A dog with no health problems always has a cheerful mood and good appetite. An adult animal needs to be fed up to 2 times a day, puppies and young dogs need more frequent meals. In the case when the four-legged friend has refused to eat once, you should not panic, since one missed feeding is not critical. But if the animal refuses to eat for more than 1.5 or 2 days, the owner should sound the alarm, because perhaps his pet is seriously ill.
Reasons for a dog’s refusal to eat
The animal can refuse food in many cases, both completely harmless and threatening the dog with death. The owner must carefully observe his four-legged friend and, in case of serious signs of malaise, show the animal to the veterinarian.
There are the following reasons for a dog’s loss of appetite:
- Change of the usual feed… Some animals are very sensitive to changes in diet. In the event that the owner of the dog has acquired a different brand of food, instead of the usual for his pet, the animal may refuse to eat the new food. A dog on a natural diet may also be reluctant to eat his lunch if a new ingredient is added to the food.
- Frequent snacking… It is not recommended to feed the animal between meals, especially when the dog receives tidbits from the master’s table. In this case, she can easily refuse to eat her food.
- Feeding poor quality food… Foods that are too salty or acidic are unlikely to be eaten by your pet, so you need to check the quality of the food every time before giving it to your dog.
- Diseases of the oral cavity… The pain felt with a broken tooth, infections of the palate, gums are serious reasons for refusing to eat.
- Infectious and viral diseases… Almost all diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms lead to loss of appetite. A serious reason for contacting a veterinarian is not only complete loss of appetite, but also other symptoms (fever, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, discharge from the eyes, nose, etc.).
- Signs of poisoning… Food or chemical intoxication can be very dangerous for your pet’s health. Signs of poisoning are: refusal to eat, vomiting with foam, bile, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness.
- Diseases of the kidneys, stomach and intestines… Acute renal failure, pyelonephritis, duodenal ulcer, stomach, intestinal obstruction – cause not only loss of appetite in the dog, but also seriously threaten the life of a four-legged friend.
- The presence of parasites in the body… Worm diseases adversely affect the health of the pet. In a sick dog, in addition to a lack of appetite, other symptoms are also observed (an increase in the size of the abdominal cavity, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pallor of the mucous membranes).
Some animals are highly emotionally sensitive and may refuse to eat if they are depressed, sad, or during sexual desire. Often, separation (even short-term) from the owner is the main reason that the dog stops eating. During sexual desire, animals, especially males, often do not eat for a long time. In this case, you should not worry about the health of the pet, as soon as the sex drive subsides, the dog will regain its excellent appetite.
With serious symptoms of various diseases, one should not expect that the animal will recover on its own and in no case should it be force-fed. The best option would be to call the veterinarian at home, so the dog will be less exposed to stressful situations.
What to do if your dog has no appetite
If the reluctance to eat is not associated with infectious, viral, helminthic diseases, serious poisoning, you can help the animal yourself. In any other cases, it is dangerous to engage in self-diagnosis and treatment, the animal must be entrusted to the veterinarian.
You can influence the improvement of appetite as follows:
- Skip feeding. Within 24 hours, do not offer the dog absolutely any food (especially treats from the table). Clean and fresh water must be freely available. In most cases, one skipped meal is enough to restore the previous appetite.
- Diversify your dog’s diet. Introduce more healthy products into the animal’s food (sour milk, by-products, fresh vegetables, fish), since an unbalanced diet can serve as a refusal to take feed.
- Reduce the portion of food. If the dog leaves food in the bowl, the food portion may be too large and the animal simply cannot eat it.
- Monotonous food. Feeding your pet with rice or buckwheat alone can cause reluctance to eat. Having diversified the diet with other cereals, meat and vegetables, it is quite possible to return the animal’s appetite in the shortest possible time.
- Increase the duration of the walk, the intensity of physical activity. Usually, after long and active walks, the dog greedily pounces on the food offered to it.
- With obvious signs of poisoning (when the animal is not in serious condition), the stomach is washed with baking soda or a solution of (weak) potassium permanganate and activated charcoal is given at the rate of 1 tablet per 10 kg of the pet’s weight. In severe conditions of poisoning, the dog is urgently shown to the veterinarian.
When to see a doctor
An animal can go without food for a long time. As a rule, 1 or 2 days of fasting does not adversely affect the health of the pet, but if the dog refuses food for more than 2 days, loss of appetite is accompanied by other signs, you should sound the alarm – the animal is sick.
Immediate help from a veterinarian is needed if a lack of appetite occurs with the following symptoms:
- feverish conditions;
- diarrhea (with mucus, blood);
- blanching, yellowing of the mucous membranes;
- purulent discharge from the nose, eyes;
- vomiting of blood, bile, foam;
- unsteadiness of gait, convulsive states;
- severe soreness of the animal’s body;
- constant lying of the dog on one side;
- violation of the process of urination (frequent, decreased or complete cessation of urination);
- refusal of water.
Some owners, on the advice of their friends or relatives, begin to self-medicate the animal and make fatal mistakes. One of the most common tips for a quick pet recovery is to pour vodka into the dog’s mouth. In no case should this be done, because an alcohol-containing liquid will not cure a sick dog, but will provoke a burn of the mucous membrane of the esophagus and stomach.
A dog with no health problems will have an excellent appetite. In cases where the animal is worried about something, it refuses any food and even delicacies, an urgent need to take action. It is strictly forbidden to treat a pet on your own, using medications intended for humans, as well as recipes for traditional medicine. A sick friend must be shown to a veterinarian, who, based on the diagnostics performed, will select an effective treatment for the animal and return the dog a good appetite.