Diagnosing a Loss of Appetite in Dogs

Loss of appetite in dogs may signal a medical problem, but may as well indicate that the dog is getting older. This is a symptom that a dog owner should never ignore, as dogs generally like to eat. Diagnosing a loss of appetite in your dog can be done by monitoring your pet and see what other symptoms he may have. You should know what causes the lack of appetite. There are numerous causes that may influence your pet’s appetite.

Digestive Problems

A dog with digestive problems will lack appetite. Digestive problems may also be signaled by vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy.

A digestive problem may go away on its own. If the vomiting or diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours, you should consult the vet.

Aging Problems

As your pet gets older he may eat less and less. You may interpret this as lack of appetite, but it’s just a sign of aging.

Anxiety and Stress

A stressed pet may refuse to eat. Other symptoms of stress include excessive chewing, scratching and even aggressiveness; your dog may be hiding and will not engage in games or other activities.

Viral or Bacterial Infections

Viral or bacterial infections cause a lack of appetite. Infections will also be signaled by fever and lethargy. When the dog is sick, it often helps not to eat, as the body can focus on fighting the viruses and the bacteria without having to spend energy on digesting food.

Intestinal Parasites

Some intestinal parasites can cause a loss of appetite. A dog with worms may also vomit, have diarrhea and eliminate worms or worm segments in the feces.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases such as the kennel cough, asthma or other upper respiratory problems will cause the dog to avoid eating. The dog may lose his sense of smell, so he won’t be interested in food.

Mouth Cavity Problems

When your dog refuses to eat, he may have teeth or gum problems. Teeth aches can be very serious and the dog will stop eating to reduce the pain.

Inspect your dog’s mouth and see if there are decayed teeth, abscesses or if he has receding gums.

If the tooth is badly damaged, it may need to be extracted. If there is an abscess, antibiotics will be prescribed before any other treatment is administered.

Lack of Exercise

When your dog loses his appetite and there are no other underlying medical causes, you should consider taking him out for a long walk or engage him in some exercise. Lack of exercise may cause a loss of appetite; once the dog spends his surplus energy he should gain back his appetite.

Your dog should exercise on a daily basis for his health and well being.

Other possible causes of lack of appetite in dogs include kidney failure, pancreatitis, allergies, constipation, urinary tract infections, lupus or Adison’s disease.

If your dog refuses to eat for more than 48 hours, you should consult your vet. He may be able to diagnose the lack of appetite and give you the most suitable treatment. Supplements may be prescribed to stimulate the dog’s appetite.