Dogs are not able to tell their owners when they are not feeling well. It is the dog owner's responsibility to notice the signs of illness or discomfort in a dog. The most recognizable indicators of a dog not feeling well include a lack of appetite and a loss of energy. These symptoms can be indicators of a large number of conditions, but only a veterinarian can make a proper diagnosis.
Lack of Appetite vs. Not Being Hungry
A dog might not necessarily eat his food as soon as it hits the bowl. Although most dogs eagerly await their food, some dogs only eat when they are hungry. Not immediately eating is not a sign of a lack of appetite but rather not being hungry. If the food remains in the bowl for a couple of days and the dog refuses to eat fresh dog food, this might be a sign of a lack of appetite. It is important to verify with the rest of the family that no one else is filling the bowl or feeding the dog.
Loss of Energy vs. Being Tired
Even hyperactive puppies can eventually run out of energy. This is not a sign of a loss of energy but rather simply being tired. If the dog is sleeping an excessive amount or refuses to play after sleeping, this can be considered a loss of energy. If this continues for more than a day, take the dog to the veterinarian for evaluation. A loss of energy could indicate a serious condition.
If a dog is presenting with a lack of appetite and a loss of energy a veterinarian will order a full blood work-up, urine analysis and possibly X-rays. The X-rays will help a veterinarian determine if there is a blockage in the dog's bowls. The blood work and urine analysis will help the veterinarian determine if there is another medical reason for the dog not to be acting normally. The veterinarian may recommend changing the brand or type of food if no medical reason can be found.
There are many conditions that can present through a lack of appetite and loss of energy. The most common condition is a blockage. This is caused by a dog eating something that he should not have eaten, such as a towel or rocks. Diabetes can cause these symptoms as well. This is a condition in which the pancreas fails to function appropriately. Cancer is a more serious condition that causes these symptoms. In the best case, the condition is caused by the dog having a cold.
There is no way to know how the dog will respond and if he will regain his appetite and energy level without knowing what the condition is. If cancer is the culprit, the condition might prove terminal, and the dog might never recover. Diabetes is a treatable condition that dogs tend to tolerate well. Dogs with this condition often go back to a normal life with little difficulty. A canine cold will leave the dog on its own within a matter of days, and the dog will quickly regain his appetite and energy level.