As a long-time canine caretaker who adores all dogs with over 20 years of experience caring for furry friends, I often get asked “My Australian Retriever Won’t Eat, what should I do?” It’s a common concern for folks with four-legged family members when their furry friend seems disinterested in mealtime. As an ardent animal authority, allow me to offer my best tips to get your pup excited about eating again.
There are many possible reasons why your dog may have lost their appetite. This article explores the top causes and proven solutions to help get your dog to eat again. Below are 10 of the most common reasons your dog might not be eating. Alternatively if you want to save some time you can get free vet advice directly.
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Why Your Australian Retriever Won’t Eat
1. Dental Disease and Oral Pain
Oral health conditions like periodontal disease, tooth abscesses, and cracked teeth are very common in dogs and can cause severe oral pain that prevents them from wanting to chew their food. Signs that your Australian Retriever has dental issues include bad breath, reddened gums, pawing at the mouth, and dropping food. Dogs may start eating only soft food or refuse to eat their meals.
See your vet immediately if you notice these signs of dental disease, as untreated infections can spread bacteria to the circulatory system. Your vet will likely recommend a complete dental cleaning and removal of diseased teeth under anesthesia to relieve your dog’s oral pain. They may also prescribe antimicrobials and pain medication. With treatment, your Australian Retriever appetite should bounce back within a few days once the mouth pain subsides.
2. Nausea from Gastrointestinal Upset
When dogs experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or other GI issues, eating is the last thing they want to do. The list of potential GI challenges includes allergies to dog food, inflammatory bowel disorders, pancreatitis, infections from parasites, and viral enteritis, can be the cause an Australian Retriever wont eat.
By conducting blood tests, analyzing fecal samples, and getting abdominal imaging, the primary reason for appetite loss can be detected. Treatment with medications like anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and special diets often brings back the appetite quickly once nausea subsides.
It’s crucial to adhere strictly to the vet’s prescribed treatment regimen and ensure your Australian Retriever gets the suggested doses.
3. Anxiety and Stress
Routine alterations, trips, new settings, intense sounds, and encountering unknown dogs or humans can be stressful for Australian Retrievers. These stressful or anxiety-provoking situations commonly cause a decreased appetite or outright refusal to eat.
It’s advisable to keep your dog’s stress in check by sticking to usual routines and considering anti-anxiety drugs or supplements upon your vet’s recommendation. You can also hand-feed them enticing meals such as baked chicken, wet puppy food, or kibble immersed in tasty broth.
When your dog starts adjusting to the new or stressful changes, it’s probable their hunger will bounce back.
4. Australian Retriever Decreased Sense of Smell
A dulled sense of smell is a common issue for senior dogs and those with chronic nasal/respiratory diseases. Should the dog food come off as flavorless or uninviting, it doesn’t inspire them to eat or kindle their appetite.
Try warming up canned food or wet foods to release a stronger aroma.You can also sprinkle potent smelling mix-ins like chicken broth, shredded cheese, bacon bits, or canned fish over their regular kibble.This makes the food more enticing.
In cases where an upper respiratory ailment is responsible for the loss of smell, your veterinarian’s recommended antibiotics and decongestants can aid in reviving their appetite.
5. Picky Eating Habits
Some Australian Retrievers are just naturally picky, whether due to boredom with their food or preference for human foods. It’s not uncommon for particular eaters to start bypassing meals or being very discerning with their food choices.
For catering to a choosy dog’s tastes, consider switching among 3-4 varied premium food types, such as air-dried, uncooked, or moist foods frequently. You can also add irresistible mix-ins like diced ham, scrambled eggs, plain yogurt, or cottage cheese to their normal kibble.
Refrain from indulging their selective habits by not giving them leftovers from the human table. With patience and creativity, you can find foods your picky dog loves.
We suggest looking into these items specifically designed for choosy Australian Retrievers.
6. Underlying Medical Issue
Various internal health problems beyond just dental and GI issues can lead to inappetence in Australian Retrievers. These include kidney disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, urinary tract infections, and organ failure.
It’s urgent to consult your vet if your grown dog abstains from food for over 24 hours or displays fatigue. Tests such as blood examinations, urine analysis, and radiographic imaging can reveal if a hidden health issue affects your dog’s appetite.
Treatment of the condition often brings back normal hunger very quickly once your dog starts feeling better. But leaving health issues untreated can be dangerous.
7. A Change in Eating Routine
Being habitual animals, dogs can show selective eating behaviors when there’s an alteration in their regular routine. Scenarios where this occurs include switching food brands, feeding at different times, travel, boarding, guests in the home, moving houses, or a new family member like a baby or puppy.
Aim to acclimate your Australian Retriever to these shifts in routine over a span of 2-3 weeks. Take the case of altering their diet: carry out the transition across 7-10 days, methodically adding more of the new food and reducing the old.
Consistency and predictability will help bring back their regular appetite.
8. Australian Retriever Feeling Overheated
During warm summer days, a dog’s attempt to remain cool through panting can diminish their appetite cues. During the hotter months, ensure your dog always has access to shady spots, cold surfaces, and replenished water.
Consider feeding larger meals in the cooler morning/evening hours. You can also try freezing their food or water bowls to keep the area around their food as cool as possible.
This tactic can foster eating even on sweltering days.
9. Competition with Other Pets
Certain Australian Retrievers can become nervous eating in proximity to other pets, causing them to avoid their meals. The presence of other dogs or cats can create tension over resources like food, toys, and human attention.
Feed them separately in another room and use baby gates to reduce this mealtime stress. Also, provide multiple food bowls spread widely apart to minimize competition. By implementing these adjustments, Australian Retrievers that eat anxiously typically regain their eating confidence.
10. A New Adoption or Move
Adopting a rescue Australian Retriever or relocating with your canine companion signifies significant shifts in their lives. It’s a standard reaction for fresh adoptions or pets getting acquainted with a novel environment to momentarily lose appetite and feel stressed.
Exercise patience, ensure a constant food supply, maintain their usual schedule, and consider tranquility supplements when necessary. Their eating habits and comfort levels should improve within 1-2 weeks as they get used to all the new changes.
Chat Live With a Vet About Appetite Loss
Contact your vet promptly if your adult Australian Retriever goes 24-48 hours without eating anything substantial. Delaying action may result in severe issues, including liver injuries due to an accumulation of toxins.
If a puppy isn’t eating or has appetite problems, it’s urgent to visit the vet within a 12-hour window due to their fast deterioration rate. Ensure you can detail observed symptoms in your pet, from vomiting and diarrhea to fatigue or apparent distress.
Diagnostic tests will be conducted by your veterinarian to determine if there’s a hidden health concern causing your dog’s lack of hunger.
After treating the underlying issue, it’s common for the dog to quickly regain their hunger and be prompted to consume food again.
Instead of an expensive vet trip, consider use our Ask A Vet online service to obtain prompt answers prior to a physical consultation. An online vet consultation can provide you with immediate insights, potentially bypassing an expensive clinic visit.
How to Get Your Australian Retriever to Eat Home Remedies
For transient appetite declines in an otherwise fit dog, a few home solutions could be beneficial:
- Switch up the food: Introduce a different brand, taste, or form. The change could attract particular eaters.
- Include toppings: Enhance dry food with aromatic and flavorful additives such as canned seafood, chicken stock, or moistened food.
- Serve by hand: Manually feeding the dog in small portions can often lead to better consumption. This direct interaction can boost their interest.
- Elevate the food’s temperature: Giving the kibble a brief microwave heat-up can intensify its smell, rendering it more enticing.
- Initiate with movement: A prolonged walk prior to eating can stimulate hunger hormones in the system, aiding in your dog’s willingness to consume food.
Preventing Appetite Issues in Dogs
Though sporadic appetite fluctuations are inevitable, the following measures can mitigate the likelihood of prolonged food avoidance:
- Ensure your veterinarian conducts bi-annual health inspections to detect potential problems in their initial stages.
- Feed your dog a high quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
- Engage their cognitive faculties each day through playthings, instructional sessions, and other enriching tasks.
- Maintain a regular feeding schedule, emphasizing consistent times and places.
If your dog still wont eat, then talking to a Dog Vet online will get you the help you need, it doesn’t matter if it’s an Australian Retriever or an Australian Labradoodle won’t eat, the Vet you will talk to will provide the information you need.
FAQs About an Australian Retriever Not Eating
What can you do if your Australian Retriever stops eating?
Should your dog abruptly cease eating, there are several strategies you can experiment with initially before resorting to a vet visit:
- Switch to a different type of food – maybe offer wet food in lieu of kibble to stimulate their appetite
- Add mix-ins like shredded cheese, chicken broth, or canned fish to make the food more enticing
- Hand feed them piece by piece and give lots of praise
- Exercise before meals to increase hunger
- Eliminate competition with other pets by feeding anxious eaters separately
Persistence and creativity in getting your dog to eat is key. If they continue to reject food after 24 hours, you should take them to the vet to identify any underlying medical issue causing loss of appetite.
At what point should an Australian Retrievers refusal to eat become a concern?
Reach out to your vet without delay if an adult dog goes 24-48 hours without eating anything substantial. Delaying for too long can cause dangerous complications like liver damage from toxins in the bloodstream. Puppies with appetite issues should visit the vet within 12 hours, as they can deteriorate rapidly from a lack of nutrition. Be prepared to describe any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or pain you’ve noticed alongside their appetite issues.
How many days can an Australian Retriever generally go without food?
Healthy adult dogs can typically go 1-2 days without eating before it turns into a critical concern. Puppies under 6 months old should avoid go more than 12-24 hours without food as they are still growing. Lack of adequate food can quickly lead to conditions such as hypoglycemia, dehydration, and liver dysfunction. You should always contact your vet if the loss of appetite lasts beyond 24 hours.
Why might an Australian Retriever refuse to eat?
For intermittent loss of appetite, potential reasons include:
- Issues with oral health like gum disease or broken teeth
- Chronic GI problems like IBD or food allergies
- Kidney disease or cancers affecting organ functionality
- Emotional disturbances like stress or anxiety
- Picky eating tendencies
- An underperforming thyroid gland
Various diagnostic tests dental check-ups, bloodwork, and imaging can shed light on the underlying reasons for your dog’s inconsistent appetite patterns. Treatment becomes crucial to rectify the issue.
Why won’t my dog eat but acts normal?
- If your Australian Retrieverseems to avoid food but otherwise seems happy and normal, potential causes might be:
- Environmental factors like stress or a change in routine
- Disliking a new food’s taste or texture
- The heat of the summer months suppressing their appetite
- Being overly selective about their food
- A mild stomach upset
Tempting them with special toppings, maintaining a regular feeding schedule, and exercising before meals can often encourage such dogs to eat. But should their refusal to eat continues for more than a day, a visit to the vet is advisable.