Why Your Puppy Isn’t Eating and How to Fix It

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You just brought home your puppy and everything they do fascinates you.

When their tiny paw twitches in their sleep, you catch it on video.

When they take their first bath, you capture the moment with endless pictures.

When they lick you with that sweet puppy breath of theirs.

That’s exactly how I felt when Maggie came home as a puppy. I adored everything she did, because let’s face it:

Puppies are magic.

As a new dog owner, you have a lot to look forward to, but you may also have a few concerns.

Your puppy may not eat as well as they used to or doesn’t seem as excited about meals as they should.

Check out these reasons why your puppy isn’t eating and how to fix it.

A few at-home tricks could be all your puppy needs to jump at the chance to eat.

Why Your Puppy Isn’t Eating

Puppies have a lot to learn, but they’re still complicated pups.

There could be a lot of reasons why your puppy doesn’t want to eat, so see if any of these reasons could explain away the issue.

They’re Still Adjusting

You’ve looked forward to bringing your puppy home for a while now, but they didn’t know they were leaving their siblings until it happened.

Why is my puppy not eating after bringing home not adjusting to food

It’s a shock for any puppy to adjust to a new home. Sometimes that anxiety translates through their eating habits.

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As long as they’re eating twice to three times per day, your puppy is probably fine.

Slow eaters are still eating.

It’s only a concern if they’re able to pass through two or more mealtimes without touching their food at all.

The Food Bothers Their Stomach

By the time you picked up your puppy, the breeder or shelter transitioned them from their mother’s milk to a solid food.

If you started feeding them a different brand when they got home, it could be upsetting their stomach in a normal, non-concerning way[1].

Give them a few days to a week to adjust to their new food.

If they’re still having diarrhea or constipation after that time frame, talk with your vet about sensitive stomach kibble alternatives.

They Have Digestive Inflammation

Puppies love to eat everything they come across.

Does my puppy have digestive inflammation upset stomach from licking something bad
“So that’s what paint tastes like!”

It’s how they learn about the world, but that isn’t always a good thing.

Your puppy may have licked or eaten something that caused their digestive tract to become inflamed or irritated.

Keep an eye on what they eat over the next week and try to restrict them so they only eat their food or treats.

They Don’t Like the Food

It’s also possible that you got a dog food flavor that your puppy doesn’t enjoy.

If they aren’t into a beef flavor, switch to a chicken or fish-based kibble.

As long as you do your research on the kibble’s brand, your puppy will still get nutritious food from a reliable brand.

They’re Teething

Puppies start teething early and experience the full swing of it when they’re six months old.

Puppies around this age may not feel comfortable chewing on dry kibble because of how sore their teeth and gums are.

How to Help Your Puppy Eat Again

There’s always a way to help your puppy fall back in love with their food.

Try these easy tips to see if they help your pup:

Mix Their Dry Food with Canned FoodBlue Wilderness puppy canned chicken mixed with dry food to help puppies learn to eat

Anyone would get bored eating the same food every day, so that may be your puppy’s problem.

Find the canned food version of their kibble or one with a similar flavor and mix a bit in with their usual food.

The wet food is stronger on their sense of smell, which makes it more appetizing.

You may only need a can or two to get your pup back in the habit of eating their whole bowl in one sitting.

Soften with Chicken Broth

Have any chicken broth in your pantry or fridge?

Warm up a half to a whole cup in the microwave until it’s warm enough to touch without being hot. Pour it in with your dog’s bowl of kibble and give the food ten minutes to soak.

Chicken broth is a low calorie and low cost way of making your puppy’s food more appetizing. It also softens the kibble, which is great for puppies who are teething (and it’s great for senior dogs, too!).

Make sure to get a low-sodium or no-sodium-added chicken broth at the store.

Too much sodium will either make them pee more or lead to sodium ion poisoning[2], which causes vomiting, tremors, and seizures.

Add Boiled White Rice

Nutro Feed Clean wholesome essentials puppy lamb rice recipe for sensitive stomachs
Puppy food with rice is another good choice for puppies with sensitive stomachs but isn’t the same as straight-up boiled white rice

White rice is another easy food to add to your puppy’s kibble.

It has little nutritional content that may upset or further irritate an inflamed bowel. It’s also an easy carb to digest[3], as long as you don’t give them too much at a time.

Eight-week-old puppies can start with an eighth cup of white rice in their food and see how they react to it.

As they grow, it can be increased by spoonfuls, but should only be fed at times when they aren’t interested in eating.

Give Them Cooked Chicken

After your puppy is older, they can test out most table scraps that are low in sodium, fats, and carbs.

Cooked chicken is the perfect example of that kind of food and it’s safe for puppies to eat[4].

Cook a chicken breast and shred it into fine pieces, then chop that up into tiny bits. An eighth cup of chicken can be added to your puppies kibble, even if it already has rice or chicken broth in it.

Just be sure to never feed your puppy any meats or human foods that have oils, seasonings, or butter on it.

Ask Your Vet for Help

Veterinary advice to get newly adopted puppy to start eating dry food

I’ll admit, making changes to Maggie’s puppy diet was a little scary.

She was my first dog, so I didn’t have experience.

These are the same tips Maggie’s vet and my dog parent friends gave to me, but you can always ask your own dog’s vet for help if you’re nervous.

They’ll help narrow down what’s causing your puppy’s upset stomach and find the best solution.


  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/right-way-switch-dog-foods/
  2. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat
  3. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/can-dogs-eat-rice/
  4. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/six-foods-to-feed-your-dog-when-hes-sick/

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