How To Get A Scared Dog To Eat [Step By Step Process]

How To Get A Scared Dog To Eat

Your dog’s eating schedule is much more important to you and your doggy as well. If this schedule gets interrupted when your doggy is scared of something.

A scared dog may refuse to eat because of fear, stress, shock, repetitive mind, health issues, and sadness. Making a calm environment, changing food, proper socialization, mental stimulation, spending more together time, and consulting a veterinarian are some ways to make a scared dog to eat.

So, the article will give you a total boost regarding the issue of your buddy not eating when scared. Moreover, you can try some tricks and tips mentioned below. Here we go!

Why do dogs refuse to eat when they are scared?

Now, first and foremost, you have to find the real problem with your doggy fellow.

It is better to have a keen observation on him or her and see whether they are actually scared and, if yes, find the reason for him or her to get scared.

So getting scared maybe for a little thing that we do not think they might get noticed can change their eating schedule or even not eat anything at all.

There can be several reasons for a doggy to not eat when they are scared. Dogs are a kind of pets who show very sensitive behaviors and reactions even for minute issues and changes in their surroundings.

Let’s see why do dogs refuse to eat when they are scared. There can be some reasons which you might never think of.

1. Unnecessary fear

The unnecessary fear created when they are terribly scared can be a reason for not having food or even to look at the bowl of food.

There can be the possibility of them thinking that the same incident that makes them scared can happen again. Thus, unnecessary fear emerges. 

This fear can be continuous for a considerable period of time if you do not take much care of your doggy’s situation.

Do you know that some dogs are even scared of musical instruments?

2. Stress

Another common reason for your doggy not eating when they are scared is stress.

The unbearable stress created by fear can lead them to hunger.

You know that stress is a condition that your doggy will not handle at any cost.

3. Shock

The shock hits your doggy down to the ground while not eating for days and days.

This shock can pop out suddenly or continuously after the scary situation they faced or from the time they got scared.

So, it can be the reason for your doggy to not eat any food you give him or her.

Be careful and watch around keenly!

4. Repetitive mind

This is a condition common with men as well. Once a person or any individual faces a scary situation, he or she cannot get it out of their head at once.

The same procedure is also happening with the doggy friends as well. He or she might get flashbacks of the incident or the scary thing they saw or experienced.

They might not be interested in eating in such situations, may be thinking that the same situation or incident will happen again.

This is a critical condition that can drag the mental status of your buddy to the ground. In these cases, of course, you need the vet’s advice and guidance.

5. Sadness

On the one hand, the sadness created from the scary situation of a dog might refuse to have food or sometimes not to eat anything at all.

They might get deeply overwhelmed with sadness and try to avoid food and stay all alone in the corner of the playpen or at any nook of your house.

Sometimes, they might not even feel that they are hungry. Because their mindset is still with the scary situation that happened or the scary thing they saw.  

As you are dealing with their hurt mentality, you should be very careful in such conditions.

Trust me, a sad doggy who is not having any food is the worst thing that might happen to you!

How to get your scared dog to eat?

Now we have come to the real challenge; as per the above information, you can have an idea about what has happened to your doggy fellow.

So we will see how to get rid of the issues mentioned above and help your doggy come back to the Normal routine.

This is how to get your scared dog to eat. Give it a try and see.

1.Make a calm environment

A soothing environment without disturbances is one of the best solutions for your scared dog.

This is not only for his or her feeding time but during the rest of the day, he or she can be kept in a calm environment and let them heal.

Remember to remove all the unnecessary stuff which might have the probability of increasing their fear and dislike.

2. Change food

Well, sometimes your doggo might get scared of the shape of the food you feed him or her. And for some dogs, it might be the smell or taste.

You might wonder for a little, but this is the truth. Since dogs are extremely sensitive towards anything, especially for food, they might experience some bad vibes, which are totally weird with us.

So go for a new change in their food and see whether there is any difference. 

3. Make familiar with people

If your lovely pooch is scared of meeting new ones, maybe neighbors and your friends and relatives, it might be the reason for not eating as it creates unnecessary fear in them.

Take your doggy for a walk to your neighboring place if they do not show any dislike. If not, you can take him or her to a park or to your uncle’s place and let them roam freely.

Let them grab the atmosphere and move along with the people around.

Then try feeding him or her, and if you see any development, the issue of your doggy is the fear towards people.

4. Release their stress

If the problem of your doggy is stress, you can try some methods to release their stress.

Stress is a serious condition where your dog might refuse a single water cup, not even food.

Consult the vet and ask for some advice regarding releasing the dog’s stress and then try feeding him or her. Give him or her a reasonable workout schedule and take them for walks.

Then start by giving the much-preferred food items and go for nutritious ones. You will notice a change in your doggy partner.

5. Spend more time

Sometimes, your doggy might be scared of loneliness. Even human beings do.

So in such situations, the only thing you can do is spend more time with them. Go for evening walks and play with him or her as well as you can.

Let them feel that you are around not when they are playing, but during the time they have food.

But, remember not to go so near when they are eating because they might think it is time to end or you are there to take away the bowl.

Be sure to make them feel that you are home. 

Try this and see the difference. They will start to eat every good thing you give them since they are no longer scared.

How to understand if your dog isn’t eating because of fear?

When it is about the subject, ‘not eating,’ there can be several solid reasons for s dog to stay away from. Out of those reasons, you have to decide correctly whether they are not eating because of fear and attend to the matter carefully.

Then the question comes, how to understand whether your dog is not eating because of fear.

The only thing you gotta do is observe their behavioral patterns, whether they are changing drastically at once or maybe they give a sign through their reactions towards you.

Now, we will look into some common signs they give you to understand that they are not eating because of fear.

1. Changes in eating

This can be considered a common sign of fear which gradually reduces your doggy’s appetite. Finally, it will keep your dog in hunger for days and days.

Sometimes, this condition can increase dogs’ digestive problems and cause them pain, making your doggo stay without food.

Remember, if your dog starts to refuse food suddenly, it will be a sign of fear and stress created out of it. In such situations, be hurry and consult the vet.

If this condition runs deep into a severe condition like anxiety or depression, you will have to focus a lot on your doggy, and it will be not easy to take him or her out of the situation.

2. Being lazy

If your doggy shows that he or she is lazier than usual days, just focus a bit more on them as this can be the sign they show you about the fear.

And also, when you try to get them out for a walk or to the park, they start pancaking on the ground and act like you are taking him or her to a dragon or someone.

So be on alert and if you can’t solve it by yourself, go to the vet and follow what he says.

3. Sleep a lot

Basically, dogs and humans share some equal procedures when they get scared or under stress. Sleep is such a common factor.

So, if you notice an unusual sleeping pattern in your doggy, attend to him or her carefully. However, dogs like Greyhounds tend to sleep so much compared to other dogs.

Because spending the whole day or a considerable time of the day sleeping can be a sign of fear within them.

Most of the time, when doggos get scared, they find the best coping method is sleeping at a corner of your home, which is hidden from the outsiders.

If you notice such behavior, you can try some exercises with your doggy and practice it as a daily routine.

Exercises increase positive stimuli and let them be more active during the day when you are around.

4. Respond only to you

When your doggy fellow starts to respond only to you all at once, it can be a sign of fear.

This can happen as a sudden change though your dog was very friendly and responsive with others in the past.

So, in such situations, try to be with him or her and gradually move them with friends and neighbors who were friendly with your dog before.

What are some other reasons why a dog may not eat?

Well, apart from those mentioned above and discussed reasons, there might be some different causes for your dog not to eat.

We will have a brief account of those as well.

1. Physical illness

Your doggy might refuse food and try to stay from eating anything you feed him or her due to a physical illness. A severe pain causing an unbearable situation might stop them from having food.

Physical illness can vary from dental to severe conditions like cancers and tumors.

So be alert, and if you notice such behavior for a considerable period of time, take your pooch to the vet ASAP.

2. Food issues

Well, sometimes, your dog might hesitate to eat because of the type of food he or she is fed.

If you made a change in their diet, they might refuse to eat. If you start to give him or her wet food instead of dry food they were having, it can also be a problem.

So be careful when changing their diet.

Suggested Reading: Can large dogs eat small dog food? (Vice versa)

3. Changes in the surrounding

Dogs feel even a little change in their surroundings as a big issue. Sometimes, this can lead them to not eat food as well.

It might be a change of the place of a  chair or a table in his or her eating area, which could disturb their eating routine.

4. Travelling/shifting to a new house

The effects of traveling and shifting to a totally new residence might lead them to not have food as usual.

Since dogs are extremely sensitive towards the environment and each and every change it is subjected to, they might take some time to adapt to the new place.

So, on such occasions, there is a possibility of refusing food. If it continues for days, it’s better to talk with the vet.

5. Mental illness

Physical illnesses and mental illnesses can also terribly affect your doggy in the issue of not eating.

Apart from the fear, anxious conditions, depressive mindsets, and getting more panic easily are some common mental illnesses dogs face during their day-to-day life.

So, obviously, they do not tend to eat in such situations. How can they eat something when they are not in a mood?

Be alert on their mental condition as well and cater to their needs to reboot a happy and healthy mentality.

Things to be aware of

Apart from all the facts above, which are in detail, there are some other things you really need to consider when your dog is not eating because of fear.

First, ensure the food bowls are well clean and fresh-looking. It increases the appetite of your dog and provokes them to eat.

Be careful about the smell of the food items you give to your dog; in order to do that, you have to first identify which smells they prefer and which are not.

If it is tough to feed them with food, you can give it a go with some treats. But DO NOT do it as a habit.

Let them move around and hang out with their dog friends and help them to get rid of fear gradually in a systematic way.

The most important factor is, BE PATIENT with your doggy’s helpless condition. Do not ever scold them or punish them.

Be soft and kind towards their problems and let them feel that you are always with them.

If none of the above-described solutions are not working, talk with the vet and follow his guidelines and see whether you can notice any change in your poor scared doggy’s behavior.


Well, I suppose now you have answers for the burning question, how to get your scared doggy to eat again as usual. As a dog parent, this problem of your doggy fellow not eating, no matter the reason, is one of the worst feelings a dog parent can ever have.

Try the above tips and tricks and consult the vet if needed and take your dog buddy back on the track.

Cheers until next time!

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