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How Can I Get My Puppy to Eat

One of the most common problems pet parents face with their new puppies is avoiding food. Here are some tips and tricks on how to get over this phase as quickly as possible.

Puppies eating

One of the most common problems pet parents face with their new puppies is avoiding food. Some dogs are born picky eaters while others become picky overnight. 

We’ve made a list to help you determine the cause of picky eating in your puppy. Here are a few tips & tricks on how to get over this phase as soon as possible.

Why is my puppy not eating?  

Here are some of the reasons behind it.

They forget they are hungry

Believe it or not, puppies don’t feel hunger the way we humans do. In fact, they can sometimes completely forget that they are hungry. This usually happens to them when they are fully engaged in a fun or exciting activity for a long period of time.

Exploring new surroundings, new discoveries, etc., will surely make your pooch lose track of time as well as of their appetite. 

Women giving food to her dog

They are stressed out

Puppies are at a phase where they discover the new and exciting world around them and therefore, are also more prone to stress. If a puppy is stressed out, it can sometimes stand in the way of their eating habits.

New environment

Despite their ability to adjust fast, puppies still need some time to get used to a new environment, and when they are unfamiliar with their surroundings, they may forget or refuse to eat until they are comfortable. 

That’s why it’s important to encourage your puppy to explore while being there for them with as much love and affection, especially during the first weeks of adjusting.

Living with another pet

Puppies are somewhat intimidated by other pets and until they are sure the other furball can be trusted, they refuse to eat. Be patient. It might take time but it will pass. 

Health conditions

Before taking any action, you must first evaluate your dog’s behavior and see if they’re uncomfortable or possibly experienced some trauma recently. The reasons behind this avoidance behavior are not always external. Sometimes it’s caused by specific health conditions (Woof-Woof! Have you considered dog insurance yet?)

Poor dental hygiene or mouth pain

If your doggo is suffering from teeth, gum, or other mouth-related soreness, they will stop eating to avoid the pain. These types of conditions are common among dogs, especially if they are outdoor lovers who have accidentally chewed on a jagged bone, a stick, or a sharp object. 

Digestive issues & food intolerance

It’s not uncommon for puppies and dogs to develop allergies and sensitivities to foods they once used to love. In addition to this, digestive as well as gastrointestinal disorders, such as colitis, can cause dogs to stop eating. But of course, it’s always safer to hear expert advice before taking any steps. 

Picky Eating

Last but not least, the most common reason for avoiding food is picky eating. Puppies can develop favorability for certain foods over others, and once they learn you will provide those foods on a regular basis, they will completely ignore the unfavorable foods. In this case, you can keep a note of what foods your pup loves or doesn’t and develop a diet that is suitable to their personal preferences.  

Just like babies become fussy about eating when they are teething, so can puppies. The discomfort they experience in their mouth can make them reluctant to eat their food, especially if it is dry food
men feeding dog

Before rushing to the veterinarian to find out why your puppy isn’t eating, there are several things you can try at home and check if you can get your doggo back on track: 

  1. Give your puppy less treats

If your puppy suddenly stops eating their food, it might be the treats. Try giving them fewer treats and see if that has an effect on their eating habits.

  1. Change up the diet

Another method you can try is to change the food you give to your puppy. Different brands, softer treats, different tastes – feel free to switch up dog food every once in a while until you end up with a brand that your puppy absolutely adores.

Many healthy dogs eat only 60% – 70% of the amount stated on the food packaging as those guidelines are based on averages
  1. Eat with your puppy

Puppies who have a hard time adjusting to a new environment tend to be a bit shy. This is a situation where you have to make the first move. Try sitting down right next to your pup, and start pretending to eat the food, or BYOS (bring your own snack) and pretend you’re out on a nice dinner date. 

  1. Use positive reinforcement

Puppies learn best when there is positive reinforcement -they absolutely go bonkers when they do something right. 

Encouraging your doggo to take a bite and then celebrate their appetite will teach them to repeat the same action in exchange for another positive reinforcement.

Avoiding food is a common trait of puppies who are in need of a bit more attention. If you encounter such a problem with your puppy, remain calm. It’s probably not a big deal. That doesn’t mean you can skip your routine checkups at the vet. You can’t help your pup unless you know what the problem is and talking to an expert would help solve the puzzle. 


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