Whether you’re a new or experienced dog owner, there can be plenty of things your puppy might do that could leave you feeling a little anxious. Often, these are not serious and can usually be explained in another, far less worrying way – but sometimes there can be genuine cause for concern. At that point, it’s important to know exactly what to do about it.
One change in the behaviour of puppies that often leaves owners scratching their heads and wondering whether or not it’s time to go to the vet is seeing their puppy, usually excited at mealtimes, is suddenly turning their nose up at their food.
If you’re currently noticing this in your own puppy, here are just a few things that could be behind it – and what you can do to help.
Why Isn’t My Puppy Eating?
There are a couple of less concerning reasons why your puppy may seem to be experiencing a lack of appetite, and they are – thankfully – a lot more common! We’ll take a look at these first.
Just as it takes humans a little while to adjust to any new situation, puppies take some time to adapt to new surroundings, too. If you’ve only recently brought your new puppy into your home, they may be experiencing a little anxiety or stress. Whilst you might be doing everything you can to make them feel welcomed and comfortable, they’re still bound to need some time to get used to their new home!
It’s fairly common for puppies to be unsure about their food when they’re first introduced into a new home, so if you’re still in the first few days of owning your new furry friend, they might just be reluctant to eat due to their unfamiliar surroundings. In these cases, they should quickly adapt and begin to show more interest at mealtimes after a short while, so don’t worry!
This could also be the case if you’ve had your puppy a little while, too. Have you or another member of your household recently returned to work? Has anyone new been visiting your house regularly? Changes in your puppy’s routine or environment could also be a cause of anxiety for them, and this can bring on a loss of appetite.
Secondly, we all think of our pups like our little canine children and, like children, sometimes they can just be fussy eaters! It’s worth considering that maybe your puppy just doesn’t like the food you’re putting down for them. We’ll go through a couple of different things you can do about this later on.
However, in some less common cases, there may be genuine cause for concern.
More serious causes behind a loss of appetite in puppies may include digestive infections, stomach obstructions, organ dysfunction, respiratory infections or other non-digestive pain.
Again, these are, fortunately, less common, though you still need to know what to look out for in your pup to determine whether or not they could be experiencing one of these issues – and when it’s time to seek the help of a vet.
What Can I Do To Get My Puppy To Eat Again?
Don’t panic right away. There’s a few different solutions you can try in order to get your puppy’s appetite back again!
Here are just a few.
Switch out their food! Perhaps your puppy just isn’t a fan of the food you’ve been feeding them. If you’ve been feeding them biscuits alone, perhaps try mixing in some wet puppy food – even just half a portion mixed up in their biscuits might make a difference. Otherwise, perhaps just switch to a different food brand altogether.
Offer some variety! Of course, it’s not advised to begin feeding your puppy human food all the time, but a little bit of boiled white rice (not too much, of course) or finely chopped/shredded, unseasoned chicken breast mixed in with their usual food could offer them an incentive to wolf down their dinner – and look at you for seconds!
Make it fun! One thing we all love about puppies is how playful they can often be, so why not try to make mealtimes fun for them too? There’s a whole range of interactive toys out there which can be filled with treats – try purchasing one and filling it with your puppies usual biscuits. The added playtime aspect of their dinner could turn eating into a more enjoyable activity for them – their appetite for fun might just bring their appetite for their dinner back!
When Is It Time To Head To The Vets?
If you’ve tried out the above solutions or have noticed some other worrying changes or symptoms in your dog, it might be time to head to a vet.
You should seek the help of a vet immediately if:
- Your puppy is repeatedly showing no interest in their food at all
- Your puppy has no or very little energy
- You have noticed dog toys, socks or other items missing or damaged
- Your puppy has started vomiting
- Your puppy has diarrhoea
- Your friends/neighbours dogs or other dogs in your home are also experiencing a loss of appetite
- You very recently got your puppy from a questionable source (Facebook, Gumtree, uncertified breeder, etc.)
- The inside of your puppy’s ears, whites of their eyes or gums appear yellow
These could all be signs that there could be cause for concern behind your puppy’s recent loss of appetite. To be on the safe side, you should get your puppy to a vet as soon as you can.
Owning a puppy comes with lots of different learning curves, and it can take some time for them to adapt to their new surroundings – and for you to get a feel for what ‘normal’ behaviour means to them. In many cases, a loss of appetite in puppies can be easily fixed or could return on its own and is nothing to worry about, but it’s always worth keeping a close eye on them and knowing when it could be more serious.