Your tiny furry friend won’t eat? It’s natural you are concerned about it. Dogs are known for being Opportunivores – a funny expression that explains that dogs will eat whatever is available. On the other hand, small dogs such as Maltipoos are recognized as picky eaters.
What can cause a lack of appetite in your Maltipoo? Well, many things, and half of them are simple and easy to fix.
Reason why Maltipoos might refuse to eat :
- Prefer human food and your leftovers over dog food
- too many treats throughout the day
- meal’s timing isn’t good
- inappropriate food bowl size – too big, too deep
- noisy and busy environment- too many people walking around or loud thunderstorms
- too big portions – so your Maltipoo eats as much he needs but it seems like he is not eating enough
- change of food
- psychological causes such as a new baby in the house or a new pet in the house
- wide range of diseases (almost every disease has a lack of appetite as one of the symptoms) – liver or kidney disease, pancreatitis, lung or neurological disease, blood diseases, dental issues, parasitic infection, abdominal issue, upset stomach…
How to know if you have a picky eater or something is not right with your Maltipoo’s health? What to do if your dog is just fussy eater? How long the dogs can go without food? When is the moment to take him to the vet? What can you do to improve his appetite? How much food is enough for your Maltipoo? How many calories does he need on daily basis? Keep reading to find out…
How Much Food Does Your Maltipoo Really Need?
This is an important question. Without knowing how much food your Maltipoo really needs you cannot be sure if he is eating enough.
Let’s talk about the anatomy first. Your dog’s stomach has one miraculous feature. When it is empty, it’s very small. But as your dog starts to eat, his stomach expands so it can receive all that food. An enlarged stomach can weigh a maximum of 7,5% of your dog’s body weight. When the food is digested and on it’s way out, the stomach shrinks again.
So if you have a Maltipoo that weighs 10 Lb, his stomach is full when he eats 0,75 Lb of food. If you have a larger Maltipoo, 15Lb in weight, he can eat more as expected. His stomach is full when he eats 1,1Lbs.
If you like to count calories, adult Maltipoo needs 40 calories per each pound of his body weight a day but be careful as puppies need more ( 50 calories per every pound of body weight a day) and seniors prefer lighter food and smaller portions as they need 35 calories per every pound of the bodyweight per day.
Bear in mind that portion size and calories depend on activity level, health condition of the dog, age.
But if the servings are too big, your dog will leave the food every time as simply cannot eat that much. It doesn’t mean that is anything wrong with him. Adjust the portion to the size of your dog and see what happens. This way you won’t waste food and will stop worrying if your Maltipoo eats enough food.
What If Your Maltipoo Won’t Eat Dog Food?
This is quite common problem. It has easy solution though.
Let’s see first, why your dog won’t eat dog food. High-quality dog food is the best possible diet for your Maltipoo. It is perfectly balanced, packed with all necessary nutrients, vitamins, minerals, a lot of animals based proteins, and other things your Maltipoo need for a healthy and happy life.
Of course, Maltipoo can eat human food ( there is another article you might want to read on this topic ”Can Maltipoo Eat Human Food” ) but only as an addition to dog food.
If you prefer homemade food instead of commercial dog food, you have to be very careful and ask the vet for advice, as the nutritive needs of a dog are very different from the human nutritive needs. So it’s not just that you will cook meat and vegetable broth that you are eating and serve it to your dog. In some cases, yes, you two can share a meal but in the long -term there is plenty of things you have to think about in order to provide high quality and balanced homemade meal for your dog.
What would be the reason for your Maltipoo to refuse dog food:
- don’t like that particular food. It happens, try to find the brand he likes
- the change of dog food ( dogs sometimes need time to accept a new taste)
- it has something tastier available such as human food
- you give him a lot of treats throughout the day
- the dog food got stale, it’s not as fresh and tasty as it should be
Many Maltipoo owners experience this kind of issue. Dogs like to eat chicken and rice for example but not dog food. What to do in that case?
You have two different options. But before that, we need to say that chicken and rice are not high balanced diet for your Maltipoo. Either go with the flow or choose a tough love.
If you choose ”go with the flow” – continue giving your Maltipoo chicken and rice but learn more about homemade quality food for dogs and how to properly fulfill his nutritional needs. It can be challenging and time-consuming as you will need to cook almost every day but this is up to you.
Bear in mind that most of the homemade meals are not a perfectly balanced diet for your Maltipoo.
The option ”tough love” is a less popular solution but it’s far more effective and healthier for your pet, not to mention that it is easier for you in long term.
Make sure your dog is healthy and start with a change. Make sure you offer top quality dog food which your dog has already consumed and never showed any sign of an upset stomach.
Serve the food at his regular meal timings. Leave the bowl with food for 15-20 minutes and then take away no matter if your dog has eaten or not. It’s important not to give any other food to your dog.
For the next meal, do the same thing. If your dog is not eating, it is his choice, you are not starving him. When he is hungry and realizes that has no other choice, he will eat.
If you have a puppy that used to eat chicken and rice, try to include high-quality kibble by adding them to human food. Crush the kibble first and mix it up. After a couple of days, leave some kibbles whole to get used to the shape. Gradually increase the kibbles but reduce the amount of human food. Eventually serve dog food only.
Dogs, in general, can go without food for 3-5 days but if your Maltipoo is not eating more then 48 h, that’s a red flag, you should rush to the vet. In case you have a puppy, the time is even shorter, if it doesn’t eat for 24 hours, take him to the vet.
Adult Maltipoos usually have two main meals a day. In regard to treats, you can give some small treat 3-6 times a day to your Maltipoo. Make sure treats are healthy, free of cheap fillers, and preservatives.
Also, some safe types of fruits and vegetables might be a perfect treat or a special bonus for the main meal. Don’t overfeed your Maltipoo with treats.
If you do, he won’t eat his dog food. Why should he? He will wait for something tastier, as he knows that will come…
You would be surprised how quickly the dog food can get stale or become moldy. Make sure you roll the pack as it should, or move the content to the quality dog food storage container so you keep the freshness and the taste that will attract your Maltipoo.
Other causes for not eating ( non-medical issues)
If the timing is not right, your Maltipoo won’t be hungry enough to eat his meal and you will end up worried because he is not eating.
Many people serve the second meal to their dog as soon as they come back from work. They assume that a dog is hungry as he hasn’t eaten the whole day. Well, this is not quite true. The first need your dog has is a bathroom, that is also something that hasn’t done for the whole day ( unless you provided a doggy door and access to your backyard ).
After he finishes his job outside, he returns inside and now he can show you how happy he is because you are home again. So his next need is mix of play and cuddle time. When these needs are fulfilled he can have his dinner peacefully.
Magic word- peace. If your house is full of people ( for whatever reason ), loud music, many movements, reconstructions or noise of any type ( maybe thunderstorm is outside) your Maltipoo won’t be relax enough to eat.
Check your Maltipoo’s food bowl- maybe it’s too big for him. Maltipoo is a rather small dog and maybe he is having trouble eating from a deep and large bowl. Try with some shallow one or even plate (it can be a better option.)
Your Maltipoo might have psychological issues that are causing him a lack of appetite. If you have recently welcomed a new member of your family, your pet might be too excited, jealous.
He also might be rather sad if your grown-up boy left home and went to college. A new pet also can disrupt the balance, causing your dog to lose appetite.
What Are Medical Causes For Lack of Appetite in Your Maltipoo?
As we mentioned before, almost every disease will cause a lack of appetite in your Maltipoo. It can be a simple virus or intestinal distress but also can be something more serious such as liver or kidney disease, pancreatitis…
It is very important though to pay attention to your dog and how much he is eating. Also it’s very helpful if you notice some other symptoms as the complete information the vet can get from you will help him to rule in or rule out some issues and will reduce time until you get the diagnose.
If you notice that your adult dog is not eating at all for 48 hours rush to the vet. Water intake is also crucial as dogs can easily dehydrated and can go without water for much shorter time then without food. So make sure at least he drinks water .
Gastrointestinal disease – may cause a lack of appetite along with other symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Liver disease – besides lack of appetite the signs of liver disease is nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Maltipoo would be very weak and lethargic.
Pancreatitis – or inflammation of the pancreas causes some enzymes to be released which causes further inflammation, pain, nausea, and appetite loss. Other signs are weakness and vomiting.
Kidney failure – also causes a lack of appetite among other symptoms. Other signs are excessive drinking, urinating less or more, smelly breath, and lethargy.
Anemia – reduced blood cells – causes a lack of appetite and leaves your Maltipoo weak and lethargic
Neurological diseases – a great variety of diseases related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Different kind of seizure, epileptic episodes, lack of coordination, incapacity to walk, brain tumors, they all will cause a lack of appetite in your Maltipoo.
Dental diseases – broken teeth or infected gums will cause pain which will result in a lack of appetite.
Other health conditions that are causing pain such as ear infection ( your Maltipoo will not be happy to eat especially hard food), trauma, injuries, arthritis will surely lead to appetite loss.
When is Lack of Appetite Acceptable in Maltipoos?
Sometimes it’s quite acceptable that your Maltipoo eats less or even skip entire meals.
Females in heat and males that are nearby could have short term appetite loss. This should be followed up though as lack of appetite which is related to the heat cycle may indicate a disease called pyometra which requires urgent vet’s attention.
Younger Maltipoos (the teenage period between 6 months and 1 year ) might have a lack of appetite, as well as puppies especially because of teething pain.
Hot weather may cause lack of appetite in dogs in general.
Additives in some commercial dog food may cause your Maltipoo to turn his nose of the food. The same will happen if you mix some food that your Maltipoo doesn’t like.
For example, many dogs are not fans of veggies and will refuse to eat the whole meal if they notice that you mix vegetables with their food.
Also, note that your Maltipoo’s taste can change. In one period he likes some food and then a couple of months later, refuses to eat the same thing.
Some Maltipoos have a problem with bile when their stomach is empty for a long time. This problem manifests with vomiting of yellow liquid in the morning hours. If you notice this kind of problem in your Maltipoo, a late-night snack before bed could help.
How To Stimulate Your Maltipoo To Eat Better?
Warm up the food – if you giving your Maltipoo vet dog food or homemade food it’s a good idea to warm it up a little bit ( not to be hot ). Warm food has a better taste, more aroma and it seems tempting.
Moist the food – if you feed your Maltipoo with dry dog food, you can add some warm moist to kibbles. For example lukewarm chicken or beef unseasoned broth can enrich the flavor of kibbles.
Fish oil – is beneficial for dogs. It helps them to maintain a shiny and good-looking coat. Besides that dogs love the smell of fish oil. Just talk to the vet first to make the right dosage as you shouldn’t overdo it as it can cause diarrhea.
Smelly food – such as liverwurst, chicken, and beef liver is the food dogs simply love. Feed them in very small quantities or add this kind of food to the main meal to improve the general appeal.
Food that can improve flavor – gravy, soups, broths, sauces, dipping can add some more flavor to the dog food. You can either add it on the top ( but don’t forget to mix, as dogs are pretty clever, they might eat just top of the meal with a sauce and leave the rest behind) or cook it together. For extra flavor, you can sprinkle some Parmesan cheese.
Many people confirm that small dogs are picky eaters. Of course not all of them are. It won’t be right to label every Maltipoo that turns nose of the food as fussy eater.
Some Maltipoos are spoiled, others have some physiological issues that prevent them from the normal eating schedule. Almost every disease will cause a lack of appetite in dogs.
However, it’s super important to find out why your Maltipoo won’t eat. If he is just spoiled, that’s ok, this is also something that can be managed with training but make sure your dog is not suffering and desperately needs your help.
Good luck !