7 Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Refuses to Eat

If there’s one thing all dogs have in common, it’s their love for food – or just about anything remotely edible! They’re usually voracious eaters with insatiable appetites, so if your pooch is suddenly refusing to eat, it’s definitely a valid cause for concern. Identifying the reason for your dog’s change in eating habits should be your first step.

With this in mind, you can implement an appropriate plan of action to help your pup get back on track and start eating properly again. There are numerous underlying causes to consider, so it helps to know them all. With this in mind, here are seven possible reasons why your dog refuses to eat.


Have you recently vaccinated your dog or put them on some kind of medication? Loss of appetite is a common side effect among certain treatments. The most likely suspects include antibiotics, chemotherapy, and anti-inflammatory products. Loss of appetite is usually an adverse reaction, but only present for a day in most cases.

Dental Issues

Your dog may be experiencing pain in their mouth due to a dental issue. These can easily go unnoticed, as dogs don’t really have a way of letting us know when something is amiss. Problems with their gums usually indicate something serious, so be sure to consult a vet if you notice any swelling or bleeding.

Bad breath is another thing to watch out for. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not normal for dogs to have it. Gingivitis, oral tumours, and periodontal disease are some of the biggest contributors to mouth pains. This is worsened by dry kibble meals that make every bite a struggle. If your dog is also avoiding their chewing toys, a dental issue might be to blame.

Upset Stomach

Sometimes, our dogs’ curiosity can get the best of them and cause them to eat something they shouldn’t. The offending treat can lead to an upset stomach that will prevent anything else from entering while it sorts itself out. Vomiting and diarrhoea are tell-tale signs here. They also might give your lawn a complimentary shave by eating some grass.

Mum and sons playing with dog

Poor Quality Food

Those bags of kibble may be light on the wallet, but you’re getting what you pay for. Cheap, processed dog food is loaded with plenty of junk and not much nutrition. The former includes low-quality proteins, synthetic vitamins, sugars, preservatives and a myriad of chemicals. This makes them rather unappetizing, even to a hungry dog. You could also be mixing in foods that are harmful for your pet, visit restedpaws.co.uk for added foods to avoid.

Commercial kibble is also associated with numerous health problems including pancreatitis, obesity and inflammation. Consider something more natural that contains all the nutrients your pup needs. A good example is raw dog food, which is essentially a natural alternative based on the principle that dogs should eat what they were evolved to eat.

You can find a wealth of information about the raw dog food diet, what it contains, and its benefits in the blog section of Bella and Duke, a raw dog food brand. They offer a customised meal plan based on the individual characteristics of your dog and ship it to your door without a delivery cost.

Bad Habits

It’s always good to maintain a variety when it comes to what you feed your dog, as boredom due to eating the same thing every day can also contribute to a decreased appetite. However, adding something extra to their food too often can teach them a bad habit. This is why experts advise against handing out snacks at the dinner table.

It’s better to give treats sparingly, such as when you’re teaching them a new trick. This ensures that your dog doesn’t start associating treats with the norm and lose interest in their usual food.

Change of Routine

Just like us, dogs are creatures of habit. They value their daily routine and prefer sticking to one when it’s established. This can make an unexpected change (which, in the eyes of a dog, is virtually any change) uncomfortable for them. Think new exercise routines, different feeding times, unfamiliar family members or a change of environment.

These disruptions can trigger their stress response, which naturally decreases their appetite. Try to introduce new changes at a more gradual pace to help your dog make a steady adjustment. When the situation is out of your control, you can expect them to eat less until they’re comfortable with whatever change has occurred.


As your dog gets older, their senses will change. This can make the taste or smell of certain foods less appealing than they once were. Sensitivity issues also worsen with ageing. If your dog has a few good years behind them, it’s important to supply them with softer foods that are more flavourful so that they want to eat it.

If none of the above reasons seems to fit the situation, an illness might be to blame. Be sure to consult your vet and get a checkup just in case.


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