If your dog is like most, they likely have a healthy appetite and are always excited when you refill the food bowl. However, it can be distressing when your furry friend stops eating, and if it has been more than 24 hours since their last meal, you should consult a veterinarian, as this could indicate an illness or condition. Below are several issues that may discourage your dog from eating to help you understand the cause.

Reasons Why Dogs Won’t Eat

1. Illness

Dogs have a natural instinct to refuse food and start resting when they are sick. This is because the dog's body assumes the discomfort is from something they ate, so avoiding food helps them recover. If this is caused by a minor viral infection or an upset stomach, the issue will often pass in a few days, during which they may not display a normal appetite. However, if your dog has diarrhea or is vomiting, take them to a veterinarian, as this could signal a more serious infection or illness.

2. Emotional Issues


Just like people, dogs are sensitive to changes in their routine and environment. For example, introducing new pets or exposing them to loud noises can cause anxiety and stress. They may also feel intimidated by another pet if their food and water bowls are near each other, which is common with rescue dogs.

Before consulting a veterinarian, try separating the food bowls if you have multiple pets. Also, offer reassurance to frightened or stressed dogs while allowing them to get accustomed to any changes. Often, they’ll overcome the stress in a day or two.

3. Food Preferences

Dogs are acutely sensitive to changes in their preferred food, such as if the recipe has been altered or the product is stale. For example, if the packaging for their normal brand describes the contents as "new and improved," the manufacturer may have added ingredients that your dog doesn't like. You can work around this by mixing up their diet with two or more brands. If one brand is suddenly distasteful to your dog, switch to the alternative. If they normally eat wet food, try offering them kibble instead, or mix the two types together.


If you’re concerned about your pup’s appetite, contact Dothan Animal Hospital in Houston County, AL. This team of caring veterinarians has been serving residents throughout the area for over 70 years. They provide a full range of animal health services, from dietary treatment to immunizations and surgery. Visit the website for more information about their services. Call (334) 793-9779 to schedule an appointment.