Poodles are known for their intelligence, elegance, and sometimes, their finicky eating habits.
If you’ve noticed your furry friend turning their nose up at mealtime, you’re not alone. Here is where we tackle a concern you may face: “Why won’t my poodle eat?”
Your Poodle may not be eating due to the following reasons:
- Your Poodle is a picky eater.
- He is bored with his current food.
- He is a senior dog with a reduced appetite.
- Your Poodle is stressed or has separation anxiety.
- He prefers eating at certain times.
- Due to environmental or routine changes.
- Your Poodle is sick.
- He has reacted to his medication.
- Your Poodle has dental pain.
This post is dedicated to understanding the various reasons behind your Poodle’s loss of appetite and providing practical solutions.
From health-related issues to behavioral factors, we’ll explore the myriad of possibilities that could affect your Poodle’s eating habits.
Let’s explore the world of Poodle nutrition and discover how to encourage your canine companion to eat well.
Understanding Your Poodle’s Appetite: Reasons for Not Eating
Skipping the odd meal is not unusual for Poodles, whether you have the standard, miniature, or toy variety. However, it can be distressing to see your dog entirely off his food.
Your Poodle won’t eat because he’s a picky eater, bored of his food, prefers eating at certain times, or has a decreased appetite due to old age.
He could also be off his food due to environmental changes, illness, stress, dental pain, or a medication or vaccination reaction.
If your Poodle goes for two days without eating, then it’s time to call the vet, as, by and large, it won’t stop eating for this amount of time for no apparent reason.
As a responsible pet owner, you must discover why your Poodle won’t eat and make the necessary changes.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why your Poodle may not be eating:
1. Picky Eater
Poodles are pretty smart. In fact, they’re ranked as the second most intelligent breed behind the Border Collie. They are highly trainable and love to perform tricks and act cute.
Poodles are also known to be fussy eaters – maybe their intelligence allows them to be extra cute where food is concerned, especially if they know they can ‘play you’ to get whatever you’re eating instead of their kibble.
You should be able to buy a bag of kibble every month and feed it to your best friend for years instead of changing his food every other week.
Also, don’t feed your Poodle too many treats or “people foods” between meals. If he’s used to getting leftovers or treats throughout the day, it’s no wonder he’s turning his nose up at his food.
You’ll also turn your Poodle into a fussy eater if you give treats to entice feeding.
You might find that your standard Poodle prefers a specific type of food, such as kibble, whereas a toy Poodle is more suited to canned wet food or pouches.
Once you have discovered what he likes, remain consistent with that type and don’t keep switching.
2. Bored with Current Food
Dogs only have a fraction of the taste buds that we have. Their sense of taste is only about one-sixth of the strength of humans. Instead, they use their powerful noses (up to a million times stronger than humans) to tell apart flavors.
This recent pilot study showed that untrained dogs used their sense of smell to choose their preferred food choice 89% of the time.
They typically ate more of the food they initially selected, suggesting they did not need to taste each food when deciding.
But, like humans, dogs sometimes get tired of eating the same food daily.
If your Poodle slowly loses interest in eating, try adding some wet food on top of his dry food to change the palatability and texture, soak his food in some warm water, or add unsalted chicken broth.
For miniature or toy Poodles that may be on a wet diet, try a mix of dry and wet, as they may enjoy the crunchy texture of the added kibble.
And for all Poodle varieties, you could switch to a raw, homemade, dehydrated, or freeze-dried diet. Read more here, Best Diet For Poodles (Nutrition Every Poodle Needs).
If this doesn’t work, try buying a different brand of food. You can also experiment to see if your Poodle will eat some leftover meat or treats, which can help determine if the food is the issue.
If your Poodle is happy to eat “human food” from you, you know that losing appetite is behavioral.
It’s funny how dogs regain their appetite for our food or doggy treats!
3. Senior Dog with Reduced Appetite
With age, dogs tend to eat less and lose a little weight. This is quite normal, as aging can cause a decreased sense of smell and taste, changes in eating habits, and different nutritional needs.
As your Poodle’s exercise needs reduce, he will likely be less hungry.
Your Poodle may benefit from dog food that is appropriate for seniors, which can significantly help with appetite issues. For example, senior dogs require a lower-calorie diet due to lower energy requirements and reduced metabolism.
Choose a top-quality product with healthy ingredients in the right proportions, as contrary to common belief, a reduced protein diet is unsuitable for an older dog.
This diet can contribute even more muscle loss, so don’t feed senior dogs a reduced protein diet.
Ensure you check the nutritional adequacy statement on the dog food packaging, as per the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO).
This statement determines the life stage of the dog for which the food is approved. However, there is no individual classification for “seniors,” so choose a food that’s labeled “adult maintenance” or “all life stages.”
4. Stress or Separation Anxiety
Poodles are a very affectionate breed and love being with their family. They thrive on attention and get anxious and nervous when left alone for long periods.
They may show symptoms of nuisance barking, pacing, drooling, not eating, peeing in the house, and trying to escape.
This is known as separation anxiety and is the emotional and behavioral state of the Poodle when left home alone. It’s a serious issue and simply means your dog cannot cope with being left alone.
Poodles are also very sensitive if there is too much noise or action around them despite socialization. They can become stressed, frightened, and lose their appetite.
Also, if they have suffered previous trauma or have transferred owners, they tend to exhibit signs of stress and anxiety.
5. Prefers Eating at Certain Times
Just like you might not like to eat breakfast at 7 am, your Poodle might also prefer not to eat at certain times. Although it can be concerning initially, it’s not unusual, especially as your dog approaches middle age.
It’s best to track how much food your Poodle eats throughout the day. If he still eats about the same amount, then don’t worry.
For example, my dog used to eat one meal in the morning and one in the late afternoon. However, now that she is a senior, she eats both meals late afternoon and evening.
Sometimes, she will hardly eat anything, but she’ll certainly make up for it the following day. Nonetheless, I always stay abreast of what she’s eaten.
6. Environmental or Routine Changes
If your Poodle suffers from anxiety due to environmental or routine changes, he may lose his appetite.
Dogs are creatures of habit and get used to their routine. Changes can make them feel stressed until they learn to adapt. Here are some examples:
- Moving house
- A family member moving out
- Going on vacation
- Relationship breakup
- A drastic change in exercise times
- New partner moving in
- A change in your routine, such as working shifts or nights
- Moving his bowl to a different area
These changes may stress your Poodle and cause him to be disinterested in food. If you need to change your doggos routine, try to do it gradually. Multiple changes should be done one by one.
If the food isn’t the problem, your Poodle could be sick or in pain or discomfort, especially if he isn’t drinking or exhibiting other symptoms.
A virus, infection, or serious illnesses like cancer, liver problems, or kidney disease could directly impact your Poodle’s desire to eat. If your dog is vomiting and has diarrhea, you may need to contact your vet sooner.
Your Poodle may have also eaten something poisonous. Some dogs will eat anything left lying around. Make sure your dog can’t get into the garbage and pilfer leftovers or moldy food.
Beware of foods like chocolate or grapes, as even tiny amounts can be toxic, and never leave them where your Poodle can reach them.
Not quite an illness, but some dogs lose their appetite when on their heat cycle.
8. Medication or Vaccinations
Some medications may cause nausea or a reduced appetite. If your Poodle is prescribed medication and your dog suddenly loses his appetite, you should inform your vet, as there will probably be another alternative.
Canine vaccinations can sometimes cause an adverse reaction, including loss of appetite. The good news is this should only be short-lived. Ensure your Poodle drinks lots of fresh water and keeps hydrated.
If your Poodle finds it hard to keep hydrated, you can always try a pet water fountain, as the free-falling stream of water entices your dog to drink and keeps the water constantly clean.
9. Dental Pain
When your Poodle suddenly stops eating his food, especially kibble, it could be because the food is causing him some pain in his mouth. It might result from gum disease, an abscess, an infection, or a damaged tooth or a cavity.
Other signs are a decreased interest in hard treats, drooling, pawing the mouth, chewing slowly, or dropping food from the mouth.
If that’s the case, try adding warm water to his food to make it soft or temporarily switch from kibble to soft food while you get his mouth checked over at the vet.
How To Get Your Poodle Eating Again
So, now that you’ve figured out why your Poodle isn’t eating, it’s time to experiment to see if you’re correct. By switching to a new diet or feeding style, you may have decided to see if your dog’s current food is the problem.
Switch Your Dog’s Food
If your Poodle gradually loses interest in food over a couple of weeks, he might no longer like his current food.
Here are some ways you can boost your dog’s appetite.
- Add warm water or unsalted chicken or beef broth. These methods will change your dog’s food’s texture, smell, and taste, making it more appealing.
- Choose a more fragrant food. If you don’t like the smell of your dog’s food, chances are your Poodle won’t, too! Choose a higher-quality food with a meaty aroma.
- Add a topping. You can add wet food or other toppings such as plain yogurt, egg, chicken, other meats, or fish. It’s something I frequently do to keep things interesting for my dog.
Check Out This Video On How To Get Your Dog to Eat…
Change Their Feeding Behavior
Here are some tips on how to change your Poodle’s feeding behavior:
- Stick to a specific feeding schedule. Dogs prefer routine.
- If you have been hand-feeding your Poodle, try stopping for a while.
- Alternatively, try hand-feeding, as your pup might need some attention.
- If your dog refuses to eat, don’t try to force it. Remove the bowl after 15 minutes, then put it down again a few hours later.
- Limit treats to training times only.
- Try keeping his mealtimes separate from yours.
- Put your Poodle in another room at your mealtimes.
- Do not feed your dog table scraps.
- Change your dog’s bowl, as some dogs don’t like to see their reflection in stainless steel or glass bowls. Try switching to a ceramic bowl instead.
- Always ensure your Poodle’s bowl is clean. Would you like to eat off a dirty plate?
- Try an interactive dog feeder that can make your dog’s mealtimes fun. They are also excellent if your dog is easily distracted by his environment.
- Praise your Poodle when he eats from his bowl.
- Exercise your Poodle before feeding to work up an appetite, but wait an hour before putting his bowl down to help prevent bloat (GDV). Although large, deep-chested dogs are more at risk, owners of miniature and toy Poodles should be aware of the dangers of bloat.
- Make feeding time fun – try putting a lid on his food, so he must remove it first.
You must remain calm and patient while changing your Poodle’s feeding behavior. You aren’t going to see an improvement overnight. It’s something you will need to work on.
If your dog senses your anxiety about his inappetence, he may become stressed and not eat, as dogs can pick up on human emotions.
Take Your Dog for a Veterinary Check-up
If your Poodle still isn’t interested in eating and has tried alternative feeding behaviors, you should take him to the vet for a check-up.
Your dog’s lack of appetite and consequential weight loss will damage his health, so you will need to tackle that first to see if there’s an underlying issue.
Your veterinarian will be able to figure out what the problem is after a thorough examination. Don’t worry, though, as you will have a treatment plan in place, and your Poodle will eat again in no time.
How Long Can a Poodle Go Without Eating?
Most healthy Poodles can go for three days without eating food as long they’re drinking water and staying hydrated. However, if your dog has gone more than two days without eating, you should call your vet as you need to find out the problem.
How Many Times Should a Poodle Eat a Day?
Standard Poodles should eat at least twice daily, whereas toy and miniature Poodles prefer feeding thrice daily. Don’t free-feed them, as they can become picky eaters. Puppies under six months should be fed more often as they need small daily meals.
What Can Poodles Not Eat?
Poodles can not eat chocolate, grapes, avocados, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and foods containing xylitol as they are all toxic. They should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cooked bones, which can splinter in the mouth. Salty foods, moldy foods, and yeast dough should not be eaten.
Are Poodles Food Motivated?
Poodles are known for not being food-motivated, and many owners will claim they are picky eaters. However, other Poodle owners will argue their dogs are highly driven by food and have healthy appetites.
Toy Poodles can be less food-motivated as small dogs are perceived to be finicky by their owners.
Let’s Wrap This Up!
It’s not uncommon for dogs to lose their appetite at some point. However, if your Poodle won’t eat, you need to figure out the source of the problem and how to address it.
Hopefully, these suggestions will fix the situation and return your Poodle to his everyday eating habits.