Why Won’t My Puppy Eat?



This Holidays4Dogs article will provide information for owners who are worried their new puppy isn’t eating enough. It is a fairly common issue with puppies who have just moved into a new home. Many puppies find it hard being taken away from their mother and siblings. As a result, they can go off their food for a day, or two. This can be worrying for new puppy owners, so if you are wondering – why won’t my puppy eat? – Read on.

It is quite an upsetting time for a puppy when he moves away from his mother and siblings into a totally new environment. Many puppies will be completely alone and this can be unsettling for them.

There will be new sights, sounds and smells to encounter and the puppy may well feel a little stressed by all of this. A dog’s appetite is usually the first thing to be affected, if he is feeling anxious. Many will go off their food and some will refuse to eat at all.

When you bring your new puppy home always make sure you have a supply of his usual food. If you wish to make changes to his diet, do this gradually, so there is less likelihood of upset tummies. Do make sure any hazardous items are kept well out of reach.

If your puppy stops eating for more than two days, you should arrange to take your pup to the vet. Only your vet can establish whether there are any medical reasons for his loss of appetite.

In addition, if the puppy has any other symptoms such as sickness, diarrhoea, or lethargy you should seek urgent veterinary attention. If your puppy is also refusing to drink, this should also be regarded as an emergency.

In the meantime, as long as your pup seems fit and well there are a few things you can do to tempt him to start eating.

  • Try offering some lean chicken, mixed with his usual food.

  • Something more pungent, such as a small amount of grated cheese, or dog friendly peanut butter may tempt the puppy to eat.

  • If his food is the dry variety, you could try moistening it with a little warm water, or sodium free chicken broth.

The most important thing is not to worry too much in the first few hours when your new puppy is home, as long as he is otherwise bright, happy and drinking fluids.

Don’t leave food down all the time. Remove any uneaten food and try again an hour, or so, later. You could try hand feeding your puppy if he seems particularly reluctant. However, this might encourage him to be all the more finicky, so it is probably best to avoid doing this too often.

Try not to feed him titbits in between meals, as this will dampen his appetite. Make sure he has enough exercise – but don’t overdo it with very young pups.

If you have other dogs in the household, check they are not being pushy, or putting the puppy off eating his food. Feed adult dogs away from the pup if you think this is the case.

Conversely, some pups will eat if they have ‘competition’ from other dogs in the vicinity. Do monitor the situation carefully when feeding dogs in the same area to make sure they are not resource guarding.

It can be a worry when new puppies won’t eat, but this usually resolves itself after a day or two and is generally nothing to be concerned about.

If your pup seems lethargic and sickly and is not drinking fluids – always consult your vet at the earliest opportunity.