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My Pet Won’t Eat


There are countless reasons why your pet might stop eating and several important indicators to see when your pet’s appetite is “off”. For example, if he eats, how quickly he eats, if he seems interested in eating to only walk away after a sniff, if he tries to eat but can’t chew properly. These are all clues that can help your vet identify what the underlying problem is.


The most common cause of appetite loss and also apparent because of vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, dehydration and/or fever. Tummy upsets can be caused by something your pet has eaten that doesn’t agree with them, medications, age or other medical conditions.


Most common in young, healthy dogs whose curious noses get the better of them. Some dogs will eat things that just shouldn’t be eaten, which then become lodged in their gastrointestinal tract and subsequently puts them off their food.


If anorexia is accompanied by diarrhoea and fever we will most likely check to see that there are no intestinal parasites or overgrowth of bacteria in the gut.


A lack of appetite can also be attributed to hormone imbalances, organ failure or cancer, which are more likely in older dogs. Diabetes, liver disease and kidney failure will also be worth considering as they can cause nausea after your dog smells their food. These conditions can mostly be identified with blood work so a check-up with Pet Doctors is important.


Often a temporary side-effect, a dog that is stressed can easily refuse food they usually gobble down. Whether it is because of a new home, boarding in a kennel or other triggers of anxiety, your pet could be feeling out of sorts and not in the mood for eating. Come and talk to a friendly Pet Doctors team member if this behaviour becomes more than just a “once off”.


Your pet gets used to a certain food and sudden changes can cause him to turn up his nose. To counteract this, we recommend you gradually introduce diet changes over the period of a week to get any sensitive noses used to the smell and taste of the new food. When introducing the food, make sure you look out for any signs of vomiting, diarrhoea or skin rashes that could indicate intolerance and allergy.

Often a bland diet of chicken and rice can help resolve a tummy issue, but it is important to monitor your pet closely and if the decrease in appetite doesn’t improve within 24 hours or additional symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea and fever occur then please call Pet Doctors on 5576 0400.

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