Top Reasons Your Dog Won’t Eat His Food But Will Eat Treats?

Are you puzzled because your furry best friend snubs his regular chow but perks up for treats? You might ask yourself, why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats? It’s a head-scratcher when so many dogs turn their noses up at their normal mealtime yet jump for joy at the sight of a small snack.

If this sounds like what’s happening in your home, you’re not alone. Many dog owners face the problem of picky-eating pets and wonder what might be behind this weird behavior.

Believe it or not, dental disease could be the underlying health problem, making meals painful for your pup. Now imagine how upsetting it would be to eat with a toothache! This blog post is here to explore possible reasons why Rover may be refusing his food bowl but still wagging his tail for treats.

We’ll also share tips on how to encourage your dog to get back on track with healthy eating habits.

Keep reading – we’ve got some bite-sized advice that just might do the trick!

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs may refuse their food but accept treats because of dental problems, sickness, picky eating habits, or stress from changes in their environment.

  • To encourage dogs to eat regular meals, try offering a variety of foods, cut back on extra treats and table scraps, check for dental issues, and provide a peaceful eating area.

  • If your dog avoids their food but not treats and shows signs of illness like weight loss or fatigue, it’s time to see the vet. They can spot serious health problems early on.

Possible Medical Reasons for Refusal to Eat

why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats

Infectious diseases can turn your dog away from their food bowl. A sick dog with parvovirus or pancreatitis often loses interest in eating food. These conditions upset their stomach and make eating painful.

Dogs with dental pain also avoid meals. Toothaches and gum disease make chewing tough.

Gastrointestinal issues might be the culprit if your pup turns up their nose at dinner but wags their tail for treats. Blockages, ulcers, or inflammation in the GI or gastrointestinal tract can disrupt normal eating habits.

Look out for signs like diarrhea or vomiting; they point to trouble inside.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

Your dog’s hormones could be out of balance too. Diseases like hypothyroidism mess with metabolism and appetite. Cushing’s disease triggers a lot of hunger, yet sometimes dogs still have poor appetite or the dog won’t eat their regular food due to nausea or other side effects.

Liver and kidney problems are serious appetite zappers as well. They cause toxins to build up, leaving your furry friend feeling queasy instead of hungry.

Lastly, medications for various treatments impact eating patterns—especially strong ones like chemotherapy drugs that target cancer cells but also reduce desire for food.

Psychological Factors That May Affect a Dog’s Appetite

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

Moving beyond medical issues, a dog’s mind can also influence their eating habits. Separation anxiety is one example, as it can make dogs feel too stressed to eat. Like humans, when dogs are feeling anxious or upset, they might not feel like eating.

Things happening around them such as loud noises, strangers in the home, other pets, a different food, or changes in routine can lead to stress. This might cause your dog to skip meals.

Some dogs get bored with their food and look for more exciting tastes, which is why treats seem more appealing. Being picky is another psychological trait that could be at play; your dog may just prefer certain flavors or textures over others.

Fear can also put them off their food — if something scared them during mealtime once, they may associate the fear with eating. It’s important to watch your dog for signs of these psychological factors so you can help your furry friend enjoy meal times again.

Tips for Encouraging Your Dog to Eat Their Food

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

Uncover simple yet effective strategies to stimulate your dog’s appetite and bring joy back to mealtime by continuing with the article.

Try a new food

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

Dogs can be picky eaters just like people. If your dog turns up his nose at his usual kibble, it might be time to mix things up. Introduce him to different flavors or types of food.

You could try a new brand of dry food, some canned food for a change, or even safe human foods like boiled chicken mixed with their regular meal. Heating the wet food first can also make it smell more delicious.

Finding the right fit may take time but keep an eye on nutrition too; balanced meals are important for your dog’s health. Once you hit on a favorite dog food combination that sparks interest, stick with it and establish a consistent feeding schedule.

After exploring new foods, take note if your furry friend starts eating better without treats as incentives – this is crucial in maintaining their overall wellbeing.

Stop handing out treats and table scraps

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

If trying a new dog food doesn’t work, it’s time to look at your dog’s eating habits and treat consumption. Dogs can develop a preference for the yummy taste of treats and table scraps over their regular meals.

Cutting back on these extras is crucial. Feed your furry friend at separate times from your own meals and keep them away from the dining area to avoid temptation. By reducing treats and eliminating table scraps, your dog may regain interest in their kibble.


Make sure you’re not filling up your pet with extra goodies between meals either. This will help reset their hunger for proper dog food rather than all the special treats and human snacks they’ve been getting used to.

It teaches them that tasty bites of new food aren’t always available, and they should eat when they have nutritious food in front of them.

Check for dental issues

Dental issues can make mealtime painful for dogs. They might have loose or rotting teeth that hurt when they chew. You may see your dog drop food, only eat on one side of their mouth, or drool more than usual.

These signs show it could be a toothache causing the trouble.

It’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s dental health. Dogs often don’t show pain even though it hurts them inside their mouth. If your furry friend turns down kibble but still wants treats, it’s time to check their teeth and gums for any problems that need fixing.

Ensure a clean and comfortable eating environment

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

Create a special place for your dog to eat. Make sure it’s quiet and away from foot traffic. Dogs can get stressed by noise and distractions, making them not want to eat. Keep their eating area clean too.

Wash the bowls daily to remove old food and germs. Use warm water and soap for the best cleaning.

A cozy eating spot helps your dog relax during mealtime. The right temperature matters as well; if it’s too hot or cold, they might walk away from their food. To keep things fresh, pick up any uneaten kibble after 20 minutes so it doesn’t go stale.

Now let’s look at when you should get help if these tips don’t work.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

If your dog stops eating but still takes treats, he might be sick. Some dogs hide their pain and only show small signs, like not eating. It’s smart to get help early to stop bigger health troubles.

Dogs can have issues like liver or lung diseases, or kidney failure that make them turn away from food.

Go see the vet if your dog loses weight fast or acts really tired all the time. They will check for things like dental problems or stomach upsets that could cause trouble eating. The vet might run tests to find out if your pet has infections or other serious conditions like pancreatic cancer.

If you notice any odd changes in how your dog eats, don’t wait too long before getting veterinary advice. Quick action may save your furry friend’s life and keep them healthy for years to come!


Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats

Your dog may not eat their dry food for many reasons, but treats are still on the menu. This could be due food allergies, to dental pain or simply because they’re bored with their usual kibble. Change up their meals and keep an eye on dental health to help them out.

A clean eating spot can also make mealtime more inviting. Remember, if these tips don’t work, it’s time to call the vet. They’ll check for any serious issues that might cause your buddy’s lack of appetite.


1. Why won’t my dog eat his food but will eat treats?

Your dog might refuse his food but accept treats because of an upset stomach or he may be a fussy eater. It’s possible the regular food is spoiled or stale, so always check the expiration date.

2. Could my dog not eating be a sign of sickness?

Yes, if your dog isn’t eating his usual food, it could indicate medical disorders such as gastrointestinal or neurological diseases, liver cancer, kidney diseases, or inflammation in their belly organs like the pancreas.

3. What are some health problems that cause dogs to stop eating?

Health issues such as hepatitis, infections by viruses like coronavirus or parasitic infestations from whipworms and hookworms and other diseases can lead to loss of appetite in dogs.

4. Can anything besides disease make my dog not want to eat?

Sometimes psychological reasons or just being an overweight and picky eater can make your furry friend snub their bowl yet still go after tasty treats.

5. Should I take my dog to the animal hospital if he won’t eat his food?

If your pooch keeps refusing meals and possibly losing weight, it’s wise to visit an animal hospital for a checkup since conditions like insulin imbalances and other vital organ troubles could be at play.

6. How can I encourage my sick dog to start eating again?

You as a pet parent might try enhancing their normal meal with chicken broth or checking with a vet for digestive enzymes supplements; however, always ensure you address any underlying health issues first.

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