What is causing my dog to lose his appetite?

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There could be a lot of reasons for this, including something as simple as her eating too many snacks or table food. That may be making her not hungry, or she just may be holding out for something tastier. If that’s the reason, decrease snacks and totally eliminate table food. Also make sure she’s not getting into things, like garbage or the dishwasher (they’ll sometimes eat food off unwashed dishes) or that she isn’t counter surfing.

However, illness could also be a reason and that is especially true if your dog is experiencing other symptoms. While loss of appetite doesn’t necessarily point to illness, there can be liver, kidney or dental issues. Also, unfortunately, in an older dog, it does almost always mean illness and, even sadder, that can sometimes mean cancer.

There are some other reasons your dog won’t eat, including:

• Vaccinations: On one hand, vaccinations have saved the lives of millions of pets in the past 100 years but, on the other, they do sometimes have adverse effects. The majority of these are minor and brief, including a temporary loss of appetite in dogs.
• Travel and unfamiliar surroundings. If your dog’s appetite was fine until you went on a trip with your pet or moved to a new location, it may be that your dog won’t eat because of traveling or the unfamiliar surroundings. Some animals may get motion sickness and others just become nervous or uncomfortable in new places.
• Pickiness or behavior issues. Some dogs are just picky. Sometimes their refusal to eat may be caused by feeding them in situations where they aren’t comfortable, such as around an aggressive dog or from a bowl at an uncomfortable height. The answer is simple: Always feed animals in separate places and make sure her bowl is able to be reached comfortably.

However, because a decreased appetite in dogs may be caused by illness, never assume that your dog is picky without investigating other possibilities first. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian.

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