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What to do if your dog won't eat

Agria supports the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and we're proud to partner with veterinary behaviourist Sophie White who has created this very useful guidance on what to do if your dog goes off their food.
What to do if your dog won't eat

What is normal for your dog?

You know your dog best, and deciding what action to take if your dog stops eating often depends on what is normal for your dog. If your dog often has low appetite, or goes a day without eating, and this is something they have always done, it probably isn’t too much of a concern. If, however your dog usually eats everything in sight and hasn’t touched even their favourite treats all day, that’s far more of a worry.

Action to take if you’re worried

If you are worried about your dog not eating, that might be missing one meal for some dogs, or not eating for over 24hrs for others, seek veterinary advice. You should also see your vet if your pet has any sudden changes in eating habits, such as eating far more or less than usual.

When your dog isn’t well, or they are stressed, it is common for them to go off their food. Once you have had them checked over by a veterinary surgeon, here are some ideas to encourage their appetite:

  • Offer them food from your hand or off a spoon
  • Cook them some plain white meat or fish
  • Add a small amount of something tasty as a ‘topper’ to get them going such as a spoon or grated cheese
  • Change the bowl you are feeding from and/or the location.

Some dogs may really go off their food if they associate it with a period of illness. Feeling nauseous around mealtimes can make them very avoidant of certain foods. It can help to change their diet after a period of illness if this is the case. They may also come to associate the bowl or location with feeling ill too, so try different locations.

We would like to thank veterinary behaviourist Sophie White for providing this article.

As an Agria Pet Insurance customer, you can speak to a vet completely free whenever you have a question or concern about your pet’s health. Simply download the Agria app for free 24/7 video calls; giving you expert advice to help keep your pet happy and healthy.

Download free from your app store here

Find out more about the Agria app

About the Author

Sophie White, BVetMed MSc MRCVS, is a veterinary surgeon with over a decade of experience. She is also a Dog Behaviourist, specialising in human directed aggression, handling issues & cases with complex medical histories.

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