Have Your Dogs Lost Their Appetite? Here's How to Get Them Eating Again

Visit with your veterinarian if the issue persists longer than a day.

dog laying on white carpet living room
Photo: Przemyslaw Iciak / EyeEm / Getty Images

Pets are members of the family, so keeping a close eye on how they're feeling is so important. Since our four-legged friends can't tell us if something is wrong, it's essential that we keep an eye on things like their sleep habits and appetite. If your dog isn't eating as normal, don't worry—at least not right away. An occasional skipped meal isn't alarming, says Carlo Siracusa, associate professor of clinical animal behavior and welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

If Cosmo hasn't eaten for a day or more and is exhibiting unusual signs (GI issues, lethargy), then it's time to see your vet to rule out an illness. Ryeon Kim, pet expert and founder of Little Beast, explains that loss of appetite can be due to a health-related condition. "If you notice your dog has irregular stool or is eating grass, it is recommended to go see a veterinarian right away," he explains.

"Appetite loss can also be behavioral, especially from stress-based issues like separation anxiety or fears," Siracusa shares. Other life circumstances can cause you dog to worry, too: "The lack of eating can absolutely be a sign of stress, [especially] when adopting a new animal or if you are experiencing any significant life changes," adds Jessica Jane MacMurchy, adoption coordinator at Animal Charity of Ohio. Try staying close by during meal-time, or setting the bowl in a quiet room where he feels safe.

Two more ideas: Add a spoonful of low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt or canned pumpkin to his kibble; or offer a food-filled toy, which provides stimulation that could rev up his appetite. MacMurchy also suggests making plain cooked chicken or steamed white rice as other food options to help get your dog regain their appetite.

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