There are many circumstances that may cause your pooch to lose his appetite. Like us, dogs don't always like to eat when they're not feeling well. Your dog may not want to eat because of health issues, dental problems or as a side effect of a medication. No matter what the cause, it's best that every pet owner understands how to get a dog with no appetite to eat.
Typically it's a health issue that causes a dog to lose his appetite. This is a major problem, because not eating will deplete the dog's energy making it harder for his body to recover from the illness. Not eating may also lead to nutritional deficiencies that will cause Fido to feel even worse.
This could be an indication of a serious underlying health issue that requires medical attention.
If you already know the reason for the appetite decrease, you just need to find ways to entice your pup to eat. Remember that in this situation it is best to only offer small potions. You can increase the feedings as your dog begins to feel better. Eating too much too quickly could lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
READ MORE: 20 Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Eat
How to Get a Dog with No Appetite to Eat
Keep the Dog Hydrated
A dog can go days without food. Yes, his energy will be low, but it won't cause any serious issues. If your dog stops drinking water, it can cause major problems very quickly. Dehydration can even be life threatening if not treated fast enough.
When you're learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, you need to keep an eye out for the signs of dehydration. Look for:
- Sunken eyes
- Tacky, dry gums
- Loss of skin elasticity – you can test this by pinching the skin on the top of your dog's head; if it springs back quickly he is well hydrated, if it moves back in place slowly you need to bring him to the vet for IV fluids right away.
Hopefully, you'll realize quickly if your dog is not drinking enough fluids. Make sure there is plenty of fresh, clean water available for him. If he won't drink, try adding 1 tablespoon of low sodium beef or chicken broth to his water dish. Dogs are enticed by a strong scent, and adding a small amount of broth to Fido's water dish may just be the motivation he needs to take a drink.
Try Some Wet Dog Food
Moist dog food is another great way to keep your pet hydrated, and it's also a good way to tempt your dog when you're learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat. Canned food has a much stronger odor than dry kibble, which may entice Fido to take a few bites.
You can microwave the food for about 30 seconds to warm it, and this will bring out an even stronger aroma. Of course, this method will only work if your pup isn't used to eating canned food on a regular basis. If you don't have a can of dog food available, you can also moisten his hard kibble to make it seem like a brand new delicacy.
I always keep a couple of cans of wet dog food on hand, just in case one of our pups loses their appetite.
Add a small amount of water and 3 tablespoons of low sodium broth to his regular serving of dry food. The kibble will absorb the liquid, making it moist. The broth will add a stronger scent, which will hopefully be enough to coax your dog to eat a bit.
If you end up having to feed a moist diet for multiple days, Fido may get used to it and be reluctant to go back to his cold, hard kibble. As I explain in my video guide above, you will have to gradually transition him back to kibble by increasing the ratio of kibble to wet food slowly over the course of a few days.
Chicken and White Rice Is a Miracle Cure
When I was first learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, my veterinarian suggested chicken and rice. I was surprised, because I usually like to eat chicken and rice when my stomach is upset. It always helps to settle my stomach.
Why had I not thought of this before?
If you watch my video guide above, you'll hear the story of our Boxer, Chloe, who has to take 2 different medications to control a heart condition. One of these medications makes her stomach upset if it is empty. Unfortunately , Chloe is a stubborn girl who doesn't always want to eat a meal before taking her pill.
I was struggling to find a dish that would entice Chloe to eat when I needed her to and would also help to soothe her stomach when the medication makes her nauseous. I tried the chicken and rice trick after our vet recommended it, and it's been working like a charm every since.
All you have to do is boil a boneless chicken breast and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Then cook some brown or white rice according to the instructions on the packaging. Mix it together, and you have a healthy treat for sensitive tummies. I have some of my own recipes with chicken and rice if you'd like to try them (this, this, this, this and this).
The chicken gives a strong scent, but if Fido still isn't enticed to eat try adding 2 tablespoons of low-sodium broth to the dish. None of our dogs have every turned this meal away. Whenever I'm asked about how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, I always recommend chicken and rice.