A dog that is not eating its dinner is not a dog that doesn’t need to eat. There are several reasons why your dog may not be eating all of a sudden. Sometimes, like humans, dogs have preferences related to what they eat. You need to adjust how you’re feeding them, the type of dinner, or health factors.
If your dog isn’t eating their dinner but will still take treats or table scraps, this is a sign they’re not interested in what’s being put before them in their bowl. Do not continue feeding them treats or table scraps as an alternative. It isn’t an alternative. Treats and table scraps aren’t healthy nor nutritious. A proper dinner is a goal.
Let’s figure out what to do when a dog won’t eat dinner.
Feed the dog another food.
Try another food if they aren’t accepting a certain type for a healthy, nutritious dog dinner that they’ll enjoy. You may want to try a different form of kibble from the pet store. Alternatively, move them to an ultra-nutritious raw dog food diet and see if that gets them more interested in food. Some dogs are plain fussy, as annoying as that can be.
Inspect your dog’s teeth and gums.
While in dental pain, it will be hard for anyone to bite down on food as hard as kibble is. If your puppy’s struggling with gum disease or has dental issues, they may need softer, comfortable food to chew on and eat. This may be what’s causing your dog to run from dinner, especially if you see them still interested in treats and softer foods.
Inspect your dog food for spoilage.
Pet food won’t last forever, even in a sealed container. It’s organic. Like human food, dog food, unfortunately, can expire. Inspect your dog food for odd smells, visible mould, or anything concerning. This is all the more important if they are on raw dog food or a non-kibble diet where how you handle and store the food has a major role to play in keeping it free from spoilage.
Stop feeding the dog treats and scraps.
Your dog will likely treat their kibble as the last possible option if they know they can get table scraps and treats. A dog will easily skip their kibble for junk any day, and it’s possible to feed them too many treats. This is a common mistake for first-time pet owners or anyone not tracking how much they’re giving out. After a dog realizes there aren’t any treats coming, they will hopefully go back to the kibble and eat their dinner as they prefer.
Set meal times during the day.
As a pet parent, it’s important to be consistent with what gets them a treat and when a dog’s being fed dinner. Make a food schedule. Give your dog the same food at the same time every day. Establish a routine where the dog knows what is expected from them. Find ways to reward them afterward. Encourage them to eat at their bowl. Call your pup over, praise them, and give them a treat when they are done. In time, this will train them to eat on the schedule you’ve established.
Mix in some wet dog food.
So long as you are sure the dog food is still good, the dog’s teeth and gums aren’t suffering, and there isn’t an underlying health problem causing them to want to avoid food, try mixing in some wet dog food with their kibble. Mixing it all will make the kibble taste better, and nutrients from the wet canned dog food will make for an excellent dinner.
Take the dog to the vet.
An otherwise healthy dog that has lost its appetite may be suddenly ill. You may want to take them to the vet if you notice they aren’t eating their dinner anymore and are experiencing any of the following symptoms.
- Your dog is vomiting without having eaten anything and refusing to eat.
- Your dog is no longer behaving as before and is less active.
- Your dog’s stools no longer appear normal and are more like diarrhea than solids.
Don’t get angry with the dog for not eating.
You don’t want a dog to have any negative associations with their kibble or any type of food you’re trying to feed them for dinner. Be careful not to shout at them, and certainly do not punish your dog for not eating their dinner. Be patient. Find out why they aren’t eating, addressing the underlying cause because there always is one. Your dog probably doesn’t understand what they’re doing in refusing to eat. It’s often a reaction to something else going on.