Poor Appetite, Not Eating, or Anorexia

When your pet is ill, the first sign you will notice is an untouched bowl of food. Good appetite equals good health. There are hundreds of diseases and problems that make your dog or cat uninterested in its food.


Diseases and conditions – infections, inflammation, poisoning, kidney or liver failure, pain, late pregnancy, foreign body in tummy (young to middle aged pets), hormonal imbalance, cancer (only in old pets)

Psychological – brain problem, stress, new environment or routine, hates the taste of particular food


Since having a poor appetite is a common sign of many diseases, physical examination is extremely important. Your vet will examine the head, mouth, neck, chest, belly and other parts in order to rule out certain conditions.

When the checkup is normal, your vet will recommend a series of tests. Complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, and urinalysis will be suggested to help narrow down possible causes.


Step 1

If this is a “just today” problem, observe your pet for the next few hours. Provide unlimited dextrose powder in water (2 tablespoons in 250 mL of clean water). Do not force feed.

If this has been going on for weeks, an immediate visit to the vet is a must. If you have a Pet Multivitamin paste, now is a good time to give a double dose.

If your pet needs to take after meals medicines without any food in its tummy, do not give them. Call your vet.

Step 2

To test if your pet is sick or just picky, offer 5 types of food, in 1 tablespoon quantity arranged in separate containers. Options could be any canned pet food, boiled chicken breast or liver, boiled pork, boiled beef, and boiled fish.

Step 3

If your pet ate it excitedly and still wags its tail, congratulations!

If your pet continues to be uninterested for 6-8 hours or more, gently force feed any softened food at the side of the mouth, along the cheek. Do not put your fingers in between its teeth.

If your pet spits it out or becomes aggressive, it may be in pain and may need immediate veterinary attention.

Step 4

Never give your pet human medication, such as Paracetamol, aspirin or acetaminophen. It will lead to kidney damage which may be irreversible.

Be several minutes early in your vet's office before it opens in the morning.

6 thoughts on “Poor Appetite, Not Eating, or Anorexia”

  1. My cat had not eaten for 3 days now. Indoor cat po siya at malaks po siya kumain at uminom ng tubig. Special cat po pahkain nila pero mixed with rice po katulad din ng ibang rescued cat ko. Bumili po ako ng ibang dry cat food pero siya lang po ang biglang nanghina at hindi na kumain… Please pa advice po ako. Yung ihi niya po medyo ma red at nagsuka po siya kahapon ng gabi at madaling araw dahil hinaluan ko ng cat food na durog iniinom niya tapos after ng ilang oras sumuka siya saka po ng madaling araw pero onti lang.

    1. Hi Shilla, this sounds like a FLUTD with obstruction. This is a condition in male cats where there is too much minerals or “salt” in their diet, they form crystals or sand-like material which then obstruct the penis, preventing urine ejection. This abnormality causes blood to appear in the pee, intense pain, and worst, kidney failure.

      Unfortunately, there is no first aid that can be done at home and you need to bring your cat ASAP to the vet for catheterization, lab works, and confinement.

      Hope this helps, thanks

  2. Dorothy Ann Atienza

    yung siamese kitten ko po may gingivitis pero kumakain po sya ng wet and dry food, mdyo foul lang poh ang amoy when i checked her mouth dun ko na po nakita ung swollen gums nya i cleaned it with water and cotton balls then I rinse with bactidol. Need pa ba nya ng Antibiotics?Thank you

    1. Hi Dorothy. I hope you are well. I would recommend you continue the mouth cleaning regimen you have (thrice daily for 3 consecutive days). If the bad breath and gum inflammation persist after this period, the next best thing is to have it checked to determine whether it needs a dental cleaning or it is caused by other body problems like systemic infections or kidney issues. Cheers!

  3. Hello po.. Yung pusa ko po.
    Simula kagabe hindi na sya kumain. Then kapag binibigyan ko sya ng pagkain. Aamuyin nya tapos maduduwal sya.. Maya maya ma susuka na sya. Pero wala naman kulay suka nya.. Nakikita ko naman na umiinom sya ng water.

    Tapos, gusto nya lang Mapag isa.. Natutulog lang sya..

    Sana masagot. Salamat po..

    1. Hi Cristina! I’m sorry to hear this. Based on your description, your cat may probably have nausea, weakness, dehydration and pain.

      The combination of these symptoms could point that there could be a tummy upset, or something more serious.

      If there is poor appetite for more than 24 hours, then this is considered an urgent case. Meaning it is something serious that needs immediate medical attention.

      It’s better if you bring your cat to the vet since prolonged inappetence would further weaken its body and make it more prone to infections/diseases.

      Hope this helps…

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