Managing Anorexia in Dogs

You may be surprised to learn that a dog can suffer from anorexia. It is not the same kind of anorexia that a human may develop, but it is still a disorder that can threaten the dog's life. The first thing you must do is determine how long you believe your dog has been anorexic. You must also figure out how much your dog is consuming daily, if anything at all.Think about any major incidents or events your dog has been through recently. Anorexia in dogs is usually triggered by an outside event. Finding out what is causing the anorexia is the key to managing it.

Psychological Causes

The number one cause of your dog not eating as much is stress. There is something that has occurred in the dog's life that is making him feel uneasy about eating. This could be a change of environment, a change of ownership, or even another dog coming into his territory. Every dog is different, so you need to approach each case cautiously. The first step should be to try and get the dog to feel relaxed and comfortable. Get it into a daily routine and make him feel at ease. Wake up the same time each morning and take the dog for a walk. Show him some extra loving attention during this time, because affection is really what your dog needs right now.

Abdominal Organ Disorders

Anorexia can also be caused by various disorders involving abdominal organs. Your dog could be experiencing inflammation in the stomach, which would restrict the amount of food consumed. Inflammation would also cause pain to the dog if he ate too much. There could be an infectious disease causing your dog to lose his will to eat. This same idea can be applied to a metabolic disease. Your dog could also be suffering from neoplasia, which is a tumor of the liver. Neoplasia would cause your dog to find it very difficult to consume food. He may want to, but the pain and inflammation of the liver would negate the hunger.

Getting Them to Eat

If you are dealing with a psychological problem and not a medical one, getting your dog to eat requires changing their attitude towards eating. For example, start to prepare your dog's meal the same time you are cooking dinner for yourself. Get really excited and make silly noises that excite your dog. This is called positive reinforcement.

You should also snack on something in front of your dog. This allows them to visually see food while they are excited. It makes them want some and it will build up their natural hunger. Make this a daily routine and try to change your dog's mental appetite by getting him excited to eat. It may take some time to reinforce this idea in your dog's head, but the payoff is that he will begin to enjoy eating again.

You should also find out if your dog enjoys being watched while he eats. Some dogs prefer to eat around people and others enjoy eating alone. You need to really cater to what your dog enjoys while you break his anorexia habit.