When the dog starts refusing its meal, many dog owners become very concerned. Loss of appetite may be a warning sign. We explain to you why.
Some dogs do not eat properly, which is hard to understand for a few dog owners. Mostly because their own dogs always eat everything immediately as soon as it enters the feeding bowl. But when the dog eats less or nothing at all the search for the cause begins. Maybe it’s the food? Maybe they want more variety? Maybe he has eaten something wrong or is sick? A lot of reasons are possible and sometimes the cause can be found quickly, but sometimes it’s inevitable to consult a vet.
Every dog goes through phases in its life, where it eats less or even stops eating at all. The first phase begins when the puppy starts changing its teeth. This can happen between the ages of 3 and 7 months. Dental problems like wobbly teeth or bleeding gums lead to eating being associated with pain. With dry food the problem can even be made worse. In this case light soaking can help. Normally pain problems during puppyhood disappear after some time on their own, but in some exceptional cases you have to consult a vet.
During the dog’s puberty the second phase occurs around the age of seven to twelve months. Then many dogs start playing power games trying to take the lead in the family pack. By refusing their food, they get the desired attention from their owners and try to be in charge of what to eat and when. If your dog starts playing power games like this, only patience and consistency help.
Do not pay too much attention to your dog’s behaviour and do not constantly change your dog’s food. Otherwise, you are raising a fussy dog. Because if your dog is generally healthy and active, but repeatedly refuses his food after a certain period of time, the food must be basically tasty because it was already eaten sometimes. If you now change the dog food as a result of your dog’s strike, it very quickly learns that its behaviour leads to food alternatives. And then it is in charge of deciding what goes into the bowl and what not. Leading to the fact that the dog owner is constantly on the (most times desperate) search for new brands of dog food.
To prevent these problems establishing fixed mealtimes can help. Let your dog wait until you put down the bowl and give him permission to eat. Leave the bowl out and available for about 15 minutes and only allow eating within this time frame. After that, take the bowl away.
After some time, the dog should learn this habit of having an eating routine. You may be able to improve eating behaviour with the following tricks. Warming slightly or adding warm water will intensify the smell. Dry food can be made more attractive by adding and mixing in some wet food. If the dog generally likes fruit or vegetables, you can mix a little into the food (Attention: Not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for dogs!). Cottage cheese is also suitable for supplementing the main diet.
The food becomes more interesting for some dogs if they first have to learn to earn it, for example through food balls, brain games or search games. But it is not only for educational reasons that the dog should eat reliably; regular food intake is also particularly important if the dog is dependent on medication.
But besides being fussy in puberty or having dental problems there are more reasons why your dog will no longer eat normally. Hormones in females in heat or in love-sick males can be a reason for rejecting food as well as stressful situations or unfamiliar noises, such as on New Year’s Eve. Another reason why the dog is rejecting its food can be the lack of its freshness or quality.
That’s why it is always worth taking a critical look at the declaration. Don’t be fooled by promising advertising claims or pretty pictures but look for an open declaration that lists all ingredients in detail. Only then you can be sure that your dog is getting the right food. PLATINUM, for example, has decided to commission TÜV SÜD ELAB (now ELAB Analytik GmbH) to regularly and independently test their dog food made from „Fleischsaftgarung“ (FSG) and to publish also test parameters online for everyone to see. FSG makes it possible to prepare dog food in the same way as high-quality human food is made. Fresh meat (muscle meat, no offal) is cooked in its pure form in its juices. This means that no water is added. It makes dog food equivalent to human food and a real treat for your dog.