We pamper and treat our pets as members of our family. So it is natural to panic or be concerned when one notices a disparity in their pet's behavior. This doesn't mean that we get paranoid about the dog's health and run to the veterinarian with every health problem that we see in our canine. Yes, damage control is important, but remember that just like children, dogs too aren't very fond of needles and vets.
There can be many reasons for loss of appetite in dogs. Take a look at the various possible causes behind your dog eating like a bird.
Dogs generally tend to stop eating to detoxify their body. During this time, you will notice your dog eating grass and leaves. This is the first and most common reason for avoiding food. Most owners will agree that their pet dogs are very picky about food. This holds true for puppies also, as this is the stage when they are developing their liking towards certain food. Another reason for appetite loss in puppies could be that you are feeding them dog food which is meant for adult dogs. Also, if you feed your dog a large meal three times a day, there are chances that by the third meal, depending on the exercise he gets, he won't be too hungry. Lack of exercise can also trigger poor appetite in dogs.
Dogs are also affected by psychological issues, especially if there has been a lot of noise around them, like firecrackers. Even due to separation anxiety, they may stop eating and may also refuse food if they are sad or depressed. Some male dogs also stop eating when they can smell a female in heat nearby.
Poor appetite in dogs can show up as an underlying symptom of another problem, like a bacterial infection or dog cancer. Dogs too get anorexic due to stress, as a result of which they may not eat. If the dog has an infection in the stomach or if he is experiencing problems with his gums or teeth, he may refuse food. Hormonal change, or problems with his kidneys or liver could also be a cause for lack of appetite. Certain respiratory diseases like asthma and kennel cough can also lead to reduced appetite. Worm infestation, urinary tract infection, or constipation could be some other reasons for your dog's loss of interest in food.
As such, there are no clear symptoms in dogs. As a pet owner, if you notice slight changes in the dog's behavior, then watch out for other symptoms. If nothing else shows up, then probably there is nothing serious to worry about. In such cases, your dog would seem very fussy about the food you give him. He may want you to feed him, but won't eat when you give him food. Along with these changes, you may notice that he may be weak and lazy. During this time, he may eat grass.
To treat this disinterest in food, you can start with tempting your dog with his favorite food. Try changing his meal timings and food. You can also ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise so that he feels hungry. Make sure that he has his de-worming course to rule out worms. Excessive fleas cause your dog discomfort and in turn, lead to mood swings and loss of appetite. Make sure that he is drinking enough water and give his vitamin supplements whenever he eats. Let him ask you for food, don't force feed him as long as he eats at least one meal a day. If, however, your dog hasn't eaten for two days, take him to a veterinarian on the second day. If your dog is not drinking water, the veterinarian may have to put him on a saline drip.
In most cases, lack of appetite is nothing serious. At times, just a change in weather can cause your dog to reduce his appetite. As long as he doesn't completely stop eating, you have nothing to worry about. You must already be knowing this, but dogs too need a healthy environment, one that fosters love and encourages him to be happy and active. Eventually, it's these small things that determine your pet's health.