Your German Shepherd usually comes running when they hear the clang of the food bowl, but recently they aren’t so interested in their food. If our dog isn’t eating it can be really worrying for us pet parents. There are lots of reasons why this might be happening, so we’ve put together all the most common reasons your German Shepherd might not eat, and our top tips to help get their appetite back!
As pet parents, we all want our four-legged family members to get the best nutrition to keep them strong and healthy, so it can be worrying if their appetite changes. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these problems that may cause your German Shepherd to stop eating –
Dogs can get tired of eating the same food every day, and sometimes go on hunger strike until we offer them something new!
Stress hormones can suppress the appetite. So, if something has changed in your dog’s environment that is causing them stress, they might not want to eat.
Gum recession, tooth root abscesses, fractured teeth, or teething can all cause pain in the mouth that might mean chewing is uncomfortable for your dog. Dogs with dental disease might drop their food, throw it around their mouth, or struggle with dried kibble.
German Shepherds commonly suffer from sensitive tummies. If their food is causing some vomiting or diarrhea regularly due to allergies, your dog might not be keen to eat it if they know it makes them feel poorly.
Something might have changed in your routine which means your dog’s routine has changed too. Your dog will pick up on this change and might not be hungry at the new feeding time or might be feeling stressed.
If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise their appetite will be lower. German Shepherds need around 2 hours a day for adults. Less than this and they might only want a small portion of food to avoid overeating and weight gain.
Just like us, dogs don’t want to eat if they feel under the weather. Dogs can’t tell us they are feeling poorly, and a poor appetite and weight loss can be an early sign of underlying problems so it’s important to speak to your vet if you are concerned.
Getting your pup to eat again after a period of inappetence can be challenging, and you want to be sure you are offering your dog the right food to get them back to their usual selves. Here are our top tips to help get your German Shepherd eating again:
Dogs like variety, so switching up their food by mixing wet and dry or adding some water, or even changing brands every few months can keep them interested.
Dogs are creatures of routine, and German Shepherds are very sensitive to change. Establish a routine when your dog is a puppy and introduce changes gradually. Your dog will learn to expect and want their food around a certain time, and they may not be hungry outside of it.
Identifying what might be causing your dog’s stress is key to reducing it. A behaviorist can help you here, and some simple training techniques will help.
Burning off more energy means their nutritional requirements will increase, and hopefully, your German Shepherd will want to eat more food!
Games, interactive feeders, and slow feeding bowls can make mealtime more interesting for your dog, stimulate their senses and make them more enthusiastic about their food.
If your dog refuses their meal, pick it up after 10-15 minutes and don’t put it back down for a few hours or until the next mealtime – their survival instincts will kick in and they will be more eager to eat later! As tempting as it can be, don’t immediately offer a different option, as this can reinforce fussy eating and make the issue worse!
A lack of appetite can be worrying for any pet parent. You should get your pet checked at the vet when – your German Shepherd hasn’t eaten at all for more than 24 hours and isn’t showing any interest in anything you offer, has an upset tummy after eating certain foods, or if inappetence is a long-term problem for your German Shepherd. The vet will examine your dog and might want to do tests to find out what the problem is and get your dog the treatment they need.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and sensitive dogs, so they can go off their food for reasons as simple as a change in routine or environment, or stress such as separation anxiety. But you should always speak to your vet if something in your dog’s daily eating habits has changed as it could also be a sign of a health problem that needs treating.
Most adult dogs can go a day or two without food. However, it’s not ideal for your dog to go more than a day with no food at all as their energy levels will be low. Puppies cannot go as long without food.
You don’t need to worry immediately if your dog is not eating unless they are displaying other signs of being unwell. If your dog is not eating for 24 hours or more, or it is a long-term problem then get them checked at the vet. If your puppy is not eating, you need to go to the vet straight away as they can’t go as long without food.
There can be lots of reasons your dog is not eating from stress/anxiety, to changes in or lack of routine and exercise, to health problems such as food allergies, parasites, malabsorption problems, infection, and other more serious health problems such as liver or kidney disease, hormonal conditions, and cancers.
You can increase your dog’s appetite by increasing their exercise, offering tempting food with strong flavors/smells, making feeding time fun, or trying to change up their food.