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Loss of Appetite in Dogs

Loss of appetite in dogs is caused due to several health-related and other psychological problems. Here is a list of causes for dogs losing their appetite.
DogAppy Staff
Being the owner of a dog which ravenously chows down any food given, it is surprising and extremely distressing to find the dog suddenly losing interest in food. From avoiding the food to completely giving it up, it is alarming when your pet dog starts losing weight and is completely lethargic. Although a temporary loss of appetite is considered quite normal, the loss of appetite or anorexia in dogs is a serious condition, especially if the fast exceeds for more than 48 hours. This might be a warning bell for an underlying health problem. Here is a look at some of the common causes that might be the reason for a loss of appetite in your dog.
Causes for Loss of Appetite in Dogs
Health Problems
There are many potential causes for a dog losing its appetite. Health problems, such as infections and autoimmune, respiratory, gastrointestinal, bone, endocrine, and neurological diseases, can cause the dog to stop eating. A metabolic disease known as the Addison's disease or hypoadrenocorticism, caused due to the deficiency in adrenocortical hormones, can lead to gradual loss of appetite and weight loss in dogs. Some of the other common health disorders which cause a loss of appetite are:
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Hepatitis
  • Kidney or renal disease
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Respiratory diseases like asthma and kennel cough
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Disease caused by parasites such as hookworms and mange
Stress and other psychological factors can cause a dog to lose its appetite. This could be linked to a recent event like moving home, the arrival of a baby or a new puppy, or the death of a family member. The best course of action during this time is to shower your pet with love and affection.
Improper Diet
For the dogs with discerning palates, a change in the usual diet can lead to a refusal to eat. If you do want to introduce new foods in your pet's diet, then do so gradually. Also, cut down on the number of dog treats. Sometimes, the dog is so full of them, it can hardly bear to look at its own food. If poor digestion is the cause of the loss of appetite, then try introducing digestive enzymes to help it digest and absorb the food. Another way to get the dog eating again is to warm the food a bit to release the aromatic flavor.
The best course of action is to establish a set routine for serving meals. It is also important to note that dogs less than 6 months of age may have inconsistent appetites and will thus need special attention in this area. To provide your dog with proper nutrition, serve a well-formulated dog food and administer supplement when necessary, to keep up its vitamin and mineral levels.
Certain medications given for arthritis or allergies such as aspirin, carprofen, deramaxx, and naproxen can cause a loss of appetite in the dog.
Anorexia in dogs is a serious condition and once it is suspected, you should immediately consult a vet as soon a possible. After discerning the underlying cause of the anorexia, the veterinarian will work towards establishing a healthy, well-balanced diet for your dog. In case the dog has not had food for five to six days, intravenous (IV) feeding may be required for the seriously anorexic dog. Whether the reason for the dog appetite loss is physical or psychological, it is important to monitor the dog's diet in order to effectively combat the problem, before it can have serious repercussions.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.