Is your dog turning its nose up at its dinner? If this has happened more than once, you may be wondering what’s wrong. Here we will discuss some of the many reasons why your dog is skipping a meal and when to call the vet.
Is It Ok If My Dog Skips A Meal?
Dogs can skip meals for many non-medical reasons like stress or lack of interest in their food. Encourage them to eat by adding wet food to their meals. Schedule regular meals at least twice a day and always provide access to water. If other symptoms arise, contact your vet immediately.
What Happens If A Dog Skips A Meal?
Other than being hungrier at their next mealtime, your dog will be fine if they skip a meal. Normally, it is no cause for concern if a dog skips a meal or two, as long as they are not showing any other signs of illness like vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
If your dog shows any other concerning signs and is refusing to eat for more than two days, it is best to call your vet to get them looked at as soon as possible.
Why Does My Dog Skip (1,2,3..) Meals?
If you have noticed your dog skipping a few meals, here are a few reasons why:
- Stress: If there have been any major or minor changes in their life (e.g. moving to a new home, recently adopted, etc.) your dog may skip a few meals
- Work schedule changes: some dogs may skip a meal when you are not home. If your work schedule or daily routine has changed, your dog may wait until you are home to eat, even if this means skipping a meal.
- Bored of their food: believe it or not, dogs can sometimes get bored of eating the same food and will ignore it.
- Medications/Vaccinations: if your dog is currently on any medicine or has just been vaccinated, this may lead to temporary changes in their appetite
- Stomachache: sometimes curious dogs will eat things they shouldn’t, leading to an upset stomach. Depending on what they ate, this could be harmless or it could be more serious. If your dog is skipping meals and is throwing up or showing other signs of intestinal distress, contact your vet immediately.
- Stomachache: if they are something other than food, their tummy might be upset
Is It Ok To Not Feed Your Dog For A Day?
While this should not be a regular habit, it is likely okay to not feed your dog for a day.
Unavoidable circumstances like traveling or emergencies might mean that your dog will not have its regular mealtimes that day. It can happen to the best of us. Your dog will appreciate a delicious treat at their next meal time though!
Always ensure that your dog has access to fresh water, as dehydration is dangerous for dogs and can cause numerous medical issues.
What If I Forgot To Feed My Dog A Meal? Do I Double The Next Meal?
If you forgot to feed your dog a meal, there are two options:
- If you forgot to feed your dog not too long ago, you can feed them when you remember. For example, if you forgot their morning meal and it is only noon, you could feed them their ‘breakfast’ now.
- If you forgot to feed your dog and it is too late to feed them now, it might be better to wait until their next scheduled mealtime. For example, if you forgot their morning meal and it is already late in the evening, feed them at their usual dinner time.
It is not recommended to double up on their next meal because this could lead to an upset stomach. Though, adding in a little bit more kibble or a few treats should be perfectly fine.
I Forgot To Feed My Dog For 2 Days [What Should I Do Now]?
It is not recommended to let your dog go this long without eating. Feed them as soon as possible, introducing their usual amount of food over multiple meals throughout the day. This should help to prevent it from upsetting their stomach. Make sure they always have access to fresh water, as dogs can get dehydrated quickly.
If your dog shows any concerning symptoms, if you have a puppy, or if you have a senior dog, bring them to the vet for an examination.
Is It Ok For A Puppy To Miss A Meal?
Puppies are growing a lot at this point in their life and need a proper amount of nutrition. However, sometimes they may skip their breakfast or we may be so busy playing with them we forgot to set the food bowl down.
If it happens only occasionally and your puppy isn’t showing any other concerning signs, such as throwing up, diarrhea, etc., then a missed meal likely won’t cause any harm.
If there are several hours until their next meal, then you may want to feed them when you remember. However, if their next meal is soon, you can wait to feed them at their regularly scheduled meal. Maybe throw in a treat or two.
Dog Not Eating Dinner But Eating Treats?
Dogs will drool over their treats, but ignore the food in their bowl. Why is this? Here are a few simple reasons why:
- Stale food
- Lost appetite from too many treats
If your dog has been stressed recently, move their bowl to a quiet part of the house to help them relax when eating.
If their food has been in the bowl for days because they refuse to take a bite, it is probably stale at this point. Throw out the old food and give a new scoop of food. Maybe even throw in something extra tasty to encourage them to eat, such as wet dog food or a few pieces of treats mixed in.
The last piece of advice will be your dog’s least favorite: cut back on treats. Your dog may be getting full enough on treats that they’d rather skip a meal and wait for the next treat.
Why My Dog Is Being Weird About Eating?
Usually, dogs gulp down their food in minutes, so why are they skipping meals or only taking a few bites of their meal now? Be sure to rule out any medical issues if your dog has developed any other symptoms. If they are healthy, it might be due to one of these reasons:
- Stress: dogs can lose their appetite when stressed
- Waiting for you: your furry friend may be waiting for you to get home before eating
- Bored of their food/Stale food: they might be a picky eater or the food has gone stale
- Medications/Vaccinations: a recent visit to the vet may reduce their appetite
What To Feed A Starving Dog?
It is very important to not overfeed a starving dog! While we want to nourish them back to normal as soon as possible, if a dog is starving (or more accurately termed ‘emaciated’) overfeeding could lead to a serious medical condition called refeeding syndrome. Refeeding syndrome is a very dangerous condition that could lead to death.
Vets recommend feeding a starving dog small amounts of nutritious food over multiple meals throughout the day. A vet may recommend food with specific nutrition and additional supplements.
Overall, if you are caring for a starving dog, consult your vet immediately to work out a feeding plan and do not overfeed them to avoid serious medical issues (e.g. refeeding syndrome) and/or death of the dog.
Is It Ok For My Dog To Only Eat Once A Day?
It is recommended by vets to feed dogs twice a day.
Ideally, your dog would have a meal in the morning as ‘breakfast’ and another meal about 12 hours later as ‘dinner’. If they only eat once a day, this increases the likelihood of ‘tummy aches’ and nausea. The amount of food you feed them in a day will differ depending on the size and age of your dog.
Why Is My Dog Not Eating But Acting Normal?
If your dog is acting normal but still not eating, there is most likely a simple answer.
One reason why dogs stop eating is stress. If there was a change in their schedule or environment, this could affect their appetite. Sometimes dogs get bored of the same food and stop eating and wait for something more interesting and tasty to eat.
As long as they are drinking plenty of water and are not sick (e.g. overly fatigued, throwing up, having diarrhea, etc.), then your dog will most likely start eating soon. If you have a puppy or an elderly dog that is not eating, however, you should contact your vet to get them checked out.
What To Do With A Dog That’s On An Irregular Eating Schedule?
Determine how many times a day you need to feed your dog and what times work best for you. Vets recommend feeding your dog twice a day.
Once you have determined the times, put your dog’s food down at that time and show them the bowl of food. Keep the bowl accessible for about 30 minutes or so. Once the time is up, take the food away until their next meal. Make sure they always have access to water!
After a few days, your dog should start getting hungry around these scheduled times and eat when you put the food down. Remember to be patient with them since it is not only their brain learning a new habit but their stomach’s learning as well.
Help! My Dog Sometimes Skips Breakfast?
A dog’s appetite can change for many reasons, such as stress, loss of interest in their food, tummy aches, and even because they want to wait for you to get home. If your dog only skips breakfast occasionally, there shouldn’t be any reason for concern.
If this happens fairly regularly, take note of when they ignore their breakfast. Did they eat a late dinner the night before? Are they more interested in your breakfast? Are there lots of distractions in the morning? If there is no specific reason, consider adjusting their mealtime.
As long as they are not showing any other medical signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, etc. then a skipped breakfast should not harm them any more than it harms us.
[Help] My Dog Is Skipping Meals But Still Eating Treats?
If you’ve ruled out medical issues, your dog could be skipping meals due to stress, disinterest in the food (perhaps it has gone stale, etc.), or they are simply full from eating too many treats.
How do you get your dog back to eating its meals again? Try to narrow down the cause of why they are not eating their meals.
- If there have been changes in their environment or schedule, give them some time to adjust and their appetite may perk up on its own. Move their food bowl to a calm, quiet area of the house so they can focus on eating.
- Check to see if their food has gone stale. If it has been sitting in the bowl for a day or so, change it out with fresh food. Or, try adding some extra flavor to their food to entice them to eat. Try crumbling up some up of their treats, adding water, or mixing in wet dog food with their regular food.
- Cut back on treats for several days so they are not filling up on snacks rather than their food.
Can A Dog Eat Only Every Other Day?
No, a dog cannot eat only every other day. While a skipped meal may happen occasionally, your dog must have regular meals. Vets recommend two meals per day for adult dogs. The amount of food will vary depending on the size and age of your dog.
If you are unable to feed your dog daily, see if a friend, family member, or dog sitter can come on days when you will not be able to feed them.
I Forgot To Feed My Dog At Dinner. Should I Feed Him Right Before Bed?
If you forgot to feed your dog dinner, you can either feed them right before bed or wait until their next scheduled meal.
If you feed your dog right before bed, make sure to pay extra attention to your dog at night since they may have to go to the bathroom later than usual. If you will not be able to take them out at night or you think this will disrupt their meal routine too much, it is probably best to wait until morning or their next scheduled meal to feed them.
How Long Can My Dog Go Without Eating?
Dogs should not go longer than 3 days without eating food. Keep in mind dogs need fresh water every day. If your dog is skipping meals for more than 2 days, contact your vet to make sure they are okay.
My Dog Stopped Eating His Food, The Vet Says There Is Nothing Wrong With Him?
It is good that you went to the vet to get your dog to rule out medical issues. Thankfully, you received news that there is nothing wrong with your dog, so why won’t they eat?
If this has been a prolonged issue, you could try a few things:
- Changing your dog’s food: your dog may be tired of the same food and want to eat something new. If you notice them readily eating other types of food (snacks and treats) then transitioning your dog to a different type of food may help. If you don’t want to change dog food, consider adding wet dog food or dog food toppers.
- Make sure they are not stressed: dogs can be sensitive to change, especially since we can’t always communicate with them. If there was a large change in their life or environment, give them a few days to get adjusted emotionally. Most likely, their appetite will perk up after a bit.
What Is Considered An Empty Stomach For A Dog?
While the exact amount of time may vary based on what they are and drank, a dog’s stomach should be empty within 12 hours after eating their last meal.