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My Senior Dog is Not Eating Much, but Otherwise Acting Normal. What Can I Do?

Score for Seniors:
Activity Level:
Weight: Pounds

There are many reasons causing older dogs to stop eating but otherwise appear and act normal (Not showing any other obvious signs of illness). For example:

  • They are becoming a picky eater
  • They have the beginnings of a gastrointestinal disease
  • They have dental issues and their teeth are bothering them
  • There is something stuck in their mouth

Many times you can quickly figure out why your dog is not eating and fix the issues. Other times you may need help from your vet to determine the cause of your dog not eating.

Steps You Can Take at Home to Help A Dog Who is Not Eating but Otherwise Acting Normal

Some dogs will become picky as they get older. This can also be the first sign that your dog is about to develop a gastrointestinal issue or some other medical issue. There are some things that you can do at home to help your dog eat such as:

  1. Add canned food to their diet.
  2. Add bland human food to their kibble. Things like scrambled eggs and plain boiled chicken can be added to your dog’s kibble to help entice them to eat.
  3. Add warm chicken or beef broth to their kibble.

Usually, if these things do not entice your dog to want to eat, it would be best to see your vet. Your vet will want to run bloodwork to see what is causing your dog to stop eating. Usually, after a day, you will start to see other symptoms that will help determine why your dog is not eating.

For more information & more great tips to help your dog eat more, read this article:

At What Point Should I Call The Vet?

If your dog does not start to improve with at-home treatment after 12-24 hours you should see your vet. Some condition are considered medical emergencies and one should not try any at-home treatment.

The severity is mentioned in the description of the disease. These are other conditions that would indicate that you need to skip the at-home treatment and see your vet right away:

  • Bloody vomit
  • Extremely Bloody diarrhea
  • Very Lethargic
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Pale Gums
  • Bloated Abdomen
  • Bleeding that you cannot get to stop
  • Vomiting for more than 24 hours or more than 4 times a day
  • Diarrhea that has not improved after 24 hours

All of these issues should see your vet right away. These signs can indicate a major health condition.

Go back to our article about older dogs not eating:


  • Dr. Ochoa earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from St. George University and completed her program with excellent scores. She has been working as a veterinarian since 2015 for Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, TX.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.

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