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For most pets, eating is a joyful part of their daily routine.  So when a pet doesn’t want to eat, it is a reason for concern for most pet owners.  When loss of appetite is short-lived, it’s usually nothing to worry about.  But when your pet stops eating for unknown reasons for longer than 24 hours, a visit to your veterinarian might be in order. 

Julie Andrus of Holistic Pet Info takes a look at what loss of appetite can mean:

Moving to a new home or the addition of a new family member can cause stress on your pet and they may not feel like eating.  This type of appetite loss is usually short-lived and can be remedied with coaxing and extra attention to your pet.  When your dog or cat stops eating for unknown reasons, it is time to take a closer look. 
 
A sudden loss of appetite or one that develops over time and continues for several days could indicate a variety of illnesses, including:
 
Digestive Disorders – Partial blockage of the digestive tract (foreign objects or possibly tumors) can make it difficult to swallow and can result in your pet’s unwillingness to eat.  Parasites, ulcers or bacterial infections, even food allergies can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which make it uncomfortable to eat. Additional symptoms to watch for are increased salivation, diarrhea and vomiting.
 
Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas secretes its corrosive digestive juices on itself and the surrounding internal organs and tissues rather than on the food in the intestine. The resulting inflammation causes pain and stress in the animal, eventually leading to a complete loss of appetite.  Vomiting and listlessness often accompany your pet’s loss of appetite when the pancreas is affected.
 
Kidney Disease – The kidney’s job is to remove waste products from the blood.  When the kidneys begin to fail, toxins begin to build up in the blood stream and sometimes cause ulcers in the mouth and stomach.  You may notice your pet has stopped eating (because of the ulcers) yet they are drinking and urinating more often because of the kidney disease. With kidney disease, vomiting and lethargy are often present.
 
Dental Disease – One obvious but often overlooked reason for loss of appetite is that your pet experiences mouth pain when eating.  Abscesses, tooth decay and gum disease can sideline even the hungriest pets. 
 
Your pet’s loss of appetite may mean something as simple as his dislike for a new brand of food or it may indicate a more serious medical condition.   If other symptoms are present (difficulty breathing, vomiting, lethargy, drooling, excessive thirst), schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.   A physical exam, x-rays, fecal tests and or blood work can diagnosis the problem and a treatment plan can be determined. 

Remember that early intervention can mean a better prognosis for recovery and less discomfort for your beloved pet.  

Julie Andrus is the owner of Holistic Pet Info.  If you are looking for information on how to manage your pet’s health with holistic or natural pet care products like nutritional supplements, vitamins, nutraceuticals and other natural medicines, Holistic Pet Info is the place for you.  They carry more than 100 natural pet products including vitamins and nutritional supplements, nutraceuticals and other natural medicines.  The site also offers a wide range of well-written and researched articles and other information on animal health issues.

2 Comments on Loss of Appetite in Your Pet

  1. My cat Benji a big Egyptian MAU went for his check up and vaccinations and he has
    put on 1.1/2 kilos in a year. He is a big cat and very musclar. My vet does not
    want to see him above 7 kg max so he is on a diet of Hills R/D regime which he nibbles at and certainly doesn’t like it. He also has fish at night plain colin which is woofs done. He
    just doesn’t seem to take to these crockets – should I try anything different with them?
    Thanks for some ideas!

    Sue

    • I don’t like the Hill’s prescription diets at all, and especially not the r/d diet. It’s much too high in carbs for an obligate carnivore like the cat. I prefer using a grain-free canned diet (not a “weight loss” diet).

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