Why Is My French Bulldog Puppy Not Eating?

Most French Bulldog puppies should have healthy appetites ¹

In a previous post, I wrote about skinny French Bulldogs whereas this post looks in more depth at concerns about Frenchie puppies that aren’t eating.

It is very usual for a healthy dog to reject his meals or deliberately refuse to eat. A healthy French bulldog puppy will heartily attack his meals and clear up his plate in just a few minutes. 

And if your healthy Frenchie pup suddenly refuses to eat or has shown no interest in his food, even after you tried to get him to eat, it can be distressing. Skipping a meal may be because he isn’t hungry, but skipping two consecutive meals and a third is definitely wrong and something is amiss. 

Puppies shouldn’t be allowed to go without food for too long because their bodies do not have the ability to sustain them without getting adequate calories from food. Having a French bulldog pup who refuses to eat despite all your efforts can be very worrisome, and if this is how you feel, that’s okay. Read on to find out what might be the cause. 

[1] Why is my Frenchie puppy not eating? 6 Possible Reasons

If you have only just bought your puppy home it might still be too anxious to eat ²

Regular and healthy meals are very important for a growing dog, and puppies need to eat at least 3 times daily in order to maintain their energy level and get all the nutrients and calories their little bodies need to function well. 

Since puppies are still going through different stages of development and growth, skipping meals needlessly becomes very distressing as it could expose the young lad to some serious health condition or even affect its growth rate. And in rare cases, skipping meals and refusing to eat can be lethal. So why would a healthy puppy refuse to eat and rather go hungry? 

Here are possible reasons why your Frenchie pup is rejecting his meals

  1. If you just brought your puppy home, his refusal to eat may be due to the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment. He may be anxious and uncomfortable in his new home and will need some time to settle and relax.
  2. Your little cutie may be suffering on the inside. There is a small chance that his loss of appetite may be due some serious medical condition, an upset stomach or anorexia. 
  3. Refusal to eat can also be caused by pain or discomfort in the mouth due to some dental disease. 
  4. If your puppy is on some medication or just got vaccinated, this may be the cause.
  5. It could also be that your pup is getting too many treats between meals and has no space left in his tiny stomach for his food.
  6. If you recently changed your pup’s food brand, then his refusal to eat may be because he doesn’t like the new food, either because it smells different or it’s not very tasty.

[2] What do I do if my Frenchie puppy doesn’t want to eat?

Gravy or broth can make a meal tastier ³

An adult dog can go for quite some time without eating because it has a good supply of body fat and some glycogen stored up in the body which the liver breaks down to glucose when it needs to. But with puppies, this is much different. They do not have enough glucose stored up in the body, therefore any form of starvation can be very dangerous. 

If your Frenchie puppy starts to reject his meals, here are a few remedies to try;

  1. If your pup is eating dry kibble or canned food, add a little warm chicken broth to make it tastier. Make sure the broth doesn’t contain any of these ingredients; onions, garlic, chives. These spices are bad for puppies as they can break down their red blood cells.
  2. You can also add bone broth protein powder to water and mix it with his food to make it tastier and stimulate your pup’s appetite.
  3. If you feed your pup only dry kibble, try mixing it with canned food.
  4. Prepare a dish of plain boiled rice and garnish it with shredded boneless chicken breast. You may add a little chicken broth without any of the offending spices.
  5. Mix your pet’s food with some slices of pumpkin and apples. You may also add plain cottage cheese or plain yoghurt to his regular meal. Make sure the yoghurt does not contain xylitol as this is very dangerous for dogs.
  6. Change your pup’s feeding routine by making mealtimes more fun and stimulating for your pup. You can use an interactive meal toy for this. 
  7. Make sure your pup is not getting too many treats before mealtime and reduce the amount of treats you give your pup. 

If your puppy continues to refuse whatever you prepare for him, then he needs to be taken to a vet with no further delay. You should never let your pup starve in an attempt to force him to eat something he doesn’t want to eat. Let the vet examine the situation and come up with an alternative meal plan. And if your pup has a medical condition, a vet will find out the exact problem and handle it properly. 

[3] When should I worry about my French Bulldog puppy not eating?

Is a loss of appetite accompanied by other symptoms? ⁴

If your Frenchie puppy missed a couple of meals but isn’t showing any signs of illness like vomiting, coughing, stooling due to diarrhoea, and low energy, then you may have no real reason to worry.

Also, if your French bulldog puppy goes a day without eating but had lots of treats, then you also have nothing to worry about. 

And if your pup goes a full day without eating anything at all but starts eating the next day like nothing happened, then there isn’t any need to worry. But when your pup misses his meals for a few more days, he isn’t eating even treats and you’re sure that he isn’t getting food somewhere else. He’s just not eating at all and his energy level has dropped significantly then you need to take him to a vet. 

It’s even more serious when the loss of appetite is accompanied by other signs of illness like bouts of vomiting, diarrhoea, fever or lethargy, and in this case you definitely should take your little Frenchie to a vet for complete examination to diagnose what may be the problem. 

[4] How long can a puppy go without eating?

Puppies should not go without any food for longer than a day ⁵

An adult healthy dog can go for a couple of days without eating, which is generally safe. Some dogs can also go without food for up to 5 days or even a week, this is for only adult dogs of certain breed types. Puppies can go for up to two days without food but this is absolutely not healthy and should never be allowed. 

It may not be a very serious problem for an adult dog but it’s not healthy for a puppy to go without food for any length of time. Food is very important for a growing dog, and puppies should be fed at least 3 times every day. This way their bodies will be able to get all the calories and nutrients it needs for the proper function and development of your pup. 

Missing even one or two mealtimes in a day isn’t healthy, they need frequent and regular small meals because their digestive tract needs enough time to extract nutrients from food. Therefore, regular small meals ensure that your pup gets all his body needs from his food. 

Skipping meals is very dangerous for small dogs as they are at a higher risk of suffering from hypoglycemia compared to adult dogs. Never let your puppy go for more a day without food, and if he refuses to eat for an entire day despite all your efforts, take him to the vet. 

[5] What should I feed my French Bulldog with no appetite?

When your dog has no appetite either due to an upset stomach, an illness or anything else, getting him to eat can be a challenge. However, a bland diet is gentle on a dog’s digestive system, plus it will help your pup keep his strength and may even help to revive his appetite. Here are a few food suggestions for a sick Frenchie or one with no appetite.  

Baby Food: this is very gentle on a puppy’s digestive system, it’s easy to swallow and digest so pups can easily eat it. Try giving your pup stage II baby food containing turkey, chicken, lamb etc., but doesn’t contain any spices like onions and garlic.

Bone Broth: prepare this for your pup by boiling lots of bones with marrow like chicken or turkey legs. Fill a medium-sized pot with these bones and cover the bones with water, boil on low heat for about 20 to 24 hours. Cool the broth in the refrigerator before giving it to your puppy. You can also make the broth into ice cubes for your puppy to enjoy.

Pumpkins are great for a puppy’s digestive system ⁶

White Rice and Shredded Chicken: bland food like plain boiled white rice and small bits of boneless chicken are mild on a dog’s digestive system. They are easy to digest and work great for dogs with no appetite or an upset stomach. While preparing this meal, make it as bland as possible, including no seasoning, no oils, no butter, and nothing else at all as these could irritate the dog’s stomach. Just plain boiled chicken cut into small bits or shredded and white rice.

Sweet potatoes and pumpkin: sweet potatoes and pumpkin are high in fibre and contain a number of vitamins and minerals which are essential for your little dog. And they are also great for the digestive system of dogs, cook them unsalted and unseasoned before serving your pup.

Wrapping Up

Puppies go through different stages of development and sometimes they may not eat as much as they do other times. But they ordinarily never go for too long without at least getting some amount of food into their system. 

And because they’re still very young and growing, they need all the food they can get and every meal matters. Therefore, skipping a meal is not good, skipping two is much worse and going a full day with no food, is certainly wrong and something is amiss. 

If your Frenchie pup goes an entire day without eating anything and is still not interested in eating on the second day, despite being presented with different food options including home-made dog meals and bland diet, then it’s time to pay the vet a visit. 

Photo Credits

¹ Photo by Jason Cooper on Unsplash

² Photo by Channey on Unsplash

³ Photo by rick

⁴ Photo by Freestocks on Flickr.com

⁵ Photo by Monica Kaneko on Flickr.com

⁶ Photo by Karalina S on Unsplash