Loss of Appetite in Dogs

The loss of appetite in dogs is a symptom that can indicate a number of things going wrong within his body. If you look for other signs, you can help your furry friend feel better.

What is Loss Of Appetite in Dogs?

The loss of appetite or inappetence in dogs is a condition when a dog begins to eat less than he normally does, loses his interest in food, or stops eating completely. Dogs can have a number of reasons why they may experience a loss of appetite, ranging from stress, minor stomach aches, or digestive upset to more serious problems, such as foreign bodies or bowel obstructions or even an internal illness. If you try to look for other signs of illness in addition to the loss of appetite, you can determine if the cause is serious.

For dogs that are picky eaters and not keen to eat their food, there may be signs that they are still interested in eating. You may find that they are showing increased signs of begging food scraps or treats. The reason is that they are still hungry, but trying to avoid meals. Stress can cause a decrease or loss of appetite. Dogs may still beg for treats or may feel stressed or agitated or look nervous.

In more serious cases, additional symptoms may happen at the same time as a loss of appetite. Dogs may become very lethargic or tired, either due to illness or from the loss of energy of not eating. Vomiting or diarrhea may occur, or your pet may attempt to do both of these things without producing any vomit or stool. Dogs may also hunch their backs or guard their abdomen- a sign that their stomachs are not feeling well.

In emergency cases, the loss of appetite may progress to a high distress situation. If your dog appears very bloated, painful or shows signs of extreme stress, such as heavy panting, whining, blue tongue or loss of consciousness, it is an emergency that should be taken seriously.

Can I Prevent My Dog From Losing His Appetite?

The loss of appetite in minor cases of stress or picky eating can be prevented. For dogs that are picky eaters or unsure of trying out a new food, a gradual change to the new food can help ease stress on the stomach and encourage your dog to eat. You should gradually try to introduce new food by mixing it with their old favorite until your dog feels comfortable with it. If you can add some “snacks” along with food or mixed with regular food, such as plain chicken, a dog-safe gravy, or a few soft treats, you can entice your picky eaters.

In the case of stress, time may be the best way to deal with a loss of appetite problem in your furry friend. However reducing or preventing the stress in the first place may prevent an interruption in eating. If you can provide objects that smell like home, give your dog a place to go to and hide if needed, or just reassure and work in a calm manner in the new situation, you can help dogs adjust more quickly.

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Low Appetite?

Depending on the cause of the loss of appetite, treatment and approach may vary. If your dog has only lost his appetite for a meal or does not show any signs of illness, then you would want to wait for a period of time to solve the problem. Missing a meal is usually OK in dogs (small dogs prone to hypoglycemia can be the exception); however, if the pattern continues for more than a day, there may be another underlying problem.

For dogs that had a minor vomiting or diarrhea episode, replacing a meal with a bland diet of plain boiled chicken, turkey or hamburger mixed with plain rice can help soothe minor upset stomachs. However, if the vomiting or diarrhea continues or your dog refuses the meal, this should be considered a sign of something more serious.

It would help to make an appointment with your vet if the condition continues for more than a few days or appears to be caused by a health issue. Your vet will likely perform a complete exam looking for places that may be sore or painful from illness and may recommend additional tests, such as a stool sample, X-ray, or blood work.

These tests can help determine the cause of symptoms, including parasites, foreign bodies, organ problems, or illness. The treatment depends on the cause of symptoms and may range from a simple deworming medication to take home medications and subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids to full-blown hospitalization and IV fluids. Your dog may be encouraged to eat at home or in a hospital with a special diet of calorie-dense foods.

Natural Remedies for Treating Loss of Appetite

Some vitamin deficiencies may cause a lack of appetite in dogs, such as deficiency of Vitamin A. By ensuring a balanced all-natural diet, you can provide the best natural remedy for the loss of appetite. Some herbs may also improve appetite by soothing the stomach and removing parasites, such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Golden Rod and Ladies Mantle. A blend of herbs to create an appetite stimulating sauce can include orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, almond oil, and bergamot. These highly acidic ingredients may improve overall digestion, thus helping increase appetite.

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