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In this lesson, we're going to cover what you should do if your pet suddenly stops eating. At the end of the lesson, we'll provide you with a Word about some red flags from your dogs that you shouldn't ignore. Will loss of appetite be on the list? (That's what we call a tease!)

If you notice your dog suddenly loses her appetite, take note; it could be important. But the first thing you should do is ask yourself: is my pet normally a voracious eater or more of a picky eater?

If you have a picky eater who suddenly stops eating, it's probably less of a concern. But if you have a voracious eater that will eat whatever you put in front of her, this may be more of a concern.

Pro Tip: Regardless of the answer to that question above, if your pet stops eating, this is something you should investigate, and by now, you know exactly how to do that – Check vitals and ask yourself if your pet is behaving, and otherwise doing, normally.

A Problem with the Food?

If everything else is normal with your pet, her refusal to eat may be a sign that something is wrong with the food. Just as you would know if you took a drink of sour milk that had long ago expired, your dog would also know if something is wrong with what she's eating or drinking.

For this reason, assuming her vital signs and other behavioral signs are normal, try offering her a different type of food and see how she responds. Make sure it's a treat she loves or a favorite food. If she eats that food, then your dog or cat food may have something wrong with it.

You could try calling the company to see if there have been other complaints or maybe even a recall. But regardless, you should definitely buy some new food. Your new food can be the same food as before, but make sure it comes from a different batch, perhaps with a different lot number than the current pet food you have.

When You Should be Concerned

You should be concerned if your investigations revealed more problems with your pet's vital signs and behavior, obviously, but you should also be concerned if your pet's lack of appetite persists and if you have already ruled out the food being the issue.

Any number of things could cause your pet to stop eating. Some of those things are nothing to be worried about. But some of them are. Err on the side of caution. A trip to the vet is never a bad idea.

A Word About 10 Red Flags from Dogs you should Never Ignore

Let's go from number 10 to number one. Seems more climactic that way.

10. Red Eyes

Red eyes in your teenager may mean something else, but in your dog, when the white area is suddenly red, this could indicate inflammation or an infection in one or more parts of the eye.

9. Fainting or Collapsing

Even if your dog faints and seems normal again a few minutes later, fainting isn't normal and should be taken seriously. This could indicate any number of serious problems in any number of important bodily systems, like the nervous system, the circulatory system, and/or the respiratory system. Consult with your vet as soon as possible.

8. Restlessness or Agitation

If your pet is suddenly acting irritated or agitated, this could indicate that he or she is in pain or serious distress. Signs can include heavy panting, pacing, and even aggression. One possible cause is something we just went over recently – bloat or GDV.

7. Blood in Stool, Urine, or Vomit

Blood in the stool indicates bleeding in the colon or rectum. Blood in the urine indicates a urinary tract block or bacterial infection. And blood in vomit is an immediate trip to your veterinarian. Though all are a major concern.

6. Trouble Urinating

We'll spare you, since you just learned about this in the last lesson. However, if you're interested in seeing the last five red flags, and discovering whether or not loss of appetite is on the list, check out our blog post on the subject: 10 Red Flags from Dogs you should Never Ignore.