All of the sudden, my dog isn’t eating his food. What should I do?

There are many, many possible causes for this. So, let me go through a few of the most possible.

First, how long has it been? If everything else seems to be “normal” with your pet, it’s okay to go up to 24 hours without eating. It’s possible he has the flu.

Of course, look for missing toys. It’s possible one has been ingested, and now has an intestinal obstruction.

Next, check his temperature. (Normal is 101-102.5.) If you don’t have a thermometer to use, check her ears. They should be warm close to the head, cool at the tip. If they’re warm all the way to the tip, it’s possible your little guy has fever. If so, get your pet to the vet. (If your pet is a puppy who isn’t fully vaccinated, you could be dealing with Parvo. RUN to your vet’s office!)

If there is any vomiting or diarrhea, lift up the skin on the back of his/her neck – it should instantly go back down. If it doesn’t, they could be dehydrated. Call your vet and tell them the situation.

Of course, your dog could just be finicky – he’s trying to tell you something about that yucky kibble someone keeps sticking in his dish! (I think he’s saying, GO TO and whip me up something worth eating!)

23 thoughts on “All of the sudden, my dog isn’t eating his food. What should I do?

  1. i think my dog might be dehydrated and/or have parvo hes not eating. I left him home with lots of water and food but ants got his food and he tipped over his water when i got home he is very lathargic and not eating and i cant afford a vet please reply p.s. please help

    • You could have a very serious problem. Check his temperature, check if he is dehydrated. Take away all food and water for 24 hours. If he’s worse AT ANY POINT or starts vomiting, you have a medical emergency and need to figure out how to get help fast. Good luck! This is a scary situation.

  2. for the last week or so my dog has been very picky when she eats… now the last few days she take forever to eat. today all she’s done is walk up to her food, sniffed it ( i guess ) and walks away. She has not been sick as in throwing up nor does she have diahrrea(sp). Any reason why she’s acting this way? any help would be appreicated.. could she be tried of the type dog food i have???

    • There is definitely a problem here. Either there’s something wrong with the food, or she is sick. Often liver disease won’t have any obvious signs, except loss of appetite. But, other conditions can be similar – kidney disease, a walking pneumonia type of infection. I highly recommend you take your baby to the vet, and check on-line if your food either has a recall or isn’t recalled but is implicated in pets getting sick.

  3. I’ve noticed my dog hasn’t been eating his food. I’m new to owning a dog, this is my first time, and I don’t know a lot I just know pretty much the basics .
    Anyways, he doesn’t eat his food I leave him food then go to school when I come back he didn’t touch anything neither the water. I’m thinking its probably the food brand he probably doesn’t like it, but I don’t know exactly. I’m worried about him. But he’s also been coughing lately, I thought he probably eats stuff from the floor, so I try to make it as clean as possible but he still seems to cough a couple of times a week (maybe 1 – 3)
    Please help I’m worried.

    • I’m really worried too!! This is serious and I think he needs to be seen. It could be he doesn’t like his food, but I would expect him to drink water. This could be very serious – liver disease, kidney disease, pneumonia. I’m worried about dehydration. Coughing – could be a sign of bacterial or fungal pneumonia, heartworm disease, an obstruction. Please take your baby to the vet ASAP. Good luck!! When you get things all figured out and it’s time to think about food, a good place to look for info about pet food to know what’s a good brand to feed – truth about pet food.

  4. Hi- I have a 5 month old Wheaten Terrier and started with feeding him Puppy Chow because that’s what the breeder did. Then we did a mix of that and Blue Buffalo to try and switch him to Blue. He always loved it and ate it right up for over a month. All of a sudden he seems uninterested and will take few bites and not want to finish the rest. This has been the past 4 days. Slowly he’ll go back to it, but over hours time. Sometimes finishing it and sometimes not. There are no other signs of illness. He drinks plenty of water, always wants to play, isn’t lethargic or warm or anything. We thought maybe he didn’t like the mix anymore and went to a fresh bag of Blue Buffalo puppy food. Any thoughts? We don’t understand why he won’t eat like he used to.

    • A few different things can cause the change in appetite: mold in the food, a new mixture in the bag, stomach ache from the food. Why don’t these things happen right away? They take time to develop. A secret about many commercial pet foods – they do what’s called regrind – when they have old bagged food about to expire, it is ground up and put back into new bags. Something as easy as regrind can make food taste off. If you have pet food container, try washing that. Hard to tell, but he’s telling you loud and clear this is no longer acceptable. Let’s find something that is comparable, or better than Blue Buffalo – go to a specialty/boutique pet food store – much better selection of high quality foods there. (Or, you can cook ;))

  5. I have a 7month old puppy who loves to jump and bark at you every time he seesyou…all of a sudden he doesn’t eat his food not active…didn’t make a sound…what is going on

  6. heloo..i have a german shepherd 7 months old dog..he is been good all the time healthy and naughty but right from 4days he is not been taking any food,he is just drinking really worried abt him i called up mu vet and he gave him injections yesterday and some syrup bt he is not having anythng to eat…atlast iv got him injectd glucose from 2days..plzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help really worried abt him…thank you

    • Being a cute young puppy, something to worry about is a foreign body, or intestinal obstruction. I highly advise taking him back to the vet to have further diagnostics. Perhaps it is as easy as worms, but this could be quite serious.

      Good luck with your baby, Dr. Cathy

  7. Same scenario as Jen on June 14th. We just moved into a new home and have a boxer (9 months). She’s been eating Blue Buffalo food since she was a puppy and that was what the breeder was feeding her. We switched wilderness flavors from salmon to duck and thought that may be it, so we switched back to salmon which she seemed to gobble down before. Over the past week she has just been nibbling at her food and not eating all of it like she used to, but she continues to play, run around, chews on ice cubes, drinks water, and takes her treats. She appears to be begging when we eat, but she has never been given table food. She isn’t dehydrated and her gums look normal, as well as normal stool and pee. Could it possibly be a bad bag of Blue? It’s pretty expensive and we are trying to avoid having to get another bag of high quality food. We are also wondering if it could be the heat we are experiencing in our area or if she is just getting bored with the food. Should we try to add some wet dog food, rice or something to maybe entice her to eat it?

    • Does it make anyone scratch their head that all of these dogs are going off of Blue Buffalo? When the company was asked, they said their vitamin/mineral mix could be sourced from China. So, think about that. Dogs with good appetites don’t suddenly get picky unless something is going on. There certainly can always be a bad bag of any brand of food. Although you’ve never given people food, people food meat and veggies can be quite healthy. There are many other brands of high quality dog food that source ALL of their ingredients from developed countries – I’d try looking there. The heat will make her less hungry, but not totally. If she doesn’t want to eat it, why bribe her? She’s telling you something :)

  8. Hi dog doesnt eat the food I gave her since last week, by that time also blood starting to come out from her vagina..I think she’s having her period,.does it affect her appetite? She’s not dehydrated..we feed her what we eat..pls I need your help

    • Accurately, dogs don’t have periods like humans. It is called a heat, or estrus, cycle because when they bleed, they are fertile, whereas in humans, we are not fertile during the bleeding. Yes, it is common to not be very excited about food during a heat cycle. What’s important is that she has energy and is drinking. If she is not, then there may be a medical emergency. For example, intact females can also bleed when they have an infection in their uterus – this infection can be life threatening. Good luck with your girl!

  9. Greetings doc,I’ve briefed myself w/ the above postings and to no avail my dog seems to have similar symptoms with the fact that she’s not eating.we went back to the original brand of food and no help there,she is on a limited ingredient diet,she does do plenty of drinking and now we noticed that on her bedding she is leaving a discharge,the vet is scheduled for first thing in the morning,but there is no harm in educating ones self.take note she’s not allowed chicken or grains and we don’t allow table food,she enjoys her duck and sweet potatoes,the only thing she will ingest is her snacks but not with the same spunk she normally has..each one teach one,thanks a million

    • Geez!

      Hard to know what’s going on. If she’s intact then the discharge can mean anything up to a uterine infection. If she’s spayed, then it can be a bladder infection or leaky bladder which female dogs get when they are older. Drinking more water could be anything from its hot out, a change in the food with more salt, diabetes, infection, and so on. Glad you are going to your vet in the am. Good luck!

  10. I have a 6 month old puppy. He is normally very hyper and playful. For 2 days he has been lazy and sleeps most of the time. Since last night he will not eat or drink anything. This evening he started puking bile. I have given him water through a medicine dropper. Hes puked a total of 4 times since this evening and we have no vets open in my area right now unless we come up with 150 just to have a vet meet us at the office(which I dont have). His ears are very cold and he wont open his eyes all the way for longer than a half a minute. I am so helpess and dont know what to do!! I need help on what I can do until the vet opens in the morning so I can take him and get some help

  11. Mah dog isn’t eating anything from yesterday… he has become very weak… as he is drinking little water and den vomiting…i am tensed wat shd I do??? Plz help me…

  12. My Golden’s 6 months old, and he used to eat SO MUCH when he was younger, but then this vet we had for a while overdosed him with vaccines, and now he’s lost his appetite quite a bit. He thinks for a while before eating, doesn’t show much interest in food anymore and I think he’s started to lose weight? His new doctor, who actually helped with the overdose problem, asked us not to worry and not to force him if he doesn’t eat. Is it normal for dogs to not want to eat the same food they liked when they were younger, or to not want to eat 3 times a day?

    • This has me very concerned. I usually think of two conditions when this happens: stomach ulcers or inflammatory bowel syndrome. If you’re vet was able to help with over vaccinating then your vet will be able to help with the potential of a stomach ulcer. The medication could be anything from sucralfate, to an herbal blend, to licorice. Hopefully it is not inflammatory bowel syndrome because this will be the beginning of some serious issues. Instead, let’s hope that your dog now has an aversion to the food you are feeding and let’s go for another brand. Have you tried feeding people food, or a raw diet? I agree with you, it is not logical for a six-month old golden retriever to stop eating food. They are big food eaters!

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