My Dog Stopped Eating – Is Something Wrong?

If your dog has stopped eating, should you worry? While the majority of adult dogs can safely skip meals for a couple of days, most pet owners are understandably concerned if their canine companion displays an abrupt change in eating habits. Anorexia, the term veterinarians use to describe an animal’s loss of appetite, can have several causes. It may require a little detective work and some assistance from your vet to discover the reason behind your pet’s problem.


Like you, your dog is often less inclined to eat when he is under the weather. Sometimes the culprit is a minor bug that passes quickly, but anorexia can also be a red flag for serious conditions like cancers, kidney failure, liver problems and certain systemic infections. If you’re concerned or your dog’s anorexia persists, it’s wise to discuss the matter with your vet.

Vaccinations or Medications

Although they are necessary to promote good health, vaccinations and medications can sometimes trigger temporary, unpleasant reactions in animals. If your pet has recently been vaccinated or medicated, check to see if loss of appetite is a known side effect.

Behavior Issues

If your dog is uncomfortable with his feeding situation, he may refuse to chow down. Changes in feeding bowls, foods or schedules or the presence of other animals can throw a wrench in mealtime. Pets who are allowed to snack during the day or who are prone to snitching unguarded food may also skip meals because they simply aren’t hungry.

Black Labrador Eating from a Dog Bowl

Recent Upheavals

Dogs tend to be creatures of habit, so changes that disturb their routine can throw off their appetites. If you have recently done some traveling, moved to a new location or relocated your dog’s food bowl, it may take him a few days to regain his interest in food.

Food Quality

Whether you use a canned or dry variety, dog food can spoil. If it smells or looks off, it may be worth trying a new batch of food to see if that fixes the problem.

There are many potential causes for a dog’s poor appetite. While some are minor troubles with easy fixes, others can be serious problems that require immediate attention to protect your pet’s health. If your dog has stopped eating, try to determine the cause and take corrective action. If you fear your pet is ill or can’t easily identify the issue, schedule an appointment with your vet. We’ll work with you to solve the mystery and assist you in getting your chow hound back to his bowl.

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