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

Treats are yummy, but if your dog is not eating his food, something is wrong. However, it is common for dogs to stop having their meal, but they eat treats or table scraps. There can be various reasons for this behavior—and your job is to get to the root of the problem. 

If your dog is not taking the food but eating the tasty dog treats, figure out how you can help him eat and get back on track. Not to mention, dogs have a high appetite for food, and it is problematic for them to stop eating their regular meals. 

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to give a daily balanced diet to your pet. But, if you have a picky eater on your hands, you are not alone. The majority of dog owners worry about the proper nutrition and diet of their pets. So, if you are looking for answers to your problem, you are at the right place! Let’s figure out why your furry friend is not eating his food and only taking treats. 

Why Is My Dog Not Eating?

Hyporexia, partial, and anorexia in dogs are common, but; they can be stressful for the pet parents. Moreover, there can be an underlying medical condition or behavioral issue as well. No matter what it is, never ignore it as it can lead to a severe problem. 

  • Medical problem:

Medical causes of anorexia include hundreds of potential issues. The problem leading to anorexia includes gastrointestinal issues, liver, pancreas, kidneys, lung, blood, etc. Here’s some insight about the common causes: 

  • Blood Diseases: Anemia can cause dogs to become tired, weak, and eventually lose their appetite. There are various reasons for Anemia, such as trauma, ulcer, immunity-related problems, etc
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases: The issues related to the gastrointestinal tract should not be ignored at any point. The mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines (small and large) make up the gastrointestinal tract. The issues in any of these areas can cause your dog not to want to eat. Moreover, it also includes bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections. Cancer, ulcer, inflammatory diseases, food allergies included under the same umbrella. 
  • Liver Diseases: The liver filters the body waste from the main bloodline; when the liver is not functioning correctly, the toxins can build up, causing loss of appetite. Moreover, additional symptoms include diarrhea, loose stool, and vomiting. 
  • Pancreatic Diseases: Pancreas produces insulin and other digestive enzymes that break the food in the stomach. Pancreatic inflammation causes pain, nausea, and lack of appetite. 
  • Kidney Diseases: Acute kidney and chronic kidney failure also cause loss of appetite. However, your pet will either drink more water and urinate more, or less water and no urination in this condition. Moreover: ulcer, smell-breath are also quite common in kidney problems in dogs. 
  • Lung Diseases: Issues associated with the nose and trachea are also associated with lung diseases. If your dog is having a nasal issue, he won’t smell their food leading to loss of appetite. 
  • Neurological Diseases: Lack of coordination, inability to work, balance issues are related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. 

Now that you are aware of the significant medical issues, any diseases or issues that directly impact an organ can cause your pup not to feel like eating. 

Behavioral problem:

Even small things can lead to stress and anxiety in dogs leading them not to want to eat. If your dog has stopped eating suddenly and only relying on treats, there must be an underlying reason. 

The change in a dog’s routine, new people, new house, loud noises also trigger anxiety. Most importantly, the change of time of a meal is also an essential factor. However, please do not stop giving them treats, as at least they are consuming something. Pig ears make a delicious treat and have nutritional benefits as well. 

Problem with the food:

Okay, if your pup is consuming treats but rejecting the food, there might be some problem with the food itself. The meal that you are offering to your pet may be old, expired, or stale. However, some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, are happy with anything; but, Terriers are incredibly picky eaters. So, ensure that the food is stored in an air-tight container and also check the expiration date. 

 

Treats But Not Food?

Yes to treats and no to dinner! 

Hopping to the other side of the story. If your dog is not feeling lethargic, drinking water, and not showing any symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting, there might be some other reason. Maybe, the treat that you are offering to your puppy has too many calories. Therefore, you need to learn more about the calories or switch or some other healthy treats. There are many healthy treats such as bully sticks, pig ears, duck feet, serrano bones, etc. 

But, if your dog is not feeling okay, having vomiting, diarrhea, inability to walk, drooling, or licking its lips, you need to seek medical attention. Be on the safe side and take your pup to a veterinarian.

Why your dog is not eating is a big deal; follow the list of question and get to the roof of the problem:

Is your dog drinking water?

If your dog is drinking water but not eating, it might be due to nausea, stress, or mouth blisters. Also, you should be relieved that at least your pup is keeping the water down. But, if they are vomiting right after drinking water, go to a veterinarian right away. 

Is your dog diabetic?

If your dog has diabetes and refuses to eat—it is alarming. Also, if your furry dog is rejecting food constantly, do not give insulin, as it can lead to low hypoglycemia. Moreover, if your pet is not responding at all, consult a vet immediately, as it can be a case of hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis. 

 Did you make any changes to the food?

Switching dog food can cause loss of appetite. Even if you are making any changes in the meal, transition it over 7-10 days to avoid any problems. Dogs do take some time to get comfortable with the new food. 

Tips to follow when your dog is not eating…

If your dog is unable to walk, vomiting, or has diarrhea, see the veterinarian ASAP. But, if you feel that there is nothing unusual, follow the given steps. 

  • Add some water to the dog food, let it be for a couple of minutes, and then give it to your dog. 
  • Try mixing the food with the treat; the treat part will encourage them to eat.
  • Combine food with Advita. 
  • Mix some skinless boiled chicken with the treat. 
  • Heat the canned food for a few seconds before giving it to your pet. 
  • Add no-sodium chicken broth to the regular meal. 

If you have already tried the above tips and your dog is still refusing to eat, there must be some serious issue. Consult the veterinarian and get to the roof of the problem.