Why is my dog refusing to eat dog food?

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.

is your dog refusing to eat dog food?

Is your dog refusing to eat his food?

If your dog turns up his nose at his food bowl, you might be wondering why. You’re also probably wondering how you can get him to eat again.

I’ve got the answers for you in this article.

Why is my dog refusing to eat dog food?

It can be confusing and more than a little worrying if your dog isn’t eating his food.

You may have spent time learning how to read the label on your dog’s food to make sure that he’s getting the right nutrients. And you might have looked at all the different flavors available and worked hard to try and pick his favorite one.

But if your dog isn’t eating his food, then that could be a big cause for concern.

It’s possible that your dog is sick and needs some help to feel better. If that’s the case, a trip to the vet will be a big help.

On the other hand, your dog might just be a little bit picky. He could need a little more coaxing to eat his food.

Whatever the reason, there are ways you can help your dog eat again. Before we dive a little more into why your dog might not be eating, don’t forget to check out the best dog food delivery service for fresh cooked food.

Feeding your dog fresh cooked dog food is a great way to have more control over the nutrients your dog is eating. It also tastes pretty good to him!

fresh cooked dog food is something you can try if your dog is refusing to eat his regular food

Why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats?

Some dogs are naturally pickier than others. While not eating can be a sign that your dog is sick, your dog might also simply be telling you he doesn’t like his food.

Usually, if a dog is sick, he won’t want to eat anything at all. His appetite will be gone completely.

But if your dog is taking treats without any issue, then it could be that he just doesn’t like his regular food.

If that’s the case, you might want to try a different flavor or brand if you’re feeding him dry food. You might also want to consider fresh cooked food, which has lots of great health benefits.

However, even if your dog is still taking treats, he could still be sick. If your dog is taking treats but doing it reluctantly or he’s sick right after, then he could need to go to the vet. The treats might just be tempting enough for him to try.

Why is my dog not eating his food anymore?

If your dog isn’t eating because he just doesn’t like the taste of certain dog food, that’s a super easy fix. All you need to do is try a different kind and see if he likes that better.

But if your dog is abruptly not eating anymore, that’s a sign that there’s a problem. Your dog might have a digestive issue that needs treating. 

It could also be that your dog has some intestinal parasites living in his gut. It sounds gross, but it’s a possibility!

Your dog might also be experiencing a medical issue called bloat. This is a really serious medical condition that can be fatal if it isn’t treated right away. If you think your dog might have bloat, it’s important to get him to a vet right away.

if your dog is suddenly refusing his food and showing other symptoms, it's time for a trip to the vet's

If your dog ever stops eating suddenly and doesn’t seem interested in it like he used to, that’s a sign that something major is wrong. You should get your dog to a vet to see if any conditions might be causing his lack of appetite.

If your dog starts refusing to eat his food suddenly, it might be an illness or a digestive issue like dangerous bloat or parasites. Especially if you notice other symptoms, you should go see a vet. However, if it’s more of a constant issue, then your dog is might simply be picky, particularly if he does like his treats.

What do you do if your dog won’t eat dog food?

If your dog isn’t eating his food, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can help him out and make sure he gets the food he needs.

One thing you can do is to try giving your dog a different flavor or brand of food. Your dog might just be a little picky. If that’s the case, then switching types of food should help him get more interested in his meals again.

But before we get into these helpful tips, make sure you take a look at these food-related articles:

Get him checked at the vet

A dog that isn’t eating is a dog that might be sick. Dogs need to eat to stay active and healthy. That means that if your dog isn’t eating, that’s a sign that something could be seriously wrong.

The best way to find out is to visit your vet. Make sure to describe all the symptoms that your dog might have along with his lack of appetite. If he seems lethargic, he’s throwing up, or he seems depressed, those are all important things for your vet to know.

Your vet will know what to look out for while they’re checking your dog. They might order a few tests to see if anything is going on with your dog. If it turns out that your dog is sick, they’ll make sure to set you up with the right treatment.

Even if it turns out that nothing is wrong with your dog, you’ll appreciate having the peace of mind knowing that!

getting your dog checked out by the vet

Only offer him food once or twice per day

Once you’ve brought your dog to the vet and found there’s nothing wrong with him, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Limiting when your dog eats could help him learn to eat when his food is available. This will teach your dog to eat when it’s actually time for chow!

It might take a day or two for your dog to realize that his food won’t just be lying around for him to graze on anymore. Feeding him just once or twice instead of constantly should train him to eat when the food is there.

Take his food away again if he doesn’t eat

Leaving your dog’s food out for him only once or twice a day should help to show him that he needs to eat when it’s available.

But you don’t want to have it available to him all day long. That won’t teach him to eat when you put out the food.

Instead, set it down for him for a short period of time. You can leave it out for about an hour or so. If your dog isn’t eating it, then it’s time to take it away.

You can do this about twice a day to try and encourage him to eat. He’ll see that he only gets fed at specific times during the day. And that if he doesn’t eat it while it’s out, it’ll get taken away.

This adds some routine to your dog’s life, teaching him when it’s time to eat—and not to expect a full bowl otherwise!

Get your free puppy schedule planner

Don’t give him any treats or table scraps

One reason why your dog might be refusing to eat is that he gets a lot of treats throughout the day.

He might be avoiding his regular meals because he knows he’ll get to fill up on treats later on.

If you tend to feed your dog a lot of treats and he’s not eating his food, then that’s a sign you should cut back on his treats.

The same is true for table scraps. If you feed your dog from the table, he might avoid his food because he knows he’s getting something even tastier later.

You should avoid feeding your dog table scraps regardless since lots of human food is toxic to dogs.

Spice it up with some coconut oil, peanut butter, or canned sardines

Your dog might be avoiding eating because he’s just not interested in the flavor of his food. He might find it bland and boring.

Dog food doesn’t seem like the most exciting thing in the world. But there are plenty of ways you can get your dog interested in his meal!

Try adding some tasty flavors to your dog’s food. Things like sardines, peanut butter, or coconut oil should entice your dog to eat a little more. Just make sure you’re being mindful of your dog’s caloric intake. You might need to feed him a little less kibble if you’re also putting in any add-ons.

make your dog’s food tastier, for instance with some peanut butter—but watch those calories

Make sure he always has access to water

Taking your dog’s food away if he’s not eating it can help train him to eat once you put it down.

But this isn’t something you want to do with water.

Your dog should always have access to clean water. It’s super important for your dog to stay hydrated, especially in the summertime.

Dogs naturally lose water from their bodies throughout the day. For your dog to feel happy and healthy, he’ll need to replenish that water. Make sure that he has a bowl of water available for him, and that he knows where it is.

Related questions to why your dog is refusing to eat dog food

Having a dog that won’t eat his food can be annoying. It can be pretty worrying, too.

We’ve covered lots of ways to help him eat above. But you might still have some questions at this point. Here are a few answers.

How long will a picky dog go without eating?

The answer to this question varies based on your dog!

Some dogs are naturally picky eaters. But the length of time that a picky dog will go without eating can depend on a few things.

Some dogs will refuse to eat for a long time. Other dogs will give in to their hunger without waiting too long.

If you’re getting worried about your dog not eating, try a different kind of food, or add things like coconut oil or canned sardines to his food. If he still won’t eat, you might want to go to your vet.

some picky dogs would rather have plenty of treats than their boring dog food

What to feed a sick dog with no appetite?

If your dog is feeling too sick to eat, there are a few things you can try to help him out. One thing you might want to give him is some chicken and rice. It should taste good to your dog, and it will be easy on his stomach.

Monitor your dog closely if he’s feeling sick and not eating. If his symptoms continue for more than 24 hours, call your vet.

What dog food should you not feed your dog?

There are lots of great foods you can give to your dog to encourage him to eat. But there are plenty of others that can make your dog pretty sick. You’ll want to be careful to avoid these foods.

You may have already heard that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is toxic to dogs. But there are other foods that could make him sick too.

Things like avocado, onion, garlic, macadamia nuts, and grapes can all make your dog very sick. If you suspect your dog has eaten any of these things, you should phone your vet.

Speaking of the vet: Have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

What to do if your dog doesn’t chew his food?

A dog that doesn’t chew his food could end up choking on it while he’s eating. Unfortunately, you can’t just tell your dog to slow down and chew his food!

To help your dog slow down and chew his food, there are a few things you can do. One thing to try is to feed him somewhere calm and quiet. This will prevent him from gobbling food because he’s stressed.

Feeding your dog with a slow feeder can also help him take his time while eating and encourage chewing.

if your dog just vacuums his food without chewing, you may want to think about ways of slowing him down


If your dog is refusing to eat his food, there are lots of reasons why that could be. Regardless of the reason, it could be pretty worrying if he’s not eating.

You can try all the above tips to try and get your dog to eat his food. If he’s still not eating, it might be time for a trip to the vet. They’ll be able to diagnose your dog and make sure that he eats again so he can stay happy and healthy!

Get your free puppy schedule planner

Recent Posts