Four Reasons to Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Eating

What could changes in your dog’s eating routine be telling you?
By Aratana Therapeutics Inc, May 2019

They say dogs are creatures of habit. No one knows that better than you. The mealtime ritual can be one of life’s everyday pleasures if your dog dances in anticipation or vigorously wags their tail as you fill their food bowl. But what could your dog be telling you if they show changes in eating behavior?

  1. It’s not just picky eating. Changes in your dog’s eating behavior may be a red flag. Whether gradual or sudden, decreased eating is often the first sign — and may be the only sign — that your dog is sick.
  2. Every meal matters. Even small decreases in eating can keep dogs from getting nutrition that’s vital to their health. Good nutrition is important for dogs as they age or if they are living with medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, digestive issues or cancer.
  3. Dogs need more than table scraps and treats. If your dog won’t eat their regular food, you may find yourself coaxing them by offering their favorite treats or human foods. While it can be a relief to see your dog eat, treats and table scraps usually don’t provide the balanced nutrition they need.
  4. Weight loss is hard to see. It’s not easy to see gradual changes because we see our pets every day. Monitoring how much your dog eats can help you spot signs of reduced appetite before your dog loses weight and muscle strength.

Changes in eating can vary from dog to dog. They may start picking at their food or eat less – or they may completely refuse to eat. Watching for changes in your dog’s eating allows you to take steps early to ensure they get the nutrition needed to stay strong and active.

Answer these 5 simple questions to rate your dog’s appetite . Then share the results with your veterinarian if you’ve noticed any changes.