There are many diseases that cause a pet to not want to eat that need to be addressed first. Until you know the cause of why your pet is not eating, you should not force feed it. If your pet is acting sick in any way and stops eating, you need to consult your veterinarian immediately.
Whether your dog is stressed or is suffering from a medical condition, you cannot let him go hungry for an extended period of time. You will need to coax him to eat. Here are some strategies you can employ:
- Moisten dry food with a bit of warm water or gravy to make it more palatable.
- Hand feed your dog, and talk to him as he eats. Stimulate his appetite by stroking his head and neck.
- Let your dog lick a bit of food off your finger or off his paw.
- Use an eyedropper (plastic, not glass) to put liquid food a drop at a time in his mouth.
- Use a tongue depressor, with a few drops of food on the tip, to feed your dog.
- Put a drop of food on his nose for him to lick off. Do that a few times, and then try to put a drop of food in his mouth
If coaxing technique strategies fail, rather than risk your dog dying from malnutrition, you will have to consider syringe feeding as a last resort. This means you will be literally force-feeding your dog by pumping food paste down his throat with a syringe. This will be tricky so consult your vet for sound advice. Just to give you an idea, here’s how syringe feeding is done:
- Use a syringe that has a barrel marked accurately, in milliliters (1/1000 of a liter), for volume. Start by force-feeding your dog a very small amount of food, like 1 ml, and try that for several times. If your dog takes that, then you can scale up the volume of food to 2 ml – 5 ml, depending on the dog.