6 Ways to Encourage Your Senior Dog to Eat More
“When a dog won’t eat,” Metzger says, “make sure your veterinarian rules out any underlying health problems, such as dental disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer.” He also says that when dogs lose interest in dry food, adding warm water, chicken broth, or a small amount of canned food can make it more appealing.
Most dogs experience decreased appetite as they are aging. The most common cause is dental decay and discomfort when chewing hard foods such as kibble. This is easily remedied by soaking the food, switching to wet food or mixing it with soft ingredients such as yoghurt or pumpkin.
How long can a healthy dog go without eating? Most healthy dogs can go up to five days without food, though that number is only true if your pet is still drinking plenty of water. Some can even go up to seven days without, though you should never let things get that far without taking your dog to the vet.
You can try adding some warm water or broth to your pup’s food or heat it up slightly, which may make it more appetizing to them. Also, try feeding your dog something extremely plain (boiled chicken, for example) to see if they will eat that instead and are just refusing their regular food.
Signs that you should be observant of in an elderly dog or a sick dog in hospice care include:
Offer your dog fruits and vegetables. All dogs benefit from eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables, particularly when they’re older and more prone to constipation. Add fiber to your dog’s diet in the form of wheat bran, steamed fresh green beans or canned green beans, or plain canned pumpkin.
You know something is wrong when your dog refuses food, and this is one of the classic signs a dog is dying. If your dog is at this point, you can offer them the tastiest treat imaginable and they will not eat it. They will also stop drinking water. This is due to the beginning of their organs shutting down.
Realistically, you don’t want to test your dog’s limits but do not force your dog to drink as this can cause aspiration pneumonia. It’s important to get your dog medical attention as soon as possible if they are not eating or drinking for 48 hours or more.
Canned, fresh, or raw foods are often more palatable than dry foods to picky dogs (of any age) due to the extra moisture inside. Adding a little water to kibble is also an option. Pick an energy-dense food. They are usually higher in fat and therefore more palatable for many dogs.
A 13- to 15-year-old dog, depending on her size and health, is roughly equivalent to a 70- to 115-year-old person. Older dogs may find it more difficult or painful to move around. You can help byremoving obstacles that make going outside or getting around your house difficult for her.
It may be a sign of a serious medical condition or just a change in appetite as a response to their reduced metabolism and energy levels. If your dog has suddenly stopped eating altogether or has undergone noticeable weight loss due to a reduced appetite, it is a good idea to consult your vet immediately.
Dogs have a very strong survival instinct which will drive them to do anything they can to survive, this along with their inability to understand suicide and death means it’s unfounded that a dog will purposefully starve themselves. If you believe your dog may be doing so, take them to see a veterinarian immediately.
But lately you’ve noticed a gradual decrease in your dog’s appetite. This can be fairly normal in older dogs – their sense of taste and smell decreases and food just isn’t as appetizing. The first thing you need to do is rule out the possibility of an underlying health problem.
It’s normal for dogs to eat less as they get older, but they should still have a healthy appetite. If your dog is eating a lot less than normal, or refuses to eat at all, this could be a sign of an underlying medical problem.