Of the many problems you can encounter as a dog owner, a diminished appetite probably isn’t one of them. Dogs are generally always ready and willing to enjoy a meal, so if Fido isn’t behaving like his usual self, it is logical to be worried. The most important step you can take to protect your dog is to take him to the vet if he hasn’t eaten for 24 hours, or even earlier if the loss of appetite is accompanied by sluggishness, fainting, frequent vomiting or diarrhea, seizures, squinting of the eyes, or any other sign of pain. Once your vet rules out life-threatening conditions such as intestinal obstruction, you can consider exciting your pooch’s palate with tasty dry food and snacks such as Eat Small, containing a wonderfully healthy ingredient your pet may not have tried before: insects, which are fabulous sources of protein but also rich in important vitamins such as B12.
What are the Reasons for Appetite Loss?
Appetite loss is a common symptom of a host of conditions, ranging from cancer to kidney failure. The best thing you can do for a pooch with appetite loss is call your veterinarian and observe your dog for any other symptoms that seem out of the ordinary. Anorexia can also occur because of a reaction to a medication, or because of dental issues such as a broken tooth, infection, or gum disease. The list of conditions that can lead to anorexia is long and includes liver disease, a urinary tract infection, and pain due to injury. In reality, any cause of pain and discomfort can interfere with your dog’s naturally healthy appetite so prompt medical attention is key.
Behavioral Reasons for Anorexia
What if your pooch is totally fine physically, and the problem has to do with behaviour? Issues that can lead to a loss of appetite include stress, change (e.g. a change of residence), boredom, poor food quality, and simply being picky. Try your best to deal with your dog calmly; a tranquil household is best for dogs who are susceptible to loud noises and sensitive to tension in their owners. Make sure your dog is stimulated by providing him with at least two long walks a day. Ensure your pooch has unstructured play time, and that he has a spot in which he can run and jump off leash, to expend excess energy. Keep him entertained while you are at work by feeding him his food in a ‘maze bowl’ and stuff treats into Kong style toys, to ensure he has to work for his snacks.
Dealing with Pickiness
Pickiness can be a bigger problem because it goes beyond entertainment and exercise. Entice a picky eater with healthy foods mixed in with kibbles or wet food. Make sure you are feeding him biologically appropriate food that is not stuffed with grains or poor quality protein. Consider joining Eat Small’s natural cold pressed training treatsto your pet’s food to bring an extra nutrient intake. They have no additives nor conservative agents and are rich in protein, minerals and 8 vitamins that are essential for DNA synthesis, hormone regulation, neurotransmission, and fur health. Each training treats also contain B12 vitamin, which is only otherwise found in fish, meat, milk, and eggs. Hermetia illucens (insect meal) is mixed with sweet potatoes, rosemary and brewers’ yeast (for skin and hair), and each line contain a super food that brings specific nutritional properties: goji berries rich in antioxidants for ENERGY, chia seeds & bananas with magnesium and omega 3 in MINDFULNESS and spirulina rich in prebiotics for SPIRIT. Finally, don’t allow a picky eater to ‘free eat’. Remove his bowl if he has not touched it in 10 minutes, so he learns to be more interested in his bowl when you call him to lunch or dinner.
If your usually insatiable pet is avoiding his bowl, see your vet to rule out serious illness. Sometimes, the problem could be as small as a cavity which you may not be able to spot yourself, so make sure to get the all-clear. To battle appetite loss, feed your dog quality nutrients like insect protein, and don’t be shy to add healthy foods such as veggies, fruits, and meat and fish to his bowl. Make sure that any dishes you feed him are lean and do not contain potentially allergenic or harmful foods such as grapes and pistachios, which can be toxic. This will involve research and discipline, but your dog will show his gratefulness in his growing interest in mealtimes.
Our guest writer Jackie Edwards spent more than a decade as a vet’s nurse, working to help save the lives of sick and injured animals, from beloved family pets through to hard working farm animals. She is originally from Reno, Nevada but now live in Wales. There, she enjoys the countryside and the opportunity to commune with nature.