Five steps to check when your dog stops eating

Posted by Bonnie Senior on 23 March, 2015

Dogs love to eat, that's why when we see a meal that isn't finished or hardly touched, it can raise our concerns. Many, many problems can cause dogs to not touch their food — some are trivial but others are potentially life-threatening.

Knowing if we need to take immediate action or do some watchful waiting can prevent your dog from suffering and unnecessary vet expenses. 

1. Look back at the past few days

Think back at the past few days and see if you can remember if something has occurred that might be responsible for your dog's lost desire to eat. Some examples can be: 

- a change in diet

- an overturned bin 

- changed environment

- have you noticed any other symptoms that may be related? 

Make a note of when your dog first showed symptoms and if they're not looking/ feeling too well after 24-48 hours, calling a vet is probably the right thing to do.


2. Ask the other people that look after the dog about possible causes 

You may not be the only person to look after the dog, so ask others who have taken care of the dog about any possible causes.For example: 

- eating something strange during a walk

- they were sick when they were around the dog

- interacted with some other dogs


3. Examine your dog

You can perform a short physical exam on your dog to help see if there is a problem.

- Gently press your dogs belly. It should be soft and your dog should not react in pain.

- Look for evidence of diarrhea in the fur around the rectum or vomit around the mouth. 

- Their gums should be pink (unless pigmented) and moist. 

- Dry or pale mucous membranes can be a symptom of dehydration and/or other serious conditions. 

If you find anything worrisome as you examine your dog, please call your vet immediately. 


4. Inspect the food

Remember that when you feed a commercially prepared or homemade diet, there may be something wrong with the food itself. This is especially true if your dog has just been fed their first meal of the new batch of food. Check if the food looks or smells "off," if so, try feeding your dog again a different lot of food. Making a diet change at this point is not recommended since it will be difficult to determine if your dog is not eating because they do not like the new food or is unwell.


5. When in doubt, call your vet

It's always better to be cautious than have a bigger problem later that is more serious.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Information Source:  Petmd

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