Help, My Puppy is Not Eating!
Hi there just picked up our puppy 8 weeks old a couple days ago. He was eating well then suddenly changed. He doesn't have any appetite to eat the same food. I'm just a bit worried that he may starve himself.
Greetings from Miracle Shih Tzu...
An eight week old puppy refusing to eat can be very distressing to a new owner and it is a reason to be concerned.
Normal Shih Tzu puppies of this age are about 2 to 3 pounds and eat four times a day, even though the meals are very small. If a puppy refuses food all together, it is time to seek veterinary care.
There are reasons why a puppy might not eat, both medical and behavioral, but it is important to first rule out any medical issues.
1. Did your puppy have shots within the last 24 hours? Sometimes puppy vaccinations will cause a puppy to refuse food for a short period of time.
2. Has the puppy been checked for worms? Internal parasites are often a cause of a puppy's anorexia. Anorexia is a medical term for refusing to eat. To determine whether a puppy has worms, you must first obtain a fecal sample and take it to your vet. They will be able to determine if this is the problem and give you medicine.
3. Is the puppy sick? Again, only a veterinarian can determine this. Signs of illness in puppies this small include fatigue or listlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, failure to eat. They may or may not have a fever.
4. Sometimes stress plays a role. If the puppy is in a new environment, he may feel uncomfortable at first. This is his first experience being away from his mama and littermates and the felling can be overwhelming.
Additionally small puppies at about eight weeks of age go through a short fear period, which can affect their desire to eat.
1. The first thing to do is to make an appointment to see the vet. Obtain a fecal sample to take with you. Follow the vet's recommendations for feeding. He may prescribe a special diet or add probiotics to your regular puppy food.
2. Provide a stress free, quiet environment for the puppy with a place he can call his own. (Bed, crate) with plenty of time to sleep or nap. Young puppies spend much of their time napping so it is important to assure your puppy has adequate rest.
3. Make the food as palatable as possible. If you are feeding a kibble, you might want to add hot water to the food and allow it to become mushy. This takes about 5-10 minutes to get the food to the soft consistency. Then add a little cool water because puppies don't like their food too hot.
See if he will eat any of this "mushy" food. The addition of added water to the kibble will also provide some hydration. If the puppy is also refusing to drink water, he may get dehydrated quickly. This would not be good.
4. Always provide cool fresh water at all times.
Good Luck with your new puppy. Add a comment to let us know how he's doing.