Why Is My Dog Not Eating?

Your dog may stop eating because he feels queasy or ate something bad. If you’re wondering “why is my dog not eating,” one way to tell it’s not something more serious is if your pup bounces back to his normal self pretty quickly, says Megan E. McClosky

Your dog’s got a mild stomachache

Infectious diseases, like parvovirus, or conditions such as pancreatitis can be other reasons for your dog not eating, says Teller. Your pup may even have a life-threatening illness like gastric dilatation and volvulus, which causes the stomach to twist up so nothing passes—or even cancer.

Your dog has a more serious illness

Eating something they shouldn’t have could be another reason your dog won’t eat. Dogs are voracious eaters, so they often scarf things down they shouldn’t—like toys, tennis balls, and even tampons.

Your dog swallowed something

“Dogs do a great job of trying to mask pain but that could be another reason why a dog is not eating,” Teller explains. “Maybe it just hurts to have to get up and walk to the bowl, or to stand or even lean down to eat.”

Your dog is in pain

“Dental problems can cause trouble eating,” McClosky notes. “Dogs with dental problems may drop kibble, chew on one side, or drool excessively.” Older dogs are more affected, especially the smaller breeds, she adds, but any dog can develop a toothache (or even break a tooth).

Your dog has a toothache

Dogs aren’t that discriminating, but occasionally, when something has spoiled, your dog won’t eat it, Teller says. It could be a bad bag of kibble or maybe that chicken you boiled for your pup didn’t get cooked thoroughly.

Your dog’s food has gone bad

Sometimes vaccinations can cause mild lethargy or soreness, causing your pup’s appetite to dip temporarily, Teller notes, adding that this is a pretty rare event.

Your dog got a shot

Some dogs get highly excited or stressed while traveling, and then don’t want to eat. Or they suffer from motion sickness while in the car. “This typically resolves when the travel/car ride is over,” says Teller.

Your dog is away from home

Severe separation anxiety can put a dent in your pup’s appetite. “If a dog is so panicked when the owner leaves, he often doesn’t eat. When the owner comes home, the dog often greets the owner and then rushes to the bowl to eat.

Your dog is stressed

Does this sound like you? Your dog won’t eat her favorite kibble, so you switch brands. When she stops gobbling that up, you dress it up with something yummier, like cheese or chicken.

Your dog is holding out