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Do you know What to Do When a Senior Dog Lacks Appetite? If it is more than just an occasional occurrence, it may be a signal that the dog is having some medical issues.
As dogs get older, their eating habits and temperament may change. They may become less interested in the world around them, and unfortunately, most senior dogs have the weird habit of refusing meals at certain times. This can have different causes, such as health issues. If such a problem arises and is frequent, you should watch the dog for other symptoms and ask your local vet about it. They can usually help you figure out what could be wrong with your dog’s health.
There are numerous health causes of elderly dogs not wanting to eat. They can be cancerous tumors, infections, and many other reasons. Usually, what causes a dog to refuse eating is some type of discomfort or pain within their body. Dog depression or other behavioral causes might also be the root cause of the problem. When they get depressed because of a certain medical condition, they usually are not in the mood to eat, and thus turn the food down.
One of the first possible causes of less eating activity from senior dogs to investigate is their teeth and gums, which may have started to wear out, much like in humans when they get older. Kibble products can cause pain to their teeth and gums when chewing. Since they are already seniors, it is quite normal for them to experience dental issues. In fact, many dogs already start having dental problems as early as age 3.
If your dog does not really have any disease or health problems, then the lack of appetite may be just because he is already old. By age 8, a dog is already considered a senior dog, and at this point, the dog might not be as strong-willed or as excited about things as when he or she was young, especially when it comes to eating meals. Another thing is that since seniors become less active when they age, they also need less energy and that means less fuel from food. If the dog is capable, start exercising it more — but start gently with short walks if the dog has been inactive.
As mentioned above, you should check for additional symptoms your dog may be having if you think that he may be sick. First, check his mouth if there are any problems with his teeth and gums. Dogs are usually aggressive when you open their mouth, and especially so if they have dental issues, so do this very carefully. Check for foul odor and bleeding or red gums.
Also make note of any other symptoms the dog is having, and write them down before you take him or her to the vet.
Even if he refuses his meals sometimes, make sure to always give your dog the right amount and type of meal for his age, in order to give him the nutrients he needs to survive everyday and keep him healthy.
One good tip in helping your dog to become interested in eating again is to make the food appealing to his eyes and nose. You can also try putting some food on your fingers and allowing him to lick it. As the dog ages, chances are his smelling abilities are starting to diminish.
Another tip, especially if the dog has tooth or gun problems, is switching to wet food or any kind of food that is recommended for senior dogs.