Ohhhh puppies!!!! They are such simple yet complex little
creatures of unconditional love.
They can also be busy and a bit fickle when it comes to
I remember picking up my current female dog, a long trip to West
Virginia from Georgia and offering her an early morning tater tot,
she immediately thought I was trying to poison her. Thinking
about it from her perspective, tater tots are real food, so she was
kind of right.
Now if I offered the same dog a tatter tot or something even
shaped like a tatter tot she would probably try to eat it!
Again, puppy appetites can be fickle. One of my puppies
wouldn’t eat his puppy food until he had scattered his whole bowl
of puppy food across the floor.
But I learned these endearing tidbits about their puppy
appetites and behaviors fairly early on after their arrival. It
was normal for that pup.
What is normal for one pup may not be normal for another!
Basic Puppy Feeding
There are about as many puppy feeding charts out there as there
are charts on training your puppy.
Many of these puppy food charts are compiled by large dog food
corporations, and believe it or not, that is a good thing and a bad
Modern skepticism would tell us that a dog food leader in the
dog food industry would recommend over feeding. And, most of the
time, I would agree. Typically feeding a little less than they
recommend is wise.
But, dogs, like humans have different metabolisms. Puppies
also have different metabolisms. And, food is essential to
growth. No one wants a fat puppy (hard on growing joints) but
also no one wants an emaciated puppy; one that can’t grow and is
considered abused. So the food companies are trying to come up
with a general statistical “mean”.
Statistical means refers to the average that is used to derive
the central tendency of data in question; how much food should I be
feeding my puppy? Here is
a great chart on puppy feeding.
Typically I tend to feed my puppies more and then cut back when
they regulate into adulthood. Adult dogs eat less.
Most Puppies Self Regulate
Most puppies self regulate if you are feeding them often
I had always been taught by my mentor in veterinary medicine to
feed puppies under 12 weeks old 3 times daily if possible and allow
them to self regulate. Give them 5 minutes of having the food
bowl down and what isn’t eaten gets picked up.
A hungry puppy will probably eat until he is full. Remember
he has a tiny puppy stomach and a tiny puppy bladder (for potty
training) and that he likely doesn’t need much to become
Make regular trips to your veterinarian. Hopefully you are
scheduling regular trips for vaccines and wellness checks, but they
are certainly better educated at helping you keep your puppy on the
right weight track. A good vet will tell you when you have a fat
puppy (and you are risking his growth plates) and if you can up his
food just a smidge.
Adult dogs have more of a problem with over eating and gaining
weight even with their dry kibble .
Know Your Puppy’s Eating Habits
I have had puppies that would never skip a meal or a treat; and
I have had pups that seemed to constantly have attention deficit
disorder (ADD) and have trouble focusing on anything much less a
meal. After a very short period of time it is apparent that
skipping a meal here and there for these puppies is normal.
I still have one of these! Sometimes he eats, sometimes he
doesn’t. I can see his ribs but he is healthy and self
regulates. I probably offer him 6 cups of dry kibble dog food a
day for a 55 pound dog (that is A LOT). But he is constantly in
motion, has some anxiety, and sometimes just doesn’t feel like
eating. If the problem progresses I know something is wrong, but
I also know his eating habits well because I believe in meal
If my other dog doesn’t want a treat I know she is seriously
ill! Eating habits are important to know and recognize.
Puppies really do need to eat.
If your puppy skips meals for more than 24 hours there may be
something seriously wrong with him. An adult dog that isn’t
eating may have less of a serious problem. But a pup with a
significant loss of appetite is a concern.
Most will never go this long without eating “something” or a
small amount because they need those calories to keep up with the
One of the first signs of illness is refusing to eat, and it
should be taken serious. Even if you have a frequent meal skip-er
or puppy with ADD when it comes to eating be sure you are at least
mentally charting their skips or misses.
Water is the most important!
As we know your body can go days without food (not recommended)
but after a few days without water dehydration becomes deadly.
Fewer people monitor their puppy’s hydration intake but it is
even more important than monitoring his food. Make sure that he
is drinking. A dehydrated puppy can get very sick and need
hospitalization quickly! Remember dehydration leads to death.
And adult dog that isn’t eating is much different than a pup
that isn’t eating or has a loss of appetite.
Wet food can stimulate your pup to eat but it may mask a problem
or give him diarrhea if he is not used to eating wet food.
I actually try to avoid wet food with my puppies, because dry
food is best for their teeth and I don’t want to teach them bad
eating habits or to create an adult dog who won’t eat or who is
refusing to eat.
Your adult dog’s health can be contingent upon some of the
habits you build when he is just a pup. Your dog’s diet is
dependent on what you expose him to when he is a puppy.
Anything more than random vomiting should be of concern. Yes,
if you see your puppy drink a large amount of water, then chase a
butterfly, then vomit; chances are you know the cause. Some
puppies do drink too much too quickly.
But vomiting is a sign of distress and the body trying to expel
Vomiting also leads to dehydration (BAD)!
Diarrhea can also be a cause for concern. Again, it is one of
those symptoms that can lead to dehydration (BAD).
Sure, I think all puppies get loose stool on occasion but it
shouldn’t last too long and it should never effect their activity
A lethargic puppy who isn’t eating with vomiting and diarrhea
is bad news!
It can also be the body’s way of trying to deal with infection
Parvovirus is marked by dehydration, vomiting and serious
These can all be signs that your puppy has ingested a foreign
body that may need surgical removal, and if not removed can cause
So, be prepared to allow your veterinarian to run blood tests
and x-rays. Puppies can be much more fragile than adult dogs, so
in order to ensure his well being sometimes lots of tests and IV
fluids are required.
Remember your dog’s health is crucial.
The Most Important Take Away
Puppies don’t have the immune system or bodily strength of an
adult dog when it comes to illness.
Know your puppy! Your dog’s diet is up to you!
Watch him eat, watch him drink, go outside and watch his
Keep an eye on him so that he won’t eat something he
shouldn’t like a sock!
And, if he gets sick watch his signs and get him into a vet.
Yes, puppies get diarrhea, yes puppies vomit, they eat too much,
they drink too much the run around like crazy people; but they need
to be monitored like you would do to your own child.
If they become lethargic it becomes even more dangerous. To
find a vet near you
Knowing the signs is one of the most crucial pieces of knowledge
Then, keep an eye on him and monitor him until his good
behaviors become conditioned and you don’t need to keep as close
of an eye on him anymore!
Source: FS – TheDogTrainingSecret
Why is My Puppy Not Eating