Why Won’t My Whippet Eat?

why wont my whippet eat?

Whippets are generally active dogs, running and jumping like crazy outside. In the house, however, if you are on the couch, chances are that’s where they’ll be, cuddling up.

My doe-eyed Bonnie can become quite the couch potato in the winter months when the weather is bad and some whippets tend to put on a few pounds along with their mom or dad at this time. Snacking doesn’t help.

What if your problem is just the opposite of too much eating? What if your big question is, why won’t my whippet eat? Look no further; following is some information to answer to that very important question.

When Dogs Go Off Their Food

Whippets generally scarf up their food quickly and are sometimes opportunistic scavengers and little beggars. But now, your little whippet is just not that into their food and trying to get them to eat is making you feel ill.

Your whippet needs fuel for their high energy and although they are thin and delicate looking, they are quite strong and sturdy dogs.

why wont my whippet eat?
Image: John Mork

That being said, they can’t afford to lose too much weight by not eating. Here are some reasons why your pup may be off their food.

Too Much Food

If your pup is eating some food but not licking the bowl clean, you may simply be feeding your dog too much food.

Usually, portions are on the food bag or container and are determined by your whippets weight. Their daily amount should be split into two separate meals.

If you are feeding once a day, this could be the problem; too much food at once. Twice a day is better, especially for their digestion.

Distasteful & Boring Food

Your whippet may be off their food because they find it distasteful or have become bored with it.

Have you recently switched foods? Surprisingly switching from a cheaper grocery store brand to a more well balanced healthy food can be the culprit.

Unfortunately, the cheaper brands are more appealing to your pup because they have high salt, and sugar content and usually include artificial flavours.

These ingredients are incredibly tasty to your whippet but very unhealthy and unnecessary.

Try mixing their new healthier food with some grated raw or cooked fruits and vegetables. Check with your veterinarian or do a little research before adding.

Most are fine for your pup but some are not like mushrooms and avocados, which can be harmful. Grapes, raisins and other dried fruits are also a no-no.

Treats Galore

It’s fine to reward your little whippet with treats for good behaviour, but treats do not equal a meal.

They are not meant as a substitute for high-quality dog food and can spoil your pup’s appetite.

Most store-bought dog snacks have no nutritional value. Just like humans, if we fill up on too much junk food, we have no room for the good stuff.

Food Snacking & Stealing

Let’s face it, if we drop food on the floor, our pups will be there in a flash to hoover it up! They also aren’t too proud to snap up a pizza crust from an unattended paper plate!

Table scraps should be a definite no-no. These can make your whippet too full to eat their own food and make them prefer people food to their own, thus producing a very picky eater.

Stress

With whippets, any kind of stress can upset them and may cause them to lose their appetite. Anything from a new house, a change in schedule, a new baby or new pet can cause stress and anxiety for your dog.

Your whippet should also have a calm environment when it’s mealtime. You enjoy your meal much better when phones aren’t ringing and without shouting or a commotion.

A peaceful atmosphere is necessary for an enjoyable meal and better digestion.

Sickness

Loss of appetite can be a sign of illness, especially if your pup, who normally loves treats won’t even touch them.

If your pup exhibits any other symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting, then a trip to their vet is in order.

Sometimes the only symptom for some major health conditions, such as an infection or even certain cancers, is the loss of appetite.

Dental Conditions

Another reason for your pup to be off their food can be their dental health. If they have tooth or gum pain, they won’t be able to chew.

They can’t tell you this. If your pup has bad breath, they may have gingivitis, cavities or even an abscess. Doggie breath is not normal. If you suspect this, check in with your veterinarian.

Vet Visits

If your whippet recently had a veterinarian appointment that included any vaccinations or surgery, this could most certainly affect their appetite.

Often, for a few days after vaccinations, your whippet may not feel up to snuff. If they’ve had surgery, the anaesthetic sometimes has side effects that last a few days until they are out of your pup’s system.

Is My Whippet Just A Fussy Eater?

If your whippet has been a fussy eater from day one, then the answer is yes, they are a fussy eater.

Most dog breeds, in general, wolf down their food rather quickly and look for more, but dog breeds can be just as individual as humans.

We humans may like everything we eat and others eat only junk food, avoiding fruits and veggies. The same is true for our whippets.

The only difference is that we have control over what they eat. You won’t see your whippet at the Seven-Eleven buying a candy bar!

If your whippet has suddenly become a fussy eater, then something has changed and perhaps it’s one of the items listed above.

How To Get My Whippet Eating Again

Most of the time your whippet may go off their food because they are bored with it. If you ate the same food day after day, you would feel the same way.

Here are some ways to get your whippet to start eating again.

No Treats

Try to lay off the treats you give your whippet for awhile to see if too many snacks are spoiling their appetite.

Remove Food

If your whippet eats some food and then walks away, remove it. Don’t let them go back and pick throughout the day.

Feed your pup two times a day. If they don’t finish the first feeding, take it away. They will likely be hungry when it’s time for their second meal and gobble it all up.

Exercise

Feed your whippet after exercise or a walk. They should work up an appetite from expending all that energy.

Dog Food & Additions

Feed your whippet a high-quality dog food, usually without grains or fillers. These foods include all of the protein, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids your pup needs for good health and to maintain their energy level.

Often, this dry food can become boring, causing your whippet to turn up their nose. Why not mix it up?

Your whippet may prefer it warmer in cold weather so add some warm water to make a gravy or add a little high-quality canned dog food.

To really bring them around, add some tuna or cooked meat. The addition of some cooked eggs or sliced bananas can “kick it up a notch.”

Other fruits and vegetables can also be added but be aware of ones that are harmful to dogs, such as onions and garlic. You can finely chop or grate fruits and veggies, place in the food processor or serve cooked.

As a caution, if you are changing dog foods, do so slowly by gradually mixing a little new food with their old until they are just eating the new food.

Do not try all new additions at once. Let them sample one thing at a time.

Food allergies can occur, causing skin rashes and upset tummies if you overload them with too many new foods. You may only need to add one different food to spice up their meal, with them presenting you with a happy plate.

Other Diets

Another option to try would be preparing all of your whippet’s food yourself. There are cooked and raw diets and these would need to be researched very carefully because your pup may not get all of the important vitamins they need and may have to take supplements.

This can open up a whole new can of worms by determining what supplements and dosages. This can be very time consuming as well.

Should I Take My Whippet To The Vets?

Whippets normally like to chow down, however, if your whippet suddenly refuses food, by all means, make an appointment with their veterinarian.

It may be just a little bug that has them under the weather. Definitely schedule a visit if their loss of appetite is accompanied by any vomiting or diarrhoea and if they aren’t drinking either.

There are a few illnesses that show loss of appetite as a symptom that whippets can be prone to.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

One such disease is colitis, one of the inflammatory bowel diseases. It can be caused by food intolerance and stress. Symptoms are chronic diarrhoea and loss of appetite.

Pancreatitis

In pancreatitis, the pancreas becomes inflamed and swollen, causing pain. Symptoms are lethargy, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite.

Hypothyroidism

If your dog’s thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone, then it cannot regulate your pup’s metabolism.

This is a gradual decline of hormone and at the start, dogs usually have increased appetite.

Later stage hypothyroidism shows symptoms of lethargy or anxiety, dry, itchy skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Lymphoma

There are different types of lymphoma that can occur in dogs. Each has many different symptoms, but many have a loss of appetite on the list.

Loss of appetite does not mean your pup has lymphoma, but if it is one of many symptoms, it’s best to make a trip to the vet.

Other Considerations

If your pup suddenly stops eating but seems fine otherwise, give it a day or two and see if things turn around.

If your whippet is just picky and will eat treats, table scraps and everything but their food, then you may have to jazz that food up a bit. Don’t allow them to eat table scraps or treats all the time or they will remain a picky eater.

why wont my whippet eat?
Image: John Mork

If your whippet suddenly stops eating and drinking and is not going to the bathroom, seems ill and tired, seek immediate help from your veterinarian or an animal hospital. This could be something serious.

Final Thoughts

The tips above are meant to help you gauge why your whippet isn’t eating and what you can do to help. Even if your pup seems okay otherwise, but you are worried and a nervous wreck, by all means, take your pup in for a check-up. This will give you peace of mind.

So, why won’t my whippet eat?

There are plenty of reasons why your whippet won’t eat, but hopefully, this post has helped give you an idea and help you pinpoint the cause.

Uh oh; I think all this talk about eating has given Bonnie an appetite. She’s sitting by her empty bowl staring at the bananas on the counter. I must remind her; no jumping!

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