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My dog won't eat.

Species: Dog
Breed: Pitbull
Age: 2-5 years
Hello i have a male 2 year old pitbull. He is an extremely picky eater when it comes to dog food. I’ve tried buying wet food and mixing and he won’t eat it, I’ve gotten the dog gravy and nothing. I’ve tried grinding his snacks in his food but he would only eat it all a day then get use to the snacks and start sucking on the food and spits it out. I’ve tired human food gravy which he likes but then begins to just lick the gravy. He is pretty smart when it comes to putting food mixed in his dog food. When he was younger he would eat human food all the time so I think that might have ruined his eating routine. But when he used to be around another dog he would eat his dog food i guess to show dominance. but the food he has now is eukanova, I’ve tried kibble and bits which he ate for a day or two then stopped, is there any dog food you recommend me getting because i tried all gravy’s, natural balance sausages. I would greatly appreciate it if you can help me with suggestion because I don’t want to get him use to human food unless there is a nutritional human food I can give him. Are there places where I can get samples of dog food for him to try? Any help is appreciated. He has been to taken the vet before and they say he is heathly, he plays all day and if he starves he eventually eats but I don't want that.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that you are having trouble with Kupa not wanting to eat.

In my experience when a dog won't eat for an extended period of time there is almost always a medical reason for this. Every dog has a strong will to live and it is really rare for a dog to just decide not to eat for more than a day or two.

My first question for you is whether or not he is neutered. If he is not neutered, then having him neutered may solve this problem. In an unneutered dog, if there is a female in heat within miles of your house it can cause a dog so much stress that he doesn't want to eat. They don't always show the stress in external ways that you and I could easily recognize as stress.

Has he had blood and urine tests done? It's possible that he has some intestinal parasites that are causing him to have some intestinal cramping which can affect his appetite. Or he could have an underlying infection or problem with his organs. There's only so much we can tell from a physical exam.

My other advice would be to not give in and give him "tasty" food. Some dogs are really stubborn. We give them kibble and after 2 days if they haven't eaten then we feel sorry for them and give in and add some gravy or add something that would be really tasty. What we do when we do this is condition the dog to be patient and wait until he gets some good stuff!

How is his weight? If he is not skinny then I would not be too worried. Dogs in the wild are used to eating a large meal and then eating nothing for several days.

As far as foods go, the commercial brand kibbles that I like that I think are good quality are Iams, Science diet and Royal Canin. You may want to see if he likes the food when it is softened for 30 minutes in warm water. If so, then each day add a little bit less water until eventually he'll eat it without any water.

Iams makes an interesting product that is a low calorie gravy that you can add to make foods tasty, but like you said, he may just lick off the gravy. You can buy this here or at most pet stores.

Some pet stores will have samples they can give away. However, I'm really suspicious that this is not a food issue though!

I hope he starts to eat better soon!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hey Dr. Thanks for the response. I actually started doing the whole schedule thing over where I put his food out and wait 15 minute without giving hi snacks nor table scarps and to my surprise he is eating his dog food. He eats almost a whole bowl in the evening and is good until the next day I think the strctness of not giving him human food is working he is now begging for me to put his food back for him to eat which I never seen before but I am going to get him checked just in case. He iss perfect on weight not skinny at all anmd very energetic. Which I notice he eats when he's haappy to. He isn't neutered.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Glad to hear he is eating! My guess is that he would do much better if neutered! I see this all the time, that intact male dogs will stop eating because there is a female in heat somewhere near your neighborhood!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.