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Why isn't my dog ​​eating? Reasons and solutions

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Dog owners are often faced with the challenge when their beloved four-legged friend refuses to eat. A missed bowl can have a variety of causes, and it's important to differentiate between harmless loss of appetite and potentially serious problems. In this article we will revisit the known information and offer further insights and solutions.

Why do dogs refuse their food? An overview

Psychological causes:

Dogs are emotional creatures, and changes in their living environment can lead to stress and loss of appetite. A change in routine, the loss of a beloved friend or too many new impressions can cause psychological stress for our furry companion.

  • Change in routine: A new daily routine can cause stress.
  • Loss of a beloved friend/grief: The death of a friend can affect appetite.
  • Too many new impressions: Dogs react sensitively to changes in their environment.
  • Puberty and heat: Hormonal changes can affect appetite.

The food:

The type and quality of the feed play a crucial role. A sudden change in food, food that is too cold or too hot, or spoiled food can affect appetite. The dog's preferences regarding taste and consistency also play a role.

  • Changing food: A sudden change in food can cause displeasure.
  • Food temperature: Cold or too hot food can be off-putting.
  • Spoiled feed: The quality of the feed plays a crucial role.
  • Foodie Tendencies: Dogs can become picky, especially about certain flavors.

Medical causes:

Pain, inflammation or serious illness can lead to food refusal. Toothache, problems in the gastrointestinal tract or immunological diseases should be carefully examined.

  • Teeth and oral cavity: Pain in the mouth can make eating uncomfortable.
  • Abdominal pain and larynx: Internal pain can reduce appetite.
  • Inflammation: Various inflammations in the body can affect the dog.
  • Immunological and endocrinological diseases: Disorders of the immune or hormonal system can play a role.
  • Cancer: Loss of appetite can be an early indicator of serious illness.

The food in focus

A very common reason for refusing to eat is the food itself. Because, like us, dogs are creatures of habit , but on the other hand they can also simply get fed up with their food - in the truest sense of the word.

It may be that you have been feeding dog food with chicken for a long time. But that doesn't mean that your dog generally likes poultry and also likes to eat duck and turkey. But if you've always stuck with the same flavor and your dog suddenly refuses to eat, switching to a different flavor is often the solution to the problem.

Another possibility is the temperature or consistency of the product. Did you store the food in the fridge? It may be too cold for your dog, too stiff or it no longer smells fresh. Make sure you find portion sizes that can be fed straight away.

Do you regularly spoil your dog with snacks and treats? In such cases, it may well be that your dog is already full, especially in smaller dog breeds where satiety occurs more quickly.

The case of satiety can just as easily occur in older dogs, as their energy requirements are much lower. Due to the lower activity, the amount of food is reduced and with it the appetite.

Last but not least, education plays an important role. If you immediately offer new food after turning up your nose for a moment, your four-legged friend will remember this and reject food more quickly. However, caution should be exercised here: inferior products often contain synthetic flavor enhancers based on sugar, among other things, which are often eaten as so-called "attractants". After that, switching to high-quality food is often more difficult.

"If we were served fast food for years and suddenly had to eat carrot soup, would we immediately recognize the added value?"

The positive news: Once the added value of your furry friend has been recognized, the inferior food is often spurned!

Psychological and medical causes examined in more detail

Dogs are highly sensitive and react to changes in their environment. A change in daily routine, whether due to moving or new family members, can cause stress. The loss of a beloved animal companion or human can also cause grief and loss of appetite.

In the case of medical causes, a thorough examination by a veterinarian is essential. Toothaches, stomach aches or other complaints can significantly affect the enjoyment of eating. In addition, serious illnesses such as cancer or immunological disorders can affect the dog's appetite.

It is important to watch for signs of pain or discomfort. If you want more detailed information about this, then look here:

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How do I find out why my dog ​​isn't eating?

  1. Observation: A healthy dog ​​can go without food for a few days. However, if there are certain signs, you should consult a veterinarian.
  2. Inspection: Check his mouth, body and food for possible problems. Possible problems could include loose teeth, sore gums, parasites, injuries or lumps.
  3. Dog food: Check the freshness and quality of the food.
  4. Environment: Be aware of toxic substances within the dog's reach.
  5. Treat management: Check your reward habits and possible leftovers.

Dog won't eat - what to do?

10 tips to stimulate your appetite

  1. Set feeding times: Create a fixed feeding schedule with regular times and stick to it consistently. This creates routine and structure for your dog. We generally recommend distributing the amount of food 2-3 times a day so that hunger is divided.

  2. Time Limit: Remove the bowl if your dog hasn't eaten after about 10 minutes. This motivates the dog to eat his meal during the set time.

  3. Pay attention to food temperature: Warm wet food to room temperature, especially if your dog is sensitive to cold food. Even with dry food, it can be advantageous to warm the dry food in lukewarm water! This increases the smell and the positive side effect: the dog drinks enough while eating.

  4. Ensure feed quality and consistency: Quality can suffer due to longer storage times or storage in the refrigerator. Not only in terms of smell, shape and color but also changes in consistency that your furry friend rejects.

  5. Reducing treats: Reduce the number of treats to minimize excess calories and wean your dog off too many snacks.
  6. Change flavors: Change the flavor often, this brings variety in the bowl and stimulates your dog's taste again. NOTE: For allergy sufferers, care must of course be taken not to change the protein source, but only the composition of the food.

  7. Add additional ingredients: Simply mix in a few popular ingredients like broth, cottage cheese or yogurt to your food to spice up the flavor.

  8. Changing the feeding location: Change the place where you offer the food. Sometimes a new environment can stimulate your dog's appetite.

  9. Bowl change: Change the dog bowl. Sometimes noises or unpleasant experiences can affect the enjoyment of the food.

  10. Short training sessions before feeding: Do a small training session before feeding, be it mental or physical. This increases the anticipation of the meal.

There are now also a whole range of dietary supplements that are used specifically to stimulate the appetite. Many of them were specially developed by veterinarians.

However, before you buy something like this, you should definitely be clear about the actual cause of the loss of appetite. 

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There can be many reasons why a dog refuses food. A conscious look at the psychological, nutritional and medical aspects is crucial in order to be able to react appropriately.

our mission

Dog owners who either have an allergy sufferer at home or who feed alternative proteins for environmentally conscious reasons should also be offered variety in their bowl! That's why we offer all products in several flavors, an interplay of different ingredients, superfoods and high-quality protein sources.

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