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My Pet Won't Eat, Is It an Emergency?

It can be worrying to discover that your pet is not eating, especially when your furball is quite the chowhound. It can be difficult to tell whether your dog or cat is simply being picky or needs to see a vet.


If your pet does not eat even when you have made their favorite meal, it can signal some form of sickness. Anorexia or inappetence is quite common in pets and can result from other health issues. So if you notice your pet has lost interest in their food, it is best to talk to your vet.


Things to Take Note Of

Before consulting your vet, you may want to note a few things first.

  • When did your pet stop eating?
  • For how long has your pet been eating that kind of food?
  • Have you observed other symptoms like lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting?
  • Is your dog or cat refusing to drink water, too?


If you have other pets in your home, check if they have also been avoiding food. This information may help you know when your pet’s eating habits changed and how serious the situation is.


Why Is Your Pet Refusing to Eat?

Your pet may not like the meals you offer, though lack of appetite can also point to serious underlying issues. Some common issues include:


Dental Problems

Perhaps your pet has toothache, teeth and gums issues, fractured teeth, or swollen gums. You can tell your pet has a dental problem if they sniff and want to eat their food but have trouble biting or chewing it.


Digestive Issues

Your pet may be having a stomachache along with infrequent diarrhea and vomiting. Your vet can help determine what is causing the discomfort. It can be anything from a food allergy to an inflammatory bowel illness.


Respiratory Complications

Respiratory issues can affect your pet’s ability to smell or breathe and cause loss of appetite. If your pet cannot smell its food, it may choose not to eat.


Foreign Objects Trapped in the Gut

Pets eat things they should not eat all the time, which could also help explain why your pet will not eat. If your pet is throwing up and not eating, they may have something stuck in the intestine. The vet will have to perform an ultrasound to see what got inside your pet’s stomach and remove it.



Occasionally, vaccines can cause mild soreness and tiredness that may cause your pet’s appetite to drop, but only temporarily. So if your pet is not interested in food right after getting a shot, just serve them their next food afterward.


Travel and Strange Environments

Sometimes, your pet’s appetite can be good until you move to a new neighborhood or go on a vacation with them. If that happens, your furball may reject food due to traveling or the strange surroundings. The problem could be motion sickness or anxiety and uneasiness in new environments.


Food Gone Bad

Pets are not that judicious, but when the food goes bad, your furry friend may not eat it. You can tell sour food is the problem when your pet eats a treat and not that food.


If your pet does not eat anything, call Waco Animal Emergency Clinic at (254) 752-6100 to reach our office in Waco, Texas.

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