Dogs will occasionally forego food due to a number of factors. Limited, short-term fasting is a tool used by all animals for many different reasons. A minor illness, anxiety, and a bad meal are a few situations that might cause your dog to skip a meal or two. Short periods of fasting in dogs are an evolutionary behavior handed down from wolves, their direct ancestors. Wolves and other wild animals, if they’re not feeling well, will fast without thinking about it. Short-term fasting has beneficial cleansing processes, which can rid the body of unwanted disease, virus and other harmful substances.
But extended appetite loss in dogs is more troubling. If your pet hasn’t eaten food for more than two days, you should take it to the vet immediately.
Primary Causes of Loss of Appetite in Dogs
The true cause of your dog’s appetite loss can be determined by your veterinarian. Before finding a canine appetite stimulant, it helps to pinpoint the exact cause. Depending on your dog, there can be be less serious conditions that may cause your dog to lose his appetite, but there are also a variety of reasons that may be more serious. Any of these conditions can cause dogs to stop eating for extended periods of time:
- Picky Eater
- Eating Something He Shouldn’t
- Upset stomach
More Serious Reasons
- Favoring Human Food
- Serious illness – cancer, diabetes, intestinal worms, renal failure
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Excessive stress
- Digestive issues or IBD
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
When Should I See My Vet?
A loss of appetite in dogs can signal serious underlying issues. But before overreacting, you must get a solid estimate of your pet’s daily food intake. If it seems your dog isn’t eating enough, don’t hit the panic button just yet. Many pets routinely take in anywhere from 60% – 90% of the recommended caloric guidelines. And remember, your dog may have simply skipped a meal or two – that doesn’t qualify as appetite loss, according to the strict definition.
So before figuring out a cure for a loss of appetite in your dog, you must confirm that your dog is indeed suffering lethargic or disinterested eating habits. Many wasted trips to the vet could’ve been avoided by simply establishing a solid baseline of canine eating habits. Numerous veterinarian visits have ended with the realization that a dog has been eating enough all along!
If your dog is starting to experience vomiting, diarrhea, behavioral changes, or weight loss, it’s time to see your veterinarian. Depending on how severe the situation is, your vet may take a stool sample, run blood work, or even do an ultrasound to see what could be causing the loss of appetite and weight loss.
How Do I Get My Dog to Eat?
If your dog is getting too accustomed to human food and treats, it’s important to stop feeding your dog those immediately so that he’s not disinterested in his own dog food. Sometimes it’s a matter of making small changes like switching the place that you typically put your dog’s food bowl to entice him to eat. You may also to try feeding him a new brand of dog food to see if that does the trick.
Dog Appetite Stimulants
An appetite stimulant for dogs can be a valuable tool if your dog experiences a sudden or gradual loss of appetite. Mirtazapine is a commonly prescribed medicine to stimulate a dog’s appetite. The main purpose of Mirtazapine is as an antidepressant, but it also serves a range of other conditions. Since many pet owners are becoming more hesitant to the use of prescription medicines, many are turning to natural supplements for stimulating appetite.
A healthy, robust appetite is not only essential for your dog’s well-being – it’s also a sure-fire indicator that your pet is in the best possible health. Nothing gives an owner greater confidence in their dog’s health than a regular, established, healthy eating plan. Be sure to talk to your vet about different options to help encourage your dog to start eating more and gaining weight.
Appetite is partially controlled by your dog’s ability to harness key antioxidants and phytochemicals from certain foods. This “sub-level” of nutrition is layered underneath the obvious benefits of getting enough vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and other macronutrients.
What we cannot see in our dog’s nutritional habits and regular eating regimen often have the most long-lasting impact. That’s why it is imperative to ensure your dog is getting the best possible nutrition, day in and day out.