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Puppy Is Not Eating and Sleeping a Lot? Here’s Why & What to Do

By Aviram K.
September 11, 2022
5 min read
Puppy Is Not Eating and Sleeping a Lot? Here’s Why & What to Do
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

The long-awaited day has come: you’ve finally brought your new puppy home!

You’re prepared, and your arsenal of puppy supplies is fully-stocked.

Dog toys? Check. Dog bed? Check. Dog food and treats? Check and check.

You’re super proud of how ready you are! But then something happens that you didn’t plan for: you’ve got a houseful of dog food, but your dog isn’t eating. Not only are they not eating, but they have been lying around sleeping…a lot.

Oh no. Is this normal? Is there something wrong already? Did you choose a sick puppy?

It can be normal for a puppy not to want to eat sometimes. But if they are skipping more than a meal or two and sleeping a lot, this may be a cause for concern. They could be sick, teething, feeling bad mentally, or maybe just picky.

In this article, I will explain if it’s normal for a puppy not to want to eat and discuss why your puppy is not eating and is sleeping a lot. Then, I will wrap things up by giving you pointers on what to do when your puppy is not eating and is sleeping a lot.

Having a puppy is exciting but can also be terrifying. If one little thing seems off, alarm bells can start ringing in your head.

And rightfully so! Not eating and sleeping a lot are two symptoms that may mean nothing but could also spell danger.

But not to worry, I will help you sort through the issue to figure out exactly what may be happening.

Let’s get right to it!

Table of Contents
01
Is It Normal for a Puppy to Not Want to Eat?
02
Why Your Puppy Is Not Eating and Sleeping a Lot
03
What to Do When Your Puppy Is Not Eating and Sleeping a Lot
04
Too Much Sleep and Not Enough Eat? Don’t Freak, but Do Take Action!

Is It Normal for a Puppy to Not Want to Eat?

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Caring for a puppy is rewarding but can be stressful at the same time. You’re still trying to learn your new little buddies’ habits and what is normal for them.

It is normal for a puppy to not feel like eating from time to time. But if your puppy skips more than a meal or two and consistently rejects food, there may be a problem.

Your puppy could have dog anorexia which is when a dog isn’t eating for any number of reasons. There is more cause for concern if your puppy’s food refusal comes with other physical symptoms.

If your pup is showing any of the following signs, you may want to keep a close eye on things:

  • Fever
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Crying or whimpering
  • Licking compulsively
  • & Excessive tiredness

Why Your Puppy Is Not Eating and Sleeping a Lot

When your puppy’s lack of hunger is paired with them sleeping a lot, many things may be going on.

Puppies are definitely supposed to sleep a lot. In fact, it’s not uncommon for puppies to sleep around 20 hours a day! But when they are awake, they should be very alert, energetic, and reasonably hungry.

If your puppy is not eating and sleeping a lot, here are some of the possible reasons why:

Sickness

A very common reason your dog may not be eating and sleeping a lot is something physically wrong with them.

There may be a whole host of things going on with your pup, including but not limited to:

  • Common puppy illnesses such as Kennel Cough, Parvovirus, or Distemper
  • Sickness from being poisoned after exposure to toxic plants, chemicals, or spoiled food
  • Dental issues like sore, inflamed gums, broken teeth, tumors, or gingivitis
  • Diseases like cancer, diabetes, liver problems, parasites, pyometra, and gastroenteritis
  • Adverse reactions to medications or vaccinations

They’re Teething

If your dog is in their puppy stages, they may very well not want to eat because they’re teething.

As new teeth come in, your dog could be feeling pain. And just like children who are losing teeth and getting new ones, they may feel tired or out of sorts. This may explain all the extra sleep.

It’s a Mental Problem

Just as humans can lose their appetite during tough times, dogs may feel too down to eat.

If there has been a significant transition in the home, such as moving, a death, or a significant schedule change, your pup may feel the effects. Your dog could feel depressed or be suffering from separation anxiety that is causing him to want to eat less and sleep more.

They’re Picky

Your dog may not eat because they simply don’t like their food!

And if you’ve reinforced this behavior by catering to them and bringing them different things to eat, they may have no reason to change this habit. They may even feel so confident they will be fed that they go ahead and take a nap before the next meal is presented to them!

What to Do When Your Puppy Is Not Eating and Sleeping a Lot

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As you can see, the reasons your puppy is not eating and sleeping a lot can range from serious disease to simply not liking their food. Getting to the root of the problem is the first step in knowing how to fix it.

Since there are so many physical reasons why your pup may not be eating and sleeping a lot, I suggest taking them to the vet first and foremost. It would be awful to think they’re just being difficult, and then something ends up being very wrong with them!

After you’ve confirmed that your puppy is healthy, there are things you can do to help put their eating and sleeping habits into proper balance.

Here are a few ways you can help them:

  • Offer your pup yummy yet bland food like rice and boiled chicken to ease their digestion
  • Warm your puppy’s food in the microwave to allow the smell to entice your pup to eat
  • Try feeding your dog smaller meals on a more frequent basis
  • Add tasty toppings to your dog’s food like meats, canned pumpkin, or treats
  • Put some warm water into your puppy’s dry food or mix in some cat food to soften it
  • Make sure your pup’s sleeping area is safe, comfortable, and at a good temperature to ensure they are getting quality sleep and waking up well-rested
  • Give your dog plenty of appropriate toys and treats to chew on if they are teething
  • Hand-feed your pup if necessary and give him lots of cuddles, love, and encouragement

Too Much Sleep and Not Enough Eat? Don’t Freak, but Do Take Action!

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A puppy who refuses to eat and just keeps sleeping can be majorly concerning.

Puppies are known to be little balls of energy! It’s understandable if a puppy who seems to be starving themselves and sleeping all day makes you feel nervous.

In this case, try not to fret but do try to figure things out as quickly as possible. There’s a chance your pup could just be teething, feel a little down or be a picky eater. But there’s also a chance they may have a serious health problem.

The only way to know what’s up is to investigate. And a swift visit to your vet, along with the tips listed in this article, will be your best friend.

Your intentional yet calm and loving actions will be crucial as you work to get your pup’s sleeping and eating habits correctly balanced.

Bon appetit and sweet dreams!


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