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The dog does not eat: causes for the unusual behaviour

Dogs are meat and carrion eaters by nature, unlike cats, and are not gourmets. With their sniffing noses they pick up the smell of prey. If the food smells good, it means, swallow it down before a rival comes along and fights you for his share. Therefore, it seems surprising if the dog won’t eat. This could be due to health reasons such as organ inflammation, gastrointestinal infections, hormonal influences, infections with fever or poisoning. A dog will not eat until he if fully recovered, because hunger is absent during illness. These health irritations are usually accompanied by strong physical symptoms, such as pain and behavioural problems. If the owner is aware that something is wrong, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary.

But what if a fit dog refuses to eat a certain food? And instead wants to gobble up luncheon meat, bread or the colourful chew sticks that visitors treat him with? There can be several reasons why a healthy dog will not eat. It could be to do with their upbringing, perhaps the dog has been spoiled in the past with lots of treats or special rituals that has now made him fussy. New foods may smell different or have a different consistency to their usual food, this may confuse and irritate the dog.

The dog does not want to eat because it is used to flavour enhancers used in industrial feed

The entire Naturavetal Canis Plus® range differs from conventional feed in many ways. The main difference is the absence of additives, artificial flavourings and colourants. Often dogs have been fed industrial feed for many years. This can lead to a hesitant approach to natural dog food, as it does not “entice” them. Some dogs will reject the healthy food, in the hope that they will get more food containing the flavour enhancers.

Some dogs receive positive experiences when refusing feed. They know that they will get something “special” mixed into their feed or receive another feed if they hesitantly stand in front of the bowl and look sadly towards their owner with their big, beautiful eyes. The initial enthusiasm for the new, exciting feed may fade, after it is no longer new and exciting, they will try to get something new by refusing to eat.  This cycle often goes on for years and often drives the owners to despair.

What to do if your dog will not eat?

Mixing our natural Canis Plus® food with the previous food can have a negative impact on the dog’s acceptance. Due to the different manufacturing processes, the types of feed can have different digestion times in the stomach or intestine. Mixing them may create an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach. If the dog links this feeling with the new food, it may be that he refuses it at the next meal, resulting in the dog not eating. We therefore recommend that you switch directly to our species-appropriate and naturally pure Canis Plus® food. The weaning of additives and flavourings is only delayed if a feed containing these substances is mixed with our natural feed. Sooner or later the same problem will arise resulting once more that the dog will not eat.

Dog nutrition, helpful tips for when a dog stops feeding

If you would like improve eating behaviour, the educational component and consistency play important roles. Leave the dogfood out for about 15 minutes. If he does not eat during this time and shows no appetite, put the food out of reach and only hand it over to the next feeding. Consistency is the key to success. The dog will try to “change your mind”. It is important that you, as the owner, be firm and have staying power. To make the food more enticing for your dog, hand feeding can be useful. The dog feels that he is getting something special, which aids and simplifies the feed changeover. In addition, hand feeding strengthens the bond between the owner and the dog. It can also be done anytime, for example while walking or as a game at home.

Does it make sense to improve the feed if the dog will not eat it?

You can entice the dog by putting a stick of dried lamb tripe or a similar “fragrant” snack in a specially packaged dry food bag. The meaty smell is then transferred to the feed. Although this is not a permanent solution, it quickly leads to a positive link in many dogs and thus better acceptance of the food. If the dog still does not eat, the last step is to try adding to the food. If the other methods do not work, mix in a small amount of curd cheese, yoghurt, cottage cheese, fresh meat, vegetable broth or our Canis Plus® complete menus or Canis Plus® meat pots or rolls to the feed. It is important to mention, however, that the dog will get used to these “toppings” very quickly and will probably demand them in the long term. Weaning can then mean that the dog refuses to eat and the game starts again when dog will not eat. Being consistent is usually the better and more successful long-term method.

Education in feeding is important

Many owners enjoy adding something special to their dog’s food every day, of course the dog is happy about it. The only thing to consider is that it can get very complicated especially when the dog is fussy. For example, when owners must leave their dog for a period of time because they have a hospital stay, the dog sitter ends handling a fussy eater. On vacation with the dog, you want to make feeding as easy as possible, the dog should not refuse to feed. It is very important that you educate your dog to eat. In the worst case, the dog may need special feeding because of an illness, not eating is not an option.
Finally, it must be said that the owner is the one who decides how to feed his animal. If you choose the educational consistency method, you need to know the following: Only the first few days are difficult, in which the dog has to learn that it will not receive anything special in the feed nor get another feed. Experience has shown that it only takes a few days for the dog to get used the new feed. Having to add enticing foods becomes a thing of the past.
If illnesses and diseases are excluded, you can see that having a nutritious healthy diet without synthetics should be undertaken more by humans than by animals. Introducing a nutritious diet is rewarded with health, lifelong fitness and vitality, which you can also see in the dog.

We are happy to advise you on the natural nutrition of your dog. You can reach us Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 0208 – 531 7804 or by email:

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