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Puppy doesn't want to eat.

Species: Dog
Breed: Shetland Sheepdog
Age: 6-12 months
It has been over a week since my Sheltie has lost her appetite. She hardly touches her meals and doesn't show any enthusiasm when I give her treats. She is also pooping very little and has bad breath. I have been giving her a herbal digestive syrup recommended by her vet but it doesn't seem to help. What should I do?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear, it sounds like Spookie is really not doing well.

I always get concerned when a young dog does not want to eat. It almost always is a sign of a medical problem.

There are a number of things that could cause a puppy to not want to eat:


  • Parvo virus - This would be most common in an unvaccinated puppy. The period of not eating and lethargy would soon be followed by diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Ingestion of a foreign object - although usually we would see vomiting.

  • Pain of some sort - Is there any chance she was in an accident?

  • Ingestion of something toxic to her kidneys. This could cause the bad breath as well.


Puppies don't have a lot of reserves to fight dehydration, so if a pup is not eating for more than 24-48 hours then I always recommend blood tests and possible IV fluids if your vet feels she is dehydrated.

I really hope she is ok!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.

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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.