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If your French Bulldog is a picky eater, no worries! There are things you can do to help. Are you feeding him his (or her, but for simiplicity, we’ll keep it to him for this article) normal food and he refuses to eat?
As a French Bulldog owner, it can be very stressful to watch your dog stop eating. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog finding a solution for your French Bulldog is important to keep them healthy.
This article will cover the most common reasons why your French Bulldog refuses to eat, when to worry about it, how long a French Bulldog can go without eating, and what you can do about it.
Why does my French bulldog not want to eat?
Reasons why a French Bulldog won’t eat
What are the reasons your French Bulldog won’t eat? Well, there are several possible causes and determining what is causing it will help you know what to do next.
It’s possible that he just simply is not interested in what you are offering him. I know it’s strange, but dogs have a personality just like people do and he might just not like what you are offering him.
Your French Bulldog could be experiencing pain or mouth discomfort. He might have loose teeth, gum infections, cuts, or splinters. However, it is also possible that his teeth are too small to handle the pieces of kibble. You can visually check to see if there is anything wrong, or take your Frenchie to a doggie dentist.
Anxiety or stress
Did you recently move? Maybe your French Bulldog is just adjusting to a new environment. Or, if he’s a new addition to the family, maybe he is not used to his new home and has separation anxiety.
Low energy level
Or, it could be that they are tired. Their energy level can impact how much they eat.
Additionally, the temperature can affect their appetite. It’s normal for dogs to eat less during the hotter times of the year.
It’s likely that your dog has less energy and is more lethargic in the hot weather, which is also what happens to people! This is not a sign to worry about.
If your French Bulldog is getting up there in age, then it’s possible for their appetite to naturally slow down.
Aging dogs can also develop health or dental problems which can lead to a lack of appetite or pain with eating. They also may start to lose their sense of smell which makes food less appealing.
Medication or vaccine
If your Frenchie is taking new medications or recently got a vaccine, that could cause his lack of appetite. Some drugs are appetite suppressants and can cause your dog to lose weight. This is normal and should clear up as soon as the medication or vaccine has cleared their system.
Worst Case Scenario
But it is possible that your dog has anorexia or is sick. If you notice a loss of energy and vomiting, you should take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
In the worst case scenario, your French Bulldog could have cancer, liver issues, or kidney problems.
Best Case Scenario
In the best case scenario, he is just picky, and you can find ways to entice him!
What to do when your French Bulldog won’t eat
Here are a few steps you can take to encourage your French Bulldog to eat, starting with what to do if they are just a picky eater and leading up to what to do if they are showing signs of illness.
Make their food more enticing – Switch up dry for wet food
If you use dry kibble food, try adding some warm water to soften it and make it easier to chew.
If that does not work, then try switching to wet food. You can find some high quality wet food options, even though traditionally many dog owners have been told to use dry food since it requires them to chew it.
You can also try mixing dry and wet food together to see if your French Bulldog likes that.
Or, try switching up the type of food with a new flavor or new brand.
Make their food more enticing – Add in human food
Try adding raw or boiled chicken breast on top of their dry kibble food to see if that entices your French Bulldog to eat. Or, try a small amount of chicken or beef broth to give the food a nice smell.
Even though many dog owners are hesitant to feed their dogs human food, it might be just the trick to get them to eat. And it is okay as long as you don’t give them food from the table.
Make their food more enticing – Microwave it
Interestingly enough, microwaving your French Bulldog’s food might be enough to get them to eat it because microwaving it releases a smell to entice your dog.
However, just make sure it’s not too hot so it doesn’t burn their tongue!
Do not feed them treats between meals
I know, you probably just want to get your French Bulldog to eat anything at this point. But do not give in and start feeding him treats between meals because that can discourage him from eating at mealtime.
Plus, feeding him treats frequently can cause your dog to become a picky eater.
Give your French Bulldog regular exercise
Make sure to get in exercise with walks before meals because, just like for people, it can help them work up an appetite. Then you’ll both be ready for a meal!
Try dog toys and training
If your French Bulldog likes toys, then this method may work for you. Try using a dog toy to train him to eat or check out an interactive feeding ball from a pet store. An interactive feeding ball releases dry food as it’s rolled.
Use raised food and water bowls
Since French Bulldogs have short necks, it can be hard for them to eat out of bowls at ground level. This can cause them to choke or even have pain while eating. Raising their food and water bowls can help.
If necessary, hand feed
If none of the above methods work for you, you can try hand feeding your French Bulldog. This should be saved as a last resort and can best help if your dog is sick and refusing to eat. You can use a syringe or feeding tube to get the food down.
Run health checks, test blood
In extreme cases, you may need to conduct some tests with your vet to understand more of what’s going on. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics for an illness, or appetite boosting drugs.
When should I worry about my dog not eating?
Start tracking the time as soon as you notice your French Bulldog stops eating.
Most brief experiences of stress or upset stomachs can pass within 24 to 48 hours. Therefore, you should contact a vet if your dog is still not eating after two days.
However, if you notice any signs of illness like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of energy, sudden weight loss, or a dry and warm nose, then you should contact a vet within eight to twelve hours.
And, if your French Bulldog is showing those signs and not drinking any water, contact a vet immediately.
How long can a French Bulldog go without eating?
French Bulldogs can often refuse to eat for a few meals in a row. Just like humans can fast for a few days and still survive, most dogs can last for up to five days without food (assuming they are still drinking water).
However, you do not want to wait that long to contact a vet. If they are still refusing to eat on day three, then you should contact a vet.
At the end of the day, there are things you can do to help your French Bulldog eat. You should first try to figure out the cause of their lack of appetite and then try various ways to entice them to eat. If nothing is working, don’t lose hope.
And remember that just because your French Bulldog is eating less than other French Bulldogs doesn’t mean that he can’t be very healthy. Every dog has a unique appetite. Do not force your French Bulldog to eat more than they are comfortable eating. And, you may need to mix it up. They may start to notice patterns with your methods so trying new things regularly is normal.
However, if you notice serious problems or their refusal to eat lasts for more than two days, you should see a vet as soon as possible.