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My Dog Won’t Eat. What To Try If Your Newfie Refuses Food


It can be scary when your dog stops eating. 

The first thing many owners do is panic and think that their dog might be sick but besides illness, they are many different reasons why a dog could all of a sudden stop eating. 

Besides being ill or in pain other reasons that a dog may not be eating could be due to stress, hormonal changes, fussiness, changes in the environment, they don’t like the food in their bowl or because they simply need more stimulation.  

The first thing you should if your dog stops eating is to speak with your vet to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing your dog to not want to eat. 

Puppies and senior dogs that abruptly stop eating should see a vet as soon as possible.

If your dog passes all their exam and tests with flying colors then you can move on trying a variety of ways to get them back to eating their food.

Medical Conditions That Cause A Dog To Not Eat

There are many medical conditions that can cause a dog not to want to eat. 

Some of the more common problems are nausea, pain, toothache, infections, toxins, kidney or liver problems, and some canine cancers. 

Most dogs that aren’t eating their food will also show other signs of not feeling well such as lack of energy, refusing treats, vomiting and diarrhea. 

If your dog is experiencing any of those conditions it should be seen by a veterinarian. 

If a puppy or senior dog is not eating, it should also be seen by a vet. 

If medical conditions have been ruled out and your dog is acting fine then it’s time to take a look at some other things that could be going on. 

You’re Feeding Too Much Dog Food

feeding too much dog food

Due to their big size, Newfies are often overfed and the suggested feeding amounts on the bag of food are generous to say the least.

Most adult Newfies only eat 3-4 cups of dog food a day.

This will depend on what type of diet that you’re feeding but Newfie’s don’t eat a ton of food a day.

Most eat the same or less than a large breed dog.

Weather Conditions

A Newfie may not have much of an appetite in hot weather due to their decreased activity so consider the temperature outside if your Newf slows down on eating and adjust their meals accordingly.

Your Newfie Is Growing Up

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As Newfies mature their bodies regulate and their appetite may slow down. 

Try decreasing the amount that you’re feeding slowly and see if that helps.

Male Newfs that are intact may go off their food when they sense an intact female nearby also. 

Your Dog Is Bored With Their Food

It happens. 

Eating the same food over and over again can get boring for some dogs. 

You could try implementing a rotation diet or adding in low-calorie, dog-safe foods to your dog’s meal. 

You could try feeding your dog in a dog puzzle or treat-dispensing toy.

Tips For a Picky Dog That Is Not Sick

Don’t give in.

Feed them their regular food and that’s it.

You’ll start a vicious cycle if you keep adding new things to their food and you risk giving them an upset stomach.

I’ve been there and all I did was make things worse.

Pick it up.

If a dog has food at its disposable all the time he’s just going to pick at it throughout the day and you’ll never know how much they’re eating.

Not to mention, who wants to eat food that’s been sitting in a bowl all day?

Allow your dog a time frame of when they can eat and if they don’t eat it, pick it up. Give them a parameter.

Some Dogs Don’t Want To Eat From A Bowl

Some dogs simply find eating their food out of a bowl is boring and they need something more. 

This is referred to as contrafreeloading. 

Contrafreeloading is when a dog would prefer to work for their food and earn it rather than just be given it for free.

This type of behavior is seen among zoo animals a lot but it’s also seen in dogs, especially working breeds. 

Nowadays there are plenty of options for dogs that don’t want to eat their meals from the traditional dog dish. 

There are several meal dispensing toys and dog puzzles such as the Buddy Magic Mushroom by PetSafe and it’s a good size for a big dog.

You can also use canine enrichment toys such as Kongs, Toppls or Lick Mats to feed complete meals to your dogs and you can increase the difficulty by freezing these overnight. 

If you feed kibble you can soak the kibble in water or bone broth and then stuff it into the Toppl and freeze. 

We have both the Kong and Toppl but the West Paw Toppl is easier to stuff with the wide design and a lot easier to clean!


Tips For Stuffing Your Dog Enrichment Toys

The fun thing about canine enrichment toys is that you can customize them any way that you want for your dog.

If you prefer to use just dry kibble you can do that by just soaking the kibble in water or bone broth until it’s soft and then stuff into the Kong or Toppl and freeze overnight. 

If you want to add other dog-safe foods to your Toppl, it’s so easy to layer them!

layers dog food in a West Paw Toppl

I like to use low-fat veggies and fruit but you can do whatever is your dog’s typical diet. 

Some ideas are, broccoli, green beans, bananas, strawberries, non-fat plain greek yogurt, canned or homemade pumpkin puree, sardines, dehydrated food, sardines, sweet potatoes…..etc. 

Just make sure that your dog can tolerate any new foods and introduce them slowly over time. 

DIY Enrichment Dog Feeder

If you would prefer to create a DIY enrichment feeder for your dog that’s fun too!

You can make a DIY snuffle map, roll up a towel, use old boxes or even create your own DIY treat-dispensing toy using an old plastic coffee can or plastic container from the Dollar Store, use muffin tins and even egg cartons. 


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Pauline S. Huguley

Thursday 26th of April 2018

Okay my dog is not a picky eater but, since I want to change his diet, I am quite apprehensive if he will like his new food. In fact I am planning to switch him to a raw diet. If he does become picky about eating then, I guess I will have to follow some of the tips you gave. Thanks for the information.

Monika & Sam

Sunday 24th of September 2017

Sam used to be a grazer but since the addition of 'eat every bite quickly' Elsa, he now makes sure he eats his kibble in a timely fashion lest the Ninja get his portion. Poodles, despite being very athletic, strapping dogs, can have digestive issues so I have to make sure what 'goes in' comes out the way it should. Hyper-vigilence is a a lifestyle when you have dogs with digestive issues.


Tuesday 26th of September 2017

Oh yes, I'm always checking what comes out the other end, especially if Leroy stops eating!


Friday 22nd of September 2017

Great advice, my girl can go off her food now and then, I've been putting it away if she doesn't eat it and seems to be helping.


Tuesday 26th of September 2017

That's great Tori! It's so hard when they can't tell us if they're just not hungry or if they're not feeling well.

I wound up adjusting Leroy's food. He doesn't seem to eat as much in the morning so he gets 1/2 cup less then at dinner. That seemed to help too!

Shadow and Ducky's Mom

Friday 22nd of September 2017

One more thing I would add? If your dog has recently lost a furry companion - regardless of species - that s/he was particularly bonded with, that loss can be a HUGE factor. When Callie got her angel wings, getting Shadow to eat was a real challenge. So, our vet ran all sorts of tests and took X-rays. Nothing wrong with her other than missing her sister. As she gets older, I tend to worry more, but she's doing great other than being picky.


Tuesday 26th of September 2017

Those are all such good points Sue! Thank you for adding them! I realized that with Leroy, he does better when his breakfast is smaller and his dinner is a little bit bigger. Sometimes he just doesn't want to eat in the morning.

I'm so glad that Shadow is doing better, besides being picky! Maybe her and Leroy need to start a club. Hahahaha

Shadow and Ducky's Mom

Friday 22nd of September 2017

OMD! I could write this same post about Shadow! Only, sometimes, it doesn't "dawn on" me that she's playing me and I get anxious about her not eating too.

I have to add one more hint/clue about them not eating....

If they're on medication or supplements like Denamarin, it can make them feel "weird" or full for a few hours. With Shadow, I have found splitting her breakfast into two smaller meals helps a lot. I also find feeding her later in the morning helps too.

Ducky, OTH, is like Sherman. If she won't eat, it's definitely time to see the vet. She's a canine vacuum cleaner!

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