properly.

They named this particular situation Separation Anxiety.

9. Food Preferences

It is common to observe in veterinary practice that people blame that their dogs are not eating properly. Whereas they are providing top-quality balanced food to their dog, but the results are not quite satisfying.

What could be the major reason behind this?

The major problem is the provision of the same food, let say, dry kibbles for a longer duration without knowing the likeliness of your dog. 

I would like to say that you must try to figure out what kind of food your dog likes to rule out the feeding issues of your dog.

10. Old Age

A senior dog is likely to suffer the different loss of senses due to deterioration of body structures with aging. Therefore, decreased senses of smell and taste would negatively affect the appetite, leading to decreased excitement at mealtime.

Most of the pet parents get worried about such behavior by their dogs. You need not worry if your senior dog shows signs of change in appetite. 

Luckily, there is the possibility to restore their senses and appetite, which I am going to describe. 

Just read on to know how to stimulate a dog’s appetite.  

3 Ways to Stimulate a Dog’s Appetite

How to Stimulate a Dogs Appetite

In certain situations (described previously), your day may lose interest in feeding. All these conditions directly or indirectly answer a common question, i.e., what causes the loss of appetite in dogs. 

The prolonged off-feeding exaggerates the condition; that’s why there is the need to know how to stimulate a dog’s appetite.   

Fortunately, certain ways will help to stimulate the appetite of your dog. These are as follows;

1. Enhancing The Appetizing Ability of The Dog Food

Try to change the traditional dog food that was in service long ago. For instance, dry kibbles might be less tasty for your dog and that’s why the loss of appetite. Therefore, search for dog foods that are enticing and easily palatable for your pet. 

Usually, dogs like to eat food that is a little bit tastier and enhances their appetite. Therefore, you must consider offering canned food rather than dry kibbles. 

Canned foods have a greater moisture level that increases palatability, and thus, dogs like it the most.

Moreover, you can also consider the addition of cooked chicken or gravy into dog food. This practice will help your dog to accept the meal with a whole heart. 

Likewise, there is the possibility to add some flavors to make the food more appealing and tasty.

Furthermore, you need to avoid your dog eating garlic, onions, salt, grapes, chocolates, and other table food spices. You can consult a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to know about the safe foods for your dog.     

2. Using CBD Oil for Your Dog

CBD oils are best to regulate the eating behavior of dogs. If your dog is facing digestive problems or gut motility issues, CBD oils will benefit your dog. 

This herbal product will help your dog combat conditions responsible for imposing nausea, one of the leading causes of making dogs anorectic. 

There are no significant side effects of CBD oils, but it will be wise to consult a veterinarian before considering its use.

I highly recommend you plot out different possibilities for keeping your dog happy and healthy by working with a veterinarian. 

There are many oils in the market that can help your dog with its digestive issues. If you are concerned with how these oils will affect your dog’s health, King Kanine CBD oil (and exquisite treats) will be the best choice for them.

The benefits of CBD oil to your dog include better health, better mood, and most importantly appetite stimulation.

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3. Ensuring Your Dog Gets Regular Exercise

Physical activity is crucial to regulate the normal functioning of your dog’s body. Exercising daily helps your dog to maintain his body weight in a healthy range. 

One of the benefits of healthy body weight is that dogs enjoy a high-quality life full of comfort.

More than half of the dogs in the USA are suffering from overweight and obesity. It is all due to irregular feeding and lack of exercise. Therefore, the chances of gastrointestinal problems also increase, which is seen in nausea and loss of appetite in dogs.

Generally, you need to provide at least a thirty minutes walk to your dog to maintain his health. If, for some reason, you are not able to take your dog outside, consider arranging active games like fetch and tug war at home. Don’t ever make your dog a couch potato instead. 

Moreover, regular exercise daily will stimulate the normal gut motility of your dog. A healthy digestive system promises to stimulate a dog’s appetite.

Read also: How to stimulate a dog’s brain

Home Remedy for Dog’s Loss of Appetite

What causes lack of appetite in dogs - What do you do when your dog won't eat

You can help your sick dog by making use of natural stimulants. Home remedy is the best way to return your dog to a normal feeding routine. Here I have summarized some natural and holistic approaches to stimulate appetite in your dog.  

Natural Stimulants 

People are often worried about how to stimulate a dog’s appetite by using natural stimulants. Fortunately, I have made it easy for you to start with some fantastic things.

1. Herbs

The best way to enhance the appetite in dogs is by making use of herbs. You can consider the use of ginger, peppermint, chamomile, and celery seed for stimulating senses of taste and feeding reflex in your dogs. 

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  • The nutrients are processed in powder form to be easily palatable, as some dogs might not be interested in having wheatgrass, broccoli, or mushrooms.
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2. Rotisserie Chicken

One of the unexpected secret stimulants that can even make your pickiest eater a food lover by its delicious taste. However, you have to take precautionary measures by removing all bones and skin. 

3. Hand Feeding

Hand feeding also shows excellent result to return the appetite of dogs. It is because dogs love to be fed by their owner’s hand.

4. Food Warming

Slightly warm the dog food in a microwave oven just before offering. It will enhance the aroma and force your dog to eat it heartedly.

Holistic Approach

Being a dog owner, you must have had an idea of a holistic approach to stimulate your dog’s appetite. Here you are going to get a similar idea.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a popular method for enhancing the appetite of your dog with promising results. Moreover, it has a therapeutic index ranging from reducing pain and inflammation to normalizing disturbed stomach. Similarly, this technique helps to restore the appetite of your sick dog.

2. CBD Supplements

Another holistic approach to restoring appetite in practice nowadays on the global level is known as CBD supplements. Moreover, it provides your dog with various health-related benefits too.

Best Foods for Your Best Friend: Human Grade Pet Food Brands

How to cook Homemade Dog Food for Small Dogs 1

Luckily, dog food brands are providing all-natural and homemade dog foods for your dog with appetite loss. If you want to feed your dog high-quality and well-nutritious food, feel free to checkout these authentic brands and get your parcels at your doorstep.


FAQ - What Breed is My Dog How to Identify ANY Dog Breed - Is my dog a pure breed (4)

Why Does My Dog Suddenly Not Want to Eat?

It may be due to some stress, nausea, dental problems, separation anxiety, recent vaccination, change in routine, or underlying condition that makes your dog not interested in his food. Also, It may be some gastrointestinal issues like infections or some blockage.

What Can I Give My Dog With No Appetite?

Just make sure the proper hydration status of your dog to avoid dehydration. Moreover, the use of herbs and rotisserie chickens may improve his feeding status.

How Can I Get My Dog’s Appetite Back?

The simple way to get back your dog’s appetite back is by ensuring the proper exercise and the use of CBD oils. Moreover, the use of herbs like ginger and chamomile also shows positive results.

What Do You Do When Your Dog Doesn’t Eat His Food?

First of all, you have to change the food ingredients of your dog food. If the condition remains the same, then a veterinarian visit should be considered to rule out some underlying diseases.

When Should I Worry About My Dog Not Eating?

You need not worry about skipping one or two meals. An off-feed for more than 48 hours should need a quick visit to a veterinarian.

What Is The Best Appetite Stimulant for Dogs?

CBD oils are the best option to stimulate the appetite of your dog. Moreover, you can consider Rotisserie chicken, and herbs like ginger and chamomile. In some cases, hand feeding is also helpful to stimulate the appetite of dogs.

Why Won’t My Dog Eat His Food but Will Eat Treats?

It is common to see partial anorexia when dogs do not take their food but eat treats and table scrapes because they are in good health status.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating but Drinking Water?

It is a common sign of picky eaters. If you notice your dog not eating but drinking regularly, you need to consult a canine nutritionist to rule out the major feeding issues.

When a Dog Has No Appetite?

In certain conditions like separation anxiety, after vaccination, change in feeding routine, and change in diet, your dog may refuse to eat. The wise step is to visit a veterinarian to restore your dog’s appetite.


What can I give my dog for loss of appetite - my dog won't eat his food but will eat human food

General feeding issues in dogs are seen in case of some underlying gastrointestinal conditions. 

However, a loss of appetite in your dog also reflects that he is not feeling well in the current environment or some stressed conditions. 

I hope you got all the basic conditions for loss of appetite in your dogs. 

That being said, there is nothing left but to thank you for your attention up to this point.

I hope I have been helpful, and I wish you many moments of joy and satisfaction in the company of your beloved dog.

If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to share it with your friends.  

Until next time!

A big hug.

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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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