Is your old dog not eating and sleeping a lot? 9 Things To Consider

Our oldest Goldie, Bumps now spends lots of time sleeping

Your old dog is your best friend, and nothing will ever take away the love you have for him. You’ve gained the best companion in life, someone who you can trust, but when you notice something isn’t quite right with him you feel an immense amount of anxiety flood your body. Having my dog is one of the best experiences I’ve had in life, but now he’s getting old, I too am noticing some differences in his behaviour. 

Your dog’s not eating and sleeps a lot. In this article I want to provide you some comfort, I want you to know there’s always something you can do to make your old dog feel better no matter what the situation is. 

1.Expect your older dog to lose his appetite as his body changes.

You’ve clicked on this article because you’re worried. Your dogs losing interest in his food, his sleeping more, and you don’t know if you should be concerned or not. Firstly, it’s important to clarify what you mean by your dog not eating.

Is your dog eating less, but not losing weight?

If so, this is less worrying than one who is. As your dog ages, his body does too. You can expect his preferences and appetite to change. This is because your dog’s sense of smell and taste decreases as he grows older, just like ours would. If you want to know more on why your dog will lose his senses, then you can visit

You should also rule out any underlying medical problems such as dental pain and ulcers, this can also make your dog’s food less appealing. 

If your friend has had sudden loss in appetite and stopped eating for more than one day, then you should contact your veterinarian. You may also want to visit the pedigree site to read more on why your dog loses his appetite as he grows older.

2. Your dog’s more likely to get an infection or disease now that he’s older.

Just like us, the ageing process affects your dog in many ways. They become weaker and more vulnerable to infections.

If your dog has a sudden loss of appetite and lethargy then this could be a sign they have an infection or disease. Infections such as: distemper and parvovirus present with a lack of appetite and tiredness. The most common types of diseases in dogs are ringworm and cancer. To read more on common infections and diseases you should visit aspca.

You should spy on your dog and take note of any other symptoms he’s displaying. If you’re worried then you should contact your veterinarian to examine your dog.

3.Your dog’s metabolism slows down.

Your dog will start to rest more, he now gets colder, his joints start to hurt, and he starts to get more confused. Because of this your dog’s metabolism changes, naturally slowing down as he ages, just like us! This is because your dog’s muscle mass slowly decreases as he gets older. 

If you feel like your dog’s not eating enough, try warming up his food before serving it to him. Dogs love this, in fact it’s recommended you always bring your friends food down to room temperature. You can also read up on how to get your dog to eat more, by this link.

4. Your old dog doesn’t need to eat a feast anymore.

I know as my dog’s aged, his appetite and energy levels have changed. He no longer jumps or runs around like he used to. 

You may be asking yourself why is my older dog not eating but acting normal? 

If your dog’s eating less, but has maintained his weight. This could be because he simply doesn’t need as many calories as he once did. Older dogs burn fewer calories because they are less active and therefore, they need less food to keep them going. 

Try changing your friend’s diet to a well-balanced one. If you’re struggling with what food to get or what diet to give your dog, you can visit this site.

5. Dogs are sensitive to vaccines.

Think about any recent appointments your old dog has had.

 Did he get a vaccine? 

If so, this could be the cause for your dog’s behaviour. Although vaccines aren’t given to older dogs often, they can give adverse effects. Causing your old dog to feel unwell, stop eating, and wanting to sleep more. Any vaccine your dog is having is likely to cause adverse effects, as your dog is older and more vulnerable. Distemper vaccine has a reputation for causing side effects in older dogs. 

Try giving your dog smaller portions of food and lots of attention. If you’re concerned about your dog after his vaccination, monitor him closely and call or visit your veterinarian. 

6. Your dog may be in some discomfort. 

It’s normal for dogs to experience a certain level of pain as they age, if your old friend is in pain he may eat a little less and sleep more often.

It’s mostly common for dogs to experience bone problems such as: arthritis and bone cancer. Keep an eye on your dog and look out for any other symptoms alongside his lack of appetite and lethargy. If you notice your dog tripping over, not wanting to go on wooden flooring, and anticipating walking over an object, then you should contact your veterinarian. 

Personally, my older dog has struggled to maintain his regular routines as he gets older, because of joints becoming stiffer. Try helping your dog by eliminating any obstacles that are in his way and ask your veterinarian for medications to help ease your dog’s pain.

7. Dogs get depressed.

Depression doesn’t just affect us, but your old friend too.

All dogs love to exercise! If they’re feeling low in mood, they may decide to take a time out. 

You’ll notice your dog will stop eating, sleep more, and lose his energy because he’s depressed. Growing older doesn’t just cause your dog physical changes but emotional ones too. Older dogs become more depressed because their health begins to deteriorate, they’re in more pain, feel tired all the time, and aren’t able to play, this all affects your dog’s quality of life and can make them depressed.

Try to pamper your dog, take him on walks, and give him lots of love. Eventually, he should feel better and begin to eat more. If you’re still worried about your dog, contact your vet and get some advice.

 8. Older dogs become sleepy.

Expect your dog to nap more, and become more restless. Your older dogs going through a major change, his bodies ageing and he needs all the rest he can get. Don’t force your old dog to exercise if he doesn’t want to. Your dog knows his limits and will exercise when he feels he can. 

Although you should keep an eye on your dog’s sleeping habits, older dogs should sleep no more than 20 hours per day, so take note of this.

Try giving your dog little portions per day to help him eat more frequently. If you feel your dog’s not eating enough, contact your veterinarian and try changing his meals.

9.Your old dog’s trying to tell you something.

Your dog’s old and the first thing that comes to mind is the possibility that one day you will have to say goodbye to him. It’s hard to say this, as a dog owner myself I know all too well the thoughts that trouble your mind as your dog ages. 

You may be asking yourself, do dogs stop eating when they’re ready to die or what are the signs of a dog dying of old age?

If your dog’s sudden loss of appetite and lethargy hasn’t improved and all medical issues have been ruled out, your dog may be telling you it’s time to say goodbye. Excessive tiredness is one of the most common signs your loyal friend has reached the end.

When your dog’s ready to say goodbye, his behaviours will change drastically. Look out for any other symptoms alongside not eating and sleeping a lot, such as: Loss of coordination, incontinence, Labored breathing, and seeking comfort.

Give your dog all your love and spend some extra time with him. Knowing you’re there will make your old friend feel so much better.

My dogs, my best friend and just the thought of losing him, makes my whole body shudder. It’s normal to expect some changes in your dog as he ages, but it’s always important to take precautions. 

Our dogs can’t express what’s wrong, so as their owners we should take care of them. When your old dog is not eating and sleeping a lot it’s important to consider all possibilities. It could be a simple sign of ageing or something a little more serious, make sure to always contact your veterinarian for advice.