Having a sick dog can be incredibly stressful, and watching them refuse to eat can add to the worry. Like humans, a dog may lose its appetite and refuse to eat when feeling sick. However, skipping meals may make his condition even worse. Therefore, you should try to get your dog to eat.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to help get your sick dog to eat. With patience, creativity, and simple methods, you can help your pup get back on the road to good health. From switching their diet to adding treats and supplements, there are many ways to entice your pup to eat.
Here’s my guide on how to get a sick dog to eat quickly. Read on!
Why is my sick dog not eating?
The first thing you should know is to check why is your sick dog not eating. The most common causes usually include infections, digestive issues, pain, stress, environmental changes, or an underlying medical condition.
It’s important to talk to your veterinarian and ensure your pup has been checked for any medical issues such as pancreatitis, kidney disease, or parasites. They can also guide what type of food and how much your pup should be eating.
If your dog has an infection, it may require antibiotics or other medications to help fight it off. If they have digestive issues, your vet may recommend a special diet or supplements to help them regain their appetite. If the problem is related to stress or the environment, you may want to look into calming treats or take them for walks in quieter areas.
Finally, it’s essential to take note of any other symptoms your pup is experiencing, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive drinking or urination, coughing, or changes in behavior. These can all be signs of an underlying medical condition and should be discussed with your veterinarian.
How to get a sick dog to eat: 5 tricks that work
Below are five methods to trick a sick dog with no appetite into eating again.
1. Change the food
The first method you should try is introducing different foods to your dog’s diet. For example, replace the usual dog foods with human foods such as chicken and beef. A new diet is undoubtedly more appealing to a sick dog.
Boldly scented foods are highly recommended since odor might help entice a dog’s senses and encourage him to eat.
Ensure you consider the doggo’s conditions when introducing food to him. For example, please don’t feed your dog hamburger when he has stomach issues. Instead, try bland foods such as vegetables, boiled chicken, etc.
One word of caution: suddenly changing the diet may cause your dog to get sicker. You should introduce new food slowly and watch how your furry friend reacts to the change.
2. Change the location
It is also advised to try feeding your dog in a new room where she doesn’t normally eat. If her bowl is outside the house, you can bring it inside and introduce fresh foods to stimulate her appetite.
Remember, novelty and curiosity may play a big role in getting your dog to eat, even a little.
3. Hand-feed your dog
Hand-feeding your dog is also a good idea to encourage it to eat when it is ill. Sit beside them and offer pieces of food right to her mouth. Let her taste a little, which may make the dog realize she is hungry and wants nutrients.
Don’t forget to pet or scratch her neck while feeding to comfort your dog. Like humans, animals demand attention and care when they get ill.
If your dog starts eating from your hands, give them lots of praise so that it is motivated to continue.
4. Feed the dog grass
Yes, you heard it right! Sometimes, when a dog feels sick, it may eat grass to induce vomiting. In this case, vomiting is a way to remove toxins and cleanse the system. That’s why you can try feeding your dog with grass when it is under the weather.
However, this method may be counter-effective. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog after feeding her grass. If she vomits more than a few times, you should consult the vet immediately.
5. Visit the vet
If none of the above methods work, you must resort to the last straw: bring your dog to the vet. The veterinarian will give your dog fluids to prevent dehydration and, more importantly, determine why it refuses to eat.
Getting to the roots of the problem will help you make your dog healthy again more quickly.
How To Stimulate a Sick Dog’s Appetite?
First of all, it’s important to talk to your vet and ensure there isn’t an underlying health issue causing the lack of appetite. If there is, the vet can suggest the appropriate treatment.
Once you’ve ruled out any serious health issues, there are a few things you can do to try to get your pup feeling better and interested in eating again.
One of the most effective ways to get a sick dog’s appetite back is to offer them smaller, more frequent meals. This can be easier for them to digest, giving them more opportunities throughout the day for a snack or two.
You can also try offering them different types of food that may be more appealing than their usual diet. Some dogs may be more interested in wet food or treats than their regular dry kibble.
It can also be helpful to add some warm water or chicken broth to their dry food to give it a bit more flavor and make it more appetizing. You can also try hand-feeding them small amounts at a time if they seem reluctant to eat on their own.
If your pup still isn’t eating, it might be a good idea to consult with your vet about medications that could help stimulate their appetite. There are also natural supplements available that may be of benefit.
Finally, make sure that your dog is getting plenty of rest and is in a comfortable environment while they’re feeling under the weather. This may help them feel more relaxed and open to trying new foods or returning to their regular diet.
Top 5 foods to feed a sick dog with no appetite
Changing the diet is the number one method to get a sick dog to eat. If your dog isn’t fed these five foods, let’s introduce them to give your pet an appetite.
Pumpkin contains a lot of good nutrients for the digestive system. Therefore, it is highly recommended for dogs with stomach issues.
One to four tablespoons of pumpkin added may help resolve diarrhea or mild constipation of your dog. If you are too busy to prepare pumpkin on your own, canned pumpkin also works as an alternative.
Ensure you only add plain pumpkin without seeds to your dog’s meal. Avoid feeding a sick dog with pumpkin pie or the like. Otherwise, you may end up paying a visit to the vet.
2. Shredded chicken
Boiled and unseasoned chicken is easy on upset stomachs, so it is always an excellent option for ill animals, including dogs. In addition, chicken contains many essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your sick dog needs to get healthy again.
After boiling the chicken, you should shred it into small pieces so your dog can chew it more easily.
3. Chicken and rice
Chicken and rice are both bland foods that sick dogs can digest well.
Chicken should be boneless, skinless, boiled, unseasoned, and shredded into bite-sized pieces. Does it sound complicated? This meal is absolutely easy to prepare. You can even buy packaged shredded chicken for convenience.
You should choose white rice instead of brown rice. Cook it and avoid adding any seasonings. Otherwise, the extra ingredients may even make the problems worse.
4. Bone broth
Sometimes, chewing takes too much effort that a sick dog may be unable to do. That’s why you should switch to liquids so your doggo can take in essential nutrients to get well. In this case, bone broth is a nutritious liquid for upset stomachs.
You can add some vegetables, such as carrots, to the broth to make it tastier. If not, just a hot bowl of bone broth is enough to attract a dog uninterested in eating.
5. Wet food
Last, wet or canned dog food is also worth a try for dog owners. It is easy to consume and takes little time to prepare. You should heat the wet food so that its smell can entice the dog’s senses.
Food to avoid for sick dogs
Remember that when your dog is sick, their stomach may be extra sensitive and more prone to upset. So it’s best to stick with plain, bland, low-fat foods.
Avoid giving your sick pup any food that’s high in fat, as this can cause digestive problems such as vomiting or diarrhea. These foods include bacon, fatty meats, and greasy processed foods.
Also, avoid any food high in sugar, which can cause an upset stomach and lead to other health issues. This includes anything with added sugar or sweeteners, such as candy, cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks.
Finally, it’s best to avoid giving your dog any human food. This includes anything with garlic, onions, or spices, which can all be toxic to dogs.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the best thing you can do is stick to plain, low-fat foods and ensure your pup gets plenty of rest.
It takes a little effort to get a sick dog to eat, but trying the five tricks above may save you a trip to the vet. Don’t forget to stay by your dog’s side and comfort him when he is under the weather. Your attention and care will help your canine patient feel better.