Is Your Pet a Picky Eater? What to Do When Your Pet Won’t Eat

Is Your Pet a Picky Eater? What to Do When Your Pet Won’t Eat

One thing we can count on from pets, especially from our canine companions, is a healthy appetite. In fact, with more than half of all household cats and dogs overweight, overeating can be a pressing problem. However, when a pet won’t eat or suddenly begins to lose weight, this can be a major red flag of an underlying health problem.

Common Reasons a Pet Won’t Eat

When a pet stops eating or is limiting their food intake, it can be quite a mystery and cause for concern. There are so many health issues that cause the symptom of inappetence, including:

  • Pancreatitis – This painful and dangerous inflammation of the pancreas can cause appetite loss, accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
  • Kidney or liver problems – Failing kidneys or kidney or liver inflammation often cause lack of appetite and weight loss.
  • Dental disease – When periodontal disease takes hold, it can cause pain and discomfort when chewing – especially if you feed your pet a dry diet.
  • Gastrointestinal upset – It’s also common for pets to experience occasional GI upset resulting from changes to diet or after ingesting something unusual.

Other possible causes range from systemic infection to a foreign body blockage to cancer. Given the numerous underlying issues that can cause a pet to avoid eating, your first step should be to have your pet examined by your veterinarian.

Although there are many less concerning reasons for why pets lose their usual appetite, screening your pet for more serious problems will ensure they get faster, more accurate treatment should it be a health-related issue.

Finicky Felines and Discerning Dogs

Pickiness in pets can be caused by simple food preferences. It’s not unusual for felines to be particularly partial to certain diets, and changes can create temporary appetite loss and stomach upset. Some pets can also simply become bored with their regular food and would like something new to try.

Likewise, changes within the home, such as the introduction of a new pet or family member, change of residence, or travel, can disrupt a fur friend’s usual routine. If another pet in the home is a resource guarder or more aggressive at mealtime, this could also prompt a change in the amount a pet eats.

Once any health issues have been ruled out, here are some at-home tips to help a fussy eater with his or her appetite:

  • Check your pet’s food and make sure it isn’t expired or smells off.
  • Feed household pets in different locations rather than at the same food station to prevent hoarding or aggression.
  • Try a new flavor of your pet’s food to see if this doesn’t encourage eating.
  • If a major change or disruption has recently taken place, try and minimize any additional stressors or changes until your pet has settled.
  • Exercise your pet daily to encourage healthy appetite and overall health and well-being.

If you’re experiencing an eating problem with your four-legged friend, please call us, so we can help get to the bottom of the problem.

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Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!