My Dog Isn’t Eating But Acting Normal: Causes

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
When in pain your dog is most likely to be lethargic and refuse food, but what does it mean when your Fido stops eating, but acts normal? Read on and discover.

Dogs are big foodies, so when they refuse food it is not just unusual, but it is usually a sign that something is wrong.

Dog not eating will worry any dog owner, regardless of your dog’s age. Loss of appetite may happen for a number of reasons.

In some cases, dogs may not eat because it is too hot outside, or because their belly is in trouble. In some, more severe cases, dogs may not eat because of an underlying health issue.

If your dog refuses a single meal it may not be a big reason to worry, but if it repeats from day to day, you should contact your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian is the only one who can tell you if your dog is in pain or not. Also, your veterinarian is the only one who can set the diagnosis and provide the guidelines for proper treatment.

To deliver the best treatment possible, it is important to identify the underlying cause of dogs’ reluctance to eat.

Loss of appetite in a dog can be a sign of serious illness which is why it is important to seek veterinary help as soon as you notice any changes in your dog’s normal eating habits.

Your dog is normally a good eater, but he isn’t eating as he used to? Contact your veterinarian.

The best way to keep your dog healthy is to react fast. Detecting an issue as early as possible will prevent your dog from stepping into dehydration and malnourishment.

It can be tricky to notice any bad signs when your dog acts normal. In some cases, dogs may act normally but suffer.

It is common for dogs to stay calm, or even hide when they are in pain. They may even stay calm for days, without making a sound. That being said, it is hard to notice immediately if your dog refuses food.

Luckily, if you have a well-built routine, you can faster notice that dog’s bowl is full of food at the end of the day.

Now, let’s elaborate further on possible reasons why your dog isn’t eating but acting normal.

Your Dog Has Stomach Problems

The number one reason, and most common, for a dog not eating but acting normal is a common sign that your dog has some stomach issues.

Different stomach problems could prevent your dog from eating.

Have you ever noticed your dog eating grass? If not, it means that your dog’s gut is super healthy. However, if you have noticed your dog eating grass when on walks and frequently, it should be a clear indicator that your dog has some stomach disturbances.

Gastrointestinal diseases, internal parasites, and even just temporary digestion problems could be possible causes.

When sick, dogs will first try to deal with their issues on their own. Hence, eating grass. Also, fast eating styles can upset the stomach.

In some cases, eating too fast can cause nausea. This is why you should be extra careful if you have a large or giant size dog.

Dogs of larger size are more prone to bloat, and to keep them safe they should be fed in two portions, to prevent fast eating.

Another important tip for feeding large size dogs: do not feed them after an intense exercise as it may lead faster to bloat development.

Pro tip: Always choose a dog bowl that fits dog’s size and height.

Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

Just like humans, dogs have preferences when it comes to food. Some dogs may be huge fruit lovers, while others enjoy nothing more than a fresh carrot on a hot summer day.

Dogs should thrive on high-quality food, which is why you should know how to read pet food labels – this simple skill will help you choose the best food faster.

Commercial dog food is specially designed to have all nutrients that dogs need.

Did you know that 10% of a dog’s total diet should be based on fruit and vegetable? This is why you should not overdo with human foods that are safe for dogs.

Although commercial dog food is beneficial for dogs, this type of food tends to be a bit blended.

Eating the same food, in terms of flavor and texture, can be boring. This is why you should enrich a dog’s food from time to time.

Add a spoon of olive oil, add an egg, or chop the carrot.

If you notice your dog acting normal but not eating, maybe he is tired of experiencing the same food day after day.

As the first step, enrich his meal a bit and go from there. If you see him eating with a normal appetite, it means that he was just tired of the food that you have been feeding him.

If he still refuses it, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.

Your Dog Is Unhappy Because There Has Been A Routine Change

Dogs are creatures of routine. Strick walking and feeding schedule may seem daunting to you, but your dog loves it.

Canines love when there is a strict routine that keeps them active, healthy, well-fed, and happy. Even the slightest routine change can lead to stress in your dog.

Dogs like consistency, and not only big changes, such as moving from one place to another, can create discomfort in their life, bus even sudden changes in mealtime or meals.

These small changes are something that dogs are not found off, and they may completely throw them off their balance.

Routine change can even affect their confidence. As result, they will often refuse to eat until they have confidence built back up. This could take a few days and may result in your dog acting normal, but not eating.

Medications Or Vaccines

Has your dog started with medication or vaccines recently? If so, he might react to it by not eating.

New medication and a recent vaccine, might lead to a loss of appetite. Why is this the case? The biggest reason for this is that both medications and vaccines contain ingredients that can lead directly to nausea and vomiting in dogs.

As result, they might act normal, but refuse to eat until they feel better. If your dog is taking medication or has been vaccinated recently, you want to check with your veterinarian if this is a common side effect.

Teeth Issues

Does your dog, in general, has problems chewing or swallowing food? If so, you can expect him to refuse food more often.

Teeth issues can frequently lead to loss of appetite. Tooth decay, gum disease, or even a broken tooth may force dogs to give up on eating.

Do you have a senior dog? Older dogs are more prone to experience tooth decay and may have a hard time breaking their food down.

If you suspect that your dog’s lack of appetite is somehow related to tooth issues, make sure that you schedule an examination.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning in dogs is more common than you might believe. Dogs may experience food poisoning from eating spoiled or anyhow contaminated food.

If your dog has recently eaten something that doesn’t agree well his stomach he may refuse food.

As result, he is most likely to experience one, if not all, of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

If you believe that your dog may have food poisoning, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.

Too Many Treats and Table Scraps

Dogs love treats. Since dogs are food-driven beings, using treats to train them is an effective and result-oriented procedure. However, they should be served occasionally and always in moderation.

Did you know that too many treats can actually lead to weight gain? Obesity in dogs is on the rise and you do not want your dog to be part of these negative statistics.

If your dog is used to getting a lot of treats and delicious table scraps, he may lose interest in dog food.

Why would Fido eat regular dog food when he knows that there is something tastier?

Dogs can be manipulative, and they will try to trick you with those adorable puppy eyes to serve them treats. Do not serve them unless there is a really good reason for doing so.

If you want to serve your dog something new think about homemade treats for dogs that are equally delicious on winter and summer days.

You May Be Serving Too Much Dog Food

Yes, this may happen. Do you know how much food should your dog eat? Do you know how many meals per day you should serve to your dog?

Dogs do not eat an equal amount of food throughout their lives. They need bigger portions while puppies, and they need smaller meals in size when they reach their senior years.

Know how much your dog should eat based on his age, size, and activity level.

If you have any doubts regarding your dog’s diet, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

All in all, feeding your dog too much food, can lead to a loss of appetite. Even though they are foodies, dogs will refuse extra food if they are full.

Check the food bag and learn if you are feeding your dog too much. If so, tune down the feeding portions and see if it has any effects.

Separation Anxiety

When stressed your dog won’t eat – this may sound unusual, but this is more often than you know it.

Separation anxiety is a condition in dogs that works like stress in humans. It may occur due to a number of reasons:

  • Your dog is left alone for long periods
  • Your dog is left alone frequently
  • You adopted a dog who had a traumatic experience while living on the streets

Some breeds are more prone to separation anxiety than others, and this is something that should be taken into consideration before you get a dog.

How to know if the breed of your heart is prone to separation anxiety or not?

To get an answer to this question, you will have to do a throughout research, and for that purpose, you can use this compare dog breeds tools and discover if the breed of your interest is actually the best breed for your lifestyle.

To determine what might be the reason, you need to conduct specific steps that will help you determine the cause.

If your dog is unhappy with his meals, or just bored or repetitive meals, this can be easily fixed by just adding fresh food, or mixing dry and wet food.

Here are the most simple, but effective steps that will help you find out why your dog is not eating:

  • Monitor your dog’s behavior carefully
  • Examine the dog’s body for any foreign items and check the teeth and gums (too pale, or too red gums are a sign for you to contact your veterinarian)
  • See if your dog might be bored with food
  • Check the environment
  • Did you do something that got your dog to stop eating? A loud noise? Too intense walk? Any routine change?

If nothing of the listed helps you determine why your dog might be refusing the food, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.

Dog Won’t Eat, But Drinking Water

If your dog won’t eat but drinks water you should still pay extra attention to your dog’s eating habits.

Know that there are many reasons why your dog may refuse food but still drink water, including change of routine, health disturbance, and changes in the environment.

In the worst-case scenario, this type of behavior may be the first sign of illness.

Here are other most common reasons that may explain why your dog won’t eat but drinks water:

  • Recent vaccination
  • Unfamiliar surroundings
  • Your dog is a picky eater
  • Your dog has an upset stomach
  • Routine change
  • You left your dog alone for the first time
  • Your dog is a senior canine citizen
  • Your home is a multi-pet house and your dog is intimidated by another pet

The Bottom Line

If your dog is eating or drinking less than normal, it is important to react appropriately. This means that you should monitor your dog carefully at first and reach out to your veterinarian as a second step.

Take notes on any behavioral changes.

If your dog is in general more lethargic dog double check if he drinks water or just refuses food.

If your dog is a high-energy breed that is highly lethargic at the moment, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.