30 Days’ Free Return
Delivery in 1-3 working days
Free Shipping for orders over €29
-12% off for new customers
30 Days’ Free Return
Delivery in 1-3 working days
Free Shipping for orders over €29

My dog has stopped eating – Should I be worried?

29.12.2023 - Reading time: 8 minutes

A Beagle sits in front of a water bowl and looking at the camera

If your dog suddenly stops eating, it's natural to wonder why. It can have various causes and it is important to observe the behaviour.

When a dog refuses to eat, its owner worries and questions whether their faithful friend is ill. There are many reasons why dogs refuse their food. These may be harmless or a sign of illness. Find out what to do when your dog no longer wants to eat its biscuits.


Why has my dog stopped eating?

Most dogs are greedy and are delighted when they see their owner heading towards their bowl. If your dog prefers to lie on the carpet instead of happily following you into the room where they’re fed, it’s not necessarily serious. A number of factors can lead to a dog’s lack of appetite. If they seem to be in good general health but just refuse to eat for a day, this may be because:

  • Your dog is still full: perhaps they ate too much the day before
  • The new biscuits are not suitable for them
  • Your dog can’t cope with the current excessive heat
  • A bitch in heat is nearby, which often causes a male dog to lose his appetite
  • You have been on a long journey with your dog and they still have a bit of an upset stomach from it
  • You’ve just moved house or arrived at your holiday home

These are temporary causes and your little furball’s appetite should return fairly quickly. Dogs know what is good for them and if yours needs to rest and not eat for a few hours, just leave them alone.

Why has my dog stopped eating its biscuits?

Dog owners often call their vets and say: “My dog has stopped eating its biscuits. What should I do?” Although dogs are sometimes described as walking bins and some have a tendency to eat almost anything they can get their paws on, others are real foodies. They certainly won’t eat biscuits that don’t taste right. Have you changed the brand of your dog biscuits? Even if you thought you were doing the right thing, this is a possible reason for your faithful companion’s refusal to eat. Offer them their usual biscuits, the ones they used to eat willingly, and you’ll know straight away. If your dog refuses to eat biscuits that they used to devour, they may have dental problems. It’s best to make an appointment with your vet.

My female dog has stopped eating

Generally, a bitch goes into heat twice a year from puberty onwards. These are accompanied by hormonal fluctuations that cause changes in her behaviour. Your charming little four-legged friend may be more affectionate and a little clingy or, on the contrary, more reserved. Some bitches go into heat without any problems, while others experience fatigue and loss of appetite during this period. Your dog may eat less, but if she stops eating altogether, this is a sign that something is wrong. Ask your vet for advice if she refuses her food for more than one day. Is your pregnant dog showing no interest in her biscuits? This may be caused by nausea, which often appears from the third week of gestation. In this case, offer your dog smaller quantities of food several times a day. Another reason for a pregnant dog’s refusal to eat is that her food preferences have changed. Just like pregnant women, your dog may have unusual cravings. Treat her to some premium food specially designed for pregnant bitches and a few of her favourite treats.

My dog has stopped eating and just lies there

If your dog refuses to eat and won’t get up on their own, you should make an appointment with your vet. They will identify the causes of your faithful companion’s behaviour and prescribe the necessary treatment. Depending on your dog’s health problems, it’s normal for them to be less hungry and need more rest and sleep. Your vet will be able to reassure you about this too. The treatment should take effect and a few days with little food will not harm your pet. When we humans are ill, we often want to sleep and don’t have much of an appetite. Depending on the vet’s diagnosis, a special diet may be more appropriate for a certain period of time, or even long term. To avoid your dog getting dehydrated, remember to always put a bowl of water out for them, preferably close to them if they are lying down. A dog can go weeks without eating, but only a few days without drinking.

golden retriever couché, la tête sur le sol

My dog hasn’t eaten anything for 3 days

It is important to differentiate between a lack of appetite and a total loss of appetite. A dog with a lack of appetite will still eat a little and may lose a few kilos if it lasts a few days. This happens, for example, to male dogs living under the same roof or in the vicinity of a female in heat. Don’t worry, as soon as the bitch is no longer of interest to him, your dog’s appetite will return and he may eat twice as much in the beginning. When a dog completely refuses to eat for more than 3 days, this may be one of the symptoms of a health problem, such as:

  • An infectious disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Cancer

Psychological problems linked to stress are also sometimes the cause of a dog’s loss of appetite. This is the case when the owner of a dog dies or is hospitalised.

My dog has stopped eating and drinks a lot

The reasons why a dog no longer wants to eat and drinks a lot are varied. These include:

  • Chronic kidney failure accompanied by diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Cushing’s disease often accompanied by hair loss and a large belly
  • Uterine infection in bitches
  • Liver failure with diarrhoea

These are serious illnesses that require rapid treatment. So do not wait if your dog is refusing to eat and suddenly starts drinking more than usual. Make an appointment with your vet, tell them the symptoms on the phone so that they can decide whether it is an emergency or not and try to stay calm. Your dog does not need additional stress.

My dog has stopped eating, just lies there and vomits

A dog with yellow vomit that has stopped eating probably has digestive system problems. Yellow liquid vomit is a discharge of bile. This is often what nauseated dogs vomit on an empty stomach. This bilious vomit may be the sign of an illness, particularly when the dog doesn’t get up any more and refuses to eat. It may also be the result of ingesting toxic substances or an intestinal obstruction. This is a veterinary emergency! Don’t lose time if your lovely little four-legged friend is lethargic, has stopped eating and is vomiting: call the vets and follow the advice that they give you.

What to do when an old dog has stopped eating?

In senior dogs, a lack of appetite may be the result of age, illness, pain or a sign that the end of life is approaching. An old dog that has stopped eating its biscuits may enjoy them if you leave them to soak in lukewarm water. They are probably too hard for their old teeth. Offer them wet food or cook up some tasty dog treats. Please note some foods that are tasty for humans are bad for dogs’ health! Your bookseller will help you find the dog cookbook best suited to your senior dog. Cooking takes times, so alternating homemade meals with read-made food for elderly dogs is a good alternative. Chronic kidney failure is a serious disease that is common in older dogs and leads to a loss of appetite. The kidneys no longer do their job properly and the dog will have to take long-term medication. Your vet will no doubt recommend a special diet to increase your dog’s life expectancy. Veterinary supervision is therefore particularly important and should not be overlooked. And if, despite all your efforts, your adorable companion doesn’t want to eat any more, they may have reached the end of their life. If your dog is not suffering, they will be able to live out their days peacefully in your home, surrounded by those who love them. In any case, make sure you have the telephone number of a vet nearby who you can contact if you need to. A dog that has been a faithful companion for many years is a member of the family that deserves a dignified end to their life.


Additional articles that you might be interested in