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Australian Shepherd Won’t Eat – 10 Common Reasons & Solutions

Reviewed by Carol Dunham

Seasoned Pet owner and enthusiast, Content Reviewer at EasyVetAnswer.com
Reviewed

As a long-time canine caretaker who adores all dogs with over 20 years of experience caring for four-legged family members, I often get asked “My Australian Shepherd Won’t Eat, what should I do?” It’s a common concern for pet parents when their canine companion seems disinterested in mealtime. As a dedicated pet pro, allow me to offer my best tips to get your pup excited about eating again.

There are many possible reasons why your doggy 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 speak to a vet directly.

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Common Reasons Your Australian Shepherd Won’t Eat

Ask A Vet Dog Won't Eat Dental Issues

1. Dental Problems and Oral Pain

Oral health conditions like gum disease, infected teeth, and broken teeth is very common in dogs and can cause severe oral pain that prevents them from wanting to chew their food. Signs that your Australian Shepherd 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 as soon as possible if you notice these signs of dental disease, as untreated infections can spread bacteria to the circulatory system. Your vet will likely recommend a thorough dental cleaning and removal of diseased teeth under anesthesia to relieve your dog’s oral pain. They may also prescribe antibiotics and analgesics. With treatment, your Australian Shepherd appetite should bounce back within a few days once the mouth pain subsides.

Sick Dog Nausea from Gastrointestinal Upset

2. Nausea from Gastrointestinal Upset

Given the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues, dogs tend to avoid eating. Possible GI problems range from dog food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, parasitic infections, and viral enteritis. can be the cause an Australian Shepherd wont eat.

Through diagnostic procedures such as blood tests, fecal examinations, and abdominal scans, one can pinpoint the root cause of the appetite loss. Treatment with medications like anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and special diets often brings back the appetite quickly once nausea subsides.

Always stick to the treatment plan set out by your veterinarian and provide the advised dosages to your dog.

Scared Dog Anxiety and Stress Wont Eat

3. Anxiety and Stress

Dogs are sensitive to changes in routine, travel, new environments, loud noises, and meeting unfamiliar dogs or people. Such anxiety-filled or distressing scenarios frequently lead to reduced food intake or even complete avoidance of meals by dogs.

To keep your dog’s anxiety at bay, stick to regular schedules as much as you can and opt for anti-anxiety treatments or supplements if the vet suggests. You can also hand-feed them enticing meals such as baked chicken, wet puppy food, or kibble immersed in tasty broth.

Once your dog begins to acclimate to the alterations causing anxiety, you’ll likely notice an uptick in their appetite.

Dog Wont Eat Due To Lack Of Smell

4. Australian Shepherd Decreased Sense of Smell

For older dogs and those with persistent nasal or respiratory ailments, a reduced sense of smell often becomes a challenge. When the dog food appears tasteless or not inviting, the dogs lack the drive or desire to consume it.

Consider heating wet or canned food to intensify its scent.On their daily kibble, you might sprinkle richly scented toppings like chicken stock, cheese shreds, bacon fragments, or preserved fish.This makes the food more enticing.

If an upper respiratory infection is causing the smell loss, antibiotics and nasal decongestants from your vet can help restore their appetite.

Dog Picky Eater Wont Eat

5. Picky Eating Habits

Some Australian Shepherds are just naturally picky, whether due to boredom with their food or preference for human foods. Finicky eaters may start refusing meals or eating very selectively.

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. Consider enhancing their regular kibble with tempting additives such as chopped ham, whisked eggs, unsweetened yogurt, or cottage cheese.

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.

Consider these products as suitable options for Australian Shepherds with selective tastes.

Dog wont eat having medical issues

6. Underlying Medical Issue

Various internal health problems beyond just dental and GI issues can lead to inappetence in Australian Shepherds. 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.

Administering the appropriate treatment typically restores a dog’s appetite swiftly, especially when they begin to recover. But leaving health issues untreated can be dangerous.

Dog Routine Eating Disorder

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 Shepherd 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.

To regain their usual appetite, it’s essential to remain consistent and predictable in your actions.

Dog Overheating & Wont Eat

8. Australian Shepherd Feeling Overheated

During warm summer days, a dog’s attempt to remain cool through panting can diminish their appetite cues. Make sure your Australian Shepherd has constant access to shade, cool floors, and fresh water in warmer months.

You might want to serve bigger portions during the more refreshing parts of the day, like mornings or evenings. A helpful tip is to chill their food and water containers, which helps to cool the vicinity around their meal.

This helps encourage eating on those hot days.

Group of dogs jealous and wont eat food

9. Competition with Other Pets

Certain Australian Shepherds 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.

Consider feeding them in a different room and employing baby gates to alleviate the mealtime tension. Also, provide multiple food bowls spread widely apart to minimize competition. Adapting in this manner, most nervous eaters start feeling at ease with their meals again.

Adopted Puppy wont eat food

10. A New Adoption or Move

Introducing a rescued dog to your home or shifting to a new dwelling with your pet represents major life changes. It’s a standard reaction for fresh adoptions or pets getting acquainted with a novel environment to momentarily lose appetite and feel stressed.

Be patient, consistently offer food, adhere to their routine, and think about employing soothing aids if essential. Their eating habits and comfort levels should improve within 1-2 weeks as they get used to all the new changes.

Ask A Vet Online Live Chat

Chat Live With a Vet About Appetite Loss

If your mature Australian Shepherd hasn’t consumed anything significant in 24-48 hours, it’s vital to get in touch with your veterinarian immediately. Waiting too long can lead to dangerous complications like liver damage from a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream.

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.
Typically, once the ailment is treated, your dog’s appetite swiftly returns and they are encouraged to eat again.

Instead of an expensive vet trip, consider use our Ask A Vet online service to obtain prompt answers prior to a physical consultation. Instead of a pricier in-person consultation, leveraging an online vet service can furnish you with fast responses.

Home remedy for a dog that wont eat

How to Get Your Australian Shepherd to Eat Home Remedies

In cases of slight, short-lived appetite loss in a generally healthy dog, certain home strategies might prove effective:

  • Change the food: Opt for a novel brand or a different taste and consistency. Such changes might allure choosy dogs.
  • Include toppings: Enhance dry food with aromatic and flavorful additives such as canned seafood, chicken stock, or moistened food.
  • Hand-feeding: Offering food by hand, bit by bit, might encourage certain dogs more. The personal touch often helps.
  • Elevate the food’s temperature: Giving the kibble a brief microwave heat-up can intensify its smell, rendering it more enticing.
  • Exercise first: A long walk before meals triggers hunger hormones in the body and brain can help get your pet to eat.

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Preventing Appetite Issues in Dogs

Even though unpredictable eating habits can be an occasional issue, here are steps to diminish the chances of extended meal rejection:

  • Have your vet perform twice yearly wellness checks to catch health issues early.
  • Feed your dog a high quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
  • Stimulate their mind daily with toys, training, and enrichment activities.
  • Stick to a consistent feeding routine in terms of timing and location.

 

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 Shepherd or an Australian Retriever won’t eat, the Vet you will talk to will provide the information you need.

So next time you find yourself searching online for something like “dog sitting but dog wont eat“, consider free vet chat.

FAQs About an Australian Shepherd Not Eating

What can you do if your Australian Shepherd stops eating?

If your dog suddenly stops eating, there are several strategies you can try at home first before seeing the veterinarian:

  • Consider changing their food – try wet food instead of dry 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 one bite at a time and give lots of praise
  • Exercise prior to feeding to increase hunger
  • Reduce mealtime competition among 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 potential medical concerns causing loss of appetite.

At what point should an Australian Shepherds refusal to eat become a concern?

Contact your vet promptly if an adult dog goes 24-48 hours without consuming much. Delaying for too long can cause dangerous complications like liver damage due to toxins circulating in their system. Puppies with appetite issues should see the vet within 12 hours, as they can deteriorate rapidly from not eating enough. Be ready to describe any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or pain you’ve noticed alongside their appetite issues.

How many days can an Australian Shepherd generally go without food?

An adult Australian Shepherd in good health can usually go 1-2 days without eating before it becomes a serious issue. Puppies under 6 months old should never try to go more than 12-24 hours without food because 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 extends beyond 24 hours.

Why might an Australian Shepherd refuse to eat?

For intermittent loss of appetite, potential causes include:

  • Oral health complications like gum disease or broken teeth
  • Ongoing gastrointestinal issues like IBD or food allergies
  • Kidney disease or cancers affecting organ functionality
  • Emotional factors like stress or anxiety
  • Picky eating tendencies
  • An underperforming thyroid gland

Various diagnostic tests dental check-ups, bloodwork, and imaging can reveal 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 Shepherdisn’t eating but otherwise acts happy and normal, potential causes might be:
  • Environmental factors like stress or a change in routine
  • Disliking a new food’s taste or texture
  • Warm weather 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 persuade such dogs to eat. But should their refusal to eat continues for more than a day, it’s best to consult with your vet.

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