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How To Increase Dog Appetite

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs may eat less due to physical, mental, or emotional factors. It could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs attention.
  • Reasons for a loss of appetite in dogs may include stress, indigestion, respiratory disease, parasites, medication side effects, trauma, old age, food quality, or dental problems.
  • Consistency, high-quality food, appetizing meals, a variety of food, and limiting treats can help increase your dog's appetite.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Monday 2 September 2019
Last updated on
Wednesday 10 May 2023
how to increase dog appetite
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If you’re concerned that your dog is eating less than usual, there may be an underlying problem that needs attention. Like humans, dogs’ appetites can be affected by physical, mental, or emotional factors. This could be a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed.

There are many reasons why dogs don’t want to eat such as dental problems, stress, anxiety, pain, or digestive problems. As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to monitor your dog’s eating habits and ensure they enjoy their meals as usual. It’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian if you notice any changes. This may be a minor issue, but checking it to eliminate potential risks is a good idea.

In order to increase your dog’s appetite, it’s important to recognize what’s triggering changes in their diet. Once you understand the underlying reasons, you can work with your veterinarian to find the best solution for your furry friend. Paying attention to your dog’s health and well-being is a responsible pet owner’s responsibility!

What is Appetite Loss in Dogs?

Loss of appetite in dogs occurs when the dog gradually or suddenly eats less of its own regular food. This could be a sign of a bigger problem, from fatigue to more serious medical problems. There are several symptoms your dog will show when they experience a change in appetite. If you’re not sure about their diet, watch them closely for a few days. 

One of the first things you will notice is that your dog will not eat food and leave leftovers in the bowl. Another symptom to look out for is a lack of interest in eating and being easily distracted. If your dog is throwing up food and looking lethargic, it may not be getting enough nutrients it needs.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian. Appetite changes are not necessarily serious, but it’s best to be safe and rule out potential risks before starting treatment. 

Why Do Dogs Lose Their Appetite?

There could be various reasons why your furry friend is losing their appetite. Observe your dog for a few days to identify possible factors that might be causing them to eat less.


Stress is one of the main factors that can lead to appetite loss in dogs. Changes in routine or the arrival of a new pet can make them anxious and stressed out. Dogs are sensitive animals and can experience separation anxiety too, which can impact their eating habits.

Stress can also manifest in destructive behavior or a decrease in their appetite. Keep an eye out for changes in their behavior and try to identify triggers that may be stressing them out.

Other factors that can stress out your dog include trauma, getting lost, spending too much time away from their owner, or loneliness. If you suspect that stress is the reason for their appetite loss, try to create a calm and comforting environment for them to relax in. In case the symptoms persist, it is best to seek advice from a veterinarian.



Dogs sometimes eat less or avoid food altogether because they struggle to digest it. Certain foods can cause issues like constipation, gas, or diarrhea, and dogs know to steer clear of them. This can lead to a reduced appetite.

If you notice your dog having trouble digesting their food, it’s important to take them to the vet. They can help identify the issue and determine if the food you’re giving them is the problem. Checking your dog’s stool can also give you clues about how their body is reacting.

Remember to always give your furry friend food that is appropriate for their needs, and keep an eye out for any changes in their appetite or digestion.

Respiratory Disease

If your dog is having trouble breathing, it could be a sign of respiratory disease, which can make them lose their appetite. One example of a respiratory condition is bronchitis, also known as kennel cough, which can cause coughing and mucus buildup in the throat and nose. This can make it difficult to eat or swallow.

Respiratory disease can also cause a decrease in appetite and interest in food. Remember to take your furry friend to the vet if you notice any changes in their breathing or appetite. They can help determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment to help your dog feel better.


If your dog is eating less than usual, parasites may be to blame. These tiny organisms attach themselves to a host to get nutrients. There are many types of parasites that can affect your dog’s stomach or intestines.

Some parasites can cause worms in the stomach, which may lead to vomiting. If your dog vomits after eating, it could be due to something they ate or parasites affecting their body.

Common parasites that affect dogs include whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, which can all affect the intestines. It’s important to take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible to get a confirmed diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Remember to keep your dog’s environment clean and free from parasites. This can help prevent future infestations and keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Internal Dog Parasites
Top 10 Most Dangerous Internal Dog Parasites

Medication Side Effects

Sometimes dogs can experience behavioral changes and reduced appetite due to the side effects of medication. If your dog has recently started taking medication, it’s important to read up on its potential side effects. Some medicines can cause a loss of appetite or other behavioral problems.

If you are concerned about the medication your dog is taking, talk to your vet about alternatives. They can help replace your prescription with something that does not reduce your dog’s food intake or cause behavioral issues.

In summary, be aware of the potential side effects of any medication your dog is taking. And if you notice any changes in their behavior or appetite, don’t hesitate to speak with your vet. They can help you find a solution that keeps your furry friend healthy and happy.


After experiencing trauma, it can be especially difficult to increase your dog’s appetite. If your dog has been in an accident or has suffered a broken limb, they are likely healing from internal and physical injuries. During this recovery process, they may experience pain and discomfort, which can cause behavioral changes.

Your dog may not be able to engage in their normal routines or activities, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and fluctuations in behavior. All of these factors can contribute to a lack of interest in food and treats.


To help your furry friend through this challenging time, try giving them medication to control their pain or talk to your vet about what might be causing their discomfort. By addressing their physical and emotional needs, you can help your dog recover and regain their appetite.

Old Age

As dogs age, they may not eat as much as they used to. This is because older dogs do not spend as much time doing activities and running around, so they don’t require as much energy as they did when they were younger. As a result, they may not need as much food to replenish their energy levels.

It’s normal for your dog’s eating habits to change as they get older, and it’s perfectly fine for them to have a reduced appetite. Just like humans, dogs have different dietary requirements at different stages of their lives.

If you’re concerned about your older dog’s eating habits, it’s always a good idea to talk to your vet. They can help you determine if there are any underlying health issues that might be affecting your dog’s appetite.

Food Quality

It’s possible that your dog is not eating as much or rejecting food entirely because of low-quality food. Just like humans, dogs need healthy and nutritious food to stay healthy and happy. If your dog is fed the same kind of food all the time, they may get bored with it and not enjoy it as much.

You may want to consider switching to a high-quality dog food that your dog enjoys. You can also try adding some variety to their diet by incorporating different kinds of meats, vegetables, and fruits that are safe for dogs to eat. This will not only make their meals more interesting but also ensure that they are getting all the necessary nutrients for good health.

Dental Problems

Dental problems can be a common reason why your dog is not eating as much as it used to. If your furry friend seems to be struggling to chew and swallow their food, it is possible that they have some sort of obstruction in their mouth. This could be due to tooth decay, tumors, or something as simple as a foreign object lodged between their teeth.

It is important to take your dog to the vet for a full check-up to determine the cause of their discomfort. If your dog’s breed is prone to tooth and gum disease, it is especially important to maintain good dental hygiene to prevent future issues.

Regular teeth cleaning and dental check-ups can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy and pain-free, making mealtime a more enjoyable experience for them.

professional dental cleaning for dogs
Never hesitate to schedule an appointment for your dog to get a professional dental cleaning.

How to Increase My Dog’s Appetite?

It is concerning to see your dog not enjoy food as much. As a dog owner, you must ask yourself how to increase your dog’s diet? Here are some ways that can help improve their food intake.

Beyond providing them with the best appetite stimulants, there are many steps you can take to slowly increase your dog or puppy’s appetite for food.

Be consistent with your dog’s eating habits

Being consistent with your dog’s eating habits is crucial to improve their food intake. Establish a proper mealtime and stick to it. Keep in mind that some dogs may easily get distracted and leave their food unfinished. Give them 30 to 40 minutes to finish their meal and then pick up the plate. This will help them learn about mealtime and develop discipline in finishing their food on time.

Consistency is key to developing your dog’s biological clock. By establishing a routine, they will know when it’s mealtime and will feel hungry at the same time every day, ensuring they finish their food properly.

Offer high-quality food

To increase your dog’s appetite, it’s important to provide them with high-quality food that they enjoy eating. This means ensuring that their food is fresh and free from any odors. Check the expiration dates on your dog’s food, and avoid giving them anything that is old or stale, as they may reject it.

Consider feeding your dog raw food or freshly prepared meals, as these options tend to be more appealing to dogs. You can also look into natural dog food delivery services that provide high-quality food right to your doorstep. Additionally, investing in a good kibble brand that your dog enjoys can be a great option.

By offering your dog fresh, high-quality food that they enjoy, you can help to increase their appetite and ensure that they are getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy and happy.

Provide appetizing meals

To ensure your dog enjoys their meals, it’s important to provide them with food that is both nutritious and appetizing. As a dog owner, you can try offering different kinds of food that have more flavor, such as dog food with gravy or wet food. Mixing their food with warm water to create a broth is also a great way to add some flavor and make their meal more appealing.

Giving your dog occasional treats and snacks as a reward for good behavior can also encourage them to eat their regular meals. When your dog is excited about their food, they’re more likely to finish their plate in a timely manner. So, be creative and offer a variety of delicious options to make mealtime enjoyable for your furry friend.

YouTube video from eHow explaining how to boost a sick dog’s appetite.

Give your dog a wide variety of food every meal

Providing variety in your dog’s diet is crucial to keep them interested in their food. Feeding your dog the same store-bought kibble every day can get dull and lead to reduced appetite or incomplete meals. One affordable option is to switch between different brands and flavors of kibble periodically. Additionally, you can offer your dog raw bone or canned gravy to mix things up.

Don’t forget about healthy treats like sweet potato chips that your dog can enjoy occasionally. Offering a variety of foods will keep mealtime exciting for your dog and may increase their appetite.

Cut back on treats and small snacks

To ensure your dog maintains a healthy appetite, it’s important to limit the amount of scraps and treats they receive throughout the day. While they may enjoy these treats, they may develop a preference for them over their regular meals. This can lead to finicky eating habits and a reduced appetite for their main food.

To avoid this, try to limit treats to rewards for good behavior or use them during training. It’s also important to avoid giving your dog table scraps, as this can lead to bad habits and an upset stomach.

If your dog is experiencing a loss of appetite, it’s important to visit a vet for a proper diagnosis. While there may not be a serious underlying condition, it’s important to eliminate any potential risk factors.

Some dogs may experience a loss of appetite for a few days, but it’s important to identify any behavioral changes and address them accordingly. By working with your vet and monitoring your dog’s eating habits, you can help ensure they maintain a healthy appetite and stay happy and energetic.

Some dogs may experience appetite loss for a few days, and it is not always consistent. Try to look for the trigger that is causing behavioral changes and treat them accordingly.

One comment on “How To Increase Dog Appetite”

  1. Dr. Amos

    My female dog is a year and two months and have not come on heat. What do I do?

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