How to Make A Sick Dog Eat Food

By Ben Team

Dogs suffering from cancer, recovering from injuries or battling stomach bugs can lose interest in eating, prolonging recovery. A temporary loss of appetite is not necessarily cause for alarm, but dogs who do not eat for a few days may have life-threatening illnesses. Contact your veterinarian any time your dog refuses food for more than two days.In the meantime, you can try a few tricks to tempt your pet’s appetite.

Tempting Treats

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Sometimes the easiest way to get your pet to eat is to offer him something so delicious he cannot refuse it. Try mixing a little peanut butter in your dog’s food. If your dog still won't eat, see if he'll lick some peanut butter off your finger. No? Place a small amount of peanut butter on his nose, which will essentially force him to consume some as he licks his nose clean. Other favorite Fido foods include blocks of cheese, boiled chicken, small amounts of cat food, lunch meats and meat-flavored baby foods. Feed your dog several small meals throughout the day rather than one large meal.

Warm Up Dinner

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Warming your dog’s food may stimulate him to eat, as it causes the food to release more odoriferous compounds. For example, you can place some canned food on a microwave-safe plate and heat it for about one minute. Be careful that you do not offer him food that is too hot. Dogs often slurp up their food quickly, which could lead to serious burns. You should be able to put your finger in the dog's warmed food comfortably. You can warm dry kibble, making it more appetizing, by pouring warm chicken broth over it.

Psychological Strategy

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Be sure that your anxiety does not affect your dog. Encourage your dog to eat with plenty of love and support. Never try to force your dog to eat, which may cause him to withdraw, ultimately exacerbating the problem. If your dog is shy, provide his food, complete with a few tasty treats, in a quiet, secluded location and leave him to eat alone. However, you must know your pet and tailor your strategy to him, as some dogs may eat only when at their person's side.

Dealing With Dehydration

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Your pet gets some of his daily water intake from his food, so it is important to monitor anorexic dogs for signs of dehydration. Look at your pet’s gums, which should appear wet and pink in well-hydrated animals. Pull up the scruff of his neck gently, release it and observe how it slides back into place. The skin of well-hydrated dogs will slide back quickly and smoothly; skin that slides back slowly indicates a dehydrated dog. Feed a dehydrated dog canned food, and encourage the dog to drink water. If the dog will not drink voluntarily, try to offer broth-soaked foods and let the dog chew on ice cubes.