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Why Is My Puppy Not Eating Enough - What To Do

Why Is My Puppy Not Eating Enough – What To Do?

Your puppy is always busy learning about the world around them. Thus, they need a lot of energy. Your puppy gets this from the multiple meals fed in a day. Therefore, their everyday nutritional needs must be fulfilled. Hence, a puppy’s diet must consist of essential vitamins, calcium, proteins, and minerals, providing balanced and complete nutrition.

Puppy foods must have the appropriate carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water. However, what can you do when they need to eat more?

So, here are a few things you need to know about how much your pup should be eating. You must also understand why some young dogs skip meals, how you can get them to eat, and the signs indicating something is seriously wrong with them.

Reasons why your pup would not eat

There is a variety of reasons why your pup might lose its appetite. Some of these could be remedied at your home. In some cases, you could need veterinary care. Following are the main reasons why your pup could refuse to eat:

  • Exhaustion
  • Distraction
  • Stress
  • Vaccinations
  • Finicky eater
  • A lot of snacks before the meal
  • illness

Puppies tend to keep at it till they crash suddenly into a pile of irresistible cuteness. Your pup may be too excited to eat if there are distractions, such as a party in the house.

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How long can pups go without eating?

A pup needs to refuel themselves regularly. Since their little bodies are growing, they need a lot of nutrients. So, your pup is being their usual goofy self but not eating for an entire day. You’ll need to call the vet and get some advice.

See if your pup is refusing water as well. In any such cases, experts recommend calling the vet if your dog has not drunk or eaten for half a day. You must contact the vet immediately if they become inactive, have diarrhea, or start vomiting.

How to get your pup to eat again?

If your pup has not eaten for an entire day or is showing other symptoms, you must contact the vet immediately. Otherwise, there are a few things that you can do at home so that your pup can be encouraged to have their next meal.

Doctors say that if your puppy is healthy, you should let them eat when ready. If they are a picky eater, you may feel like going down the rabbit hole of trying to please them, but you must not.

How many times a day should your pup eat?

If your pups have recently weaned, they need all four meals daily. If they are a small breed, you can start feeding them three meals a day from when they are approximately four months old. The switch must be made at around six months in larger dog breeds.

You can start feeding them two meals daily when they are between four and ten months in small breeds. In larger dog breeds, it must be between six and 12 months.

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What to do in case your pup is a picky eater?

You can deal with the problem in two ways – changing their food and making it more enticing for them. You would not want to be forced to eat something that you do not like every day. At times, it could be as easy as switching to a different hardness or texture of food.

When making their food more appealing, you could try food toppers or fish oil supplements but do not overdo them, as fish protein could lead to allergy concerns.

How to stop anorexia or loss of appetite in dogs?

Following are some steps that you can take to address this particular problem in your dog:

  • Offering them wholesome tidbits
  • Stimulating their appetite with foods that smell pungent
  • Giving them baby food based on meat
  • Adding no-salt chicken broth or warm water to their food
  • Warming up their food
  • Spiking their regular food with cottage cheese or yogurt
  • Mixing some dry cat food
  • Trying to hand-feed them
  • Keeping on offering them small amounts at regular intervals
  • Using a bit of behavior modification
  • Buying them a new food dish
  • Taking them for a walk before meals

Pups do not know the feeling of hunger. 

Sometimes, we get so fixated on something that we are doing that we forget to eat. In much the same way, on occasions, pups keep doing what they are doing and do not understand that they are hungry. It could be anything such as the following:

  • new surroundings
  • discoveries
  • anything new

Any of these can distract them from feeling the desire to eat. However, experts say that even healthy puppies sometimes do not realize the hunger signals their bodies send.

Read Also: What To Do When Your Healthy Dog Is Not Eating?

Some worrying signs to watch out for

There are a few signs that you should keep an eye out for when your pup is not eating normally:

  • The pup would not drink or eat anything for over 12 hours.
  • Vomiting with anorexia
  • Diarrhea with anorexia
  • Pseudo-anorexia – It is a medical condition. It is when your pup wants to eat but cannot do so because of issues with swallowing or chewing their food.
  • Anorexia with signs of sickness. Signs- lethargy, excessive tiredness, or weakness.
  • They may have eaten something they should not have, like toys or food.

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The importance of making sure that they are healthy 

If your pup has stopped eating suddenly, the first thing that you need to make sure is that they are healthy. If they show an abrupt disinterest in having their food, it could mean they are sick. Perhaps they may be suffering from problems in their intestines.

If you feel something may have gone wrong with them, make an appointment with their vet. At times, pups tend to be picky when you switch to dry food from the food they have, such as snacks or wet food.

Why do pups feel stressed and stop eating their food?

There could be several reasons why your pup is stressed that lead them stopping from having their meals. These reasons are enumerated below:

  • they may have trouble adjusting to the new home
  • it could be another pet in your family
  • maybe they are having issues adjusting to the new routine

If you move to a new home, it could throw your pup off the loop, and this is especially so when they are only a few months or weeks old.


It does not matter if you are a new dog parent or if you have had one for several years in your life. However, it is always distressing when they stop eating suddenly.

As you have seen so far, there is a wide range of reasons why they may do so. However, it is always significant to determine the cause they are not eating as that helps create the best plan for treating the condition.

First, it would be best to remember how you judge your pup’s appetite. Four feedings are usually considered adequate. However, you must remember that some puppies do fine with less food than others. Talk to your vet if you see any signs to get the right suggestion to solve the issue.


Q: Is it okay if my pup does not eat much?

A: If your pup eats its food but has stopped doing so all of a sudden, it is significant that you make sure they are healthy. It’s the first thing you need to do about this.

Q: How can I increase my pup’s appetite?

A: Following are some ways in which you can stimulate your pup’s appetite:

  • reduce their stress
  • get them more exercise
  • make their food more delicious for them
  • try feeding them by hand
  • switch to new foods
  • give them fewer treats
  • try options prescribed by the vet

Q: Why is my pup eating so little?

A: Now, there are several reasons why your pup could be eating less than they do, such as the following:

  • anxiety and stress
  • environmental issues
  • digestive issues
  • illness
  • teething pain
  • food preferences

These are the common reasons why a pup refuses to eat their food.

Q: Should I force-feed my puppy?

A: If your pup has not eaten anything in 48 hours, you may feed your dog forcibly using a syringe. However, could you do this after the vet has checked them and said it is okay to provide them forcibly?

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