A normal appetite can be affected by several factors, including stress, anxiety, boredom, change of schedule, new people in the home, and other factors. Some dogs go weeks without food to wean them off of regular meals — so if your pup hasn’t been eating for several days and is still acting healthy and energetic, it may just be a temporary phase! Here’s more information on how long your dog can go without eating.
Dogs have an instinctive need to feed every few hours. They will let you know when they are hungry and may even paw at their bowl or alert you by barking. If your dog is not eating and you are worried about their health, there are a few reasons why this may be the case.
Dogs under stress can go without food.
Dogs’ instinct is to be up at dawn and be down for a nap in the afternoons. They are not designed to be awake all night and are often more energetic and active when they can eat frequently. When you are under stress or upset, it can affect your ability to focus and be productive. If your dog is in a new environment, they may also be stressed by this change in routine. If they are experiencing a health issue, they may be unable to eat well and put weight on it.
Bored dogs don’t eat.
Dogs are pack animals and like to be part of the action. If your dog is bored, they may be more likely to nibble on your favorite pair of slippers or shoes than eat their food. If your dog is stressed or anxious, they may be more likely to nibble on their fingers or chew on items around the house.
Boredom may also be caused by a change in schedule or routine. If you are out of town or on vacation, your dog may be bored by their new surroundings and lack companionship. If you have new people in the home, they may be stressed by the change and less interested in eating.
Anxiety makes dogs lose their appetite.
Dogs are biologically programmed to hunt — so if they feel anxious about something, they may become less interested in eating to cope with their feelings. If your dog is experiencing loneliness, it may be more stressed by eating. If they are suffering from separation anxiety, they may be more stressed by the act of eating.
Weaning a dog off of regular meals can cause refusing to eat.
Weaning is the process of weaning a dog off of regular meals, usually begins when your dog is around 6 months old and is done by the time they are 2 years old. Some breeds are designed to eat less frequently than others and are not as likely to suffer from malnutrition if they skip a meal or two.
If your dog is experiencing a health issue, they may not be able to eat as a way to manage their symptoms. Weaning a dog off of regular meals can cause refusing to eat if they are over-burdened by their workload or are experiencing excessive fatigue.
A change of schedule or routine can make your dog lose their appetite.
Many dogs are naturally more interested in eating when they are excited and happy rather than stressed or anxious. Going on a vacation or a trip may make your dog lose their appetite because they are not used to being away from you for so long. If you are experiencing a schedule change, it may make your dog lose their appetite because they are stressed about the change in routine. If you have new people in the home, your dog may lose their appetite because the change stresses them.
Your dog will tell you when they are hungry, but it’s important to keep an eye on them too. If they don’t eat or drink for longer than an hour or appear uncomfortable, bring them to the vet immediately. A sudden lack of appetite in your dog could signify illness. In these cases, it’s important to get them to the vet quickly so they can be diagnosed and treated. A healthy dog will let you know when they are hungry, but if they don’t eat for a few hours, you should take them to the vet to ensure they aren’t ill or don’t need to go to the bathroom frequently.