As a dog owner, it is our job to worry about our pets and how they eat. While of course there is specific dog food, there are lots of human foods that dogs can eat – BUT plenty of human food that dogs must not eat.

Emerald writes a lot about human food for dogs and here are come examples:

Can you relate to the title of this blog? Your dog is eating treats and snacks, but refuses to eat his food. It’s frustrating when your pet won’t eat their kibble or canned food. After all, the last thing we want is for our furry friend to go hungry!

So what do you do if your pup won’t eat? In this blog post, we share my best tips on how to get your dog eating again – starting with some common solutions that may be causing the problem in the first place.

Dogs are definitely a family member and so when they stop eating it can cause concern if you think that there are medical issues or something that

Is it more serious?

Full anorexia is when a dog won’t eat anything, including normal dog food or doctored-up with cooked ground beef, chicken, baby food, or anything you offer. Sometimes, dogs will refuse everything but eat something as peculiar as a fast-food hamburger.

Anorexia in dogs can vary from minor issues to serious and life-threatening problems. Normally however this is much less serious.

First steps to seeing why your dog is off their dog food

First some basics. It might be do to with your dog’s environment.

Have you recently changed dog food? Do they eat treats too often during the day ie are you giving them too many treats? Did you just give them table scraps before the meal?

Have you moved their food bowl to somewhere where they feel nervous? Do they have their own food or do they share a food bowl? Does the food bowl have any spoiled food in it? Is it the same food every day?

Or, do you just have a picky dog? Remember that while a hungry dog will eat most things, a picky dog can be a pain for pet owners but if the dog food is off, an upset stomach can be more or a pain for dog owners! Are there dog foods that your dog loves that you have stopped giving her?

Remember that an eating dog is a healthy dog, so how do you encourage your dog’s appetite with nutritious food? Many dogs will have occasion periods where they have low appetite or just decide to be a fussy eater.

How to Find Out Why Your Dog Has Stopped Eating (Steps)

Take action to find out why your dog isn’t eating his regular meal. Find out what is the cause of your dog’s change of behavior. Do you have a dog who is eating treats and not eating regular meals? Check out some of the steps you might want to look at in this blog.

Need extra help?

Some pet insurance will provide assistance on behavioural training and diet issues. Emerald pet insurance does and you can find out more at

Reasons Dogs Won’t Eat

Several causes for a dog to be off food or have partial anorexia can include psychological and medical reasons. Looking at some of the expert feedback, the reasons for dogs to refuse to eat are psychological, medical or mental health reasons.

Or it might just be a day off food – sometimes there are issues between dry dog food and wet dog food, when your dog refuses to eat dry food one day and wet food the next. Dogs love routine and a dog’s diet is no exception, so it can help to keep to a regular food schedule, especially if there is a walk or similar afterwards.

How old is your dog?

Remember that puppies are great omnivores but as they get older that can change. Senior dogs eat less and may become a picky eater, preferring tasty treats and boiled chicken over standard dog food and fussy eaters are just that – there is not much that you can do.

Before you decide, begin by observing the dog’s behaviour

You can monitor your pet’s food intake as you feed them and just see what your dog eats. Pay attention to the dog’s stool and urine and if all is normal, you can let your pet skip a meal or two. If your dog is vomiting, has diarrhea, is lethargic and dehydrated, talk to a vet online. If apart from reduced appetite, your pooch is hiding, sleeping all day, or losing interest in play and other usual activities, it can be a sign of dog depression. Appetite wise, you may want to ask your vet to check about kidney disease or liver disease.

What could these reasons be?

He Has Dental Issues

If your dog has gum disease or any other dental problems eating may cause him to feel dental pain in out dog’s mouth. Maybe the treats you have are softer than their regular food so more appetising. Maybe it’s why he’ll eat those softer than his regular food, but not the bowl of kibble you sat before him.

Try out some other foods – perhaps chicken broth or some other new food that might be interesting to him. Dry kibble can be fun for dogs to crunch but only if they feel up to it.

If you want your dog to be happy eating while in pain, it’s not possible to make it easier to do so. We all shrink away from things that make us anything less than happy, and this is the same with dogs. Seek veterinary advice and talk to your vet immediately if there are signs of bleeding or anything similar.

The Food is Spoiled

Pet food spoils like human food does, so you should always check expiration dates and food itself. If you notice any funny smell, visible mould, or other concerning things, you should get rid of the old food and get something new immediately. We would like to day a dog won’t eat anything that is off but if you have a trash can you know that is not the case!

This is another reason why many pet owners give dry food or dry kibble to their dog. It lasts longer and a dog will eat kibble as a main meal but also as dog treats.

Pet food should be stored in a proper storage container when it’s not being stored properly, according to the veterinary guidance. For more pet food tips, visit your local pet store.

Behavioural Issues

Anxiety, stress, or fear can cause decreased appetite in some dogs. They may eat treats but not their food.

Changes in a dog’s routine or environment, such as new people or pets in the house, traveling, or loud noises can trigger anxiety. Even something as simple as changing the time of day someone feeds their dog can cause some dogs to feel stressed and less likely to eat.

Another reason why a dog may be reluctant to eat is because of an intimidating or dominating presence by another housemate, such as when a dog owns his food bowl and space.

It’s best if you separate the dogs for feedings in order to decrease any resource guarding or intimidation.

When dogs won’t eat because of some type of stress or anxiety, they often begin eating again after a day or two. If this is caused by something persistent and not just temporary changes in the environment, they may need behavioral modification or medical treatment to decrease the level of stress and anxiety.

Issues With A Dog’s Food

The dog may not be eating his food because the food itself is spoiled. Food preferences vary from breed to breed, with some dogs like Labrador Retrievers happy to eat old or stale food while others such as Yorkshire Terriers are choosy about what they eat.

If a dog has been on the same food for a long time and always eaten it well, take a look at the expiration date to make sure that it is fresh.

All dog food packaging should be sealed and the dated food should be thrown out. Open canned food can be sealed with a plastic wrap or a lid that is made to fit pet food cans, which shouldn’t then be left in room temperature for more than three days.

You may wonder if your dog is simply tired of their food if they stop eating it. That might be the problem in some dogs, but a healthy, hungry dog should not suddenly stop eating a certain type of food for no apparent reason.

Sometimes it is difficult to figure out which food your dog prefers, but if they are refusing all of them then you may have overestimated the treats or human food that they are getting. You might also find that your dog has a medical condition and needs treatment for it.

Dogs are very intelligent, and often learn that if they don’t eat their dry food right away, there might be a better or more desirable option. Rather than giving your dog table scraps as an incentive for eating their kibble, try making the canned food tastier by mixing it with kibble or gently warming up the canned food before serving

Switching food suddenly often leads to stomach upset, so it can be counterproductive if the dog prefers treats over food. It would be unusual for a dog to go hungry for several days just because they are picky, so it is important to talk with your vet if this happens.

How to Get Your Dog to Start Eating

Here are some great tips for home care for most dogs suffering from a loss of appetite. This article has suggestions that may help you get your dog to start eating.

Try feeding them lots of treats instead of a meal first and then try to mix up treats, canned food and dry food. This should give you an idea of what food your dog is not eating then and it will help your dog eat something at least. But go easy on the table scraps in case there are other things in there that might cause a stomach upset should your dog eat it.

Also table scraps encourage bad table manners for your dog, and you want your dog to stop eating around human meal times, to eat his food and to stick to his own feeding schedule.

Go to the Vet

An exam by your veterinarian should rule out any illnesses or other medical conditions. An exam should clear up any medical conditions that could be turning your dog off of his meals. If there are medical conditions then the vet will spot that and any other symptoms.

Dog loss of appetite FAQs

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

First, let’s start with some basics. Have you recently changed your dog’s food? Do they eat other foods such as treats too often during the day (i.e., are you giving them excessive amounts of treats)? Did you just give your dog table scraps before feeding them their meal?

Have you moved their food bowl to somewhere where they feel nervous? Does the household contain any spoiled foods? Do you give your pet a variety of different treats each day?

In order to rule out some of the potential causes, have you recently switched their food? Did they just get too many treats today? Have they had any table scraps before meal time?

If your dog eats treats but not their food, it could be the result of a picky appetite. However, often dogs will eat something if they are hungry enough! Remember that sometimes a bad batch of dog food could cause an upset stomach and render regular meals unpalatable to otherwise healthy canines.

Sometimes we don’t want to eat what’s given to us, even if it may not be what we would pick. This can be true for our dogs as well.

Will a dog starve itself if it doesn’t like its food?

No. That means if your dog really is not eating then it might be more serious – anything from an upset stomach to a more serious disease. In that case get your dog examined by a vet asap so that they can provide veterinary advice.

It’s important to remember that dogs will eat if they are hungry enough, so it is not always indicative of a larger issue. If your dog only eats treats and refuses to touch his food then you may need some help figuring out why he isn’t interested in eating anymore! There could be something as simple as too much of a flavour that your dog does not like in the food that you are using.

Of course if your dog has any other symptoms or your dog feels generally unwell then talk to your vet as your dog’s loss of appetite may be something more serious.

Why has my dog gone off his food?

First some basics.

Have you recently changed dog food or given them too many treats before the meal?

Have you moved their food bowl in any way? Do they have their own food or do they share a food bowl with other animals? Does the food bowl have spoiled/old scraps of previous meals? Or, is it the same thing every day and does your pet seem to be getting bored with it?

It sounds like you’ve been giving your dog food she doesn’t enjoy. Maybe it’s time to switch brands or something new! In the meantime, some treats might help make sure that your pup doesn’t go hungry, and also makes for good training so you can work on more demanding tasks later.

For many dogs, a low appetite is the result of temporary illness or stress and can be brought back to normal once these have been resolved.

How long will a picky dog go without eating?

It depends. Watch them closely. A dog can skip a meal or two but any more than that, it’s worth a trip to the vet.