If your puppy is not eating, you might be quick to worry. After all, puppies need to eat much more than adult dogs because their bodies are consistently growing. Puppies also love to eat! So, if your puppy isn’t gobbling up their meals right away or if they seem hesitant to eat at all, this could be a cause for concern. Here are some tips to help your puppy eat a consistent diet.
Why is My Puppy Not Eating?
Most puppies will eat just about anything you give them. Yet, puppies don’t feel hunger the same way humans do. So, if they’re busy doing other things, they might not even think about eating. However, there are also some more severe reasons as to why puppies might not eat regular meals. The following reasons are problems that should be addressed as soon as possible.
The most common reason that puppies don’t eat is stress. When you first bring a new puppy or even an adult dog home, they’ll likely be confused and scared. Changes can be stressful for any dog, which can make them not want to eat even if they’re hungry. Most dogs need time to adjust to their new homes, so don’t worry if they don’t fall into a regular routine right away. It’s best to just make the transition as gradual and easy for them as possible.
If your puppy usually has a big appetite, but they suddenly stop eating, it could be due to a severe illness. Digestive problems, organ dysfunction, and respiratory infections are examples of illnesses that could stop your dog from eating. Oftentimes, these health concerns will be accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy, and excessive thirst. So, keep an eye out for unusual behaviors and consult your vet if your dog shows no improvements.
In addition to illness, pain could also be a factor for your puppy not eating. The most common type of pain is dental disease. If anything is wrong with your pup’s teeth or mouth, they might avoid eating because it hurts too much. Other types of injury, such as splinters, growing pains, or fractures, could also prevent them from eating normally. If this is the case, you might notice your dog trying not to put pressure on a specific area of their body, or they might yelp if you touch a sensitive spot.
Vaccinations are the key to keeping your pup healthy, but they might be uncomfortable at first. They can cause pain and a loss of appetite for the first day or so, but those side effects should go away not long after. It’s best to just let your dog rest after getting their shots.
Another common reason that a dog might not eat their food is pickiness. Some dogs are naturally picky eaters, so they might not like the food you’re giving them. If it’s a low-quality brand of kibble, it’s not unusual for a dog to turn their nose at the smell of it. So, if your dog is uninterested in the food you’re serving, you might need to try something else or find a way to make it more appealing for them.
How to Help Your Puppy Eat More
Regardless of the reason your puppy isn’t eating, there are always ways to help them get into a healthier habit. It can be a pain to make changes in your dog’s routine, but it will make them healthier in the long run. So, here are some tips you can try to help your puppy eat normally.
Try a New Food
Oftentimes, switching your dog’s food can help them eat better and make them healthier. Dry dog food is the most common type of dog food, but it’s very processed and packed with many unnecessary fillers. So, while it’s much pricier, your dog will be healthier on a wet food or fresh food diet. If those options are too pricey for you at the moment, just make sure you choose a kibble with high-quality ingredients. A high-quality kibble brand should be high in protein and nutrients, but have minimal carbs and no by-products.
Make Their Food More Appealing
If you don’t want to waste the dry dog food that you already have, you can find ways to make it healthier and tastier for the time being. A lot of dog parents will mix the food with a healthy topper or with a little bit of wet food. This can help enhance the flavor for picky dogs while also adding nutrients to the food. It’s also a good idea to mix up the flavor of the food once in a while so your puppy doesn’t get bored with the taste.
Stick to a Schedule
Schedules are beneficial for a dog’s diet. Some dog parents let their puppies just freely eat throughout the day, but this can confuse your dog and not make their diet consistent. So, decide on specific times to feed your dog and stick to those times. When you offer your puppy food and they don’t eat it, wait about 20 minutes and then put it away until their next meal. It might sound unreasonable at first, but it can help get your puppy in the habit of eating regularly. If your dog still doesn’t want to eat during any of these meals, then they might have something more severe wrong with them.
Visit the Vet
If your dog is more than just picky or stressed, you’ll know. They’ll likely experience more unusual behaviors and symptoms along with their reluctance to eat. And even if they clearly seem hungry, they might still avoid their meals. This can be a scary situation for most dog parents, so a vet visit is crucial in these situations. Talking to the vet can be expensive, but it’s necessary for keeping your dog healthy. A vet will be able to look more closely at your dog and run tests as needed. That way, your dog will be feeling better in no time!
If Your Puppy is Not Eating, Don’t Panic!
It’s easy to worry when things don’t go as planned. Whenever something is wrong with our furry friends, it’s impossible not to stress about it. However, if this happens to your pup, take a deep breath and consider all the factors. In most cases, your puppy will just be scared, stressed, or picky. With proper care, you can help your dog overcome these challenges and get back to a regular diet.