My Miniature Pinscher Won’t Eat, What To Do?

Is your Miniature Pinscher not eating at all the food you are giving him or you have noticed that he has a decreased appetite. There is a number of reasons why a dog, especially a small breed like Miniature Pinscher refuses to eat.

Lack of appetite in Min Pins might be caused by stress, a variety of health conditions ( viral/bacterial infection, pancreatitis, dental issues, liver or kidney disease), hot weather ( during summer months), age ( seniors eat less).Miniature Pinschers are dogs with small mouths and teeth, they can hardly handle the bites bigger than 1/2 of an inch in diameter. Also, this breed is prone to digestive problems, many of them have sensitive stomachs which can cause a bad appetite. Small dogs like Miniature Pinschers are also known to be fussy eaters. Some of the things you can do to encourage your Min Pin to eat are to provide a peaceful and calm environment, the right food bowl ( avoid plastic and too big bowls), and high-quality, right-sized food which you can make even more appealing by adding lukewarm water.

Why My Miniature Pinscher Won’t Eat?

If your Min Pin 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.

Make sure the food you offer to your Min Pin is high-quality, animal protein-based food ( up to 30% of animal protein, 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.

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 Min Pin might get puzzled and refuse to eat. That’s why it’s important to make this transition step by step.

Dental Issue

One of the reasons why your Min Pin has lost his appetite is a dental issue. Although this breed has generally good teeth, some broken or infected teeth or oral pain can happen now and then ( especially if you don’t take good care of your pet’s teeth, brushing them at least twice a week) Pay special attention if your Min Pin won’t eat dry, hard food but he is willing to eat wet food. That’s a clear indicator that something is wrong with his teeth.

Hot Weather

Hot weather may also have a big impact on your Min Pin’s appetite. Dogs generally eat less during the hot summer months ( 10-20%).

Less food intake is quite normal since your Min Pin is less active in this period. Just pay special attention to keeping your Min Pin 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 Min Pins 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 Min Pin’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 Min Pin. Let him settle first and then he will start eating normally.

Separation anxiety is also one of the major causes of stress in dogs.

Min Pin’s Age

Senior Min Pins 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 Min Pin may turn up very spoiled that their owners unintentionally taught if they hold out long enough, they will hand feed them. So 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 Min Pin 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.

Health Issues

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 Min Pin 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.

Heat Cycle

If you have an unspayed Min Pin 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 Min Pin 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 Min Pin Won’t Eat?

Let’s start with basic things. Make sure your Min Pin has an adequate food bowl.

What does that mean? Well, your dog is small and if you pick the bowl that has a high rim he can knock his forehead.

If the bowl is too deep, he has to stretch ( which is not comfortable ) a lot in order to reach the bottom. Maybe he won’t be able to pick up all the food from the 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. We already have said a few words about the right food and what it should and shouldn’t contain.

Also, the size of the food is important. Miniature Pinschers have smaller jaws and teeth than other dogs so they cannot handle the oversize bites. Make sure the food you serve to your dog be no bigger than 1/2 of an inch in diameter.

By serving the right-sized food to your dog you will also avoid complications like vomiting, which can easily happen if he swallows the food that isn’t fully chewed.

If your Min Pin 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.

Make sure you are serving the right amount of food to your Min Pin. Miniature Pinschers are small dogs, they eat small portions ( 1/2 ounce of food for each pound of the body weight, per day) 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 4-6 extra small snack bites only in the situation you need to reward wanted behavior.

Dogs like routine, so make sure your Min Pin has structured meal times. If your pet is having 2 meals, remember to give him his 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 your Min Pin has some other symptoms 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 Min Pin 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 Min Pin’s gum may tell you if your dog is dehydrated. Gums should be slippery, wet, and pink in color. If they are deep red or purple and dried out, you urgently must see the vet.


Miniature Pinschers 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 Min Pin’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.

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