Many owners perceive the dog’s excellent appetite as a signal that the animal is healthy and active. Moreover, its decrease or complete rejection of food can cause a lot of bad experiences. In which cases these experiences are justified, and when it comes to behavioral anomalies – it should be examined especially carefully. Behavior can be corrected, and health problems require immediate attention to the veterinarian.
Why the appetite is getting worse?
Loss of appetite for many hosts is an alarming symptom. And even if there are no serious pathologies behind it, it is better to know what troubles the refusal to hide. A hunger strike can occur for several reasons, the most common of them: problems with food and feeding, as well as illness.
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Find out the cause of anorexia
The first thing to do is try to deal with the causes of the phenomenon. Often, hunger strikes conceal behavioral problems. If the decrease in appetite is associated with physiological problems, it is better to immediately go to the doctor. Refusing food is a common symptom of serious infectious and somatic disorders. Among the behavioral problems, several groups associated with external factors can be distinguished. If they are eliminated, the appetite returns to normal for a short time.
- Some dogs do not like uncomfortable or noisy feeding conditions. If new residents wound up in the house, guests arrived or other animals appeared – the pet may well refuse to eat. To return everything to normal, it is enough to provide the animal with peace and quiet.
- Stress and travel can also affect your diet. After some time, everything is restored by itself.
- Pickiness is a common cause of poor appetite. It is difficult to please such dogs, their eating habits are unstable and change more often than the owner manages to buy new food. For such animals, it makes sense to choose a diet for fastidious dogs.
- It happens that a pet for some reason has ceased to perceive the usual dry food. This can be a one-time action, for the solution of which you need to select a new diet.
If the reason for the hunger strike does not lie in these factors, it is important to take a closer look at the dog and have time to discern the symptoms of serious diseases.
Possible diseases and their list
Health problems often provoke a rejection of food. Symptoms of the disease may be obvious, but may not be expressed at all, throwing the owners into confusion, and the dog causing tangible discomfort and even pain. If vomiting and diarrhea join the refusal of food, the cause is almost 100% the disease. The most common diseases include:
- Parasites. They provoke vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy. The shine of the hair disappears, its density decreases, it becomes stiff. For diagnosis, laboratory examination of feces and appropriate treatment are necessary.
- Intoxications of different genesis almost always provoke a rejection of food. Poisoning can be acute, and then contact a doctor immediately. And even with timely treatment, recovery is not always possible. If the therapy has been successful, during and after recovery it is important to follow a diet and select a special delicate diet for the animal.
- Enteritis in terms of infectiousness by many veterinarians is put on a par with the plague. Infectious disease proceeds rapidly, accompanied by, in addition to refusing food, fever, lethargy, dehydration. For puppies, the outcome is unfavorable in the absence of vaccination; adult dogs, if vaccinated, respond well to therapy, but require long-term rehabilitation.
- Oral diseases are often associated with discomfort during chewing and swallowing. Lesions of the mucosa, gums or teeth make eating uncomfortable and even painful. Hence – and poor appetite. The most common diseases are periodontal disease, gingivitis, stomatitis, periodontitis.
Other diseases include many that do not have pronounced initial symptoms. If stress has not been observed in the animal’s life lately, it is better not to wait for further manifestation of the signs of the disease and immediately go to the clinic. Often, with the loss of appetite, no less serious pulmonary, cardiac, and oncological diseases begin. When diagnosing a disease, you do not need to neglect a special diet. Choosing the right food in the rehabilitation period will help to avoid complications and return the dog activity.
Refusal of food is often associated with the feed itself, more precisely, with the change:
- type of food – when the usual dry was changed to wet food or vice versa;
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- varieties – a change in the main ingredient can lead to a rejection of food because a different feed has a different taste;
- trademark – the new brand has excellent production technology, taste, and smell, which not all dogs like either.
Each of the three cases requires patience and does not tolerate haste. It is necessary to introduce a new feed gradually, first adding a small amount to the usual diet and gradually completely replacing the old one with new nutrition. This takes from a few days to a week, but it helps to painlessly accustom the pet to a new food, as well as eliminate allergies and digestive upsets. If the animal is distinguished by special needs for food, i.e. sorting out, most likely you need to turn to premium dog food. Often fasting is related to age, there are special lines of food for puppies as well as for aging dogs when the taste and smell are weakened. Then feeds for aging animals come to the rescue: they have a more intense smell, composition adapted to age needs, and taste.
How to increase appetite?
If it is proved that refusal of food is not associated with diseases, you can use simple tricks to increase appetite. They will help to quickly establish digestion in the pet.
How to increase the appetite of a fastidious dog
It’s difficult to deal with it, but it’s real. You need to feed the animal strictly by the hour, exposing a bowl of food for a certain time. Even if the dog has not eaten, the bowl is cleaned until the next feeding and nothing is treated to the dog in between. Hunger and lack of refreshments will do their job – sooner or later the dog will return to his usual diet.
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Do not overfeed
Refusal of food may be the result of too large portions: eating, for the next feeding simply does not wake up a feeling of hunger. It is necessary to reduce the main portion and not to supplement with treats to normalize appetite.
Lack of movement is a common cause of decreased appetite. To regain interest in food, you need to provide the animal with enough activity. Long walks, active games at home, or in the fresh air activate hunger and return interest in food even to fastidious pets. The dog’s refusal to eat cannot be ignored, whatever be the reason. A caring owner will always find time to understand the causes of this phenomenon and restore the animal’s taste for food and life.
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