My Dog Was Attacked And Now Won’t Eat (Step By Step Guide To Appetite Recovery)

dog was attacked and now won't eat

Having your dog attacked by another dog or animal is something no dog owner should ever go through.

Not only can it leave your dog with emotional trauma but the experience can greatly affect its normal appetite.

But why isn’t your dog eating after the attack?

After a traumatic attack, your dog may refuse to eat due to heightened stress and anxiety which can suppress their appetite. Physical injuries or pain resulting from the attack may make eating uncomfortable or unappealing for it too.

We recognize the emotional and physical toll this takes on both you and your dog. Our goal is to offer guidance and support as you work to restore its well-being.

How Can I Increase My Dog’s Appetite?

dog eating messily

A dog that isn’t eating is always a worrisome scenario for all dog owners. It is dangerous for your dog to not eat for a few days.

This can lead to health issues which can be life-threatening.

But rest assured that all is not lost.

Here are some simple strategies to help increase your dog’s appetite and encourage it to eat again.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is key when it comes to feeding a dog that doesn’t have much of an appetite.

Stick to foods that are easy to digest and familiar to your dog.

My dog has been on a raw meat diet for most of his life.

But when he doesn’t have much of an appetite, I will make him some boiled chicken and white rice.

I usually don’t feed my dog carbs but he seems to like this combination when he’s not feeling great.

If you do need to introduce new foods to your dog, it is best to do it slowly to gauge its response.

Use Chicken Broth

You can add chicken broth over your dog’s food to get some liquid into your dog.

Home-made chicken broth has always been my secret weapon when it comes to whipping up my dog’s appetite.

It is very simple to make.

Throw in some chicken bones and meat into a pot of water and let it simmer for at least an hour to extract all the taste and goodness.

You can add chicken broth over your dog’s food to get some liquid into your dog.

The smell and taste of chicken broth can stimulate your dog’s appetite and encourage them to eat.

Feed Smaller Meals

Most of us tend to feed our dogs 2-3 large meals a day.

But when your dog doesn’t have an appetite, large meals can seem daunting.

You won’t get your money’s worth at a buffet if you are feeling under the weather.

What you should be doing is to divide up your dog’s daily food intake into smaller meals.

The smaller and more frequent feeding makes it more manageable for your dog.

it also makes it easier for you to monitor your dog’s food intake.

Use More Treats

Not many dogs can refuse the temptation of doggie treats.

If your dog isn’t too keen on its usual food, feeding it some of its treats can help it eat more.

I don’t recommend you feeding your dog treats that are unhealthy such as beef jerky or sweet treats.

There are many healthier options that you can make at home or buy which are better for your dog.

Use An Appetite Stimulant

If your dog is still refusing to eat after trying the above strategies, you may want to consider using an appetite stimulant.

Appetite stimulants can be prescribed by your veterinarian and can help encourage your dog to eat.

I prefer to use appetite stimulants only as a last resort as most dogs can be made to eat with some encouragement and persistence.

Seek Professional Help

An attack on your dog needs to be checked by a vet just to make sure it is fine.

As mentioned earlier, an attack on your dog can not only leave it with physical scars but emotional ones as well.

It is these emotional scars that can go under the radar and cause more behavioral issues in the long term.

If your dog has not been its usual self after the incident, it would be best to engage a professional trainer or pet therapist.

They can help your dog resolve issues such as anxiety and PTSD which can affect its appetite.

Why Isn’t My Dog Eating After The Attack?

After a traumatic attack on your dog, its refusal to eat can be heart-wrenching and perplexing.

To understand the reasons behind your dog’s lack of appetite, we’ll delve into two critical dimensions below.

The psychological impact and physical trauma.

The Psychological Impact

dog hiding under bed

Our dogs are incredibly sensitive and emotional creatures.

Their canine intuition and ability to understand how we feel make them wonderful pets.

Given their level of sensitivity, experiencing a traumatic attack can have profound psychological consequences.

Understanding the depth of your dog’s emotional trauma is important to addressing why your dog may be refusing to eat.

Anxiety

Being gripped with anxiety is a very common reaction for most dogs after an attack.

Imagine if you were jumped by an assailant out of the blue. You would be shaking in anxiety too.

This can be more prominent in dogs that already have anxiety disorders or if you have a small dog that was attacked by a much larger breed.

Your dog may become apprehensive, constantly on edge or even exhibit signs of separation anxiety.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can be mentally paralyzing for some dogs which greatly affects their well-being.

Similar to humans, our dogs can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after going through a harsh event.

This emotional response to trauma can lead to severe anxiety and a deep fear of other dogs, animals or even people.

Symptoms of PTSD in dogs include:

  • Hiding
  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Frequent barking
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Loss of appetite

PTSD can be mentally paralyzing for some dogs which greatly affects their well-being.

Depression

Even if your dog doesn’t get PTSD from being attacked, it can start to feel depressed.

Depression in dogs can be triggered after a big change or event in their lives.

And being attacked by another dog is a significant event for any dog.

Symptoms of depression in dogs include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Needy behavior
  • Not interested in play
  • Toilet incidents
  • Distant behavior

Loss Of Trust

A dog that has survived a traumatic event can start to have trust issues.

An attack by another dog can profoundly impact your dog’s trust in its environment and you.

Your dog can start to feel unsafe and insecure around you as it feels that you didn’t do enough to protect it from the other dog.

This loss of trust doesn’t undermine your efforts in helping your dog but animals cannot rationalize such an event.

A dog that doesn’t trust you will start to avoid you and won’t be in the mood to eat.

The Physical Trauma

puppy with bandaged leg

An attack on your dog can result in various physical injuries and impacts, which may directly or indirectly contribute to a loss of appetite.

Direct Injuries

An attack by another dog or animal will often cause physical injuries.

Your dog can sustain bites, scratches, punctures and lacerations.

These wounds can be painful and lead to infections if not properly treated.

The pain and discomfort associated with these injuries can cause a dog to lose interest in food.

Indirect Injuries

Even if your dog doesn’t have any visible wounds or injuries, there can be internal injuries or musculoskeletal problems due to the force of the attack.

An internal injury can cause significant discomfort and pain, leading to a reluctance or refusal to eat.

Medication Side Effects

If your dog has been prescribed medication to treat its injuries or prevent infections, these medications can sometimes have side effects that might affect appetite.

Some antibiotics and pain medication can cause nausea, stomach upset or changes in appetite.

My cat has feline asthma and was on oral steroids for a few weeks.

During that period, his appetite dropped quite a bit until he stopped the medication.

If you suspect that your dog’s medication is affecting its appetite, you need to let the vet know.

How Long Can A Dog Be Traumatized After Being Attacked?

The duration of trauma for a dog after being attacked can vary widely based on several factors

These factors can include:

  • Severity of the attack
  • Dog’s personality
  • Past experiences
  • Support and treatment

Some dogs may never fully recover from the trauma of an attack and may always exhibit some level of fear or anxiety.

The good thing is that with proper support and treatment, most dogs can recover and get back to their happy healthy selves.

How Do You Comfort A Dog After Being Attacked?

It is crucial to provide physical and emotional support to your dog after the unfortunate incident.

Stay calm and seek immediate medical attention, even if the injuries seem minor.

Provide a safe and quiet space for your dog and give them time to recover at their own pace.

Don’t get frustrated at your dog if it is acting out but offer comfort through gentle touches and a soothing voice

Using a dog harness instead of a collar can help provide a sense of security and comfort to your dog during walks and other activities after the attack.

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