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  • How to Help Your Pet When They Won’t Eat

    Disturbances in our pets’ appetites can cause us to become stressed and worried about their health and well-being. Before you panic, read this article for a bit more clarification on your pet’s appetite.

    Some possible reasons for your pet’s lack of appetite

    Just like humans, pets can become disinterested in their food for a number of reasons. A lack of appetite isn’t a reason to panic necessarily; however, there are certain instances where your pet’s food consumption may be concerning for their health. Here are a few reasons why your pet may have suddenly lost interest in their food:

    Lack of Dog Appetite

    Food preferences

    Again, just like humans, pets also have preferences that can dictate their level of interest in their food. It is recommended to periodically change your pet’s food to keep them interested in it and to avoid development of allergies.

    Illnesses or diseases

    A loss of appetite in your pet can also be triggered by illness or diseases. These may range in severity, and it is critical to have your trusted veterinarian perform tests to rule-out potential causes of food disinterest.

    Dental issues

    Dental issues, primarily infections, can make your pet lose interest in his or her food. Most dental-related infections are relatively easy to treat, but can become complicated if not treated right away.


    Mostly occurring in puppies and kittens, worms are spread through contact with other infected animals’ feces. Worms affect your pet’s gastrointestinal track and can make your pet disinterested in food. Treatment options are available at your reliable veterinary clinic.

    What your vet will want to do next

    To determine what is causing your pet’s appetite disturbance, your veterinarian will want to perform a series of tests and observations:

    A stool sample

    Your vet will likely want to obtain a stool sample from your pet. The sample will be analyzed to determine if your pet has any detectable diseases, illnesses, or parasites.

    Perform a blood analysis

    Blood work can tell your vet a lot about how your pet is doing health-wise. Blood panels give a lot of information about your pet’s overall well-being that are vital to keeping them healthy.

    Conduct other tests

    Depending on what your veterinarian is considering, he or she may also conduct a urinalysis, x-rays, or ultrasounds to rule-out other possible causes of appetite disruption.

    Ways to stimulate your pet’s appetite

    There are a variety of ways to keep your pets interested in their food that you should keep in mind as time goes on. Here are a few ideas to be aware of:

    Schedule a mealtime

    It’s best to feed your pets at the same time each day; however, if they develop a loss of appetite, it may be best to slightly delay their feeding time to encourage their appetite.

    Add something different to their meal

    Just like humans, pets get sick of eating the same meal every day at the same time. It is recommended to change your pets food periodically, but if they experience a loss of appetite you may also consider: adding canned food to dry kibble, adding a small amount of crumbled treats on top of the food, or changing the location where you feed your pet.

    Give your pet more exercise

    Pet depression and anxiety can be caused by a lack of exercise, which can further lead to food abstinence. Giving your pet more exercise may help to stimulate their appetite.

    Veterinarian-prescribed medications and diets

    Certain medications can help stimulate your pet’s appetite. Your veterinarian may recommend specific foods or medications to get your pet eating again.

    When to be concerned that your pet is not eating

    While it is normal for pets to become routinely uninterested in their food for periods of time, it is most important to pay attention to your pet’s eating behavior so that you may notice any significant changes. If the disinterest in food persists for days at a time, or if your pet begins to lose weight, it’s essential to bring your pet to your veterinarian for a check-up.

    Dog & Cat Eating

    How Dr. Ron’s Can Help You

    The animal experts here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency attend to the healthcare needs of many family pets throughout the areas of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas nearby Ventura County. If you are concerned about your pet’s eating habits, please contact us to ask any pertinent questions, or to schedule an appointment or check-up.

    posted on June 23, 2018 at 6:34 am by Doctor Ron