My Dog Won't Eat His Food!

It can be worrying if your dog won't eat anything. Some reasons a dog suddenly stops eating need immediate attention, while others do not. Read on to learn what you can do to get your dog eating again.

Why Won't My Dog Eat?

My Dog Won't Eat His Food
By: Jake, County Durham

My dog won't eat his food; no matter what I give him, he turns his nose away from it.

He's a gorgeous one-year-old golden cocker spaniel who stopped eating for no apparent reason. I can't get my head around it.

My Cocker Spaniel dog won't eat his food!I don't want any dinner Dad, I'm not hungry!

I give him a complete meal (kibble) with water and sometimes a little gravy. I have changed his food twice to a more expensive brand, but still no joy.

I don't want to put him on a meat diet because I don't think it will be good for his tummy.

Can you help me, please?

What To Do When Your Dog Isn't Eating

Hello Jake,

If your cocker spaniel is otherwise healthy, I recommend feeding him a little chopped, poached chicken breast and cooked white rice for a few days. It's a very bland meal that won't upset his little stomach.

Feed him this for a few days before sprinkling some kibble into his bowl. Without realising it, he'll probably eat it along with the chicken and rice!

If your cocker manages to eat it all (including the kibble), at his next mealtime, increase the kibble and reduce the amount of chicken and rice.

Continue doing this until his meals consist only of dry dog food.

Beautiful Cocker Spaniel looking at the camera.I'm just not hungry!

Please remember that if you change from one type of dog food to another, you must do it gradually to not upset your dog's stomach.

You can find more about feeding your dog in this article.

You're probably already aware of this (but in case you're not), his dietary needs will change as your dog reaches around 12 months.

Dog food manufacturers produce kibble specially formulated for puppies and a different preparation for dogs 12 months and older.

It's vital to ensure your cocker spaniel gets plenty of fresh drinking water when he's on a dry dog food diet, as there's not enough water in kibble to sustain him.

If your dog refuses food, you should take him to see his vet, as it may indicate an underlying illness.

Good luck!

(Website Owner)

Visitor Comments: My Dog Won't Eat His Food!

My Dog Is Not Eating His Food!
By: Sandy

I, too, have had this problem with my dog.

My cocker spaniel went off his food and would only eat what we were eating - which is not always the best diet for dogs!

I don't mind feeding him lean meat like chicken; as rice is good for him, I mix it with the chicken. I have also tried adding a poached egg to the rice and mixing it up.

He was up and better in no time at all. I am trying to figure out what the problem was. Was he off-colour for a day or so?

I hope your dog is better soon and back to eating as usual.

Golden Cocker Spaniel puppy sitting quietly. What a good boy!

My Dog Won't Eat His Food
By: Anonymous

If your dog doesn't eat his food, the answer is simple - take him to the vet right away!

Visitor Q & A: When Your Dog Won't Eat!

My Dog Isn't Eating!

By: Jackson, Alabama

My Cocker Spaniel, Hamish, has stopped eating recently.

Hamish is a working cocker spaniel who is eleven years old, and although he seems pretty active, he has gone off his meals for the last couple of days.

I usually feed him chicken, but he's lost all interest in it; my dog won't eat it!

Any ideas about what's causing this?

Thank you.

This is Sadie, one of our loyal visitor's Cocker Spaniel.Meet Sadie, one of our visitor's beautiful Cockers

My Dog Doesn't Eat Either!

By: Jenna - County Antrim

Hi Jackson,

If your dog won't eat his food, perhaps he's unwell. Does he look or behave as though he's under the weather?

I wouldn't worry too much if he seems happy and behaves normally (but just not eating his food).

A dog is sick when he slows down and doesn't seem interested in anything or anyone. If Hamish shows these symptoms, I would take him to his vet.

If he's been off his food for more than a couple of days, I would take him to the vet; you can't be too careful!

Once you've had the 'all clear' from your vet, you can try to work on his diet.
Good luck to you! :-)

This is a cheeky-looking Cocker puppy.Meet Bowen, one of our loyal visitor's dogs

My Dog Isn't Eating!

By: Fellow Cocker Owner - Nottingham

Hi! Sorry to hear your Cocker isn't eating as usual.

It could be something as simple as he's just not hungry. However, if he doesn't eat for more than two or three days, I'd take him to see his vet so that he can have a check-up.

Have you tried feeding him by hand? Pamper him if he's feeling under the weather with something he loves, such as liver or chicken.

As our pets age, they don't always need to eat as much as they used to. Ensure your dog has lots of water daily; that's really important.

Is he showing any symptoms of being unwell? For example:

  • Has he been sick?
  • Is he pooping normally?
  • Does he pace?
  • Is he licking himself more than usual?
  • Is he whining?

If he doesn't appear unwell (he's just not eating), he may return to eating in a day or two. I'm sure you'll watch him closely to see if he begins to show any unusual symptoms.

If your dog continues not to eat for much longer, play it safe and take him to see his vet. Good luck, and I hope Hamish is better soon.

When Your Dog Suddenly Stops Eating

By: Tom - Carbondale, PA USA

We have an 18-month-old male cocker spaniel who goes through periods when he won't eat - he can go without food for 2 - 3 days sometimes. Is this normal?

We got him when he was 4 months old, and the breeder recommended Eukanuba brand dry dog food.

He eventually seemed to grow tired of just the dry food, so we started mixing it with a bit of wet brand food such as Cesar or Beneful.

Unfortunately, after a while, he grew tired of this too.

We have since been mixing the dry food with table food, such as roast beef or steak, and he still goes through days when he won't eat.

Does anyone have suggestions or recommendations?

Thank you.

My Dog Won't Eat His Food!

By: Pauline (Website Owner)

Hi Tom!

It might be advisable to try and find out what's causing your Cocker's lack of appetite before going any further.

Does your dog appear otherwise healthy? Does he have any symptoms?

I assume you de-flea and worm him regularly, so we can probably rule out a parasitic problem.

Sometimes dogs lose their appetite when unwell (just like people). If your dog feels under the weather, it could be causing him to go off his food for a while. If you're worried about his health, then a trip to the vet may be what's needed.

If he's been off his food for so long that he's becoming underweight, take him to see his vet NOW and have him checked out immediately.

This Cocker puppy isn't very old. He's resting on his favourite cushion.Very young puppies need to eat regularly

If you're happy with his overall well-being, is it possible that he's getting food from elsewhere?

For example, is he foraging in bins, stealing food from the kitchen, or is someone else feeding him?

Any of these could account for why he's not eating at mealtimes.

You say he's eating one day but not the next. Forgive me for asking, but are you sure you're not overfeeding him? It's very easy to do.

Check his food packaging to see what they recommend for a dog his age, and make sure you're sticking to it. Weigh it out if necessary.

I don't recommend free-feeding your dog because this can make dogs 'picky eaters'.

Leave his food bowl on the floor for 15 minutes and remove it if he's not eaten by then.

This will help to regulate his eating because he will soon learn that if he doesn't eat at his designated meal times, he will have to wait until the next one.

As for his food, I would choose one good brand of nutritious kibble and stick to it. If you need to, you could soften it with a little warm water before you feed him.

If you don't want to feed him kibble, why not give him a little poached chicken and rice with a few green beans thrown in, or scrambled egg with a bit of salmon or white fish? Perhaps this could tempt him?

Have you tried hand-feeding him to get him going?

Generally, dogs will eat when they're hungry. (Unfortunately, mine will eat anything and everything, any time of the day or night!)

It isn't easy to give specific advice when I don't know your dog or your circumstances, but I hope you can try something in the above with success.

Good luck!

Kind regards,

My Dog Isn't Eating

By: Moni

Hi Tom,

Your comments sound all too familiar to me - I think you have a picky eater!

I have a poodle mixed with a Cocker Spaniel, and I often have to encourage him to eat. He will go a day or two without eating. He is stubborn; he would rather eat table food and treats than his own food.

I don't like to give him table food. The most I give him is scrambled eggs, and I put gravy or broth on his kibble to encourage him to eat, but it gets old with him, and he ignores his food.

I then try to hand-feed him. He will eat a bit from my hand, but then he's turned off and walks away.

I'm sure he would not eat treats or eggs if something was wrong with him. He's just being selective, in my opinion. This breed is just bougie, which makes it hard for us dog parents.

My Sprocker Dog Won't Eat Either!

By: Andrea

My 2-year-old female Sprocker spaniel won't eat either. She goes a couple of days without eating and is sometimes sick with hunger; she's so stubborn.

I say it's my husband's fault for putting human food in her bowl.

I won't give in to her, and she eventually eats it.

I must have tried 6 different kinds of dry food. She will eat a little at first, then turn her nose up at it.

I don't give her anything else when she doesn't eat, no treats or anything but lots of praise when she does. I even feed her by hand sometimes 😩.

My Dog Won't Eat His Food Either!

By: Anonymous

Our 18-month-old cocker spaniel is so hard to feed!

We have tried giving him dry food, raw food and tinned. He will eat one day and won't eat the next.

He will only eat a raw duck wing or a raw duck neck, but you can't feed your dog bones all the time.

Any suggestions?

My Cocker Spaniel Won't Eat!

By: Anonymous

I've never heard of cockers not wanting to eat - they're usually keen to hoover up anything that's going!

Could it be that your Cocker Spaniel just isn't hungry?

Are you confident that you're not overfeeding him? You could check the packet or speak to your vet.

Other than that, I'm stumped!

Cocker Spaniel Dog Won't Eat Anything

By: Nichol

I used to have the same problem with both of my cocker spaniels.

I don't know if it is cocker spaniels in general or just my luck, but both of mine have very sensitive tummies.

I have found that my male needs corn and wheat-free food, and my female needs grain-free food.

Since the change in food, my cocker spaniels don't miss a meal.

Hope this helps.

Good Luck!

Related titles:

My dog is not eating

My puppy won't eat

Photo credits for My Dog Won't Eat His Food!
1. to 6. Photos used with our visitors' permission.