My 8 month old puppy has been losing his appetite. In the past, he never missed a single speck of food and licked his bowl clean and he would run outside whenever it was time to eat.
Now he seems to not even care about his food anymore, he almost never eats in the morning and if he does, it's like half of his food. In the evening he usually eats most of it. But in both instances, we have to stand next to him or hold the bowl in our hands for him for him to eat and it takes a lot of coaxing.
Besides that, he seems to be perfectly healthy. He gets walked 20 minutes in the morning and we just run around and most days, we play with him in the backyard for 20 minutes in the evening. No abnormal behavior, he's just as energetic, no strange smells, no apparent pain, etc.
What's the problem?
You could try more exercise. Doesn't sound like he's getting very much. Another thing would be to fast him for 24 hours. Of course offer the usual amount of water, but it would be fine to withhold food from suppertime until the next suppertime. Then see if he's hungry. And no treats until he eats supper on that second day.
As for treats, are you giving him too many during the day? Are you overfeeding him and need to cut back now that his major growth period is over? The experts here will advise you there.
If this has just started I would first check to make sure the bag of food is not "off", maybe throw it away and start with a fresh bag. My next step would be a visit to the vet to rule out any illness or injury, they are not always obvious. If I did both of theses things and the behavior continued you may just have a picky eater. I have one, I have to sit next to her, coax her, hand feed her, etc. She will go days without eating if I don't. My vet always says a dog WILL eat if they are hungry but it bothers me so I just deal with it on my/her terms. Of course it can be a pain but it is what it is. You can choose to continue what you have been doing or just put the food down for 5 - 10 minutes and picking it up if the puppy does not eat. I agree that I would cut out any store bought treats if you are using them, it can be very easy to not realize exactly how much you are giving them in "extras" that they don't really need. You can try baby carrots, apple slices, green beans, etc. that will not add a large amont of calories like store bought treats can.
I also agree that it does not sound like your puppy is getting nearly enough exercise if I am reading your post correctly. 20 minutes in the AM and 20 minutes in the PM is nothing more than a warm up for a lab. You don't want to do any forced exercise at this age but fetching and free running/play time is absolutely necessary for a lab. Good luck!
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
My younger dog went through that at about 8 months. I had to hand feed him 1/2 his meal to get him interested in eating. In a week or so - he got over it and went back to his usual eating habit.
Do ensure that the food is not off and that nothing is wrong with his teeth/mouth. But I would bet that this is a phase.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
How much are you feeding? When the dog is not going through a growth period their appetite slows down and if you're still feeding a larger amount of food, some of it might get left in the bowl.
♣ Laura ♣
It seems about the age my dogs slowed down on their food too. I gave them less as they grew older. My labrador eats 2-2 1/2 cups of food a day compared to the 3-3 1/2 cups as a growing puppy. They just need less food as they get older.
"Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one"