Elderly Dog Won't Eat

An elder dog that won't eat may have a number of health issues. However, senior dogs tend to eat less due to aging. You should look for additional symptoms and find out what the problem is. It is always advisable to get veterinary help when you suspect your dog is ill.

Causes of Lack of Appetite in Elderly Dog

The lack of appetite in elder dogs may be a symptom of several health issues, ranging from an infection to cancerous tumors. The refusal to eat may come from the fact that the dog is in pain. The dog may also be depressed due to a medical condition, which will lead to lack of appetite.

Frequently, older dogs won't eat because they have dental or gum problems and when chewing, the kibble food causes a lot of pain. A lot of dogs develop oral cavity problems after the age of three, and senior dogs are very likely to have a dental problem.

However, even if your dog is not ill, he still may eat less or refuse to eat, due to old age. Dogs are considered senior after the age of eight, and may not have the same appetite as during their youth. This may be due to the fact that an elder dog is less active and requires less fuel for his daily activities.

Additional Symptoms

If you suspect your pet may be sick and this is causing him to refuse food, you should be monitoring him for additional symptoms.

Check the dog's mouth for any cavities or gum disease. The dog may become aggressive when you try to open his mouth, especially if he has a problem causing pain in the oral cavity. If you notice a foul odor, pus, red or bleeding gums, the problem is clear.

However, your dog may have other medical problems and various symptoms. Note down all symptoms and visit the vet for a clear diagnosis.

Getting the Elder Dog to Eat

While it is perfectly normal that your dog eats less when he gets older, you should make sure he eats an amount of food he needs to maintain his health. If the dog fails to eat, he is prone to a number of health problems and is more susceptible to infections.

If your dog lacks appetite due to a health problem, you should get veterinary help for the problem and administer treatment, and the dog should get back his normal appetite. If your dog doesn't eat due to old age, you should try to make the food as appealing as possible. You may need to put a bit of food on your fingers and allow the dog to lick the food. This procedure is recommended especially if the dog no longer has a sense of smell.

You should also switch to wet food, which can be more recommended for elderly dogs, because they can digest the food more quickly. Dry food can cause pain when chewing, especially if the dog has a dental problem.