It is uncommon for dogs to reject their food, especially over a long length of time. A one-off occasion may just reflect their mood. For example, increased stress, which is a problem but not as large of a concern as repeated rejection. Dog supplements to stimulate appetite can encourage your dog to eat normally again.
If a reduced appetite comes from a health concern, this needs to be pursued and treated. If food is rejected due to stress, anxiety or other at-home ease-able/treatable problems, it is worth using appetite stimulants for dogs. This can be especially common when trying to feed new puppies or rescue dogs.
What Are Dog Appetite Stimulants?
Dog appetite stimulants are often assumed to be just tablets prescribed over a counter. This is not the case! Dog supplements to stimulate appetite encourages them to eat at that time or soon after, to promote regular eating habits. This can be a type of food to help encourage picky eaters or procedures such as acupuncture or natural nutrient boosts such as excess vitamin B. These are natural dog stimulants. There are also supplements that can be bought from a vet. These can be pills, oils or appetite tempters to put on top of your dog’s regular food.
Pros of using dog appetite stimulants include:
- An increased appetite! It is the most obvious but as a pet owner, it can become increasingly worrying when your dog keeps refusing meals. Especially when they are a new member of your family
- They can decrease anxiety and help soothe upset stomachs
Cons of using dog appetite stimulants include:
- They will not treat a possible serious underlying cause of appetite loss
- Depending on the cause of your dog’s appetite, only one type of stimulant may work. Therefore be prepared for some failed methods
- It can be either initially costly or the ongoing costs are a lot
Natural Dog Appetite Stimulants
Here are some recommended natural dog appetite stimulants. These range in price and administration difficulty.
This is meat that your dog will find irresistible due to the marinade. Give a little to your dog to encourage their appetite. Consider mixing it in with your dog’s food to persuade them to begin and possibly finish eating their bowl of food.
Make sure not to give too much as this can be quite fatty, especially considering the marinade. However, as chicken meat is mostly white, it is a good source of low-fat protein for your dog. This is why we recommend white meat as opposed to red. It is also crucial for you to check no ingredients in the marinade could be harmful to your pup. Onions, garlic and spicy flavorings can all harm your dog and even cause organ failure and death.
Acupuncture has been found to reduce pain and nausea by minimizing inflammation along with reducing overall stress levels. No one knows entirely how acupuncture works. But many theorize that it activates neuro-hormonal pathways by stimulating nerves to release beneficial hormones.
Stress can be reduced this way alongside pain and therefore minimize or eradicate a possible upset stomach. If your dog is feeling well and happy, they are much more likely to eat as normal. Other pain could exist as a sore throat or a general cold. Which, acupuncture may be able to aid through decreasing inflammation and aiding healing.
This process will not be ideal for every dog. Especially those who do not stay still for long or are difficult to control. But it may be a beneficial natural appetite supplement for your pup.
Vitamin B plays a huge role in repair and digestion in your dog’s body. Sometimes your dog can have too small of an amount of Vitamin B in their body. Their digestion may not go as smoothly as expected because of these levels. Meats such as beef, turkey, and chicken are all high in vitamin B. They are also very desirable foods for dogs. This makes them more likely to eat and keep eating normally because of healthy digestion aids.
You can also provide vitamin B tablets, but these have to be eaten by your dog. Which is difficult when your dog is already not eating a lot. Be careful though, the possibility is small but your dog can become vulnerable to vitamin B toxicity. This can lead to severe digestive problems, anorexia, diarrhea, and other health problems. It is worth contacting your vet before giving any tablet supplements. Ask their opinion if it could be a vitamin B deficiency.
One reason your dog may not have much of an appetite is due to increased sedentary behavior. More mobility and exercise can increase your dog’s appetite and is beneficial in more than one way. When your dog exercises, this can help reduce anxiety and promote the release of “happy hormones”.
This means that exercise can aid multiple problems that may be causing your dog their lack of appetite. Furthermore, when your dog is burning calories through exercising, this will overall make them healthier. A healthier dog is usually happier and will be more inclined to eat as normal.
CBD is a therapeutic oil with no THC in it. This means it will not give any kind of high to your pooch. Instead, CBD oil has had beneficial health effects in humans for years. More recently though, the market has been aimed at our pets. The benefits have a large range but do aid nausea, anxiety, sleep, and overall well-being. All factors that can affect appetite.
The oil is usually administered in drops under the tongue or by a roller on the skin. Obviously, the method depends on how willing your dog is to have their mouth held open daily. Furthermore, if their coat is too fluffy, you may not be able to find any skin to use a roller on.
Ghrelin Receptor Agonist
To simplify, Ghrelin is a type of protein that stimulates both growth hormones and thereby appetite. The Ghrelin receptor agonist refers to how the Ghrelin is received in the body and that it activates the feeling of hunger in your dog. ENTYCE is a brand and the only current FDA-approved veterinary therapeutic labeled for stimulation of appetite in dogs.
An oral solution can be bought and administered to your dog at home once daily. A calculator can be found on their website which allows you to calculate your dog’s daily dose. The only problem with this is that your dog may gain a larger appetite but the underlying problem may not be solved.
How to Choose the Right Supplement for Stimulating Dog Appetite?
You will need to consider a lot of different elements in order to identify the correct stimulate for your dog’s appetite. This includes the dosage and your dog’s other health issues.
Dog supplements to stimulate appetite are effective for the right dog and circumstance. This means they may not work for your dog and some of the methods may be more effective than others. It depends partly on the underlying cause of your dog’s resistance to eating, and the treatment’s benefit alongside how common of a problem it is. Does the treatment temporarily stop the problem? Will the treatment be ongoing? How many satisfactory reviews has this method or treatment received? These are all important questions to ask before purchasing a product.
For example, if a new dog is feeling anxiety or a lack of appetite from just moving in, providing them with some rotisserie chicken as a treat or on top of meals can encourage them to develop an eating habit. Whereas an acupuncture treatment would not be suitable in this scenario and may make things worse.
Natural dog appetite stimulants can come with additives. The basic explanation of this is something else added to the original product which may have mild negative effects but serve a purpose. In the rotisserie chicken, food additives may be added if it is store-bought to aid with deterioration.
Drug additives mean something slightly different though. If two drug types are combined or if your dog is on medication, when combined with one of these types, they may develop a drug additive. This means that an effect can be amplified or minimized due to the combination of drugs. Be aware of all possible additives and their negative effects.
When deciding the dosage of your dog’s appetite supplement, you need to consider what is safe, what is recommended, and what your individual needs. We always recommend going to a vet for recommended dosage advice if you are at all unsure or cannot find any information.
When getting over the counter supplements, they will almost always be provided with a set of instructions. This should include the recommended dosage for your dog. The dosage will normally be influenced by your dog’s weight. When it comes to a procedure, such as acupuncture, consult a professional for their recommended sessions. Sometimes a dog will only need one. You can re-evaluate if your dog requires another session a few days after the first.
If your dog has any pre-existing health conditions, it is crucial that you contact your vet before using any appetite supplements for your dog. This is because these supplements may have an adverse effect on your dog’s current condition or with their current medication.
For example, your dog may already be on a kind of medication which increases their vitamin B levels alongside its specific treatment method. If an owner was not aware, they may increase their dog’s vitamin B level even more and lead to vitamin B toxicity. If you are at all unsure, always contact a professional so they may advise you on the best action to take.
7 Best Dog Appetite Stimulating Supplements
Find our top seven appetite supplements all with ratings and their amazon links.
1. Vetoquinol Nutri-Cal Oral Gel Supplement
High in calories and nutrients, this is the other dog appetite stimulant gel on our list. It has added flavor to the gel to entice your dog and this can be fed to them on a spoon or added on top of your dog’s food. This gel is stocked full of minerals and vitamins to help your dog start to feel better so their appetite can be stimulated.
A user praised the product and told how their dog began eating normally again with noticeable physical improvements after a week. They go on to say their dog is suffering from canine kidney disease and this product can aid appetite increase in ill dogs. Another user said ‘it works miracles and it lives up to the hype completely!’, need we say more?
2. TomLyn Nutri-Cal Dog Supplement
This product is said to be ‘Ideal for stressed, depilated, or underweight dogs‘. It has a malt flavoring to help choosy dogs start to eat and is applied by either giving your dog some to lick if they are severely off their diet or preferably applying an amount on top of their food. This product is also high in calories so if your dog is not ingesting any food, this gel should maintain their weight or at least reduce weight loss.
A user called the product ‘amazing’ and attributed it to her Siberian Husky puppy eating again. Their dog’s growth was severely stunted after an upper respiratory infection and a minimized appetite, at twelve weeks old the puppy appeared to look six weeks old. Their puppy loved the product and began eating their food and putting on weight soon after.
3. KONA'S Food Topper for Dogs
A combination of healthy ingredients but predominantly chicken breast crumbs, known as gold dust. This product is sprinkled on top of your dog’s food to encourage their appetite. Due to the smell and taste, this should encourage your dog to eat the sprinkles and then their usual food. Kona’s chips have a variety of different flavors so you can find one that is perfect for your dog, this is in our opinion the easiest to digest and swallow.
One buyer wrote about their Golden Retriever and their weight loss. Old age had reduced their dog’s appetite and nothing could stimulate it until gold dust. Their dog now eats their meals and licks the bowl clean. Another customer mentioned how it was great for their picky eater and gave another five stars.
4. Rebound Recuperation Formula
Advertised to ‘feed the gut, support the immune system and promote eating and drinking’, this supplement for your dog’s appetite has multiple benefits. The product can be added to their food or drink for ingestion. As it can be added to their water, it makes the product much easier to get into your dog with their small appetite. Dried chicken liver, poultry broth, and fat are added to the product to be enticing for your pooch and encourage them to consume it.
Top reviews have stated that this product saved their dog’s life. One user says they attribute this product to starting their dog’s appetite again after ‘severe pancreatitis’ and writes ‘do not hesitate to buy this!‘. Another buyer writes that they gave her dog all the ‘proper nutrients’ when their dog was in renal failure.
5. Lexelium Weight Gainer for Dogs
All the ingredients for this product are natural weight gainers with beneficial digestive properties. Lexelium states that the product is ideal for many different underweight individuals or those who are not eating. This includes malnourished dogs, those after surgery, puppies, elderly dogs, or even those with specialized diets for training. The product can be added to wet or dry food and as it is a powder. It is not too difficult to encourage your dog to ingest the powder sprinkled on top of their food as opposed to a pill.
This product is highly rated by many buyers. One review gave the product five stars and said it gave their one-year-old Labrador noticeable ‘muscle definition’ before even finishing the first bag. The ingredients in the product help to build muscle, increase energy, and overall boost your dog’s immune system. This is an all-rounder appetite stimulant and specifies in weight gain in particular.
6. Agatha's Elixir Dog Appetite Stimulant
This stimulant targets picky eaters and elderly dogs to help improve their appetite through natural ingredients. This includes apple cider vinegar, ginger root, alfalfa, milk thistle, and green tea. With a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not happy with the product and such positive reviews, it is easy to see why this dog supplement to stimulate appetite is on our list. All the provided ingredients come with digestive benefits including:
- Apple cider vinegar – Can combat excess yeast leading to easier and more comfortable digestion. Also, as the product is acidic, it can soothe a dog’s stomach who has high alkaline stomach acid.
- Ginger root – Is known to minimize bloating, gas build-up and is a natural relief for nausea.
- Alfalfa – High in protein and vitamin B. This product can aid in kidney health and balancing your dog’s digestive system to reduce nausea.
- Milk Thistle – This is a herb that is a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing nausea and pain for your dog
- Green Tea – Contains anti-oxidants to aid with overall digestion and minimize bloating
7. Dr. Becker's Appetite Flakes
These flakes are easy to sprinkle on top of your dog’s food and are meant to encourage your dog to eat through stimulation of their smell and taste. These flakes are made of beef and bison liver, meats which your dog will love to eat and can encourage them to gain a regular appetite.
These can be well suited for picky eaters or those who are avoiding eating in general, as they are small but strong-smelling and great tasting for your pooch. They also are 100% grain, filler, and gluten-free and therefore can be beneficial for dogs with easily upset stomachs or those that are wheat intolerant.
One review gave a rating of five stars to the appetite flakes saying that this helped their dog gain weight and helped convert its personality from antisocial back to her normal self.
Dog Appetite Stimulating Supplements – FAQs
Let us answer the last few questions you may have about dog appetite-stimulating supplements.
How can I stimulate my dog's appetite?
A dog’s appetite can be stimulated by a number of methods, it depends on the cause of appetite loss. If your dog is ill, the illness needs to be treated as the lack of appetite can be a side effect of their medical issues. If your dog has anxiety or depression, adjustments may need to be made depending on the reason behind these such as a new home, genetics or a new family member. Sometimes dogs may go off their appetite because they are picky eaters or because of their age, you can then use dog supplements to stimulate appetite.
How much Mirtazapine can you give a dog?
The recommended dosage is between 0.6 to 1.0 mg/kg every 24 hours. Do not exceed 30 mg in a day. This depends on your dog’s age, general health and weight. Always consult a vet first for the correct dosage.
How long does it take for Mirtazapine to stimulate a dog's appetite?
The medication should begin to work in one to two days, this is the period when your dog’s appetite will begin to be stimulated. They should start to eat an increased amount of food three days onward.
Be mindful that this is when the symptoms will begin to be treated and it may take longer for your dog to get back to normal. If after a week, no progress is visible and your dog has begun to eat less or lose more weight, take them back to the vets.
How to increase a dog's appetite naturally?
If you want to attempt to naturally increase a dog’s diet, we recommend exercise, eliminating treats and snacks, and make sure they are drinking enough water.
Increased exercise will lead to dogs that are using more energy and therefore are more hungry. Make sure not to overexert your dog as there is no guarantee that this method will cure your dog’s appetite loss. Making sure your dog is calm and well hydrated will also increase their appetite naturally. If your dog is not eating, we would always recommend taking it to the vet if you are not positive about the cause of their appetite loss.
How to get an old dog to eat more?
Getting an old dog to eat is similar to getting any biologically healthy dog to eat, appetizing food, a quiet area, and increased bioavailability of nutrients are all beneficial. Provide your older dog with a routine: feed them in the same room every time and make sure it’s quiet. Use a natural dog supplement to encourage them to eat through activating their smell and taste, and enrich them with nutrients and minerals through the supplement.