Female dog in heat not eating? It is a common phenomenon for unspayed female dogs to behave differently, including losing appetite, during heat. The hormonal changes they are undergoing are responsible for this abrupt change.
This could be a confusing and frustrating time for dog owners as they could become worried that their dog may lose weight or even develop a health condition by not eating. The worse thing is they have no idea how to help their dog, especially if this is their dog’s first estrus cycle.
If you are a dog owner whose dog has turned her back on food during heat, and you are looking for how to help her, then you are in the right place. In this article, we’ll let you know why your dog has lost her appetite in heat, and what you can do to get your dog to eat more. This is so she doesn’t become nutritionally deficient. Now let’s proceed.
Female Dog in Heat Not Eating: Why?
During heat, your dog does not want to do anything else besides mating. For this sole reason, she might become wild and strongly determined to get a male dog to mate with her. This is completely normal in dogs.
Hormones are very powerful, and your dog’s behavior is driven by the constant rush. Doing everything (including odd things) within her power to mate with a male dog. During this period, she is least concerned about food. Until she obeys nature’s command of reproduction she won’t pay attention to other things.
The cold feet’ disposition toward food can be tied to the hormonal and behavioral changes she’s undergoing during the heat. Let’s learn how both of these factors affect her appetite.
1. Hormonal Changes
As mentioned earlier, when your dog is in heat, nothing else matters to her, including food. This can be linked to an increase in estrogen levels and other hormones such as progesterone, estradiol, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone.
The raging hormones are responsible for most of her behavior during this period. For instance, your dog may urinate on spots around the house, or even on the streets during walks. What that means is that she is sending signals to male dogs to find her and mate with her.
These complex biological processes are the reasons why your dog has placed food at the bottom of her priority list right now.
2. Behavioral Changes
Your dog’s behavior during her heat period is birthed by the hormonal changes mentioned above. She may exhibit certain behaviors such as whining, crying, becoming aggressive or even running away from home.
Anything to mate with a male dog. You may notice that your dog always uses any opportunity she finds to go outside to solicit male dogs. This is completely normal. The only thing on her mind right now is mating with a male dog. Every other thing comes second, including food.
It can be a bit daunting for dog owners to make their dogs eat during this period, but thanks to the tips you’ll find below,
How Can I Get My Dog to Eat While in Heat?
By now, you must have understood that the hormonal changes your dog is undergoing are the primary reasons why she won’t eat. While this may be normal, your dog could become nutritionally deficient if she goes without food for a long time. Let’s find out below how you can get your dog to eat while in heat.
1. Give Her an Irresistible Meal
Even if your dog ate any food you gave her, during her estrus cycle, her appetite dwindles and she becomes picky. Serving her an irresistible meal will make her want to give it a try. Here are a few tips to try:
- Add water or a sodium-free chicken broth to the dog’s food. Let it soak for a few minutes to soften it. Feed her tastier chunks of meat, some tasty fats like fish oil, and delicious fruits like strawberries. You can also sprinkle some tasty food toppers on your dog’s foods to further encourage her.
- Heat canned food in the microwave for a few seconds. Make sure you take it out of the metal container and put it in a microwave-safe bowl before heating it. Some microwaves heat food a lot faster, so ensure it’s not too hot for your dog by feeling it with the back of your hand before serving to avoid burning your dog’s tongue.
- You can mix some boneless and skinless boiled chicken and rice for your dog. In addition, you can add some kibbles to encourage her to eat.
2. Serve Her Nutritious Dog Meal
It is not just serving your dog an irresistible meal but also a highly nutritious meal to make up for lost nutrients during her estrus cycle. You can go for dry or wet food, depending on your dog’s favorite food state. Or you can prepare the meal yourself if you want.
Her food should contain a high amount of protein and healthy fats. Include carbs, fruits, or leafy vegetables if your dog likes them. Anything to encourage her to eat. Organ meat and meat are very appealing to dogs and they rarely look past it. They are also highly nutritious which is good for your dog during her heat period.
3. Delicious Treats
During your dog’s heat period, consider giving her some delicious treats to boost her appetite. Serving her in her bowl is a good strategy to encourage her to eat because the next time she finds anything in her bowl, she rushes to eat, believing that it is just as tasty as the last one.
You can follow up by giving her more delicious treats. It is a plus if these treats contain balanced nutrition.
4. Provide Her Favorites
As a dog owner, you probably already know what your dog’s favorites are. They could range from boiled chicken to canned foods, or to dry foods. Anything. Providing her with those will boost her appetite during her heat period because your dog loves them.
5. Give Her Extra Attention
During heat, there is a paradigm shift in your dog’s behavior. One of which is acting more affectionately toward you or male dogs. Ensure you provide her with lots of love and care during this period. It sends a message of reassurance to her, and that you understand and are with her in this distressing period for her. Consequently, the eased feeling she gets motivates her to eat.
Should I Force Feed My Dog if She Won’t Eat?
We understand that you may panic a bit when your dog won’t eat, and once in a while, you feel tempted to just get anything down their esophagus.
But no. Force-feeding your dog should not be your go-to option when your dog won’t eat.
Instead, you should make your dog’s food palatable as suggested above, then keep it within her reach and sight. Your dog will find it and eat it, especially if you make it appealing.
Loss of appetite in dogs during heat period is normal. As a dog owner, you are perplexed when your dog won’t eat. It is a normal feeling. Be rest assured that nothing is wrong with your dog, it is just a phase she naturally has to undergo.
And it is only a matter of time before the cycle ends and your dog’s appetite returns to normal. However, while the phase lasts, you need to provide adequate nutritious foods to compensate for nutrients your dog may have lost during this period.
Force-feeding your dog is out of the options. All you need to do is ignite her appetite with appealing food, and your dog will eventually eat on her own.