10 common reasons why your dog skips eating some days

There’s a fine line between a picky eater and a dog with a problem.

Sometimes, our furry friends skip meals and it’s not always clear why.

As a pet owner, it’s natural to worry when your dog doesn’t show interest in their food.

But don’t fret, there are common explanations for this behavior.

Let’s delve into 10 common reasons why your pup might be skipping meals some days.

1) Change in routine

Dogs thrive on routine.

They love knowing what to expect and when to expect it.

Consider this.

Your dog knows when it’s time for a walk.

They know when it’s time to play.

And of course, they know when it’s time to eat.

So, when there’s a change in their routine, they might respond by skipping a meal.

This could be due to a new work schedule, a house move, or even the introduction of a new family member.

A sudden change can make your dog feel anxious and stressed, affecting their appetite.

If you notice your dog skipping meals after a big change, give them some time.

They might just need a few days to adjust.

2) They’re not feeling well

Just like us, dogs have off days too.

I remember a few weeks ago, my golden retriever, Milo, started skipping meals.

It seemed odd since he usually devours his food the moment it hits his bowl.

When I noticed him skipping more than one meal, I knew something was up.

He wasn’t his usual playful self either.

It turned out Milo had a minor infection, which was causing him to lose his appetite.

So, if your pet is not eating and showing other signs of discomfort – such as lethargy or behavioral changes – it’s worth scheduling a vet visit.

3) Overfeeding with treats

It’s hard to resist those puppy dog eyes begging for a treat, isn’t it?

But those extra treats during the day could be the reason your dog is skipping meals.

Here’s the thing.

Dogs need a certain amount of calories per day, depending on their age, size, and overall health.

And treats are often more calorie-dense than regular dog food.

So if your four-legged friend is getting too many treats during the day, they might not feel hungry when mealtime comes around.

To keep your dog’s diet balanced and healthy, treats should only make up about 10% of their daily calorie intake.

The rest should come from their regular meals.

4) Dental problems

Imagine trying to eat when you have a toothache.

Not a pleasant thought, right?

The same goes for our canine companions.

Dental issues are a common problem in dogs, especially as they age.

If your dog is avoiding food, it could be because they’re experiencing pain in their mouth.

Look out for signs like drooling, bad breath, or a sudden disinterest in their favorite chew toys.

These could all point to a dental issue.

If you suspect your dog might be dealing with a dental problem, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your vet.

They can help identify the issue and recommend a course of treatment.

5) Behavioral issues

Sometimes, your dog might be refusing food not because they’re not hungry, but because they’re trying to communicate something else.

Dogs are smart, and they quickly learn what gets our attention.

If they’ve noticed that skipping a meal leads to extra fuss, they might start doing it on purpose.

This could be their way of asking for more attention, or trying to assert control over their environment.

If you suspect that your dog is using mealtime as a way to manipulate the situation, try not to give in.

Stick to regular feeding times and don’t make a big deal out of it if they refuse to eat.

6) Grieving or depression

Our four-legged friends form deep bonds with us and with other pets in the household.

When they lose a loved one, they feel it deeply.

I’ve seen dogs mourn the loss of a companion, human or animal, and it’s heart-wrenching.

They might wander around the house, looking for their friend.

They might lose interest in playtime.

And often, they lose their appetite.

It can be painful to watch your furry friend go through this.

But remember, grief is a process.

It’s okay for your dog to feel sad and not want to eat for a few days.

During this time, all you can do is be there for them.

Offer comfort and companionship.

Maintain their routine as much as possible to provide some sense of normalcy.

And when they’re ready, they’ll start eating again.

7) Food quality or taste

Not all dog food is created equal.

And dogs, like us, have their own preferences when it comes to taste.

I remember when I switched my dog, Keke’s, food to a new brand that was supposedly higher in quality.

She refused to eat it.

Day after day, she would sniff at the new food and walk away.

At first, I was worried she was sick.

But then I realized she just didn’t like the taste of the new food.

So I switched back to her old brand, and voila!

She started eating again.

Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Your dog might be skipping meals because they don’t like the taste of their food.

If you notice your dog turning up their nose at their dish, consider trying a different brand or flavor.

8) Too much exercise

You might think that a dog who’s had a long day of running and playing would be ravenous.

But sometimes, the opposite can be true.

High levels of physical activity can actually suppress your dog’s appetite, at least in the short term.

This happens because exercise diverts blood flow away from the stomach and towards the muscles, which can temporarily reduce hunger.

So if your dog has been unusually active one day and then doesn’t eat much that evening, don’t panic.

They’re likely just experiencing this temporary dip in appetite.

Of course, if the lack of appetite continues for more than a day or two, it’s worth checking in with your vet to rule out any underlying issues.

9) Temperature changes

Believe it or not, the weather can have an impact on your dog’s appetite.

During the hotter months, dogs, much like humans, tend to eat less.

This is a natural response to help keep their body temperature down.

So if you notice your dog eating less in the summer, it might just be because they’re feeling the heat.

On the flip side, in colder weather, dogs may eat more to help keep themselves warm.

So before you panic about a skipped meal, consider whether the weather might be playing a part in your dog’s eating habits.

Just make sure your dog always has access to fresh water, especially in the heat, to keep them hydrated regardless of how much they’re eating.

10) Underlying health issues

While all the reasons we’ve discussed so far are common and often nothing to worry about, it’s important to remember that a loss of appetite can sometimes signal a more serious health issue.

Conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, or even cancer can cause your dog to lose their appetite.

If your dog is consistently skipping meals, losing weight, or showing other signs of illness like vomiting or lethargy, it’s crucial to get them to a vet as soon as possible.

Your dog’s health and well-being should always be your top priority.

When in doubt, always consult with a professional

. They can provide the necessary medical advice and treatment options for your furry friend.

It’s all about attentiveness

The bond between humans and dogs is profound, and often, it’s built on a foundation of mutual understanding and empathetic interaction.

When it comes to your dog’s eating habits, it’s not just about what’s in their bowl.

It’s about recognizing their patterns, noting any changes, and understanding the reasons behind those changes.

Every dog is unique, with their own quirks and preferences.

Your dog might skip a meal for any of the reasons we’ve discussed – change in routine, a dislike for a new food, too many treats, or even temperature changes.

But sometimes, it can signal something more serious.

And that’s where our role as pet parents becomes crucial.

Your attentiveness to your dog’s behavior can make a difference in their health and happiness.

It can be the difference between a minor dietary adjustment and catching a serious health condition early.

So next time your furry friend skips a meal, remember – you are the best judge of your dog’s well-being.

Trust your instincts, be observant, and when in doubt, always consult with a professional.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Nomadrs to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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