Fido’s Gone Off His Food!

My dog is off his food! There are multiple reasons to cause this…

This is not an uncommon concern for me to hear after a dog has switched to raw.

The cause for a sudden lack of appetite can have many different reasons. Having people call me concerned about a lack of appetite in their dog is also common during the first hot week of Summer as much of your dog’s calories goes into keeping warm. During hot spells, there’s less need for calories..this is not a worry.

Make sure you check your dog’s teeth if they are refusing meals. There may be a cracked tooth or other problem that might be dissuading him from eating. If you see a dental problem you will need to consult with your Veterinarian.

Some dogs simply prefer and do better eating only once a day. This makes life easier for you and builds an appetite in your dog. This is not a worry!

In some cases your dog may not need the calories as he’s getting too many. Dogs often regulate their systems just fine on their own and need less food as a result. As long as your dog isn’t losing lots of weight, this is not a worry. Be sure to skip a meal a week for a fasting period for health benefits and appetite stimulation.

It is not uncommon for “only” dogs to be fussy because of the lack of competition. Dogs will learn to manipulate you into feeding only their favourite foods if they refuse a healthy meal. This is not a food problem, but a discipline problem. No dog has died missing a meal because they “don’t want that”. Pick the food up and offer it at the next meal. And no treats in the meantime!

And speaking of treats, on several occasions after some detective work I have found that the dog has been filling up elsewhere. Neighbour’s treating through the fence, eating lavishly from the compost, sneaking all the cat’s food. One client even found out that her mother, whom she lived with, had been treating the dog all day while my friend was at school!

Your dog may refuse food as he is instinctively fasting because he’s feeling under the weather. Trust your dog and don’t force feed them, a dog can safely go three days without food. If there are other events like whining, back hunching, vomiting, not drinking, restlessness, bloated tummy, bloody diarrhea, or no pooping at all there is cause for concern and a Vet should be seen. But if your dog seems otherwise ready for action, it’s probably just a spell and you’ll get through it. 

And finally, it might be the food. A raw fed dog can eat some fairly gamey meat and not suffer. Some dogs are sensitive to certain foods and instinctively know that a food will not agree with them. This is rare. In my experience has been the other reasons mostly.

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