Loss of Appetite in Dogs

Loss of Appetite in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Lethargy / Poor Appetite / Vomiting / Weakness / Weight Loss

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Rated as moderate conditon

93 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Lethargy / Poor Appetite / Vomiting / Weakness / Weight Loss

Loss of Appetite in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Loss of Appetite?

Loss of appetite “anorexia” in dogs is a symptom that can be indicative of a variety of possible underlying problems. The underlying cause could range from a minor stressor to a life-threatening illness. A pet choosing to eat little or no food as the result of an upset stomach or stress may begin eating again within 24 hours. However, loss of appetite for longer than 1-2 days can be a sign of medical emergency and should not go untreated.

Refusing to eat more than two meals is uncommon for most dogs. Loss of appetite is a serious indicator of an underlying illness, which can vary from depression to cancer. if you notice a change in your dog's eating habits, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian immediately. It is especially important to respond quickly to a refusal to eat in dogs that are usual "chow hounds."

Symptoms of Loss of Appetite in Dogs

Symptoms of loss of appetite in dogs include:

  • Eating less food than normal
  • Refusing to eat food
  • Refusing to eat treats
  • Lack of interest in food
  • Trying to eat but unable
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Vomiting
Types
  • Pseudo-anorexia

    – The pet wants to eat, however cannot due to a physical problem.

  • True anorexia

    – The pet has no desire to eat.

Causes of Loss of Appetite in Dogs

A variety of issues can cause loss of appetite in dogs:

Psychological Causes of Anorexia

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Undesirable food
  • Environmental change
  • Dietary change
  • Change in daily routine

Physical Causes of Anorexia

  • Medication
  • Infection (bacterial, viral, parasitic)
  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Toxin exposure
  • Dental problems
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease or blockage
  • Endocrine disorder
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Respiratory illness
  • Neurological disease

Diagnosis of Loss of Appetite in Dogs

It is important to note whether any environmental or dietary changes have occurred that may be causing the loss of appetite in your pet. Possible stressors could include moving to a new home, having house guests for a visit, a family member leaving for a period of time, getting a new pet, loud noises (fireworks, gunshots, thunder) or change in diet.

If your pet is demonstrating loss of appetite, you may want to try feeding a bland diet (boiled chicken breast and white rice) and see if the appetite returns. If you have changed diets recently, try going back to the old diet or add a bit of low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth to stimulate appetite. Monitor your pet for 24 hours and if low appetite continues or if you notice the pet is not having bowel movements or is having diarrhea and/or vomiting, visit the veterinarian for an examination.

The veterinarian will want to know when the loss of appetite began, and whether your pet tries to eat but can’t or doesn’t try at all. Any recent changes to the diet or environment can be important information.

The physical examination will include an examination of the mouth, teeth and throat and abdominal palpitation for possible pain or masses. Laboratory diagnostics may include blood testing to detect any abnormalities in liver, kidney, and other organ function. A fecal exam can detect the presence of intestinal parasites. Radiographs will aid in visualization of any abdominal or chest abnormalities. Endoscopy can be used to help visualize the condition of the throat, stomach lining and upper small intestine.

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Treatment of Loss of Appetite in Dogs

You can attempt to stimulate appetite at home by warming the pet’s food slightly or adding warm water to kibble (increasing smell and palatability). Be very certain that the food is not too hot and stir microwaved food well to distribute heat evenly after warming. You may also try adding canned food or low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth) to kibble. A pet may respond to hand feeding with fingers or a spoon better than eating from a bowl.

If the pet refuses to eat after a 24-hour period, veterinary treatment will be necessary.

Supportive Care

If the pet has not eaten in a few days, intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy will rehydrate the pet and provide electrolytes. Syringe feeding or a feeding tube may be required for pets who haven’t eaten in 2-3 days. An appetite stimulant such as mirtazapine or cyproheptadine can aid in boosting appetite.

Treatment of the Underlying Issue

Once the condition that is causing the loss of appetite is identified, proper treatment of the condition will be initiated. This may involve oral medications, dental procedure and/or surgery.

Refeeding

Once the pet is stabilized, a refeeding plan will be put into place. Normally, a bland diet will be offered for 2-3 days with small portions given frequently throughout the day. The diet will then transition to a regular diet gradually over one week.

Recovery of Loss of Appetite in Dogs

Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions on refeeding and diet management carefully. The gastrointestinal tract is often sensitive after periods of not eating and your veterinarian’s dietary instructions will address this. Let your veterinarian know if appetite is not considerably improved within 1-2 days after release and monitor bowel movements and behavior carefully.

Recovery from anorexia depends on the ability to detect and treat the underlying cause quickly. Prognosis is normally good with early detection and pets can regain appetite in a day or two after the underlying cause is addressed.

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Loss of Appetite Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Loss of Appetite Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Weimaraner

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

our dog is a weimaraner and blue heeler mix. we changed her food recently to try something that the vet recommended. but she won’t eat it, now that her old food isn’t mixed in with the new food anymore. we’ve had to mix chicken broth with it in order for her to eat it. and she does very slowly. she’s still very active, no mood changes other than her appetite has changed. what do you think? do you think i should put her on her old food again?

yesterday

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, If she is not eating her new food, I would switch her back to her old food or ask the vet for a different food recommendation. Some dogs are very picky eaters and will only eat a certain type of food.

yesterday

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Miniature Doberman pincher

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8 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing Very Light

What cN I give her and can I give her water

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry your dog is having problems. Unfortunately, without being able to see her, it is difficult to say what might be going on. She can have water, yes, as to not give her water would probably make things worse. Otherwise, if the breathing problems is continuing, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They can examine her, see what might be going on, and give her any medications she might need. I hope that she is okay.

July 9, 2020

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Hunter

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Happy

My staffy just turned two, always has had an excellent appetite. We raw feed. All 4 of our dogs got a gastro bug 2 weeks ago but overcame it with no worries but now our tubby 2 yr old won't eat, he wants to but spits it out, although he did eat a small slice of provolone cheese, I made him rice with chicken stock and a scrambles egg for dinner but he wouldn't touch it.. No fever, cold wet nose but just wants to sleep or sit outside. Today is the second day. Yesterday he did vomit like 10 times, bile and some grass but no vomiting or diarrhea. Is drinking fine.

Aug. 6, 2018

Hunter's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

A recent tummy bug would explain Hunter’s loss of appetite, you should think about feeding a more basic meal of just chicken and rice since the chicken stock may be too much if the stomach is sensitive; small regular portions (half a cup every few hours) may help and in the meantime you should ensure that he is hydrated. If he cannot be coaxed to eat, you should think about visiting your Veterinarian in case there is something else being overlooked. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 7, 2018

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Winnie

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apso

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Loss Appetite
Not Moving
Short Breathe

My dog had stopped eating anything even his favorite meal since Saturday and later on her body was warm then normal one so we took her to vet on Sunday and she was given 4 injection and we was informed that she had viral fever the injection will help her and if she do not get well by evening we were advice to bring her on Monday, so we took her to vet on Monday and she was given drips and again 4 injection they doubted it was distemper and did her blood test and report was normal it was showing negative. She was having difficult to breathe was not eating was not moving from her place. She died on Monday while taking her back to home from vet. Just wanted to know what and where did it went wrong and what was she suffering from?

Aug. 2, 2018

Winnie's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Without performing a necropsy or examining her before death I cannot say specifically what the cause of death was; a loss of appetite, lethargy and fever are not symptoms which are specific for any particular condition and death may have been due to infections, poisoning, come cancers among other causes. I know that it is distressing not having answers, but unfortunately I cannot shed any light on this for you. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 2, 2018

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Grace

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Catahoula Leopard Dog

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2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

My husband and I went on vacation and had my dog boarder, same boarder she has been to a few times. A few days after we got home she stopped eating in the morning, she has always eaten 2 meals a day with no hesitation, yesterday she did not eat at all. Her energy level is normal and does not appear to be sick at all.

July 30, 2018

Grace's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Grace may just be nervous or anxious from you being gone. If she doesn't start eating again in the next day or two, normally, it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian to make sure that she is okay.

July 30, 2018

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duchess

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Chiweenie

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Throwing Up

my dog usually goes to her bowl when i feed her now she won't and i am concerned she has not been to a vet in a long time my mom won't take her how can i get her to eat she also walks slow and she runs into things what can i do i don't know how old she is

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Bonbon

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Aspin

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite

My dog hasn't been eating for 5 days now. He vomit water for just 1 day and we keep him hydrated through syringe. He doesn't want to eat and drink water at all. At first i thought it's because he didn't like the food but we tried everything still he didn't liked it. And my problem is he is getting thinner and thinner :(

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Carpio "Pio"

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Aspin

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6 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite, Fever, Vomiting

We have a suspicion that our dog is experiencing Iron Toxicity, based on my research it is not really good for any dogs to ingest high number of iron and it can cause death. I'm writing this to ask if my beloved dog can really make it, I believe he ingested high number of iron from our rusty stove. I don't want him to die and we haven't seen a vet to ask for medication'cause we can't pay for the expenses (because my father is also ill and should be treated). 4 days ago he started to loss his appetite then 2 days after he vomited and poop (which is very fishy), he really loss weight and just drinking water. We're just giving him nutrients through syringe.

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Mika

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Mixed

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Wobbly
Loss Of Thirst

My dog is 13 years old, mixed breed. Last night I noticed that she wasn't her usual perky self and she was pretty wobbly while walking. A few minutes later she threw up thick, foamy yellowish-white bile. She stopped wobbling after that but she was still lethargic, so I took her to the vet, he gave her an anti-vomiting shot and said she didn't have a fever and to come back if she keeps vomiting despite the shot. She drank some water when we came back home, but now it's 12 p.m. the next day and she now won't drink or eat (neither dry food nor roast beef or some chicken, which she never says no to) and is still lethargic. Does that sound like something serious? She's breathing normally, nothing is yellow and she still wags her tail at me while lying down.

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Natalie

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Lab mix

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1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite
Not Drinking
Breaths Faster At Rest

My dog Natalie has stopped eating and drinking water for the last four days. She's been breathing very heavily and is very lethargic and hot in temperature. We took her into the vet to see if they could diagnose what was wrong with her, but with all the tests done, they determined nothing was wrong with her. They didn't give us any antibiotics, they just sent us home. I don't know what our next step should be...please help.

Loss of Appetite Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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