Many dogs eat like there's no tomorrow. Other dogs don't show much enthusiasm and turn a snout to nearly everything put in front of them. Here are a few reasons why this may be happening and how to help a dog that isn't eating.
Why Isn't My Dog Eating?
"If health problems are not an issue," says Jennifer Kvamme, DVM, "you might need to consider that your dog has acquired some bad habits." Giving your dog table scraps or treats throughout the day can cause a finicky appetite over time, not to mention issues with weight gain and potential long-term health conditions. An erratic feeding routine as well as the smell, taste and texture of the food may also be contributing factors to a dog that won't eat. Encourage your dog to eat the appropriate food at the right times by putting down the proper amount of food at a regular time(s) each day and being patient. Your dog should begin eating once he or she knows there won’t be any extra treats.
If that doesn't work, consult a veterinarian. They will be able to identify if there is an underlying health concern, like anorexia, causing the inappetence, or they may be able to help you choose a diet that is more appropriate to your dog's preferences and lifestyle.
Why is My Dog Eating So Much?
When a dog increases his or her food intake to the extent that it appears ravenous most or all of the time, the condition is referred to as polyphagia. This condition can be caused by different circumstances, including your pet's aging process, and it is important to find out whether the dog’s increased food consumption is due to a psychological condition, or to a disease such as diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of gastrointestinal diseases that can result in the inflammation of the intestines.
If your dog is eating excessively, visit a veterinarian immediately. He or she will be able to rule out any underlying health causes and can help you develop an appropriate feeding regimen and diet to curb the extreme hunger.
Why is My Dog Spitting Up Food?
Some dogs cannot handle a lot of variety in their diet or withstand ingredients that make their digestive systems work a little harder than normal. "If you suspect that your dog might have a sensitive stomach, the first thing to do is to simplify his diet," says Jennifer Coates, DVM. "Cut out all the extras — no table scraps, limit yourself to giving just one type of highly digestible treat (or even better, use his regular food as a treat), and make sure he’s not getting into anything that he shouldn’t be (e.g., the garbage)."
Next, says Dr. Coates, take a look at your dog’s food. If you think that your dog’s current diet could be playing a role in his tummy troubles, talk to your veterinarian about switching to a different dog food. "Foods made from high-quality ingredients tend to be much more digestible than lower quality products," says Dr. Coates.
However, be careful to not switch to a new dog food too abruptly. Doing so may also cause your dog to have digestive issues or develop an aversion to his or her new food.