Gracie the dog and her Butternut Box food Gracie the dog and her Butternut Box food

Why Isn't My Dog Eating?

Read time: 4 mins

07 Sep 2023

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind a dog's reduced appetite, discuss whether dogs go through phases of not eating, help you identify when it's time to be concerned, and offer practical tips on how to encourage your dog to eat healthily.

Reasons for Reduced Appetite in Dogs

Dogs, just like humans, can experience fluctuations in their appetite for various reasons. It's essential to be aware of these factors to better understand why your dog might not be eating as expected.

Health issues

One of the most common reasons for a reduced appetite in dogs is an underlying health problem. Illnesses, dental issues, gastrointestinal discomfort, and infections can all lead to discomfort while eating. If your dog's appetite has suddenly decreased, consulting with a veterinarian is crucial to rule out any health concerns.

Stress and anxiety

Dogs are sensitive creatures, and changes in their environment, routine, or the presence of new people or animals can cause stress or anxiety. This emotional turmoil can affect their appetite. Butternut Box recommends maintaining a stable and comforting environment for your dog to help reduce stress-related eating problems.


Some medications can have side effects that affect a dog's appetite. If your dog has recently started a new medication, consult your veterinarian to determine if it might be causing the reduced appetite and discuss potential alternatives.

Dietary preferences

Dogs can be picky eaters too! If your dog has been introduced to a new food and doesn't seem to enjoy it, they may refuse to eat. At Butternut Box, we prioritise fresh dog food made from human-grade ingredients to provide a delicious and nutritious meal option for your furry friend.

Do Dogs Go Through Phases of Not Eating?

Yes, dogs can go through phases of not eating, just like humans. These phases can be influenced by various factors:

Seasonal changes

Some dogs may eat less during hot summer months or colder winters. This can be related to temperature changes affecting their metabolism or simply a preference for different foods in different seasons.


As dogs age, their metabolism and activity levels may change. This can result in a decreased appetite. However, it's crucial to differentiate between age-related changes and potential health issues.

Behavioural changes

Dogs can develop behavioural issues that affect their eating habits. Separation anxiety, changes in routine, or conflicts with other pets can lead to decreased appetite. Positive reinforcement training and a consistent routine can help address these issues.

Illness recovery

After recovering from an illness or surgery, some dogs may experience a temporary loss of appetite. This is normal and usually resolves as they regain their strength and health.

When Should I Worry About My Dog Not Eating?

As a dog owner, it's essential to recognize when a decreased appetite becomes a cause for concern. If your dog refuses to eat for more than 24-48 hours, it's time to consult with a veterinarian. Other signs that may indicate a problem include:

  • Significant weight loss

  • Lethargy and weakness

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

  • Changes in behaviour

At Butternut Box, we understand that your dog's well-being is of utmost importance. Regular check-ups and prompt attention to any signs of illness or appetite loss are essential to ensure your furry friend remains happy and healthy.

What Do You Do If Your Dog Won't Eat?

If you've identified that your dog's reduced appetite is a cause for concern, here are steps you can take:

Consult your vet

Schedule a visit to the vet to rule out any underlying health issues. They can perform tests and examinations to diagnose the problem accurately.

Follow medical advice

If your veterinarian diagnoses a health problem, follow their recommendations for treatment and dietary changes. In some cases, a prescribed diet or medication may be necessary.

Maintain a regular feeding schedule

Stick to a consistent feeding routine to provide a sense of security and predictability for your dog.

Offer tempting foods

Experiment with different flavours and textures to entice your dog to eat. Our fresh dog food options at Butternut Box are made with human-grade ingredients, ensuring both taste and nutrition.

How Can I Encourage My Dog to Eat?

Encouraging your dog to eat can be a gradual process. Here are some strategies you can try:

Warm the food

Gently warming your dog's food can enhance its aroma and make it more appealing.


In some cases, hand-feeding can create a positive association with mealtime.

Add toppers

Consider adding tasty toppers like bone broth, plain yoghourt, or a small amount of lean meat to make the meal more enticing.

Maintain a calm environment

Minimise distractions during mealtime to help your dog focus on eating.

Rotate flavours

Variety can be the spice of life for dogs too! Rotate between different flavours of fresh dog food from Butternut Box to keep mealtime exciting.