If your Brittany dog refuses to eat, it’s normal to be worried. Even though dogs like humans won’t have the same level of enthusiasm for every meal and some may skip it every now and then, lack of appetite in your pet is something you should always pay attention to.
If your Brittany dog won’t eat :
- Check your dog’s health as a variety of health conditions may cause appetite loss
- Cut the amount of treats, avoid table scraps
- Make a regular daily feeding schedule, feeding your dog twice a day
- Make the feeding time interesting, prvoding food dispenser toys or snuffle mat
- Pick the right food bowl – avoid plastic ones
- Provide peacful and calm environment during meal time
- Try with different food brand or different kind of food (canned food)
- Make sure your Brittany has active life and enough exercise every day
Why My Brittany Dog Won’t Eat?
If your Brittany won’t eat think well what kind of food you are giving to him. Some low-quality dog foods are full of fillers, chemical preservatives that may decrease appetite.
Choose food that is produced in North America (the USA and Canada). The food produced in New Zealand is also acceptable as they also have strict standards similar to those in the US.
If you try to switch one brand for another, do it gradually, mixing two different foods for a couple of days.
1-3 days – 25% new food/ 75% old food
3-5 days – 50% new food / 50% old food
5-7 days – 75% new food/ 25% old food
In case you just suddenly serve a new food one day, your Brittany might get puzzled and refuse to eat. That’s why it’s important to make this transition step by step.
One of the reasons why Brittany experiences appetite loss is a dental issue. Brittanys often have serious problems with teeth so broken or infected teeth or oral pain can cause a lack of appetite. Make sure you take good care of your pet’s teeth, brush them at least three times a week). Pay special attention if your Brittany won’t eat dry, hard food but is willing to eat wet food. That’s a clear indicator that something is wrong with his teeth.
Hot weather may also have a big impact on your Brittany’s appetite. Dogs generally eat less during the hot summer months ( 10-20%). Plus, Brittanys are cold weather hunting dogs so they, in general, don’t do well in hot temperatures.
Slightly less food intake is quite normal since your Brittany is less active in this period. Just pay special attention to keeping your dog cool and hydrated.
A magic word for both is ”frozen”. Make some nice frozen treats for your pooch. There are plenty of recipes on the internet you just need to pick between frozen chicken soup cubes, frozen fruit treats, frozen mixes of fruits, and peanut butter or yogurt. The choice is immense, really.
Since higher temperatures make our Brittanys get dehydrated faster, it’s recommended to offer your pet wet food a much better option than a dry one. Of course, a bowl with fresh water has to be at your Brittany’s disposal all the time.
Another thing that can cause a lack of appetite is stress. Changes in the household, moving to a new home, a new baby arrival, another dog or pet arrival, travel to unfamiliar surroundings, all these things may provoke stress in your Brittany. Let him settle first and then he will start eating normally.
Separation anxiety is also one of the major causes of stress in dogs. Brittanys are not comfortable being left alone. Although with good training they can bear being alone for a shorter amount of time. But leaving Brittany alone for hours every day will result in bad behavior and appetite loss.
Senior Brittanys have decreased appetite ( up to 20%) and that is quite normal. Older dogs are less active, have a slower metabolism so naturally, their caloric needs fall.
But the golden agers are prone to many illnesses that can also cause poor appetite so if you notice some major appetite loss along with some other symptoms, do visit a vet for a detailed examination.
“Spoiled” with hand feeding
Some Brittanys may turn up very spoiled by their owners who unintentionally taught them not to use a food bowl but to take food from their hands.
So even though the food bowl is full, they don’t eat and wait. Once you get worried enough, your dog will get what he wants, food from your hand!
If you want to break down this bad habit, stop feeding your dog from your hand, put the food in his bowl, and leave the bowl for 10-15 min.
If he doesn’t eat, just put it away and then offer him the food again at the next mealtime. Meanwhile don’t give your Brittany any treats, tables scraps, or any other food. Ask other members of your household to do the same. Once he feels the hunger, he will start eating from the bowl.
Of course, dogs can be stubborn but you need to be persistent otherwise the bad eating practice will continue.
However, the most serious cause of appetite loss is compromised health and numerous illnesses.
While some of them are not so serious like viral/bacterial infections that cause cough, nasal discharge, eye discharge, others like liver problems, kidney failure, and different types of cancers may be life-threatening conditions.
Don’t forget injuries or conditions that include pain, skin sores, allergies…
All listed conditions have one thing in common – appetite loss.
Don’t be surprised if your Brittany experiences a brief appetite loss after receiving a vaccine. Sometimes vaccines may have adverse effects and one of them is lack of appetite, no need to worry about it.
If you have an unspayed Brittany female, she will go in a heat cycle twice a year. The heat cycle lasts for around 3 weeks during which your dog’s behavior can change.
One of the common changes is appetite loss. Simply, your Brittany girl has only one thought in her mind – to find a mate and to breed and nothing else matters not even the food.
Fortunately, she will get back to herself as soon as the heat cycle is over and then the eating habits will also get back to normal.
What To Do If My Brittany Won’t Eat?
Let’s start with basic things. Make sure your Brittany has an adequate food bowl.
Avoid plastic bowls. They are very light, so they can easily tip over. Plastic bowls are easy to scratch which makes a perfect place for bacteria buildup. Choose stainless steel bowls instead.
Avoid too big bowls, as when you pour the correct amount of food, the bowl will be half empty which may encourage you to add more.
The next thing is picking the right food. Make sure the food you offer to your Brittany is high-quality, animal protein-based food ( up to 30% of animal protein- the best would be 21-29%, less than 20% of fat), free of soy, wheat, grains, by-products, harmful flavoring, and coloring. Quality food should have good fiber levels and added Omega 3 sourced from fish oil.
If your Brittany is not thrilled with the food you are giving him but you are certain that is a high-quality one, you can pour some lukewarm water into it and make it more appealing, maybe he falls for it. For an even tastier option – you can pour some low sodium chicken broth into the food.
Make sure you are serving the right amount of food to your Brittany. Brittanys are middle-size dogs, they should eat 1.5 -2 cups of food per day divided into two meals.
If you are giving larger portions than you should, you might find the leftovers in the bowl which may signalize to you that your dog is not eating normally, which would be a big mistake.
Follow the instructions of your vet and guideline that you may find on the dog’s food pack.
If your dog is not eating his regular meals but he is more than happy to grab any snack he gets, think about the snack amounts you give him.
Maybe you ”reward” him too often and with too much food. Make sure he gets a max of 2-3 snack bites only in the situation you need to reward wanted behavior. Avoid table scraps.
Dogs like routine, so make sure your Brittany has structured meal times. If your pet is having 2 meals, remember to give him his equal-sized portions at the same time every day.
Provide a calm and peaceful environment during mealtime. If your dog is distracted, stressed, annoyed most certainly won’t eat well. If you have other dogs, make sure each one has its own space and food bowl. Some dogs ( or other pets, like cats) tend to steal the roommate’s food!
If your Brittany shows some signs of illness (besides appetite loss) such as abdominal pain, vomiting, restlessness, cough, nasal discharge… you need to see the vet. He will make a detailed examination, full blood test, and X-rays if needed.
What you can do at your home is to check if your Brittany has a fever by taking his temperature. The normal temperature is about 101F -102,5 F but if he has above 103 F he should be evaluated.
The color of your Brittany’s gum may tell you if your dog is dehydrated. Gums should be well moist and pink in color. If they are deep red or purple and dried out, you urgently must see the vet.
Brittanys are very quick, they like to run and play. This breed needs to have regular physical activity otherwise unwanted behavior may appear. A lack of exercise may cause appetite loss in Brittany dogs. This breed needs at least one hour of exertion daily, not simple walks but hiking, agility, or running. Dog parks are the perfect place for Brittanys, they are usually very friendly with other dogs and if your pet is properly socialized then the dog park would be the ideal spot to burn up the energy.
Brittany dogs may lose appetite for various reasons. Some of them might not be so serious such as light viral infection or adverse effects of vaccination. Other reasons may involve many serious health conditions like cancer or liver disease.
On the other hand, your dog may eat perfectly well but you are not able to see that since his bowl is always half empty when he finishes his meal. Maybe the bowl is too big or your portions are too large.
I really do hope this article will help you to find the cause of your Brittany’s appetite loss. I hope you solve your problem quickly and continue enjoying your dog’s companionship.
You should always consult a vet to rule out health issues as a cause so you can focus on other reasons.