What To Do When Your New Puppy Isn't Eating

Is your new puppy refusing to eat? Learn what could be causing this behavior and discover how you can get your pup back on track with Pawp's expert tips.

Bridget Reed

Updated December 14, 2022 • Published April 14, 2022

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What To Do When Your New Puppy Isn't Eating

Having a new puppy can be just as stressful as it is exciting, especially when something doesn't seem quite right.

If you recently brought a new puppy home and have noticed that they don't have an appetite or are refusing to eat, you might be concerned and unsure of what to do next.

While it's possible that there's a medical reason behind your puppy's refusal to eat, it's also completely feasible that the cause is something less severe. There are a variety of causes, and a veterinarian will be able to help you get your pup back on track.

Learn why your new puppy isn't eating and what you can do to get their belly feeling better.

Why isn’t my puppy eating?

There are many potential reasons your puppy isn't eating, and some context clues as well as a chat with a veterinarian will be able to help you understand why. Here are some potential reasons your pup is refusing to eat:

They don’t like their food

Sometimes, puppies just don't like the food you're feeding them. The solution could be as simple as making a flavor or brand swap. It's best to chat with a vet about the food they recommend for your puppy, and then slowly transition them from their old food to their new food.

Read: What Is The Best Puppy Food? Advice For New Pet Parents

They’re stressed out

Another reason that your new puppy isn't eating is that they're experiencing stress. Moving away from their littermates and trying to get acclimated to a new environment can cause a pup to feel overwhelmed and anxious.

They may start to show more interest in food with time, however, it's important to try to reduce as many stressors for your puppy as possible.

They’re teething

Teething puppies have interesting habits. While they might not be interested in eating their own food, they might have gained a sudden interest in ingesting something else in your house—namely, something they're not supposed to be eating.

This is relatively normal for a teething pup, but it's essential that you redirect their teething to something that is more appropriate for them. This will help ensure that the behavior does not carry over from puppyhood into their adult years.

They have a medical condition

Sometimes, if a puppy is not eating, it's a sign that they have a medical condition that will require attention from a veterinarian. Of course, this is not the case for all pups that are not interested in eating their food, but it is something to consider.

Keep your eyes peeled for other signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy, and make sure you reach out to a vet for help.

What should I do if my puppy isn’t eating?

If you notice that your puppy is not eating, there are a few steps that you can take to help relieve this problem. Of course, it’s best that you first ensure that your puppy is medically safe.

Read: New Puppy Checklist: 10 Things You Need Before Bringing A New Dog Home

This means taking to a vet as soon as you notice unusual behavior from your pup. The vet will be able to better figure out if the reason that your puppy is not interested in eating is something that can be easily fixed at home or if they'll need to be treated for an illness.

Change their food

If you and the vet deduct that the food is the reason why your puppy is not interested in eating, you can try to change their food. Again, it's important that you transition your puppy’s food gradually. Dogs have sensitive digestive systems, so you'll need to be cognizant about how you change their diet. A vet can give you guidance about how to safely transition.

Calm their stress

Next, you should make an effort to calm your dog’s anxiety.

Make sure they feel comfortable and cozy in their new home, properly and safely introduce them to new family members and other pets, and avoid leaving them alone for long periods of time.

Address their teething

If your puppy is teething and that's the reason they're not interested in eating their food, it's essential that you address this sooner than later. You can begin by reaching out to a vet who can give you advice on how to handle your particular situation.

When should my puppy go to the vet?

If you notice that your puppy is not eating, it's best to chat with a vet to get guidance or reassurance that you're doing the right thing.

If you have questions about why your puppy is not eating, Pawp’s trained veterinarians are available to assist 24/7. Pawp offers telehealth visits, so you can get the answers you and your pet need right from the comfort of your home. 


Picky pet prescription: What to do when your pet won’t eat her prescribed therapeutic diet | Tufts  

Abnormal Eating Habits in Dogs - Animal Health Topics | UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine  

Transition and Stress – Center for Shelter Dogs | Tufts  

Unusual eating habits | UC Davis  

How Do I Switch My Pet’s Food? | Tufts 

Pet food and treat trends - Product Center | MSU  

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