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Loss of appetite in French bulldog puppies can be a common problem you will have to face at some point in your pup’s life. Considering that there is a long list of reasons for the condition, it is important to identify the underlying cause so the appropriate treatment can be started.
Several factors can affect the appetite of your Frenchie puppy. Having an idea of what these are can help you determine what is behind your pet’s poor appetite.
These factors include the following:
Some dogs like kibble better than canned pet food, while others prefer a wet diet. If your dog is on a kibble diet, try topping it with some canned pet food to enhance the flavor and increase its palatability.
Soaking kibble in warm water may also do the trick. Heating canned pet food for a few seconds in the microwave can also bring out the flavors and entice your pup with a strong aroma.
Tooth and gum problems can be very painful and uncomfortable. Dental issues can be a common cause of appetite loss in puppies. These can include:
Inflamed gums or an abscess
A fractured or missing tooth
An oral growth or tumor
Foreign objects in between the teeth, or embedded in the tongue or gums
If you suspect your puppy might have a problem with their teeth, be sure to go to your veterinarian.
Stress or Anxiety
Frenchies can be extra-sensitive to certain stressors. If your pup is stressed or anxious, their appetite can suffer for it.
Their desire to eat will more than likely wane as they become more focused on what’s happening around them rather than on eating.
Some common stressors that can lead to prolonged periods of not eating include:
The arrival or presence of house guests, a new baby, or a new pet
Changes in the immediate environment
Moving to a new home
Separation anxiety — A French bulldog puppy that is not used to being left home alone can suffer from separation anxiety.
Your pup may start to panic each time they see you preparing to leave and your absence can cause a loss of appetite.
Separation anxiety should be addressed as early as possible, as it can pave the way for the development of more serious health issues that can be difficult to address later on.
Perhaps your French Bulldog puppy is just picky with their food. Your pup may have issues with their feeding bowl, where it’s placed, or the type of food.
If you are using a plastic feeding bowl, try switching to metal. A dog can smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than we can, and that plastic might be overwhelming to your pup. Metal feeding bowls are also less likely to cause allergies.
Feed your pup in a spot where there’s less household traffic. Dogs like to eat where they aren’t being disturbed so giving them some extra space can help. Or alternatively, if you’re crate training them, then feeding them in their crate can also give them a sense of ease.
TIP:When your pup is young, smoothly say their name as they eat. It can give them a sense of calm comfort.
Because of a Frenchie’s short neck, they may be more comfortable eating from an elevated bowl.
Illness or health problems
Loss of appetite in French bulldogs may be caused by an underlying illness. In most cases, it is accompanied by other symptoms that should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian as soon as possible.
If your pup is not eating, look for these signs of illness:
Lethargy and inactivity
Coughing or sneezing
Dry, red eyes
Mucus in poo
If you notice any of the above symptoms, then take your puppy immediately to your vet for a checkup.
Sometimes, your French Bulldog pup might have eaten something that does not agree with their system. They’re digestive system is still young and can be sensitive to different and new foods.
Be sure not to change up your puppy’s diet or give them food they’re not used to.
An upset stomach is usually a short-term concern that can resolve on its own without any treatment, but you should watch for the above symptoms in case it’s something more serious.
Just like humans, dogs may not feel too well after being vaccinated. The body can react to the vaccine with a temperature that is slightly higher than normal. This can be accompanied by a temporary loss of appetite.
Appetite suppression and/or digestive upsets can be a potential side effects of certain medications. In most instances, your veterinarian may already inform you of these concerns.
The loss of appetite, however, is mostly temporary, and your pup should start eating again once the medication has been eliminated from his system.
French Bulldogs belong to a group of dogs with anatomical aberrations that affect the development of their skull, particularly their mouth and nasal passages.
With their short noses, they are prone to suffering from breathing problems which can translate into heat stress.
On days when the temperature is higher than usual, your French Bulldog may search out places that are cool and shady. During these times, your pet may appear to be tired and lethargic, which can lead to a loss of appetite.
Just make sure they have easy access to fresh, clean water at all times. You may add some ice cubes to their water to assist in cooling them down.
Like humans, a dog’s appetite tends to change with age, and as your Frenchy grows up, you may find them eating considerably less.
They can also develop age-related health issues and dental problems that can make eating more difficult than it used to be.
Vital senses also tend to deteriorate with age. Since their sense of smell won’t be as sensitive as when they were younger, food would be less appealing to them.
If your Frenchie is not used to traveling or riding in a car, they may suffer motion sickness and won’t have much appetite for food.
If you’re regularly travelling in the car with your pup, gauge whether they may be suffering from car sickness. Watch if they always find somewhere to lay down after car rides, or perhaps ever vomit.
Any condition that causes pain and discomfort to your puppy can have a negative effect on their appetite.
Many dog owners think that being generous with treats is a way to show their love and affection to their pets. However, this habit is an important predisposing factor of obesity in pets.
Pet nutritionists recommend that calories from treats should not be more than 10% of the total daily calorie intake of dogs.
Have you been giving the same type of food to your Frenchie for a very long time? Then perhaps they’re just bored with eating the same meal day in and day out.
Try introducing a new flavor to your pet’s diet, such as switching from a beef diet to a lamb variant; it could possibly encourage your pup to eat. Just be sure to do it gradually.
Switching Pet Foods — How Do You Prevent Adverse Reactions?
Switching your puppy’s food without observing a proper transition period is an important cause of French bulldogs going off-food. Too quick a transition can cause stomach upsets and loss of appetite.
When making any changes to your pet’s diet, the magic word is “gradually”. The transition should stretch for about 10-20 days.
Your pup’s system needs enough time to get used to their new diet. This is the best way to prevent loss of appetite and digestive upsets.
Here’s a guide when switching your pet to a new diet. Your main aim here is to gradually decrease the amount of the old pet food while incorporating increasing amounts of the new one.
How to Encourage a French Bulldog Puppy to Eat
Avoid feeding your Frenchie with treats and scraps between meals. Just like kids, they won’t eat their main meals when they have eaten too many treats.
If your pup turns their nose up at their food, pick up their food bowl and hide it. Give them a few minutes before trying again; if they don’t start eating, remove it. Offer it again during the next mealtime schedule. In time, they will learn that their food won’t always be there so they should eat when it’s available to them.
Use an interactive feeding toy to attract your pet’s interest while motivating them physically and mentally. You can also use an interactive toy to keep your Frenchie busy when you need to go out.
Dogs like to eat their meals in a safe, stress-free, and comfortable environment.
Your pet may have gotten tired of eating the same type of food for many months or years. A new diet may do the trick.
Physical activity — Outdoor excursions and playing games with your pup are excellent ways to burn excess energy and make them hungry.
When to See Your Veterinarian
While most cases of appetite loss in French bulldog puppies tend to resolve in time without any medical intervention, there are times when there is a need to seek veterinary attention.
Prolonged loss of appetite – especially when it has extended for more than 48 hours
Poor water intake
Displays of aggressive behavior
Unexplained and rapid weight loss
Any of the symptoms from the above list on illnesses
Your puppy will go through various growth periods in their first year. At times they will eat ravenously and at other times, not so much.
The more you become acquainted with your Frenchie, the more you will know when something isn’t right with them.
If you ever feel like there might be something wrong, then it’s always best to take your pup to the vet for a checkup.
Marie started HoundGames with her husband, Geoff. She is a life long dog lover and always wanted to start a business around dogs, and she's finally living out her dream. They hope to launch more products in the future!