Reasons Your Dog Stops Eating and What to Do About it

Posted by Jesse Tilner on

Reasons Your Dog Stops Eating and What to Do About it

Decreased appetite in dogs can be an indication of hyporexia, or on a more extreme level, complete loss of appetite means that your dog might be suffering from anorexia. Both instances can become stressful for pet parents as a decreased appetite can be a warning sign for an underlying medical condition. In this article, we will go over the reasons why dogs stop eating and what you can do about it.

Reasons Dogs Stop Eating

Three main factors can result in loss of appetite in dogs:

  • Medical
  • Issues with the food itself
  • Behavioral

Medical Reasons

There is an extensive list of possible medical causes that can result in hyporexia and anorexia in dogs. The following medical issues can cause pain, lethargy, nausea, and stress, which prevents your dog from eating its food.

  • Dental diseases
  • Vomiting
  • Oral pain
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Diarrhea
  • Pancreatitis
  • Infection
  • Upset stomach
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease
  • Fever
  • Cancer

If you notice your pup is low on energy, spends its days sleeping, and has stopped eating, the chances are that your dog is suffering from any of the aforementioned medical problems. If your dog hasn't eaten anything for over two days, visit the vet, and they'll run a medical exam to figure out what the issue might be.


Behavioral disorders like stress, anxiety, and fear can lead to a decreased appetite. What is considered stressful for dogs can be completely normal for humans. You never know what could trigger your dog's anxiety; therefore, you must be on the lookout for the signs early on. Intimidation from another pet, changing environments, loud noises, etc., could trigger your dog's anxiety. Dogs often stop eating when they are dealing with stress. However, stress-induced hyporexia can be solved within a day or two once your dog gets relaxed.

Issues with Food

If your dog is healthy, hasn't encountered anything stressful, but still refuses to eat properly - the chances are that your dog has an issue with the food itself. A dog avoids eating food that is stale, expired, or spoiled. If your dog has been on the same diet for a while and has suddenly stopped eating, check the packaging for the expiration date. All dog food items should be sealed or kept in an airtight container to prevent them from going bad. Dogs usually don't get tired of eating certain foods, so it's highly unlikely that a healthy dog would refuse to eat something it has been eating for a while now.  

How to Help your Dog Regain its Appetite

If you notice that your dog has stopped eating, the first step is to call your vet and book an appointment for medical consultation. If the vet rules out any medical issues, then the loss of appetite might be because of spoiled food or stress.

Giving love, affection, and attention to your dog can help boost their mood. Giving them treats will help build up their appetite, but if push comes to shove, you may want to feed your dog by hand till it starts eating on its own.