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8 Home Remedies for a Sick Dog That’s Not Eating

Large brown dog on white background with head turned away from bowl of food.

It is often quite obvious when your dog is sick. He/she will start behaving oddly and may show other symptoms, like vomiting and lethargy. During these times, it’s always good to have some home remedies that could help your canine friend.

It can be very distressing when your dog won’t eat. Loss of appetite is another common sign that shows illness and a variety of reasons can cause this symptom. Therefore, it’s important to determine the underlying cause before coming up with a suitable remedy. Although the timely application of home remedies can be effective, it is always advisable to consult your vet.

How to get a sick dog to eat? 

You can always use the following list of home remedies to revive the condition of an ill dog. However, it is recommended to discuss the issue with your vet before making any treatments.


Closeup of beagle drinking water from clear glass bowl

One of the most important things is to keep your sick dog hydrated at all times. This is especially important if they are experiencing diarrhea and/or vomiting. These diseases can give a serious boost to the process of dehydration because more and more water is lost. Therefore, it’s important to keep offering fluids to your pup.  

A good way of keeping your dog hydrated is to provide ice chips. They are less likely to trigger vomiting and can help the canine to stabilize. If your dog goes for 24 hours without drinking water or eating ice chips, see the vet immediately.


Fasting will help your dog’s gastrointestinal system to rest and recover. With food out of the way, there are much more chances of less vomiting. If the dog vomits yellow bile, it simply means that the dog is vomiting on an empty stomach.

Usually, a 24-hour fast is more than enough to reset the digestive system. However, the duration of fasting can vary according to your dog’s size and age.

Change in Diet

Jack Russell Terrier being handed a dish of dog food

After the fasting period, the vomiting should have ceased. Now, take away the normal food of your furry companion and replace it with boiled chicken and rice. Make sure that the chicken you are using is skinless and boneless.

Always remember that rice should make up the bulk of the meal (about two-third). The meat is just there to make it enticing for the dog. Keep giving this diet until the dog gets better. Once you feel that your canine is fine, gradually reintroduce the regular food over the next few days.


It could be possible that your dog is not eating because of nausea. If that’s the case, you should consider a pet-safe treat or tea that incorporates ginger. It has an antiemetic effect as it blocks the serotonin receptors (in the gut) that cause nausea. If you are considering feeding your dog raw or powdered ginger, make sure that you give a safe dosage.

What to do if My Dog’s Not Eating, but Drinking Water

Black and white dog drinking water from bowl

In some cases, you may observe that your dog is keeping himself hydrated, but is avoiding his/her food. There could be different reasons for this problem and you can use the following home remedies to treat it.

Soothe Your Sick Dog’s Stomach

Dogs are curious creatures who love to investigate their environment and eat whatever they find. Unfortunately, this impulsive behavior can cause an upset stomach. Consequently, the dog may refuse to eat but will drink a lot of water. On most occasions, this is a mild gastrointestinal problem that can be cured with home remedies.

The best possible method to ensure that everything is fine is to check your dog’s stool. If there is any blood in it, there could be an emergency and you need to contact your vet. Similarly, if the vomiting and diarrhea do not subside by 24 hours, veterinary care is advised.

Otherwise, you can let the dog fast for a few hours and follow it up with a bland diet. The dog will recover on its own within a day or two.

Make Your Dog Comfortable

Jack Russell Terrier wrapped in blanket

Dogs tend to get anxious when alone and may end up getting sick. Your puppy may refuse to eat if you leave them alone for the first time. You will need to train them to stay alone without getting depressed or seeking revenge by refusing to eat. This is an absolute necessity to make your puppy comfortable in your absence if your work fulltime.  

Similarly, introducing a new pet in the family can also result in a negative reaction. The older dog may refuse to eat as a sign of protest until he/she accepts the new member. In addition to jealousy, fear can also be a factor if you have adopted a bigger breed. You can ease things up a little by feeding in independent bowls and giving importance to the older companion.

Treating Constipation

If your dog only eats dry food, constipation could be the reason why he/she is not eating. You can solve this problem by switching your canine onto a quality canned food for a few days. Since the wet food has more moisture, it’ll be easier for your dog’s bowels to move. Do consult your vet before choosing the commercial food to avoid any allergic reaction.

Another method to improve your pup’s digestion is to add more fiber to his/her diet. This will improve the bowel movement that will be useful in treating constipation. Similarly, increasing the amount of daily exercise can also help your dog to recover from this illness.

Change in your Pet’s Location

Jack Russell Terrier sitting in tall grass and wild flowers

Sometimes, it can be difficult for us to get used to a new environment. Similarly, dogs also feel uncomfortable when they move to a different place and can take some time to adapt. During this phase, they may exhibit unusual behavior. The refusal to eat is one way of showing the discomfort.

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