What to Do If Your Sick Dog Won't Eat

A sick dog is very probably affected by a lack of appetite as well. The pain or certain symptoms of the disease can lead to a lack of appetite. If the dog refuses to eat, you can help him eat by applying a few techniques. If these don’t work you will need to get veterinary help.

How to Feed the Pet

When your dog is refusing to eat due to a disease, this may be because he is in pain or he lacks the energy to walk to the crate or cannot smell the food (i.e. has an infection affecting the respiratory tract). For this reason, you will have to feed your dog and allow him to get his nutrients that are needed for the recovery.

In some cases, giving a taste of the food will suffice to make the dog approach the food bowl, but in other cases you will need to get veterinary help and start tube feeding.

Wet Food for a Sick Dog

In many cases, the fact that the food is rough and dry may cause additional pain to the dog, so he may avoid eating. Dry food can irritate the throat of a dog with a cold, but also chewing on rough kibble may hurt his teeth or gums.

Switch to wet food, which can be easier to digest while the dog is ill and the body is busy fighting the disease.

If you don’t have wet food, prepare some tomato soup or get some tomato juice and add it to the kibble, making sure that the kibble gets wet and moist.

It may also help if you heat the food up, as this will give the food more flavor. Don’t overheat the food and test it prior to feeding it to your dog.

Liquids if a Dog Won't Eat Solid Food

Some dogs may refuse eating solid food, so you may try feeding him some liquids. Tomato juice, tuna sauce or oil or a vegetable soup can be appealing for the dog.

The liquids may be easier to swallow and will maintain the dog hydrated and this is essential during a disease.

Home Made Food

If your dog refuses to eat, you may need to prepare some food at home, which will be fresh and lack the preservatives from commercial foods and may be more appealing for a sick dog.

Choose from ingredients such as fish, turkey, chicken and vegetables, which will contain the proteins, fats and fibers the dog needs.

Visit the Vet

If your dog is sick and he hasn’t been diagnosed, you should look out for a number of symptoms and let the vet know. In many cases, you won’t be able to make your dog eat, as he requires medication and liquid therapy.

Don’t postpone the visit to the vet. A dog may refuse to eat for 1 day, especially if he has an upset stomach, but if he doesn’t eat for over 2 days, he needs treatment.