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 are stress, hormonal changes, fussiness, changes in environment and simply because they don’t like the food that they are being fed.
So what’s the first thing you should if your dog won’t eat their food?
The first thing you should do is speak to your vet to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing your dog not to want to eat.
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
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.
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
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 Nefs that are intact may go off their food when they sense an intact female nearby also.
Your Dog Is Bored With Their Food
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.
Make them work for it.
Have them do a sit before you put the bowl down. Before I give you this food you have to earn it.
Sometimes this makes the dog want the food more than if you just handed it over.
You can even try feeding them from a meal dispensing toy to keep it interesting. We used a meal dispensing toy when Leroy was getting 3 small meals a day back when he was recovering.
He normally doesn’t get 3 meals a day but we were trying to get him to slowly gain a little bit of weight. The meal dispensing toy was perfect because he thought it was a game. We have the Buddy Magic Mushroom by PetSafe and it’s a good size for a big dog.
A dog that isn’t active might be depressed.
Newfies get depressed easily for many reasons so make sure that your dog is getting daily exercise and attention.
Give them space.
Let your dog have their space when they’re eating and don’t hover. If Leroy’s going through his picky phase he will NOT eat if I’m in the room. Maybe he senses my anxiety about him eating? I’m not sure.
Talk to your regular veterinarian or holistic vet about changing your Newfie’s food and see if they’re getting the best diet.
Cut back on the treats.
Instead of giving a treat maybe try giving your dog attention like a belly or a chin scratch for good behavior. A Newfie likes nothing more than a good scratch under the chin.
Take suggestions with a grain of salt.
Nowadays people go to the internet to ask for suggestions on how to get their picky dog to eat.
I see it in every single dog forum that I’m in and it makes me cringe with all the different suggestions that people make of what to add to the food to get the dog to eat. First, adding 20 different things to the dog’s food isn’t going to make the issue better.
Second, way too many people dish out suggestions without knowing the dog’s medical history, so be careful out there.
When talking about your dog not eating, be careful how you word it. When I worked at the vet we would get clients in daily that would say their dog hadn’t eaten in days. Really? They haven’t eaten ANYTHING in days? Not one morsel?
Normally the response would be something like, ” Well he’s eaten dog treats and the pot roast I gave him but he won’t eat his dog food.”
Well if you’re going to give me cheesecake when I don’t eat my carrots, why would I eat the carrots?
This goes back to the “a healthy dog isn’t going to let himself starve” fact. He’s not sick, he’s smart, he’s living the good life eating pot roast.
If all of that fails, and your dog is healthy, you might need the help of a dog trainer.
A good dog trainer should be able to spot any behavioral issues that might be causing your dog to be a picky eater and they can probably help you with the way that you’re dealing with it.
*This post contains affiliate links.