How Can You Get Your Anorexic Dog and Cat To Eat Again?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that most of us associate with people. You might be surprised to learn that animals, particularly cats and dogs, can also have eating disorders, though.

Does your pet have an eating disorder? And if so, what do you do about it?

Animal Anorexia

Animals can get anorexia, but not in the same way that people get it. With people, anorexia is a psychological disorder based on an irrational fear of gaining weight.

For pets, anorexia is an unwillingness or inability to eat, which usually shows there is an underlying problem. Unlike people, animals don't care about weight gain, so you have to look elsewhere for the root causes when your pet stops eating.

Types of Pet Anorexia

There are basically two categories into which pet anorexia falls.

"True anorexia" is when your pet refuses to eat because he has lost interest in food. True anorexia may be caused by illness, such as a bowel obstruction or a cold, impacting his ability to smell. It might be due to depression, such as when a member of the family moves out or passes away and your pet feels abandoned. He may be a picky eater and not like the food he's been given.

"Pseudo-anorexia" is when your pet does want to eat but shows signs that he can't. This may be caused by a painful tooth abscess, gum disease, a throat infection, painful joints when he bends his head down to eat, or a problem with his nervous system that makes it hard to chew or swallow.

Supportive Therapy

If you don't know the underlying cause of your pet's anorexia, try different ways to accommodate him. Try introducing different foods or change up his feeding schedule. Do something to make his environment more comfortable, moving away from anything that causes him stress or distracts him. Give him attention and love if you think the cause might be psychological.

Of course, you should take him to the vet soon to see if his health care provider can determine the cause of his anorexia.

Specific Therapy

Once you or your vet discovers the underlying cause of anorexia, you can take more specific measures to treat it. This may include treating any ailment or injury your dog has, if possible. Your vet may be able to prescribe an appetite stimulant if he thinks your pet needs it.
Once those causes have been treated, your pet will probably return to normal eating habits.

Source: Good Pet Parent
Photo: Pexels

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