Dog not eating well, but active: the reasons and what to do.
The situation when a dog does not eat well, but is active, is familiar to experienced dog breeders. Most breeders do not see this as a problem. They advise their inexperienced colleagues not to panic before time, and feed their pets at a strictly designated time, preferably closer to the evening. A sick dog is easy to distinguish from a healthy one: in the first case, it whines and worries, while in the second it remains energetic, even if it has not eaten. The main indicator of a dog’s health is a cold nose.
When it is considered normal for a dog to refuse food
If the dog is active, but little interest in food, it is not yet a reason to visit the vet. It’s also too early to talk about a serious illness. Indifference to food is not necessarily an indication of ill health. For example, females may have several times less appetite when they are in heat.
The only reason for a visit to the doctor may be the refusal to eat after the end of the cycle. Alternatively, the reason for the temporary lack of appetite in the bitch is pregnancy.
Many dogs refuse to eat when they try to feed them vitamins at the same time as food.
Important! If a dog is thin, it does not mean that he is sick of something.
If the dog doesn’t eat well but is active, the reason for the decreased appetite may be a hot summer day. By wondering why a dog doesn’t eat well in the summer, the owner is showing his lack of awareness. The hot time of year is a time of infections that enter the dog’s body with food. Instinctively, the animal senses this and tries to protect itself, and excessive portions can make it vomit. This, too, is a defense of sorts.
Appetite in dogs also disappears after the introduction of mineral supplements, which the dog has not yet tasted, and after supplementing the diet with unfamiliar foods. For all of the above situations, the lack of appetite in the four-legged pet is the norm.
Reasons for not eating that should not cause concern
Small breeds such as yorkies, chihuahuas, and Italian Bolognese are very picky eaters and refuse to eat certain types of vegetables. Large- and medium-sized dogs that are fed a lot and often become picky over time, too.
Important! We must not forget that dogs, just like people, may have different priorities as they grow older, including gastronomic priorities.
The dog does not eat much because the animal tends to be ascetic. It begins to depend on food by looking at its owners and imitating them. There are other reasons explaining why a dog’s poor appetite “gets along” with physical activity:
- the dog is being secretly fed by someone at home;
- the food given to the dog is not stored properly and the smell has weathered. In this case, it’s enough to gently warm the food in the microwave. This technique is effective for both dry and wet food;
- he is frightened of his own reflection in the plate. This happens when the familiar plastic plate is replaced with a new one made of glass or stainless steel. The dog may shy away from the bowl when he sees his reflection at the bottom;
- The dog regularly gets leftovers from the owner’s table and is not interested in his own plate.
FYI! Adult puppies of German Shepherds and other large breeds often experience bouts of false hunger. The strong desire to eat is suddenly replaced by a complete lack of interest in the contents of the bowl.
Reducing food needs in growing puppies and older dogs
During the first days of life and up to two months of age, a puppy should eat at least six meals a day. After that, the number of meals will depend on age:
Puppies that are 2-4 months old are fed four times a day;
A 4-month-old dog needs less food. Up to the age of six months, he is supposed to eat three times a day;
From 7 months to one year old, the dog will be satisfied with two meals a day;
From one year of age until the end of his life, a dog needs only one meal a day.
As the dog ages, the owner changes the composition of his diet and reduces the number of servings.
Additional reasons why a dog won’t eat
One of the main reasons a dog refuses to eat is overfeeding. First of all, overfeeding is dangerous for active dogs that start running and jumping immediately after eating.
For example, overfeeding a German Shepherd dog, the owner risks at least obesity and atherosclerosis. In the worst case the shepherd dog, being prone to stomach twist (the stomach of this breed is too mobile and can twist or displace during the activity minutes), it can die.
Representatives of some breeds are strictly forbidden to feed a mixed diet. Instinctively, the dog senses that there is unacceptable food in his bowl and does not want to eat it. Improperly chosen diet and excessive portions will sooner or later end up with gastrointestinal malfunction.
Please note! There are breeds of dogs (such as huskies) that, given their excessive activity, can be fed only after a walk. At first the dog will probably refuse to follow the wrong regimen until hunger takes over. If the husky goes for a walk after eating, he’ll get gut wrenching.
Puppy not eating right: what to do
Puppies with appetite problems can be observed during the period when the teeth are teething. In this case, you must completely eliminate warm and hard foods from your puppy’s diet, replacing them with cool, soft food. If a puppy doesn’t eat well, his refusal to eat may be due to
- Stress, which in most cases is caused by weaning. In addition, if the old place of residence was quiet, and there are children in the new home, the unfamiliar noisy company will at first excite the baby. A stressful situation may arise from intimidation of the newcomer old-timers – other pets. Once he’s adapted to the new environment he’ll start eating again as usual;
- A digestive infection. Parasites such as intestinal worms or bacteria can easily find their way into your puppy’s intestines;
- A habit of snatching tidbits not meant for puppies. By eating things that aren’t appropriate for him, he’s at risk of an upset stomach.
Ways to increase a dog’s appetite
Your pets, like humans themselves, are sometimes cranky and refuse to eat their junk food. Several tips can help you get back on track:
- Sometimes limiting the amount of goodies is enough to increase a dog’s appetite. You’ll usually give them to your dog between meals;
- An unwillingness to eat may be due to a lack of exercise. Regular exercise stimulates the appetite;
- refusal to eat is often the result of a lack of discipline. If the dog is spoiled and used to getting food whenever he wants it, owners should consider scheduling food. The bowl of food is put out for 15 minutes and then hidden after that time, even if the food has not been touched. Gradually the dog will learn that if he hasn’t eaten he will have to starve until the next feeding time;
- In some cases the problem is solved by reducing the portion size by 10%.
To increase your dog’s appetite, there are a few tricks:
FYI! You can increase your four-legged friend’s appetite by adding special sauces to season dog food.
What you should not do if your dog misses a meal
It is categorically forbidden to run after the dog with a plate, persuading him to eat some of it. Your dog must realize that if he refuses to eat now he will be refreshed at the next meal or go to bed hungry.
Cynologists advise against indulging a puppy who won’t eat. When the dog grows up, he won’t be able to eat without coaxing, even when he’s hungry. The main indicators of health in puppies are a wet nose and inquisitiveness. Refusal to eat can be the result of overfeeding.
When to go to the vet
A good reason to go to the vet is a pet’s lack of appetite for no apparent reason. The dog owner should have the veterinarian weigh the dog at the appointment and let him know what he thinks is his optimal weight and how to maintain it.
Important: Lethargy, loss of appetite and yellowing of the eyeballs are likely signs of a viral infection such as distemper. Symptoms of the same kind may indicate liver and heart disease.
If a dog that refuses to eat looks tired and has a rumbling or bloated stomach, this may indicate the presence of worms. In any case, the final diagnosis will be made by the doctor.
Often the lack of appetite is observed in dogs that have to live in conditions that are not suitable for this species. For example, a breeder of Central Asian sheepdogs, trying to find out why an Alabai does not eat well, should not turn to a veterinarian, but to a cynologist.
Thus, poor appetite is not yet a reason to run to the clinic with the pet. He needs to be observed. Perhaps this kind of behavior is just a mutiny on the ship because of bored food. But if the dog doesn’t eat for several days, it has become lethargic, then you should not delay the visit to the doctor, as there is a risk of a viral disease, which can still be treated at an early stage.