What Causes a Dog to Stop Eating?

If your dog isn't eating, there could be something wrong.
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It can be disheartening to see your dog stop eating. You may begin to worry that your dog is sick or if there is something more serious causing his appetite to wane. On the other hand, a dog's lack of appetite may be as simple as food boredom. In either case, an owner should never overlook a dog that stops eating. While it could be nothing, it could also be the symptom of something dangerous.


Not being able to have a bowel movement is a common cause for a loss of appetite in dogs. If you notice your dog straining when you take him out or having bad flatulence, he may be experiencing constipation. Constipation can be remedied by making sure your dog drinks enough water and adding fiber to his diet.


Inappetence can also be a sign of disease. Kidney disease and cancer can both cause a loss of appetite in dogs. However, your dog may also just be sick. Either way, if your dog continues to turn her nose up at her food and has other symptoms including lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, there may be something physically wrong.


A dog may also stop eating due to pain from dental disease or an ear infection. In these cases, you can usually switch your dog to a wet dog food until the problem is cured. However, when it comes to infections, the cause may be allergy-related. This means you not only need to treat the infection, but eliminate the cause. If the dog has dental disease, you may be able to improve his dental health through professional cleaning.

Bad Food

Dogs who have never before had a problem eating could be trying to tell you something if they turn their noses up at a newly opened bag of food. Just like people know when food doesn't smell right, so too do dogs. With all the dog food recalls in the past few years, you need to pay attention to this behavior and not force your dog to eat. If the food is bad, it could kill your pet.

Food Boredom

Sometimes dogs become bored with a brand of food. If your dog will eat other things, consider slowly switching him to a different brand. You must slowly switch the food by adding 25 percent of the new food to 75 percent of the old food, then gradually increase the new food over the next three days until the dog is eating his new diet.