Why Is Your Dog Not Eating?

A dog not eating may be an alarm signal. Loss of appetite is common in dogs and it may point to various medical conditions ranging from anxiety and stress or an upset stomach to more severe diseases. It is essential to detect the reason for the lack of appetite to find a suitable treatment.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is among the most frequent reasons for lack of appetite and lethargy in dogs. If the dog is left at home alone for too long, he will refuse to eat; also if the dog is abandoned by his owner, he will most likely lack appetite.

Anxiety may also be caused by moving house, new pets or a new baby.

Even thunders or big noises may create anxiety in dogs and he may refuse to eat for a couple of days.


A depressed dog will probably lack the desire to eat. Depression may be caused by a recent loss, disease or a chemical imbalance. The depressed dog may not be drinking water. Depression medication and therapy is available for a lethargic dog and the condition is fully treatable.

Upset Stomach

Dog vomiting will signal an upset stomach and the dog will lack appetite. The stomach problem may go away on its own, however if the vomiting persists, you need to seek medical advice.

Gum and Teeth Problems

As in humans, tooth decay or gum disease may be very painful for dogs. The dog will lack appetite and needs treatment. Antibiotics or the removal of the bad tooth should solve the problem.

Prevent these problems with daily oral hygiene and brushing.

Even if the mouth is injured, your dog may not eat.


Parasites may cause lack of appetite. Intestinal worms may also cause lethargy, weakness and vomiting.

Heart Disease

A dog that doesn't eat can suffer from heart disease. The dog may also have a dry cough and will try to vomit, but will not succeed. Heart disease is a serious condition and must be treated accordingly.


If your dog likes to eat from the garbage or is attracted to plants, he may easily get poisoned. Poisoning is signaled by vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite or seizures.

Presence of a Female in Heat

Often, a male can refuse to eat if there is a female in heat present in the house or nearby. The dog should regain his appetite as soon as the female is no longer in heat. However, if the dog loses too much weight, take him to a vet.

Other causes of appetite loss may include:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Cancer
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Feline AIDS
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Kennel cough
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Aging

Lack of appetite may be caused by psychological or physical issues. In any case, you need to offer extra affection and care to your dog. If your dog refuses to eat for more than 2 days, visit the vet and let him know what other symptoms you may have noticed.