Possible reasons for an older dog not eating include dental disease, natural signs of aging, pain, or more serious problems affecting liver or kidney function. It’s important to seek medical attention for an elderly dog not eating in order to rule out serious concerns.
If you’re asking this question, chances are you’re pretty stressed out. It can be very concerning when any dog stops eating, but particularly so when it’s a senior dog in question.
A lack of appetite from your older dog doesn’t always mean disaster, however.
Read on to find out the most common reasons why your older dog doesn’t feel like eating, and what you can do to fix the issue in each case.
One of the most common reasons for older dogs not eating is dental disease. If something in their mouth is causing them pain, such as a cavity or broken tooth, they could be avoiding using their mouth to chew food. Older dogs have older teeth, so they’re more susceptible to these conditions.
Try feeding your dog soft or cold foods, such as pureed pumpkin or sweet potato. If they take soft foods more easily than meat or kibble, this points to a dental problem. A trip to the vet and regular teeth brushing can help solve this issue.
Hot weather is always hard on dogs, and older dogs are even more sensitive to it as they tire out more easily. It’s common for dogs to avoid eating in the heat of the summer months, as digestion consumes a lot of energy.
If it’s hot where you are, try feeding your dog only very early in the morning or late at night to rule out if the issue is the heat or if there’s something more at play.
New Surroundings and Change
Anxiety can be a big factor in causing dogs not to eat. If you’ve recently moved to a new location with your dog, or there’s been a big change in their life, they could simply be taking time getting used to their surroundings.
Confidence-building exercises are a great way to help your dog relax, and get back to eating normally. Just make sure to take it slow with your older dog, who likely has less energy than in his puppy years.
Pain or Illness
If none of the above seem to be the case, it’s a good idea to check a vet for an underlying issue. Dogs naturally eat less as they age due to having less energy and getting less exercise, so it could simply be old age that’s the issue.
However, there’s a possibility that illness, such as kidney disease, liver disease, or cancer can also cause a lack of appetite. Your vet will be able to help you diagnose whether or not your dog’s behavior is normal or a sign of a more serious illness.
We hope this article helped you figure out why your older dog has lost its appetite. If you’ve identified the reason why he’s not eating, it shouldn’t be hard to fix the problem.
However, if you’ve addressed his issues and he’s still not eating, you’re at all unsure about the reason, or you think there may be an underlying medical issue, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.
Feel free to leave us a message in the comments if you have any more questions about your dog’s lack of appetite. Here’s hoping Fido feels better!