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Decreased Appetite in Dogs

Overview of Decreased Appetite in Dogs

There are many causes for a dog to have a decreased in appetite or “lack of appetite”. Some dogs don’t want to eat or just aren’t able to eat.

Veterinarians that evaluate dogs with a decrease in appetite categorize this symptom under anorexia. Anorexia is a term used to describe the situation where an animal loses his appetite and does not want to eat or is unable to eat.

Often, a decrease or loss of appetite is often one of the first indications of illness. Diseases of the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, intestine, liver, pancreas), the kidneys, the blood, the eyes, mouth, nose, and throat, the skin, the brain, and many other organs in the body can cause a loss of appetite. Dogs will also stop eating if they are experiencing pain of any cause.

Alternatively, some animals will occasionally refuse food for reasons that are much less serious, such as dislike for a new food, behavioral reasons (new home, new animal or new person in household, etc.) and stress.

Regardless of cause, loss of appetite can have a serious impact on a dog’s health if it lasts 24 hours or more. Very young dogs (less than 6 months of age) are particularly prone to the problems brought on by loss of appetite.

Diagnosis of Decreased Appetite in Dogs

Because of the numerous causes of anorexia, your veterinarian will recommend certain procedures to pinpoint the underlying problem. In dogs, these may include:

Treatment of Decreased Appetite in Dogs

Treatments are of two kinds: “specific” and “supportive.”

Supportive treatments do not reverse the problem that led to the loss of appetite. They simply help “carry” the animal through the most difficult part of the illness.

Home Care of Decreased Appetite in Dogs

Home care is concerned with observing your dog for possible reasons for his anorexia and helping him to eat.

For more information on lack of appetite or a decreased appetite in dogs – see the full article “Anorexia in Dogs“. This article will describe the common causes and give you more information on how the underlying causes are diagnosed and treated.

Prognosis for Decrease or Lack of Appetite in Dogs

The prognosis for “Loss of appetite in dogs” depends on the underlying cause for the loss of appetite and the dog’s response to treatment.