As a passionate dog lover with over 20 years of experience caring for canine companions, I often get asked “My Golden Retriever Won’t Eat, what should I do?” It’s a common concern for people whose furry friends when their pooch seems disinterested in mealtime. As a dedicated pet pro, permit me to offer my best tricks 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 ask a vet directly.
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Common Reasons Your Golden Retriever Won’t Eat
1. Dental Disease and Oral Pain
Dental disease like gum disease, infected teeth, and fractured teeth are very common in dogs and can cause severe oral pain that prevents them from wanting to chew their food. Signs that your Golden Retriever has dental issues include halitosis, inflamed 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 bloodstream. Your vet will likely recommend a thorough dental cleaning and extraction of diseased teeth under anesthesia to relieve your dog’s oral pain. They may also prescribe antibiotics and analgesics. With treatment, your Golden 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. Issues like dog food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, infections from parasites, and viral enteritis can cause GI disturbances, can be the cause a Golden Retriever wont eat.
Diagnostic tests like bloodwork, fecal exams, and abdominal imaging can help identify the underlying condition causing loss of appetite. Treatment with medications like anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and special diets often brings back the appetite quickly once nausea subsides.
Make sure to follow your vet’s treatment plan closely and only give your Golden Retriever the recommended dosages.
3. Anxiety and Stress
Routine alterations, trips, new settings, intense sounds, and encountering unknown dogs or humans can be stressful for Golden Retrievers. Often, these situations filled with tension or anxiety result in a dog’s diminished appetite or total rejection of food.
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. Golden Retriever Decreased Sense of Smell
A dulled sense of smell is a common issue for senior dogs and those with chronic nasal/respiratory diseases. 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.Such additions render the meal more attractive.
Should a respiratory infection be the culprit behind the diminished sense of smell, vet-prescribed antibiotics and nasal decongestants might rejuvenate their hunger.
5. Picky Eating Habits
Certain Golden Retrievers have innate fussy eating tendencies, stemming either from monotony with their meals or a penchant for people’s food. Dogs with fussy appetites might begin shunning their food or choosing what to eat meticulously.
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.
Avoid catering to picky behavior by never feeding human table scraps. By being patient and imaginative, discovering foods that your selective dog adores becomes feasible.
We recommend trying these products for picky Golden Retrievers.
6. Underlying Medical Issue
Besides dental and gastrointestinal troubles, several internal health concerns can cause Golden Retrievers to lose their appetite. Conditions such as kidney ailments, tumors, hypothyroidism, infections of the urinary tract, and organ malfunction are among these.
Make an appointment with your vet right away if your adult dog goes 24+ hours without eating or seems lethargic. Procedures including blood tests, analyses of urine, and imaging techniques can identify if there’s a concealed health concern impeding your dog’s hunger.
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.
7. A Change in Eating Routine
Being habitual animals, dogs can show selective eating behaviors when there’s an alteration in their regular routine. Situations causing this behavior encompass changing their food type, altering meal times, traveling, staying at kennels, having visitors, relocating, or introducing a new household member such as an infant or another pup.
Help your Golden Retriever adjust to routine changes gradually over 2-3 weeks. As an instance, if you’re switching their diet, make the shift over a week to ten days, introducing the new food progressively while phasing out the previous one.
Maintaining a consistent and foreseeable approach can reestablish their typical hunger.
8. Golden Retriever Feeling Overheated
When the summer heat strikes, the act of panting and cooling off tends to hinder hunger signals in a dog’s brain. It’s essential to provide uninterrupted access to shaded areas, chilly floors, and clean water for your dog during the hot seasons.
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 tactic can foster eating even on sweltering days.
9. Competition with Other Pets
Certain Golden 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.
Consider feeding them in a different room and employing baby gates to alleviate the mealtime tension. Ensure there are several feeding bowls distanced apart adequately to lessen the rivalry. With these changes, anxious eaters usually become comfortable eating again.
10. A New Adoption or Move
Bringing home a rescue dog or moving with your dog to a new house are very disruptive life events. 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. Expect an enhancement in their dietary patterns and overall comfort in about a week or two as they acclimate to the shifts.
Chat Live With a Vet About Appetite Loss
Contact your vet promptly if your adult Golden Retriever goes 24-48 hours without eating anything substantial. Procrastinating could result in critical outcomes like liver impairment from excessive toxins in the blood.
Puppies that refuse to eat their food or have appetite issues should see the vet within 12 hours, as they can deteriorate rapidly. Prepare to relay any notable symptoms in your dog, such as vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, or indications of discomfort.
Your vet will perform diagnostic testing to uncover whether an underlying medical issue is causing your dog’s appetite loss.
Typically, once the ailment is treated, your dog’s appetite swiftly returns and they are encouraged to eat again.
Before visiting the vet you might want to use our Ask A Vet service to get answers quickly instead of spending a lot of money on a vet visit. Using an online ask a vet service can get you answers right away instead of having a costly vet visit.
How to Get Your Golden Retriever to Eat Home Remedies
For mild, temporary appetite suppression in an otherwise healthy dog, home remedies can sometimes do the trick:
- 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.
- 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.
Preventing Appetite Issues in Dogs
Though sporadic appetite fluctuations are inevitable, the following measures can mitigate the likelihood of prolonged food avoidance:
- It’s advisable to have biannual health examinations by the vet to identify and address any emerging health concerns promptly.
- Provide your pet with a top-tier, nutritionally comprehensive diet tailored to their 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 a Golden Retriever or a Glen of Imaal Terrier won’t eat, the Vet you will talk to will provide the information you need.
FAQs About a Golden Retriever Not Eating
What can you do if your Golden Retriever stops eating?
If your dog suddenly stops eating, there are several strategies you can experiment with initially before going to the vet:
- Switch to a different type of food – try wet food instead of dry kibble to stimulate their appetite
- Add mix-ins like shredded cheese, chicken broth, or canned fish to heighten the food’s appeal
- Hand feed them piece by piece and give lots of praise
- Exercise before meals to augment hunger
- Reduce mealtime competition among pets by feeding anxious eaters separately
Persistence and creativity in getting your dog to eat is key. If they still refuse to eat after 24 hours, you should take them to the vet to identify any potential medical concerns causing loss of appetite.
At what point should a Golden Retrievers refusal to eat become a concern?
Reach out to your vet without delay if an adult dog goes 24-48 hours without consuming much. Waiting too long can lead to 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 a lack of nutrition. Be prepared to describe any symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or pain you’ve noticed alongside their appetite issues.
How many days can a Golden Retriever generally go without food?
Healthy adult dogs can typically go 1-2 days without eating before it becomes a serious issue. Puppies under 6 months old should avoid go more than 12-24 hours without food as they are still growing. Lack of proper nutrition can swiftly 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 a Golden Retriever 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 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 Golden Retrieverseems to avoid food but otherwise acts happy and normal, potential causes might be:
- Situations such as 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
Using appealing food additions, 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, it’s best to consult with your vet.