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What to Feed an Old Dog That Won’t Eat?

Written by Kelvin LowMay 6, 2021

Notice that your senior dog won’t feel like eating and you’re unsure what you can do to make them eat? In this article, I’ll be sharing with you the reasons why won’t your senior dog eat and what to feed an old dog that won’t eat. I have tried some of these on my older dog and some of it works. So, make sure you go through all the tips and see which one works well on your senior dog.

Let’s get started!

Why won't my senior dog eat?

It’s worrying for us when we don’t know why our older dogs do not want to eat anymore. Most of the time, these are the reasons why a senior dog don’t feel like eating all of a sudden:-

1) Your Dog is Sick

When a dog is sick, they tend to lose their appetite and stop eating. Still, we can’t fall into conclusion so quickly that they are sick when they won’t eat.

You can check on other symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting. If your dogs are having these symptoms too, go to see a local vet immediately. The vet will be able to do a checking and understand what is going on with your dog.

2) Your Dog is Picky

It’s normal and reasonable for a dog to be picky. Even for us, we do have a list of foods that we don’t like, right? The same theory goes for dogs. Even if they are not picky in the past, their preference may change as time goes by. What you can do is to try giving your dog something they have not tried before and see their response.

3) Dental Issues

Check if your dog is having any dental issues, either a broken tooth, having signs that he/she is having a difficult time eating. If a dog is having dental issues, it will be suffering for them to eat, thus making them lose their appetite and not eat instead.

If you go to the vet, they will be able to help you to do a check to see if there are any dental issues.

4) Stress

Are there any significant events lately that might have made your dog stress? Have you brought your dog to an entirely new environment? Or have you separated with your dog for some time because of work? These may be the reason causing your dog to be stressed and making them lose their appetite and stop eating.

How can I increase my older dog's appetite?

Here are some simple tricks you can try to increase your older dog’s appetite and hopefully get them to start eating their food:-

1) Warm up His Food

Are you serving your dogs with cold foods that are taken out directly from the refrigerator? Stop doing that! Warm up the food and wait for a few minutes for it to cooler down. Dogs like to eat food that is warm. If you’re feeding your dog with cold food, try this approach and see if it works for your dog or not.

2) Switch Up His Food Occasionally

If your dog is picky on his/her food. Let them try out different foods frequently, it’ll boost their appetite because they are able to taste something that is totally new to them.

3) Praise Him When He Does Eat

Remember how we do potty training? Use the same approach when they eat their food. Praise them when they eat, maybe even give them snacks after they eat, it will make them happy and it helps to motivate them to eat their food.

4) Elevate His Bowl

As dogs grow older, they will become weaker, and if your dog is a large breed, it will be difficult for them to bend down to consume their food. This may be the main reason why an older dog won’t eat.

It would be a good idea to put their bowl higher with a bowl stand. It’ll definitely help to make it easier for your older dog to eat their food.

What to Feed an Old Dog That Won’t Eat?

Try adding these foods into your dog’s usual meal. These will help to make it look tastier for your senior dog, encouraging them to eat their food.

1) Wet Food

Compared between wet food and dry food, dogs prefer wet food more. Try mixing his/her wet food and dry food together. It’ll help to make the food smells tastier for your dog too.

2) Chicken Broth

Your dog may have a poorer sense of smell already, and having just dry food may make your senior dog feel too dull. Try having chicken broth for your dog too, it can help to make the food smell tastier and more moist, making your dog have a more pleasant time eating.

3) Water

Make sure that your dog is drinking a lot of water every day. When a dog drinks water, it makes their nose wet, and that’s something we want. When the nose of your dog is wet, it makes them be able to smell even better. This also means that they are more likely to have appetite because they can smell better now.

4) Cottage Cheese

Dogs love cheese so much and they’ll never get tired of eating cheese. Try adding cottage cheese with what they usually eat. You can start by feeding your dog with a very small amount first, then see if they have any negative reaction.

This is because there are some dogs that may have lactose intolerance. After knowing they are fine eating cheese, you can add a little more for them on the next meal.

5) Plain Yogurt

Plain yogurt that does not contain any flavor and sugar can be an option for your dog too. There are plenty of older dogs that like eating plain yogurt because it is easy to eat and tasty for them. Also, it is an awesome food that can help your dog to have better digestion.

Final Thought

I hope this article can help you to have a better idea on what to feed an old dog that won’t eat and eventually get your senior dog to have their appetite back. It’s definitely more hard and more care is needed for a senior dog compared with a puppy.

Try spending more time with your dog, preparing those delicious meals for your dog. They will appreciate it. We hope that your senior dog will remain healthy and start eating soon. Cheers!

About The Author

Kelvin Low

Kelvin Low has more than three years of experience in taking care of pets at home - ranging from dogs, hamsters, to cats and hedgehog. His passion and care towards animals has motivated him to create educational content online to more more pets owners in need.

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