20 Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Eat or Drink And Best Solutions

6. The Dog Is in Pain

Dogs who are experiencing pain will often refuse to eat or drink, but it may be difficult to decipher when your pet is suffering from pain if there are no obvious signs.

Moreover, many dogs will try to even hide any signs of weakness.

Some key signs of pain in dogs to watch out for include:

  • limping
  • lameness
  • tucking their tail under their body
  • seeming to cower as they walk
  • can’t get comfortable, always unsettled
  • pacing
  • excessive panting


  • 7. Unfamiliar Surroundings

    A dog in unfamiliar surroundings will often refuse to eat or drink due to stress.

    This is a result of them having anxiety and fear because of the new setting, unfamiliar people or animals around, or simply being distracted by a unique situation.

    You’ll need to calm the dog down and make them feel comfortable and welcome.

  • A pet that won’t eat or drink due to unfamiliar surroundings will eventually decide to eat when they become very hungry.If you are concerned, create a safe space with comforting materials: use a crate with a familiar scented blanket or familiar toys around where your dog can eat and drink.

8. Your Dog Is Experiencing Anxiety

Speaking of serious cases of anxiety, there are other reasons that may be the cause of it, and subsequently make the dog not want to eat or drink.

Anxiety causing lack of appetite is especially true for dogs who are prone to experience severe separation anxiety. They’ll be in a state of hyper-awareness.

9. Possible Medication Side Effect(s)

If a dog is currently taking any medications, and especially if they started on a new one, this could be the cause of their loss of appetite and thirst.

Take a look at the medication insert for your pet’s medication and read through the potential side effects. Call a vet if you’re unable to figure this out by yourself.

When a dog won’t eat or drink, new medications are very common to be the cause of this, but generally, this side effect will taper off.

In the meantime, try tempting the dog with boiled chicken and rice, food toppers or chicken broth.

If your dog has been on medication for a while and continues to experience anorexia, talk to your vet about alternative medications.


10. Recent Vaccinations

For some dogs, vaccinations can cause a lingering feeling of sickness. These dogs generally exhibit signs of malaise, anorexia, lethargy, and even depression. It may last for a few days to a week following vaccination.

Although vaccination reactions are uncommon, if you believe that your dog won’t eat or drink due to a new vaccine, talk to a vet.