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A Pet Store Owner is Eating Dog and Cat Food for a Month

A Pet Store Owner is Eating Dog and Cat Food for a Month


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Dorothy Hunter has been eating strictly pet food for a month, and documenting it on her YouTube channel

“I started eating the treats and I was like, you know, I could do this for 30 days.”

Dorothy Hunter, the owner of Paws Natural Pet Emporium, describes her moment of clarity before she embarked on a month-long diet of dog and cat food thusly: "I didn't have time to go get a snack, so I grabbed a bag of treats off the counter, and I was like, wow, you know, these read better than normal people treats."

Hunter told NBC affiliate KNDO TV, “I started eating the treats and I was like, you know, I could do this for 30 days.”

Since June 19, Hunter has been on a strict and self-imposed diet of pet food only, including salmon flakes, freeze-dried chicken, oven-baked blueberry treats, freeze-dried vegetables, and even “some canned cat food, one is a succulent chicken, and it actually tastes really good.”

Since embarking on her quest, Hunter has even inspired a copycat. Paws Natural Pet Emporium employee Amanda Kempf told the Tri-City Herald, "My kids love the dog treats as well, and I don't mind them eating those because they are nutritious.”

So far, Hunter says that she’s already seen positive results from her doggy diet. "My feet aren't swelling as much as they usually do after I've been on a 10-hour day,” she told KNDO TV. "I have lost 2.5 pounds, which I'm not going to complain about.”

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.


Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

This is a common question to come up in the course of a veterinary visit.

The short answer is yes, a cat can eat a small amount of dog and not have any toxicity or lasting effects.

However, the longer answer dives into the species-specific differences between our feline and canine friends. While a nibble of stolen dog food will not harm cats, it will definitely not help them achieve their best possible health.

Here’s what you need to know about cat nutrition and why you should not feed dog food to cats in the long-term.


Homemade Dog Food Recipes

When preparing homemade dog food, you need to get some facts right about the whole process. There are some things that you are allowed to do while others are strictly forbidden. The following are do’s and don’ts in making homemade dog food.

The Do’s

Homemade dog food should have the mineral and vitamin supplements that are healthy for the dog. Minerals such as calcium keep the bones strong and therefore ensure the breeding of an active, healthy dog. Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium Chloride among others are some of the minerals necessary for a healthy dog.

The cooking should take time for a quality meal. And talking of quality, the food should be of high quality and hence one might need to buy the expensive food ingredients.

The recipes should be specific for each diet. The diet should be well balanced. High-quality proteins are also recommended for the dog during the preparation of the food.

The Don’ts

The food should not contain any fats. The food for the dog should be very lean. The dog breeder is therefore discouraged from giving the dog fatty leftovers. The fats make the dog sick and unhealthy. The other substances that should not be in the food are the seasonings such as salt, pepper and among others.

These seasonings are unhealthy for the dog. The other potentially harmful product that the dog owner should look out for is poison. The FDA website has an excellent list that the owner should check on to see the list of poisons to avoid while preparing the dog food at home.


Hunger Hypothesis

“Dogs are descended from wolves,” says Stanley Coren, a psychologist who has written books and hosted television shows about dogs. “If we have a situation where the owner dies and there’s no source of food, what are they going to do? They’re going to take whatever flesh is around.”

In some cases, it’s clear that the animals were scavenging to survive. In one 2007 report, a Chow and a Labrador mix survived for about a month after consuming their dead owner’s body, leaving only the top of the skull and an assortment of bone shards.

Yet in the 1997 case, the German shepherd began eating parts of its owner soon after death.

“It is interesting to consider the reasons for an otherwise well-behaved pet with no motivation of hunger to mutilate the dead body of its owner so quickly,” wrote the forensic examiner, Markus Rothschild.

In 24 percent of the cases in the 2015 review, which all involved dogs, less than a day had passed before the partially eaten body was found. What’s more, some of the dogs had access to normal food they hadn’t eaten.

The pattern of scavenging also didn’t match the feeding behavior of canines in the wild. When dogs scavenged dead owners indoors, 73 percent of cases involved bites to the face, and just 15 percent had bites to the abdomen.

By contrast, canines scavenging outdoors have a well-documented pattern, opening the chest and abdomen to eat the nutrient-rich organs early on, followed by the limbs. Only 10 percent of those cases involve wounds to the head.


Made-from-Scratch Meals for Dogs and Cats

Increase your companion’s health and longevity by incorporating fresh whole foods into the daily diet. As with human nutrition, dogs are healthiest when eating a wide variety of minimally processed foods. Unlike conventional pet foods with questionable ingredients cooked at high temperatures, the food you prepare in your own kitchen will be brimming with all the enzymes, intact amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that Nature intended. Even though the top tier of high-quality pet foods has vastly improved ingredients and cooking methods, fresh unadulterated food, high in moisture and preferably raw, offers the best nutrition. You will have complete transparency and control of what goes in your pet’s bowl, and also what’s left out.

“Let your food be your medicine” – Hippocrates

Carnivores need meat

The ancestral diet of dogs consisted of mostly meat and bone. It was high in moisture, low in carbohydrates, about 50% protein, 20% fat, with predigested vegetation from the stomach of the prey. Dogs were designed to digest animal flesh, and they do best on a meat-based diet. Dogs are omnivores with a carnivorous past, and fresh raw meat composed of muscle, fat, bone and connective tissue should make up a major part of the diet, along with vegetables and some extras. “Meat” can include poultry, fish, organs, and eggs, raw or lightly cooked—almost anything goes. One thing to avoid is raw Pacific salmon, which can contain a liver fluke that is lethal to dogs unless cooked. Any other cooked or raw fish is okay.

The safety of raw meat for dogs

Dogs can neutralize harmful bacteria because of their strong stomach acids and short digestive transit time. They evolved as scavengers and carrion eaters as well as hunters, consuming spoiled food and half-rotted carcasses containing millions of bacteria. If an animal is severely immuno-compromised, however, you can gently cook the meat portion of the food before mixing with the other ingredients. Add a pinch of digestive enzymes just before serving to compensate for enzymes lost during cooking.

Organ meats

Organs contain many nutrients not found in muscle meat, and wild predators will eat them first. Liver is the most valuable, but kidney, heart, gizzards, and tripe are very good, too. Since organs comprise 1/6 to 1/4 of a prey animal’s body, try to use a similar proportion. Mix a bit in each meal, or feed an organ meal of beef or chicken liver once or twice a week, raw or lightly cooked.

Meal replacement bones

An easy way to provide a species-appropriate diet is to feed “mono meals” of whole poultry parts, typically wings, backs or necks that can be digested completely. They are a great source of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in the correct proportions. Unlike cooked bones, which can splinter and cause problems, raw bones are pliable and break off safely. A typical dog might consume a turkey neck or a few chicken wings in place of a meal. For small dogs, chicken or turkey necks can be hacked into smaller pieces, with an inch or two given at a time.

Recreational bones

The harder bones are not meant to be consumed completely, even though they have some nutritional value. Dogs will gnaw on them for long periods, ingesting the small amount of meat and fat they contain. Beef or buffalo marrow bones are hardest, with delicious marrow in the middle. Knucklebones are a bit softer, with tendons, ligaments, and cartilage containing joint-building substances. Raw bones keep teeth clean and free of tartar, often eliminating the need for dental cleanings. Marrow bones are the most popular and higher in fat content. Knuckles are recommended for seniors, puppies, and overweight dogs. Remove bones after a day or so when stripped clean. They may be given often, even every day, but you will probably want to alternate them with more nutritious poultry bones.

Whole chicken parts contain…

Backs and necks: bone for calcium and other minerals

Skin and fat: a superior source of essential fatty acids

Muscle meat: protein and amino acids

Bone marrow: blood-forming elements, copper, iron, & zinc

Cartilage and gristle: connective tissues have glucosamine and chondroitin, arthritis preventatives

Organs: kidneys attached to backs contribute protein, vitamins A, B, C, fatty acids, and zinc

Calcium – an all-important mineral

Dogs need twice as much calcium in their diet as people do, and insufficient calcium is a big concern in made from scratch diets. The canine requirement can be met by feeding whole poultry parts several times a week, or if ground meat with bone is used as a base for the complete meals. Otherwise, add one to two tablespoons human edible bone meal per pound of meat, or a calcium supplement such as Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium.

Vegetables – antioxidant superfoods

Raw vegetables in your dog’s diet mimic the predigested stomach contents of wild prey. They contribute a wealth of cleansing, healing, nourishing and living nutrients, part of Nature’s magic. Green vegetables and sprouts detoxify, cleanse and enliven. Orange vegetables sweeten food and add cancer-fighting beta-carotene. Small amounts can create a powerful effect. The right amount can range from 5% to 25% of a meal. If there is too much, your dog may reject his food, or have loose stools. Seniors and overweight dogs can benefit most from larger amounts. Like other nutrients, however, vegetables do not need to be served every day or at every meal. And if your dog rejects them in his food, supplements can compensate.

Grinding vegetables in a food processor or pulping them in a juicer is the best way to release their nutrients, as dogs do not make the enzyme cellulase to break down the cellulose cell walls on their own. You can buy frozen ground vegetables or use a dehydrated vegetable mix. Almost any vegetable is okay in moderation except raw onions and raw white potatoes. Fruits can be included. Apples and berries are the most popular. Raw garlic, Nature’s antibiotic, is appealing to dogs in small amounts, up to one clove per large dog per meal. Fresh ginger modulates blood sugar and helps to eliminate worms and other parasites from the digestive tract.

Balance over time, not each day

Carnivores are, by necessity, opportunists, and in the wild, their diets would vary widely in content, amount and frequency. Unlike modern pet diets, each bite is not complete or identical. The body can store most nutrients until needed. It stores minerals in the skeletal system and fat-soluble vitamins in fat cells. As long as balance is achieved over a period of weeks, each meal can vary.

The case for grains

Grains have been discredited as a pet food ingredient because the industry has used them as cheap protein fillers. Low-quality vegetable proteins, most commonly corn and wheat, are poorly utilized by dogs. Some dogs appear to be allergic to grains, although the real culprit may be the storage mites that contaminate grains stored too long that end up in cheap pet food.

But grains, when fed with meat protein, can be a cost-effective source of calories and energy for dogs. Whole grains such as oatmeal, rice, millet, barley, or buckwheat are best. They should be well-cooked, even mushy, and make up less than 50% of the diet. Overweight dogs should limit their grain intake in order to slim down.

When to feed your dog or cat, and how much

Most home feeders serve a simple morning meal of meaty bones and a combination evening meal. They may mix veggies with canned fish, cottage cheese or eggs in place of meat for more variety. There are many ways to do it, and what makes sense for you and your dog may be different from someone else.

How much to feed is a difficult question because each animal has a different metabolism and activity level, and caloric requirements can vary by 20%. Begin by feeding the same number of cups as the current food even though the moisture levels differ, and adjust up or down according to your animal’s weight management needs.

Transitioning and detoxifications

Switching to the new diet can be done all at once, or you can gradually replace a greater part of the regular food each day, drawing the process out for four to ten days. Warning: if you’ve been feeding grocery store food, the switchover should be very gradual. The digestive system needs time to adapt, and there could be odd-looking stools or throwing up of bony pieces at first. This is to be expected and will go away soon. Offer small quantities of meal replacement bones and observe your pet’s response. Keep some plain canned pumpkin on hand, and add a small quantity to meals to firm up stools if necessary. Adding digestive enzymes will also help the transition.

Detoxification is when the body begins to get rid of accumulated toxins. There may be foul or mucousy stools, expelling of worms, or an accelerated shedding of coat or flaky skin as the body makes new coat and skin. These effects should be short-lived and resolve quickly.


FDA Dog Food Recall: More Than 100 Dogs Have Now Died After Eating Tainted Food

More than 110 dogs have now died and another 210 have become sick in connection with a dog food recall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a recent update. The food was recalled due to contamination with high levels of a toxin produced by mold that can grow in pet food. If pets ingest the toxin (aflatoxin), they can become ill and possibly die.

The issue first came to light in late December when Midwestern Pet Food recalled nine lots of Sportmix pet food after testing showed the food may have been contaminated by aflatoxin. The FDA then expanded the recall earlier this month after receiving reports that more than 70 dogs had died and 80 others became sick after eating the tainted food.

After receiving these latest reports, the FDA released a list of countries to which Midwestern Pet Food may have exported the contaminated food. To learn more about the recall and how aflatoxin may affect pets, continue on to our original report below.

Original report (January 13, 2021):

A dog food recall is being expanded after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has learned that over 70 dogs died after eating the tainted food and 80 others were sickened.

Midwestern Pet Food first announced a recall of nine lots of Sportmix brand pet food products on December 30, 2020. Testing by the Missouri Department of Agriculture revealed that samples of the recalled products contained very high levels of aflatoxins, a toxin produced by a type of mold that can grow on corn, a common ingredient in pet food. At that point, the FDA had received reports of at least 28 dogs dying (and eight more dogs falling ill) after eating Sportmix food containing corn.

The manufacturer expanded the recall on January 11, 2021, to include all corn-containing Sportmix brand dog and cat pet food products made at its Oklahoma plant that have an expiration date of 07/09/22 or earlier on the package—encompassing 19 different products with over one thousand different lot codes, sold by retailers and online nationwide. Midwestern Pet Foods says they expanded the recall “out of an abundance of caution to help protect the health and safety of pets."

As the FDA notes, not all of the reports of deaths and illnesses are officially confirmed cases of aflatoxin poisoning, which requires lab testing or review of vet records. So it's possible that the actual number of pets affected may be lower or higher. (Although the recall includes three cat food products—and cats are also susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning—the FDA has not at this point received any reports of cat illness or death related to Sportmix food.) And since the investigation is ongoing, the recall could be further expanded.

Unsafe levels of aflatoxin were also behind a September-October 2020 dog food recall affecting over 18 brands, as SELF has reported. Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, which can be fatal if severe, may include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice of the eyes or gums, and diarrhea. But it is also possible for an animal to experience liver damage without showing any symptoms at all, according to the FDA. So while obvious signs of illness definitely warrant a vet visit, if your pet has eaten any of the recalled food, you'll likely want to talk to your vet whether or not they're displaying symptoms.

To find out if the Sportmix pet food you have is included in the recall, look at the FDA list of products. The 19 products on that list are included in the recall if they have an expiration date on or before 07/09/22, as well as a “05” in the date-lot code (which indicates the product is from the Oklahoma plant). If you have recalled food, throw it away and start feeding your pet a different kind of food immediately. The FDA also recommends sanitizing food bowls, scoops, and storage containers, using bleach and a thorough water rinse. If your pet does become ill after eating one of the recalled products, you can report it to the FDA.


Complications of Feeding Cat Food to Dogs

If your dog eats a lot of cat food on a regular basis, or if you are feeding your dog a diet of cat food instead of dog food, complications may arise, as it does not have the correct balance of protein, fiber, and all of the nutrients dogs need to stay healthy.

Dogs can certainly survive on cat food in a tough spot, but the nutrient imbalance can lead to gastrointestinal upset, obesity, and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis requires immediate veterinary care. Symptoms include abdominal pain and a hunched back, lethargy and weakness, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea, a distended abdomen, and fever. Even if your dog eats cat food and suffers no obvious ill effects, the high protein levels can be hard on his liver and kidney.


Home-Cooked Dog Food Diets

Preparing wholesome, healthy meals from scratch is an excellent way to be sure you know the health benefits of everything that goes into your dog’s mouth.

Many dogs with allergies, skin conditions, or frequent gastrointestinal upsets respond well to a home-cooked diet. Relieving such maladies can stop your dog from developing nuisance behaviors that would prevent you from enjoying his company. But remember, it’s crucial to your adopted dog’s health that he receive the proper nutrients in the proper quantities.

If you decide to cook all of his meals at home, you are taking full responsibility for all of your dog’s nutritional requirements. You will need to consult your veterinarian or a nutritionist to be certain that your home-cooked meals are giving your dog everything he needs to stay healthy and happy.

Your conventional veterinarian may be concerned that your dog won’t receive proper nutrition with a home-cooked diet however, your quest for nutritional guidance should put her at ease and encourage her to assist you in learning all you need to know about monitoring your dog for ongoing good health.

What if you’re a klutz in the kitchen? Not to worry. You can still add fresh, wholesome foods to your dog’s commercial diet. A few nights a week, give your dog some leftover meat and vegetables from your own dinner, but avoid feeding him fast food or spicy dishes. (Remember to put these tidbits into his own food bowl, though, as opposed to slipping him scraps from the table – you don’t want to encourage begging.)

Some terrific ”people food” that your dog will love (and his body will find healthy as well) include:


Top Freshpet Reviews

For more information about reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com please visit our FAQ.

About 9 or 10 months ago I started using Freshpet. One of mine is almost 8 and just couldn't jump up and down to get on sofa or bed . No more being overweight and allergies are .

We love your products. My fur babies jump for joy around the kitchen when they hear me open the bag. During this time of COVID-19 kindness is truly appreciated. I lost my job and .

Freshpet dog food

Our top pick for Freshpet

Vital Fresh Beef & Bison Recipe

$29.99 as of publishing date

Honestly, we’re tempted to taste this one ourselves… Made with non-GMO beef and bison as the first two ingredients, plus spinach, cranberries and blueberries for plenty of antioxidants and vitamins. No preservatives or meat meals.

Vital Balanced Nutrition, Chicken & Whole Grain Fresh Dog Food

$15.93 as of publishing date

Combines real chicken with high-fiber bran, peas and carrots to aid digestion. Added fish oil has omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and fur. Find in the refrigerated pet food aisle at Petco. Guaranteed minimum 9% crude protein.

Vital Complete Meals, Beef with Lamb

$32.99 as of publishing date

Expensive, but positive reviews suggest it’s worth it. First ingredients are beef, liver, lentils and lamb. You can mix this high-protein, grain-free kibble with dry food or serve it a la carte as a treat. Available for delivery or pickup at Petco.

Vital Complete Meals, Chicken, Beef, Salmon & Egg

$32.99 as of publishing date

Complete-meal grain-free formula with chicken, chicken liver, cranberries, beef, salmon, eggs and spinach as first ingredients. We like that it’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants without any preservatives or meat meals and has minimum 17% crude protein.

Vital Complete Meals, Chicken

$8.99 as of publishing date

Bite-sized pieces designed formulated for the nutritional and energy needs of small dogs. Made with natural chicken plus antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes, carrots and cranberries. Guaranteed 16% minimum crude protein. Recipe is balanced for all life stages.

What is Freshpet?

Freshpet produces all-natural, refrigerated pet food. Its products may be served as a complete meal or mixed with kibble to add variety to your pet’s diet. Serving instructions vary by product — for example, rolled dog food is typically cut into slices and diced into your pet’s bowl.

All Freshpet products must be refrigerated and used within seven days of opening. Products like its chicken or beef patties may be frozen, but check the product’s packaging for confirmation and complete storage instructions.

To reduce your pet's chance for stomach discomfort, it’s recommended that you transition to new foods slowly. Begin by mixing a small amount of Freshpet in with your pet’s current food and increase the amount every few days. After 10 days, your pet can be fully transitioned to Freshpet.

You can find Freshpet products at major grocery stores, pet stores and online retailers. Its Homestyle Creations product line can be ordered directly from Freshpet.

Freshpet food

Freshpet offers multiple product lines and sells food for nearly any cat or dog. Its full list of food lines includes:

  • Freshpet Select Dog & Cat Food: Freshpet Select includes 100% natural poultry, beef or fish. The company also offers a no-meat option. This fresh, preservative-free product line includes rolled soft food, bagged food and stew-style wet food.
  • Vital Dog & Cat Food: Vital recipes are 100% non-GMO with no preservatives, and they offer a complete and balanced diet for pets in all life stages. Choose from bagged or rolled pet food with a variety of protein sources for dogs and cats.
  • Nature’s Fresh Dog & Cat Food: Nature’s Fresh uses local, ethically sourced ingredients that are antibiotic-free and vegetarian-fed. Shop rolls or bagged food for dogs and cats.
  • Deli Fresh Dog Food: Freshpet’s Deli Fresh dog food line uses antibiotic-free chicken and non-GMO ingredients. The recipes are grain-free and only available at Costco wholesale stores.
  • Homestyle Creations Dog Food: The Homestyle Creations line combines frozen chicken or beef patties with fresh fruit or vegetable mixers for a complete, balanced meal for dogs. These recipes use 100% natural ingredients with no preservatives.
  • Fresh Treats for Dogs: Freshpet’s Dog Nation and Dog Joy treat lines feature real meat as the first ingredient with no byproducts or artificial flavors. They contain whole, limited ingredients and are fully cooked for your dog to enjoy.

Freshpet prices

Freshpet doesn’t fully disclose pricing on its website, but depending on your pet’s size, health needs and preferred product line, prices range from $90 to $400 per month. Below, we’ve charted the average cost per day for Freshpet’s products based on a 10-pound cat and 50-pound dog.

Freshpet FAQ

Is Freshpet good?

Freshpet is tailor-made for pet owners who are concerned about the source and quality of pet food ingredients. Although its product line is pricey, we like its variety of protein options and the emphasis on small-batch freshness. We recommend Freshpet for pet owners interested in fresh or raw feeding and who don’t mind paying a little extra for quality ingredients.


Why Won’t My Dog Eat?

It can be very concerning when your dog isn’t eating regularly. After all, a good healthy diet is a key part of a happy life. So what exactly is happening when your dog refuses to eat? Learn about some common, plus some lesser-known, reasons why your dog isn’t eating.

1. Illness

The most likely reason your dog isn’t eating runs parallel to the main reason humans don’t eat at times.

“They’re sick,” says Ann Hohenhaus, staff veterinarian at The Animal Medical Center in New York. “You don’t feel like eating when you have a fever. You feel like lying down and taking a nap. Dogs are the same. Often they have a virus, they don’t eat for a couple of days, and then they get better.”

However, if your dog is not eating and is either vomiting, having diarrhea, or both, contact your veterinarian within 8-12 hours. In the interim, you can try the following to spur their appetite:

  • Warmup your dog’s food in the microwave.
  • Pour chicken broth, beef broth, clam juice, or tuna water over the food to make it more appealing.
  • Pour warm water over dry food to make it softer.
  • Feeding your dog dry food if they usually only eat wet food or vice versa.
  • Try hand-feeding, as social eaters sometimes just want attention.
  • In serious cases, your vet could prescribe a medication that could induce eating.

Although many people believe that dental disease is to blame for a dog not eating, Hohenhaus affirms that it’s a rare cause. But she does note that if the dog has a tumor in their mouth, that might cause them to stop eating.

2. Medications

Has your dog recently been put on medication? That drug and/or regimen change might be upsetting their stomachs.

“Treatment of a disease can make you not eat,” says Hohenhaus. “Antibiotics can give you a stomachache. Some medicines make you nauseous.”

Potential culprits, she adds, are chemotherapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Rimadyl.

3. Social & Emotional Issues

Just as a major life change like moving to a new city, changing jobs, or a breakup can affect your appetite, an upheaval in a dog’s life could affect their hunger as well.

Hohenhaus has even witnessed a dog patient stop eating after being re-homed following the death of her owner.

“She was on a bit of a hunger strike, and I think it was because her life was upside down,” says Hohenhaus. “There are two kinds of people. When your life is all upset, either you eat a lot, or you eat nothing because you’re distracted by what’s going on in your life. I would say the same is true for dogs.”

4. Owner Absence

If it seems like your dog doesn’t eat or drink when you’re gone, but scarfs down their food when you arrive home, know that it’s probably not just your imagination.

“Dogs are pack animals. When you’re gone, their pack is not at home. They’re waiting for the pack to be there to eat,” says Hohenhaus.

5. Time of Day

Some dogs only eat during specific times of the day. Maybe your pup only likes to chow down at noon, or perhaps they only finish their bowl after the sun goes down.

No matter what your dog’s preferences are, eating at the same time each day is common practice. If they only eat during one time of day, it’s likely nothing to worry about.

“I have preferred times to eat, and dogs do too,” says Hohenhaus.

6. Food Preferences

Your pup’s shift in eating habits might also be because the formula of their regular dog food has recently changed. To combat this potential issue, Hohenhaus suggests not always feeding your dog the same type of food.

“If you look at the bag and it says ‘new and improved,’ that might not be your dog’s opinion of that food,” says Hohenhaus. “What that means is the manufacturer has changed the food, and your dog might not like the new version. It’s good to have an alternative in case that food goes off the market, gets recalled, or it gets improved and your dog no longer likes it,” says Hohenhaus.

Another reason why your dog might not be eating? The food has gone stale. Check the use-by or expiration date on the bag or even just follow your nose. If it has expired or smells weird, throw out that food and buy a new bag. A good rule of thumb is to buy bags of dog food roughly the size of your dog. For instance, buy one five-pound bag for your five-pound dog.

“You probably shouldn’t buy a 50-pound bag of dog food for a five-pound dog because, by the time you get to the bottom of the bag, the food is going to be rancid,” says Hohenhaus. “If the dog food doesn’t smell good, you might want to start over again.”

When To Seek Help If Your Dog Isn’t Eating

In cases where your dog stops eating but then resumes a few days later, it might be nothing to get concerned about But if it doesn’t clear up relatively quickly and you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, it might be time to seek professional help.

“If your dog goes a couple of days without eating and nothing else is wrong — no vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, no having accidents — then I’m not that worried about it,” says Hohenhaus.

As mentioned above, however, if your dog is not eating and is either vomiting, having diarrhea, or both, contact your veterinarian within 8-12 hours. Hohenhaus also raises concerns about a fluctuating appetite. If you notice a marked change in your dog’s eating habits, a visit to the vet might be your best bet, as well.

Have a non-urgent medical question? AKC Vetline is a live, 24/7 service staffed by licensed veterinary staff and pet professionals. Get unlimited access to answers about your pet’s health and wellness whenever and wherever you need it from a source you know you can trust.


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