How to Force Feed a Dog Who Won’t Eat ?

How to Force Feed a Dog Who Won't Eat

Dogs are not a picky eaters type of animal. Sometimes they enjoy meals even when they are not very hungry.

How to Force Feed a Dog Who Won’t Eat?- So, the concern comes naturally when the dog is not eating their food. A good appetite implies a happy dog with good health. And so, it’s not a positive or good sign when dogs don’t eat their food.

How to Help a Dog with Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite in dogs is concerning, as it signals something is wrong. Here’s a guide on what to do when your dog won’t eat, including force-feeding methods and when to seek veterinary help.

Reasons Why Dogs Might Not Eat

  • Illness: Many illnesses can affect appetite, such as infections, dental issues, organ problems, or pain.
  • Food Issues: Spoiled food, allergies, or a change in diet can cause reluctance to eat.
  • Environment: New surroundings, stress, or changes in routine might affect eating habits.
  • Medication: Side effects of certain medications can suppress appetite.
  • Behavioral Reasons: Your dog might become picky, waiting for treats or table scraps.

Force-Feeding Techniques (Try these if your dog is otherwise healthy):

  • Warm Food: Enhances smell and palatability.
  • Soft Food: Easier to eat, especially for dental problems.
  • Hand Feeding: Provides comfort and encouragement.
  • Flavor Enhancers: Adding broth or a bit of safe human food (like chicken) might entice them.
  • Syringe Feeding: Use a vet-approved syringe for liquid foods or blended meals.

When to See a Vet

Force-feeding is a temporary solution. If these methods don’t work or you notice these signs, seek veterinary attention immediately:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Obvious pain or discomfort
  • Prolonged refusal to eat (over 24 hours)

Veterinary Diagnosis & Treatment

Your vet will perform a physical exam and may recommend:

  • Blood Tests: To check organ function and identify underlying conditions.
  • Imaging: X-rays or ultrasound to visualize internal problems.
  • Pain Management: Medication if your dog is in pain.
  • Appetite Stimulants: To encourage eating in some cases.
  • Hospitalization: For severe cases, offering fluids and assisted feeding.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t panic. Loss of appetite is often treatable, especially with early intervention.
  • Observe your dog closely for clues about the underlying cause.
  • Try force-feeding techniques appropriate for your dog’s situation.
  • Don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember: Your dog relies on you for their care. Your attention and proactive approach can help them regain their appetite and get back to their happy, healthy selves.

In case force-feeding is not helping, you can take your dog to the vet to know the actual problem your dog is suffering from.

Is it Okay to Force-Feed Your Dog?

It’s understandable to be worried if your dog isn’t eating his or her food. You’ll start to fear that they’re withering away and that things are going to grow worse as years roll on.

There will always be a rationale behind this, and the best approach is to address the underlying issue rather than force-feeding them meals and drinks.

Pets, on the other hand, do not often know what’s right for them, and it’s possible that force-feeding them drinks and snacks is merely a band-aid solution.

Why is Your Dog Not Eating its Food?

Suppose your dog rejects his food many times. You have to observe his behaviour. And find out why your dog is not eating his food. You can check why your dog is not eating in many ways, which have been discussed briefly below.

Check Your Dog’s Food Before Giving Them

Dogs develop allergies to food with time. If you have been given the same diet to your dogs for a long time now, your dog might have allergies to some food. And it can be one of the reasons why your dog is not eating the food.

Also, check the expiry date and smell of the food you are giving to your dog. Another reason the dog is not eating the food is because it has spoiled. So, make sure to check the expiry date, colour, and smell of the food you are giving to your dog.

Check Your Dog’s Teeth

If your dog has bad, loose, or broken teeth or inflamed, it can be the reason why your dog is not eating his food.

Observe Your Dog’s Behavior Towards its Food

Suppose your dog is not eating food even after checking his food. Then observe the routine of your dog. Your dog might be going through some physical pain that you can’t see.

Also, your dog might feel lazy and sleepy all day for some reason. Take your dog immediately to your vet if you notice such behaviour in your pet.

Check Your Dog’s Environment

Here dog’s environment means two things. Check the toys, plants, medications, or any other things that are in the reach of your dog.

Your dog might have swallowed something he shouldn’t have. That’s why your dog is not eating anything. If this is the case, consult your vet immediately. 

Another meaning of checking your dog’s environment is whether he has been moved to any new place or not.

Dogs usually take time to adapt to the new environment and be themselves completely. Just give some time to your dog. He will adapt to the new environment eventually.

Look for Any Underlying Medical Conditions

Many medical conditions lead to loss of appetite in dogs. Common medical conditions are Upset stomach, Allergies, Infection, Poisoning, depression, Problems with teeth, gums, or tongue, Pain, Parasites, Tumors, Autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases, and Problems with internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys, lungs) or recent vaccination.

Observe Their Behavioral Issue

Behavioural issues mean your dog is used to getting a lot of treats, he is used to tabling scrap or being hand-fed, or he prefers to eat alone. One (or more) of the mentioned reasons can be the reasons why your dog is not eating his food.

How to Force Feed a Dog Who Won’t Eat?

If your toddler is not eating, you have to force-feed him so that he gets the desired nutrition. Likewise, being a pet parent, you must force-feed your dog. There are many ways in which you can force-feed your dog. For example,

Warm-Up Your Dog’s Food

The diffusion process is stronger in warm food in comparison to cold food. It means the smell of warm food is stronger than cold food. In comparison to cold food, warm food is soft and easy to swallow. Take the warm food near your dog and see if he is eating it or not.

If your dog is not even tasting the warm food, take little food on your finger and dab it on your dog’s tongue so that he can taste it. If your dog likes the food, he may start eating the food.

Make a Mush or Paste of Their Food

Make a paste of your dog’s nutritious food and with the help of a finger or spoon, try to feed your dog. The dog may swallow the food if the paste is not chewable.

Give Your Dog Soft Food to Eat

Maybe your dog is not eating the food because of how you give it to them. Your dog may be unable to eat hard food if he suffers from some dental problems because the hard food can irritate the wound. In this case, just change your dog’s diet to a soft diet.

Try to Make Them Eat by Giving Them Lots of Treats

Dogs love treats. Add a treat you don’t usually give your dog (like Human food like chicken) with your dog’s food. See if they are eating it or not. If they eat, add it with their existing food so that it motivates them to eat their diet.

Remember not to add the treat in excess; otherwise, it will harm your dog’s health.

Feed Your Dog With Your Hand

If your dog is not feeling well, try to feed your dog with your hand. They may say no a few times when you try to feed them with your hand, but don’t stop.

They will accept the food if you keep trying. And they may begin to eat by themselves from their bowl after you feed them a few times with your hand.

Take Your Dog Out for Some Exercise

Your dog will get tired after exercising. Like tired and exercised humans are very hungry, so will be tired and exercised dogs.

Then your dog will eat the food without even the force. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. Your dog will exercise, which is good for his health and eating without any enforcement.

Add Broth to Your Dog’s Food.

Broth adds additional flavour and smell to the dog’s food. These added smells and flavours may encourage your dog to eat his food again.

Feed Your Dog With the Help of a Syringe

When humans are not able to eat their food, the syringe is used to force-feed them. In the same way, Force-feeding with a syringe will help your dog too. Syringes used to feed dogs have large exists like a chunky syringe.

These syringes can hold only 5 ml. Feeding with a syringe will help your dog to get water. Consult your vet to know how to use the syringe correctly so that you don’t hurt your dog.

How Much Chicken to Feed a Dog?

Dods need a high amount of protein in their food. And chicken is a very good source of protein. But if you feed your dog excess chicken, it may cause some harm to it. So, it’s better to feed chicken to your dog in an appropriate amount.

You can feed your dog one-fourth or one-third cup of boiled chicken. Or you can feed chicken about 2-3% of your dog’s weight daily.

How Much Sweet Potato to Feed a Dog?

Doctors say a large dog can eat one tablespoon of cooked sweet potato daily, while a small dog can only eat one teaspoon of cooked sweet potato daily. You can feed sweet potatoes to your dog in cooked, boiled, baked, and steamed form.

Peeled the sweet potato and cut it into bite-size cubes so your dog could eat the sweet potato.

What to Do if Force Feeding Methods for a Dog Don’t Work?

Dogs love food. They don’t have to ask twice to eat their food. So, if they are not eating their food, it means something is wrong with them.

Try to apply the above force-feeding method to your dog if he is not eating. If nothing works, take your dog to your vet and get the dog checked. 

Being a pet parent, you should know how to force feed a dog who won’t eat because who never knows you will be in the situation.

Try to know the reason for your dog’s loss of appetite first and then force feed him with the methods mentioned above. Make sure you include protein, vitamins, carbs, fats, and everything else that is required in a dog’s diet.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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