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How To Get a Puppy to Eat

Jack Russell Terrier puppy against a blue background with a food dish in front of it

There are many reasons why they do not eat. This can be a little worrisome as you want your new dog to grow up big, strong, and be healthy. But puppies can be a bit intimidated as they are used to their mother’s milk and having their siblings nearby. Going to a new home can make them hesitant to eat.

One option to get them to start eating would be to add a little water to their food. Their food may be too hard for their little puppy teeth, and a little softening may be in order.

Keep reading to get more information on this topic so you are prepared when it happens to you and your puppy.

How to Stop Puppy Diarrhea? Click here to learn more.

When Should I Worry About My Puppy Not Eating?

Puppies do not have the same amount of fat reserves as their adult counterparts have. That means that they cannot go too long without eating. Even if they miss one or maybe two meals, you should be concerned as this lack can cause them to contract a serious illness.

When you see your puppy not eating, call your vet. Let him or her know what is going on and ask what you should do about it. Not only will the information put your mind at ease, but your vet should also give you a good plan of action to follow.

There are little tricks to use, for example, trying to cool their moist food a bit or warming it up to room temperature. Which way you go will depend on where you store it.

Or find new ways to feed your dog and see if that stimulates their eating habit. It just may be that your puppy is fussy and does not like the food you give them. Try changing it up so you can get them eating again.

What Do I Do If My Puppy Won’t Eat?

Corgi puppy eating from a metal food dish

There are several things you can try. A few of them have already been mentioned. You can change their food, soften their dry dog food by adding water or try changing how you feed them and put their food in a teething safe toy.

Or if your puppy is easily distracted, they may not realize that they are hungry. Try feeding them in a room that has no distractions. Then, your puppy may be a bit stressed as its new surroundings kind of overwhelm him or her.

It may take a little while for them to get used to their new place and start eating regularly. Another reason why they may not be eating is that they are sick. Puppies are susceptible to different ailments, and they could have caught something before they were vaccinated.

In this case, you need to call your vet or take your pup to him or her and see what is wrong with your dog. A little medication, tender loving care and some nice treats should turn that sick dog into a healthy one again.

These are just some ideas you can use to help your pet start to eat again. Others include changing the dog brand and food, as well as giving them a little extra exercise. The last one should get them nice and hungry and ready to eat.

How to Train A Puppy Not to Jump? Click here to learn more.

How Long Can Puppy Go Without Eating?

Black and white dog laying on a rug next to an empty food bowl

They cannot go without food for very long. The longer space in between feeding times, the bigger the chance they have of contracting a disease. Puppies need to eat often in the first few weeks of their life.

For the first three weeks, they should eat every 2 hours and not more than every 3. As the puppy gets older, the time frame between meals can get a little longer. For 2 to 3-week-old puppies, you are looking at having them eat every 4 to 5 hours. No longer than 5 hours though.

For 4-week-old puppies the time frame extends to about every 6 hours. But once they reach about 7 to 8 weeks old, they should be transitioned to dry or moist dog food and fed only about 3 to 4 times each day.

Keep a good feeding schedule to make sure your puppy grows big and strong like his father.

Have a puppy that won’t drink? Click here to check out our post “How to Get a Puppy to Drink Water”.

Some Final Words

Beagle eating from a metal food bowl

Getting a puppy to eat will take patience. The first thing you need to do is identify why they are not eating and then treat that problem. The second thing to do is talk to your vet to see what can be done to help your puppy feed.

Then be patient, as your puppy just may need to get used to its new surroundings. It should be eating like normal once that happens.

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