How can I get my dog to eat?
Hi Dr. Barchas,
Sparky, my 13-year-old Maltese, has been getting tired of his food lately. Over the last few weeks he has eaten less and less, and now he hasn't eaten anything at all for the last three days. I don't think he's in painm and he doesn't seem sick. He just doesn't seem hungry. I've tried a few different foods, but he doesn't seem interested. Is there a food I could offer that would make him eat?
New York, NY
Sparky is sick. Pets do not lose their appetite for no reason. For an animal to go three days without eating, something has to be wrong.
There are a number of diseases and afflictions that cause loss of appetite in dogs and cats. These include kidney, liver, or intestinal disease as well as infection, cancer, stress, trauma, pain, or ingestion of foreign objects or poisons. Regardless of the cause, if your pet has not eaten for three days it is probably serious.
As well, I am worried that Sparky is suffering. The last time I went a full day (let alone three) without wanting to eat, I felt very sick. If Sparky feels that way, he is miserable and he needs help.
Dogs and cats often don't cry, whine, or show other symptoms of suffering and sickness. By refusing to eat, Sparky is telling you something.
Please, take him to the vet today.