This post is all about the causes of dog loss of appetite and management (with salient emphasis on picky feeders).
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
-DOG LOSS OF APPETITE
-APPETITE LOSS IN A NORMAL EATING DOG
-CAUSES OF APPETITE LOSS IN DOGS
-MANAGEMENT AND SOLUTIONS
-MANAGING A PICKY DOG.
Most dogs are voracious eaters and will hastily devour any appealing food presented to them. However, some may actually turn out to be a deviation from the normal(the picky eaters). They tend to select food and would show disinterest in food which we the owner most time spend so much on purchasing. This can create a whole lot of concern to dog owners and over the years I have seen and heard similar issues in clients.
We would be discussing picky eaters at the tail end of this talk, but for now, we would be dwelling on the normal eating dogs. I had to explain that part so that we can have a clear distinction between what loss of appetite is in a “normal eating” dog and a picky eater.
The two conditions are clearly not the same.
DOG LOSS OF APPETITE IN A NORMAL EATING DOG
Having a dog that shows a sudden or gradual deviation or decline from its normal food intake level can be quite worrisome and create a serious source of concern to the Owner
Many are left wondering
what could be the cause of dog loss of appetite?
Why is Jack who used to finish a plate full of kibble now nibbling on a few at a time? Or why is Jenny who used to love Royal Canin dried kibble now lying in a corner and avoiding the food completely?
I have been here before so I know how it feels to own a dog who suddenly won’t eat. This questions will lead us to the part of the discourse:
CAUSES OF DOG LOSS OF APPETITE
Certain factors can cause dog loss of appetite or causes a dog to go off food either over a short period of time or a prolonged period. These will include:
1. A disease condition:
Dog loss of appetite is very common to sick dogs. A sick dog will most definitely lose appetite. It may eat less than normal or completely go off food, depending on the severity of the disease condition.
These disease conditions can range from bacterial infections to viral, Cancers, etc to mention a few. Lack of appetite in this kind of condition is the most time-critical and would extend over a long period of time. Thus, as soon as you notice a sharp drop in food intake in your dog over a period of over a day, please report to your veterinarian with your dog. As soon as the underlying condition is treated, your dog would most definitely regain its normal appetite.
Supplements can now be introduced to the dog to assist in the recovery process.
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Injuries in dogs can be quite worrisome! Especially if severe. Dogs with musculoskeletal injuries go through severe pains that can lead to appetite loss in dogs and may tend to cause the dog to eat less or completely go off feed altogether. In this case, it is also equally advisable you report your dog to a Vet, have it examined and the injury treated With some pain killers and appetite stimulants. Over time, your dog should be able to regain its normal eating status.
3. Dental disease or injury:
A dog with a bad tooth, a wound on the tongue or gum would most likely find food less appealing. Dental issues are also part of major causes of Appetite loss in dogs and are what is referred to as pseudo anorexia.
pseudo meaning false and Anorexia is the loss of appetite.
Pseudo anorexia simply means the dog wants to eat, but it cannot. Due to pains, it is experiencing in the mouth and you as the owner may not be able to detect easily on your own. But with a proper examination by a Vet, this can be detected. Tooth decays in dogs are becoming more common than usual for certain reasons. And that is; we dog owners tend to have this belief that the dog has the best teeth in the whole animal kingdom and thus do not require tooth care!
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4. Unfamiliar surroundings or traveling:
Your dog may suddenly go off feed as a result of a complete change of environment or if you just embarked on a journey. Some dogs actually experience motion sickness which leads to retching and vomiting in such dogs. This situation is actually less severe and you should not be so troubled. With some little help and confidence on your part as the owner, the dog should come around in a few days. You can endeavor to introduce the dogs to treats that are irresistible. Spend time with the dog and encourage it to be confident.
Once the dog gets accustomed to his new surrounding its appetite will most definitely return to normal.
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5. Worm infestation: Dogs tend to carry a whole lot of worm loads due to their nature. Thus, it is very important they are dewormed regularly at least 3 months intervals( depending on the breed). Dogs with heavy worm loads can develop a lack of appetite. This can be managed or prevented by Visiting your Vet to have your dogs dewormed regularly.
Now that we know what can cause dog loss of appetite, it is important we note how best to manage these conditions when it presents itself.
I have mentioned during my discourse some ways these issues can be managed.
However, it is pertinent to emphasize the fact that a sudden deviation in the appetite of a dog over a period of 2 days should not be taken with levity.
Please hastily report to a Veterinarian as soon as possible you may be saving the life of your dog by doing so.
Now that we have dealt with a normal appetite dog. Let us take a quick peep at the picky dog.
The picky eater: It can be very frustrating to own a picky eater
Pickiness in a dog is actually more of a behavioral issue rather than a medical condition. These dogs tend to change their mind about a particular food just because they feel they can! They call the shots as to what they want to eat
Leaving the owner disturbed and trying out various types of food over short periods of time.
You dare not buy a big bag of a particular food if your dog is a picky eater. As he may change its mindless than halfway into the bag And then your food goes to waste.
Your dog eats about anything at times, from scraps from the human table to unpalatable trash he finds himself. But will only nibble at that expensive dog food u bought with your hard-earned cash!
Those kinds of dogs are called Onigbeses! Interpretation: wasters.
I am sure some of us own one or two of these dogs and must have gone through a lot in order to manage them.
I will, therefore, offer a few points which can help us better manage such dogs.
DOG LOSS OF APPETITE: MANAGING A PICKY EATER:
Please note the first step in managing this is to eliminate or rule out any underlying issues that may be troubling the dog. That is to say, be very sure you are not missing something. Make sure the dog is not having a medical condition which u are overlooking. This can be done by getting your dog examined by a vet. With that done, let us go proper into managemental actions.
1. If you would correct pickiness in a dog you have to first endeavor to eliminate table scraps and treats from the dog’s diet.
Let the dog understand this. It might be a bit difficult at first but you must be persistent.
2. Pick a specific timing for feeding the dog and endeavor to be accurately disciplined. Don’t feed it treats outside the feeding hours.
3. Ensure it gains maximum exercise before the feeding time. You can walk the dog or simply let it have a good run in the compound. All this will help stimulate its appetite and make it thirsty too. Introduce food and water to it after the excessive and see it eating more than normal. This does the trick most of the time. But you would agree with me that it requires discipline and commitment.
On this note, I would be rounding up this lesson on the loss of appetite in dogs, its causes and management.
Thanks for reading.
Now we can go into questions if you have any question, drop it below; in the “comment” section.