A lot of dog owners out there worry when their pets just don't ever seem hungry. It can be cause for concern when a beloved pooch appears to be thoroughly bored with the food that you put down in front of them. Some owners even find their dogs only want to eat every other day or so and have done so since they were really young. This can prove to be a worry because it makes it harder to gauge if a pet's loss of appetite is due to them being finicky about their food or because there's a more serious health problem going on.
When a dog loses its appetite whether it comes on gradually or suddenly, it could be that your dog is coming down with something and not wanting to eat could be one of the early signs they're developing a health problem. A dog that's been off their food for any length of time would need to be taken to the vet for a thorough examination so an early diagnosis can be made followed by the right type of treatment.
However, some dogs are just extremely fussy about their food and develop rather peculiar eating habits which when vets look into the problem more often than not they cannot find any reason why this should be so even after having done exhaustive tests on a dog. For a dog owner, it can be really frustrating as they stare at an untouched doggy bowl after having spent ages finding something their four-legged friend might actually tuck into and enjoy!
Then of course, there's the worry that if your dog won't eat regularly they will end up losing a lot of condition and start to look uncared for and raggedy. However, dogs that don't seem to enjoy their food actually never look that bad and in fact, they seem to cope well by just nibbling at the food that appears in their bowls.
Many vets believe that manufactured dog food just does not "cut it" with certain pooches because they prefer the cooking odours that regularly come out their favourite room in the house – namely the kitchen. If a vet believes your dog may suffering from a health condition, they would recommend carrying out more in-depth tests to find out if the root cause of their lack of appetite is indeed health related. If the tests come back all-clear then it's just a question of having to cope and deal with a dog that's just not that interested in food and to try to figure out why this is.
If you find your dog is just not interested in food whether it's a behaviour that has come on slowly or suddenly, as previously mentioned they would need a thorough check up at the vet. However, there are other signs to look out for which would be a good indication of whether your dog is sick or not and these include asking yourself the following questions about your pet.
If you think your dog is underweight there could be a real problem but if they are just the right weight or even slightly overweight, it could just be that you are feeding your dog too much food! This could be the reason why they never seem to be that hungry and don't get excited at meal times like most normal four-legged friends. With this said, the majority of dogs and other animals, will eat until they drop and the result is they become obese which is something to be avoided at all costs. You would need to re-examine your feeding routine and the amount of food you offer your dog on daily basis to see if this needs to be changed remembering that the amount of exercise they get would have a bearing on how much they should be given to eat.
As previously mentioned, a lack of appetite if there are no health issues going on, could be down to the fact your pet is being offered too much food. If you re-evaluate the amount and type of food you give them, you may find that by getting their calorie intake right they will become more interested in their food simply because they feel a little hungry. You need to make sure you calculate your dog's calorie intake as per the amount of exercise they get on a daily basis. You also need to consider their breed remembering that pound for pound larger dogs actually eat less then smaller breeds.
There are certain breeds which are naturally much slimmer than others and some dogs boast faster metabolisms that others. Then there are the breeds that are well known for having quite sluggish metabolisms with giant breeds tending to eat less pound for pound than smaller canines. It is weird but a tiny Miniature Pinscher may well eat the same amount as a much larger English Bulldog and it's all to do with their metabolisms.
A dog's food intake has to match the amount of daily exercise they get. If you own a true couch potato then it stands to reason you won't have to offer them as much food as you would a very energetic dog like a Border Collie. Dogs that spend a lot of time asleep, snoozing or just lazing around the house will naturally not be that hungry at meal times, unless they are food monsters that is. They will nibble at their food yet remain in good condition - although they could be at risk of becoming out of condition.
If you own more than one dog and they are routinely fed at the same time, most dogs would find this to be a competitive environment and therefore wolf down their food. However, some dogs can't cope with this type of situation and will leave their food bowls before they've finished because they get stressed out by the competition. You might want to consider feeding your dogs in separate rooms if this is the case.
Another consideration is your dog's age and as our four-legged friends grow up and pass through the different stages of life, their appetites too will change. Typically, an adolescent dog will have a bigger appetite but this changes as they grow out of their adolescence which owners worry about. In reality this is quite normal as long as there is no underlying medical reason for them being off their food. In their senior years, dogs will ask for less food as their sense of smell and taste diminishes which again is all part of the natural ageing process of our canine friends.
If you are at all worried because your dog has suddenly or gradually lost their appetite you should take them to the vet for a thorough examination. However, some dogs are just fussier eaters than others so if your vet can't find a medical reason for them not enjoying their food, it's just a question of figuring out why this may be happening and then trying to rectify the situation by taking a close look at their home environment, the amount your feed your pet and how often you fill up their bowls to see if anything needs to be adjusted or changed.