Why is my dog not eating?

dog in the sun
Written by: Sam Webster (BVetMed MRCVS) Head Vet at Joii

Dogs can go off their food from time to time for a variety of different reasons from changes in their environment to stress. It could also be the possibility that your dog is simply just fussy and turns their nose up at whatever food you offer them.


It’s important to try and determine the reason behind why your dog isn’t eating as there may be some underlying medical issue that could potentially be causing it. In this post, we’ll look at the different reasons why your dog may not be eating, what you should do and when to see a vet.



My dog is not eating but drinking water: what shall I do?


If you notice loss of appetite in your dog and a change in eating habits, it should never be ignored. Regardless of whether or not your dog’s overall behaviour has changed or not, you should take them to the vets to get them fully checked out.

If your dog is not eating but drinking excessive amounts of water, this could be a symptom of many things such as diabetes, liver disease, pain, or an infection. If this is the case with your dog, it’s best to contact your vet who will be able to check your dog thoroughly.



My dog is sick and not eating?


If your dog is not eating and is vomiting and throwing up yellow bile, this could show a number of issues. If your dog is vomiting yellow bile, it could be because they have a stomach bug, they have a blockage in their gastrointestinal system, or a number of other conditions,

so if this does happen it’s better to get them checked at the vets first.



Why is my dog not eating?


Dog’s appetites can be affected by a number of very different things, including:

  • Illness – decreased appetite in dogs is often a sign of sickness. Look out for any other concerning symptoms that your dog may be showing at the same time, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, or dramatic weight loss. Loss of appetite in dogs does not always mean it’s a sign of serious illness, but it’s best to get them checked at the vet in case it could be a significant illness such as an infection, pain, liver or kidney problems to name a few.
  • Dental disease – your dog may be refusing to eat due to their mouth being in pain. If you suspect this is the case, take your dog to the vet to get them checked for a broken or loose tooth, gingivitis or even an oral tumour.
  • Recent vaccination or medications – if your dog is taking any medication or has recently been vaccinated, a loss of appetite could be a side effect, and should hopefully not last too long. Always ring your vet to ask if this could be a side effect.
  • Pickiness and behavioural issues – some dogs can just be picky with their food, or they may be slightly uncomfortable with their surroundings, for example having to eat with/near another dog.


There are many different reasons that cause a dog to stop or refuse eating – so if you ever notice this in your dog it would be a good idea to get them checked at the vets in case it has been caused by an underlying illness rather than chalking it up to behavioural issues.

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