Updated 11 June 2013

Why is my dog not eating?

When your dog is not eating, it is either ill, or there is some behavioural problem. Here's what you need to do.

Dog not eating? It may be a symptom of something awry with your dog's health.

What can be the causes?

  • Stress linked to new owners and new environment – re-homed dogs or getting a stray from the SPCA or shelter.
  • A new addition to the family (human or canine).
  • Change of environment when moving house or taking your dog with you on holiday.
  • Stress when a dog is put into a boarding kennel.
  • Stress when a dog is left home with another caregiver when owners go on holiday.
  • Dislike of a new food or bored with food.

  • Digestive problems like diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Diseases of the liver - for example - chronic hepatitis (not the same as human hepatitis A, B, or C, and NOT contagious) and cirrhosis.
  • Diseases of the blood – for example - severe anemia of different causes (immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, leukemia-related anemia, blood loss due to ulcers of the stomach or rat bait poisoning).
  • Bacterial or viral infections.
  • Respiratory diseases - some dogs may lose their appetites when they suffer from an upper respiratory disease (for example, asthma and kennel cough). It could be due to the fact that the disease temporarily reduces their ability to smell their food, or because it’s too difficult to breathe while eating.
  • Dental or periodontal disease.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Constipation.
  • Severe worm infestation.
  • Addison’s disease
  • Pain due to injury.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Lifestyle »

E-cigarettes: Here are five things to know

E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade, but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the US is feeding caution about a product that's already banned in some places.

Allergy »

Ditch the itch: Researchers find new drug to fight hives

A new drug works by targeting an immune system antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is responsible for the allergic reaction that causes hives.