Humans are used to compare good appetite with good health. Even when a very young baby is looked at, the typical expressions when pinching their cheeks, if these are big and round, are about that they think this is a really healthy baby. Although this is not necessarily the truth, the association has always existed. If it were so, obesity would then be the ultimate sign of health, right? Well, we all know that is not the case.
People and dogs, as living beings we all are, need eating to survive, so when our appetites change, it is certainly necessary to go and check for the possible causes of the same.
We can tell most of the time what is hurting or worrying us. Our problems may be of the physical or the psychological one, both affecting appetite with frequency, but we normally do not consider the same to happen to our dogs. Of course, we are wrong.
All appetite issues in dogs have the same two main fountains of origin mentioned before in humans.
If we start considering the physiological aspect, we can certainly identify illness as the typically main cause of the problem. The list of possible diseases a dog can suffer is really quite long, just as in us human creatures. Although there are numerous conditions that could be mentioned here, dog owners should immediately think of causes like dental or gum diseases, gastrointestinal or endocrine disease, respiratory problems, obstructions, just to mention some, or pain due to diverse origins, infections of different kinds or even more serious causes like liver problems or cancer. Parasite infections, such as leishmaniasis, which is a zoonotic infection that can even be transmitted to humans can also affect appetite directly. Kidney failure is another of the reasons a dog may suffer loss of appetite.
Not every single case of loss of appetite means your dog is seriously sick. There are other less dramatic causes that may produce the same effect, including a reaction to the various vaccines we have to administer to our dogs. In these cases, the loss of appetite does not last for a long period of time.
If we go now to the psychological arena, we rarely think of anybody but humans to be the recipients or victims of stress, for example. Of course this is completely wrong! As a matter of fact, living organisms, including plants, are subject to suffer the consequences of stress. The thing here is what we define as stress and how our dogs feel it.
We, for example, probably think of vacations or traveling as a wonderful thing to experience, but the change may affect our dog in a very negative way, thus perhaps being the reason for it losing its appetite.
There are times when we bring another dog to the house without the one we have being consulted, of course, and the result may be a negative reaction to that, be it because of jealousy, fear or other reasons. One of the ways our dog may show us there is something wrong is by just not eating.
If we can be picky as far as food is concerned, so can our dogs, and that is sometimes the simple reason why they refuse to eat... they do not like the foods we are giving them, even if they may come highly recommended. There are times when a single change of the bowl in which the dog eats may provoke it to stop eating.
Finally, we normally think of our dogs as being the same always and sometimes forget that they present signs of aging that may include a change in the eating habits we are so accustomed to.
If you notice your dog is presenting a loss of appetite, don't panic immediately, but of course, do take the correct course of action if you observe that behavior is lasting more than what could be expected. That course of action is, of course, taking the dog to its veterinarian and have him or her determine the real cause of the problem by performing the correct diagnostic tests. That way, the plan to follow will be determined and you will be able to help your dog with the knowledge and guidance required for that purpose.
The author is running a site and a blog related to dog training, dog care and health and also dog grooming.
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