ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Get A Sick Dog To Eat Again

Updated on August 31, 2016
EB  Black profile image

E.B. Black is the proud owner of a golden retriever and a King Charles Cavalier spaniel.

What To Do When Your Dog Doesn't Eat

Along with the tips in this article, make sure that you take your dog to the veterinarian. Loss of appetite and energy are some of the biggest signs that your pet isn't feeling well. You'll still likely have to give your dog medication and patiently nurse him or her back to health, but an examination from the vet will make sure everything else is okay.

I had a dog for years who had a chronic illness, so even though I took him to the vet once a week, many days I had to struggle to get him to eat, especially since his chronic disease effected his stomach. But I did all I could to make him more comfortable and it really helped him out.

Do not try any of these tips for more than a couple of minutes each. Dogs want to please their owners. If you push them too hard to eat, you'll just make them feel bad to the point where they might give in to your demands and immediately get sick. You can always try again later, when some time has passed. They might be hungrier then.

Small Portions Several Times A Day

You want to feed your dog small portions a lot more often if they don't like to eat. A dog with a tummy ache is not going to want to have a full stomach to go along with it. So give them small portions to be gentler on their stomach and help them process it better.

By feeding them several times a day, they will also get more food then if you try to feed them two giant meals or something similar to this.

Add A Can Of Wet Food To Your Daily Routine

Wet food is usually more tasty to dogs. Add it to their dry food or forget the dry food altogether and feed it to them directly. There were many times when wet food was the only food my dog would eat. This didn't have anything to do with him being picky, he just didn't feel well, and wet food happened to be his favorite.

It also has the added benefit of having more moisture than dry food, which will help to keep them hydrated if they're also reluctant to drink as well.

Favorite Foods

If your dog isn't feeling too well, then sometimes only their favorite foods will make them have any sort of appetite.

What brand of dog food do they like most? Do they prefer wet food or dry? Spoil them!

You can maybe even give them a piece of lunch meat or a piece of bacon, but be careful when feeding them people food because some people food is poisonous to dogs and sometimes people food can make their stomach hurt worse.

Make Your Own Dog Food That's Gentle On The Stomach

You can also buy food from the veterinarian that's special prescription food. It's made to be easy on the stomach.

If you want to make them food instead, make some rice. Also make either scrambled eggs or boiled chicken. Don't add spices to either. Dogs will love it anyway, they don't need spices. You want the food to be as bland and gentle on their stomachs as possible.

Mix either the eggs or chicken with the rice and then serve them a small bowl of it.

Save any leftovers in the refrigerator. You can warm it up (but not too warm) when you feed it to them again later if you want to, but they also enjoy it cold.

Feed Your Dog By Hand

Dogs know that any food in your hand is special food that they don't normally get.

You pet them with your hands. You walk them with your hands. They associate your hands with nurturing.

They will see the food in your palm and feel more encouraged to take a bite.

This might not be possible if your dog is very territorial about food, but if they're a sick dog and don't feel like eating, it's unlikely that they'll feel as possessive of it.

Speak In A Kind And Soothing Tone Of Voice

If you yell at your dog or get frustrated with them, they are just going to cower and walk away. Your dog wants to please you. When they are sick, they are frightened by what is happening to them. Dogs have no way of understanding their bodies or what is happening to them. Speak to them gently and they will know you are just trying to help them.

Dogs also respond very well to praise, so if you praise him while he eats, it will make him want to do it more.

Feed Another Dog The Same Food

If your sick dog sees you feeding your other dog the same food you are trying to feed him out of your hand, he might get jealous and try to force you to stop feeding the other dog and feed him instead. Sometimes that was the only way to get my dog to eat, get a can of wet food and a spoon and take turns feeding a bite to each of my dogs. He got jealous and didn't want the other dog to have the food.


Don't use any of these techniques if your dog is throwing up a lot. It will probably just make him throw up worse. But if he has diarrhea and/or you've already been to the vet and the vet wants you to convince him to start eating again, it's okay to give these things a try.

A Poll For Dog Lovers

How many dogs do you own?

See results

Some Final Tips

  • Make sure your dog is staying hydrated. Some dogs who refuse to eat also avoid drinking as well. If the dog is not drinking, it's an emergency. You can use wet food and gentle coaxing as you sit by the water to try to get them to drink more until you can see the vet (or right afterwards, as long as they didn't just receive an IV.)
  • If your dog has diarrhea, watch out for dehydration. Make sure they get plenty of water. At this point, their water intake is more important than their food intake.
  • Dogs who suffer from diarrhea and stomach problems for long periods of time may feel weak and lethargic due to muscle loss. Don't push them to play or take long walks. They might not feel up for it, even if they used to like it.
  • Dogs who refuse to eat will get a lot sicker in a shorter period of time.
  • Your dog may not eat as much as they usually do. This is okay. Be patient and as long as their health continues to improve, their appetite will increase over the next few days as well.
  • Dogs who struggle with stomach upset or pain will deal with it in different ways. Some dogs will suffer in silence and others will whimper, for instance. You have to make sure you know your dog well and can recognize the signs that they're not feeling good.
  • If your dog is panting more rapidly than normal and pacing around excitedly, it could be a sign that he or she is in pain.
  • Be patient with your dog. Your dog will know immediately that you want him or her to eat. If you push them too hard, they might try to eat just to please you and throw it up later.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2015 EB Black


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)