Why Is My Dog Struggling to Eat Dry Food?

Why Is My Dog Struggling to Eat Dry Food?

Has your stopped eating his dry food suddenly? Or have you tried changing up his diet by adding dry kibble, and your dog won't eat it? It can happen that your baby may just stop eating a certain food, or if changes are made to his food, he may not like it.

There are many reasons a dog may not want to eat dry . Some may be due to a health issue, while other reasons may be that the food simply doesn't taste good.

Food Doesn't Taste Good/Picky Eater

Just like human food, there are dog foods that may not taste good to your dog. If you've made a sudden switch from one dry dog food to another, and your fur baby's not eating, he may not like the food. It can be that simple.

Each dog is a unique individual and will have their own preferences when it comes to food and taste. Some dogs snarf up kibble, while others turn a nose up at the food.

Another possibility is that your canine companion may have become tired of eating the same food every day. Think of it from his perspective. What if you had to eat the very same food every day, at each meal. This would be served for days, weeks and months on end. Wouldn't you get tired of it? Some dogs can become bored with their food, too.

If you have a finicky eater, then there are ways to get around that. We'll explore those options later in the article. Now, let's take a look at some medical issues that can make a dog stop eating dry dog food.

Medical Issues That Keep Dog from Eating Dry Dog Food

There are dogs who are happy to eat dry dog food on a regular basis. They don't get bored with the food and happily chomp it down! However, if your fur baby all of a sudden stops eating his kibble, and it doesn't seem like he's bored with his food, he may have an underlying medical issue.

Here's a list of medical problems that can keep a dog from eating kibble:

  • Mouth injuries
  • Tooth problems (abscess, cavities, etc.)
  • Tongue cancer
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Other medial issues


Dogs can develop an upset stomach that makes them feel nauseous. The cause may be something he ate in the yard or on a walk, something your fur baby took from the waste basket, etc. However, nausea can also be caused by other issues including:

Mouth and Tooth Issues

Health problems in the mouth or with the teeth are a common issue when a dog stops eating. The most common problem is cavities, followed by a tooth abscess. Both of these can cause quite a bit of pain when eating.

Sores can develop in the mouth, too, that are painful. If your canine companion likes to chew on sticks and other things, they may cut the inside of their mouth. Eating can become very uncomfortable due to the pain.

Tongue cancer, also called squamous cell carcinoma, is another health problem. This is more common in dogs between the ages of 6 and 10 years and is most often seen in these breeds: Keeshond, Basset Hound, Collie and Standard Schnauzer. Tongue cancer is not a common problem, but it's good to be aware that this could make your dog stop eating dry food.


Dehydration is another medical issue that can cause dogs to stop eating. This is a condition where a dog is not getting enough water. Water is essential for your fur baby. He needs to have access to clean water every day, all day. When he doesn't get enough water, a dog's mucus membranes will become dry including their gums, mouth and nose.

Dehydration can also be caused by , vomiting, heat stroke, and some illnesses.

Intestinal Blockage

An intestinal blockage is just what the name implies—a blockage of the intestines. In dogs, this can be caused by a dog eating an object he shouldn't—from toys and socks, to bones and more. These objects can become lodged in the intestines, unable to pass through the digestive tract. As they become stuck, the objects also keep food from passing through the digestive system. When this happens, the dog may lose his appetite.

Intestinal blockage can also be caused by tumors, twisting of the intestines, hernias, and even intestinal parasites.

When a dog has an intestinal blockage, it is a medical emergency. The dog must receive medical care as soon as possible, as without treatment, this condition leads to death.

Your Dog Has Stopped Eating—Now What?

If your dog has suddenly stopped eating, and he doesn't show signs of an obvious medical problem, he could be tired of his food. So, you might try mixing in some wet dogfood or some meat he likes. You can also try a little goat's milk mixed in with his food, or adding some apples, carrots or unsweetened canned pumpkin (not the canned pumpkin used to make pies).

Other options include pouring a little bone broth into the dry kibble, or even adding some yogurt (if your fur baby's not allergic to milk and isn't lactose intolerant). Finally try to find dry dog food with soft pieces, your pup might enjoy it more!

If he's still not eating, you can try a commercially prepared product such as:

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Meal Mixers: these meal mixers come in a variety of flavors, so you're sure to find one your fur baby loves! These are great for dogs that are picky eaters or that need a little variety added to their kibble. Just sprinkle the food on top of your dog's normal dry dog food, or mix it in with his food. These are made of freeze-dried meat that is responsibly sourced and it contains no hormones, antibiotics, grains, peas, lentils, or potatoes. It's perfect for dogs at all life stages.

Instinct Cravings Grain Free Recipe Natural Wet Dog Food Toppers: this is another type of meal topper your canine companion may enjoy! The product comes in a variety of flavors including beef, lamb, chicken and salmon. And it's grain free and does not include potato, corn, wheat, soy, carrageenan, artificial colors, or preservatives. Just sprinkle this tasty topper on your dog's food, or mix it in. This will give your dog's normal dry dog food quite a boost!

If your dog still isn't eating, after you try adding something to make his food taste better, then it's time to call the vet. Your fur baby may need a different type of dog food, or he may have an underlying health issue that's caused his loss of appetite.

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