Getting a new puppy is an exciting and a busy time for new owners.
So it can be quite distressing when your puppy won’t eat the dog food you put out for him.
You want the best for your puppy and know that eating is essential to his health.
But what is the problem? Try not to worry too much as there can be a variety of factors affecting your puppy’s loss of appetite and his eating habits.
However, the first step in determining why your puppy is refusing to eat maybe a trip to the vet if you haven’t had a recent checkup.
This visit will rule out any medical reasons your pooch has a loss of appetite and is refusing to eat such as illness or dental problems.
Once you have ruled out any health issues, it is likely the reason your new puppy is not eating is that he needs a little time to adjust.
WHY A PUPPY WON’T EAT
As humans, it’s not unusual for a dog to lose its appetite once in a while. As long as your dog acts normal otherwise, losing enthusiasm for a meal isn’t a huge cause for concern.
But any sudden loss of appetite that is out of character for your dog and lasts longer than a meal or two requires veterinary attention—sooner if your puppy acts sick.
Young puppies have smaller fat reserves than adult dogs and can’t go without food longer than about 12 hours before needing medical help.
Toy breed puppies are particularly prone to potentially deadly drops in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if they skip a meal.
Dogs love to eat. From the tiniest, most energetic puppies to distinguished furry seniors, they seem to gobble up pretty much anything you put in front of them—any time, anywhere.
So when a puppy won’t eat, it can feel pretty upsetting.
If you find yourself with a dog not eating, or a puppy not eating, it could be due to a number of factors—from health conditions to behavioral problems with the type of food you’re offering.
But figuring out the exact reason why can be difficult. If your puppy is not eating much, not eating breakfast, or if you’re not sure if your puppy is eating enough, read on for tips about what you can do.
Reasons Why Puppies Stop Eating
There are many things that could cause a puppy to lose interest in their food, such as infections, pain, organ problems, or the way you’re feeding them.
You need to make sure your pup is also getting all the nutrients they need in their food. Adding a multivitamin can go a long way in ensuring their health.
Here are a few of the most common reasons why puppies stop eating as much as they should:
Puppy in Pain
Just like people, pain can cause your puppy to turn away from their food, too.
The pain could be from an injury — after all, puppies can be quite accident-prone! (One reason why having a financial plan for potential puppy problems being so important!) Pups can also experience pain from teething, inflammation of their pancreas (pancreatitis), or growing pains from their developing bones.
They could even have something stuck in their mouth — like a splinter or piece of wood from chewing a stick — or a broken tooth from chewing a toy.
Or it might “just” be impacted anal glands! Check for any external or obvious sources of pain.
If you don’t see any, it might be time for a quick check-up at the vet.
Dog Digestive infections
Unfortunately, there are plenty of viruses (like the dreaded Parvo), intestinal worms (like roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms), bacteria, and other “creepy-crawlies” that can set up shop in your puppy’s gut and cause a range of problems.
Many puppies have roundworms or other parasites in their gut before you get them home.
This is a big part of the reason why vets usually deworm puppies at most of their “puppy visits” and recommend fecal (poop) testing.
And the vaccines given help to prevent Parvo and other debilitating diseases
Changing Your Puppies Food
When your puppy approaches the food you put out but then seems uninterested, he may not find the food appealing.
Chances are, your puppy won’t eat because he is used to a specific type of dog food that he was fed in his previous home or shelter.
Your dog might be a picky eater and needs his old formula that he is used to. Try calling the previous owner, shelter, or breeder and ask them what type of food he was given.
Was he given mostly dry food or wet food? You may also want to inquire about his feeding schedule. Was he given free access to food all day or was he fed at specific times?
Avoiding disruptions in his feeding may help him adjust to his new home quicker.
Puppies In A New Environment
Dogs in general and puppies, tend to become overwhelmed when their environment or routine changes too much.
Despite your best efforts, your puppy’s entire world just changed and they may be feeling a little disoriented.
If your puppy won’t eat and seems withdrawn or your new dog has no appetite, it can be from the stress of a new environment New puppies may also be missing its mother and siblings.
Depending on their age and where you adopted from, puppies have been in their family since birth.
It is completely normal for them to whine a bit and feel lonely.
If your pup is refusing dog food of any kind, including wet food, consider that some dogs need privacy to eat while others like companionship.
Try giving him some space and letting him explore his new home on his own.
It may also be a good idea to avoid too many visitors for a couple of days so as not to inundate him with too many new stimuli.
He will likely eat once he feels more comfortable and familiar with his surroundings.
Pickiness or behavior issues
Some dogs are just picky, or the puppy won’t eat it 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.
Because a decreased appetite in dogs may be caused by illness, never assume that your dog is picky without investigating other possibilities first.
Tips to Encourage Eating
While you may be stressed that your puppy isn’t eating, it is important not to force him to do anything.
Just try again at the next feeding time.
Dogs are predisposed to avoid starvation and he will likely come around to eating once he feels more comfortable in his new home.
Keep an eye on him and consider using the following tips to help encourage him to eat:
- Cut back on treats: If you’ve been giving your puppy treats between meals, try cutting back. He may be too full of treats to eat at mealtime.
- Go on walks: Try walking and playing with your puppy a little more right before mealtime. Engaging him in exercise may help bring back his appetite.
- Feed on a schedule: Give your puppy food at specific times each day, usually twice per day. This will help him establish a routine.
- Make mealtime fun: Allowing your puppy to play with a toy that dispenses food may help engage him at mealtime and encourage his appetite.
- Adjust the feeding environment: You can try to change his feeding situation and environment by leaving him alone or being present. You may even try putting his puppy bowls at different heights to see what your puppy prefers.
- Add Bullyade to his diet: Bullyade is the perfect multi-vitamin for dogs of all ages. It comes in beef or chicken flavor and can be mixed in water or sprinkles on food. It helps boost your dogs immune system and is a one a day vitamin.