Giving your puppy a healthy balance of food is essential for every owner. But maybe you’ve noticed that they refuse their breakfast. So, what’s going on and what can, and should, you do about it? Here is all you need to know.
So, why does my puppy not eat in the morning? Your puppy might be skipping their breakfast because of ill health. Or it could simply be a learned behavior. Maybe there’s a tastier option waiting for them. Or they get more attention from you if they refuse morning food.
Every dog is individual, so they’re naturally going to have different behaviors.
And the truth is, there is no one singular standout reason for meal avoidance in the morning. It could even be one of many.
Or worse, a combination of several!
So if you’re curious why your puppy is skipping breakfast, read on to find out why!
We’ll also be looking at how to best respond, so do stick around!
Reasons Why A Puppy May Not Eat In The Morning?
There are several reasons why a puppy might not eat in the morning. These include medical reasons. But, if they happily eat other meals throughout the day, the reason is most likely behavioral in nature.
Dogs are complex creatures, and they can’t communicate easily as humans can.
It may take some detective work to understand why your puppy isn’t eating in the morning.
A sign that your puppy isn’t eating in the morning due to medical reasons is if it’s a sudden change in behavior.
Whereas before, they’d happily have their morning meal, now they’re avoiding it.
A particular condition that can cause this is bilious vomiting syndrome.
This occurs when a dog becomes intolerant to going without food throughout the night.
And the results are vomiting yellow bile, usually in the mornings, because of acid secretions irritating their stomach.
Aside from yellow bile vomit, other symptoms of this condition include lip-smacking, licking the carpet, or drooling.
Other medical reasons for why a puppy doesn’t eat in the morning is if they’re suffering from digestive issues or are in pain.
A puppy may be allergic to something within their food, causing their lackluster.
Or, if they have a respiratory infection that affects their sense of smell, they’ll usually avoid food altogether.
Without a sense of smell, food doesn’t taste as nice.
Or it could be simply that they’re getting too much food throughout the day.
Skipping breakfast is the most common meal to skip if this is the issue.
There’s a whole host of behavioral reasons that a puppy won’t eat their morning meal.
From a change of feeding habit to learning that there’s something better to feeling too anxious to eat.
Change Of Feeding Schedule
If you’ve recently changed how you feed your puppy, they just may not be used to needing to eat in the morning.
A lot of dog owners choose to free-feed their pets. Essentially keeping their food bowls full of food so their dogs can eat whenever they want.
If you choose to change to set meals, for example, at the same time as your breakfast and dinner, your puppy will need time to learn this new schedule.
They might have waited until early afternoon before breaking their fast. So, it will take some learning to train their stomach to be hungry for morning food.
A Promise Of Something Better
Your puppy might like their morning meal but has learned to avoid it.
There may have been a time when you relented and fed them some of your food out of fear of them going hungry.
Now your puppy has accidentally learned that if they hold off, they’ll be rewarded with your breakfast items.
More Affection From You
If your puppy isn’t eating their breakfast, it’s normal for you to fuss and worry over why they aren’t eating.
Your puppy is extremely intelligent and quickly learn that if they stop eating their morning food, you’ll give them more of your undivided attention.
Although the attention they’re getting stems from worry, your puppy will be happy to have this time with you, forgoing food for it.
Morning time is most commonly the busiest your household will be.
Between you rushing around getting ready for work or noisy kids getting ready for school, your puppy might get overwhelmed.
Some breeds are more vulnerable to anxiety than others. And it’s normal for an anxious animal to lose their appetite.
Plus, they’ll associate their morning meal with you leaving, which can trigger separation anxiety.
Simply being overexcited is another reason for your puppy being too overwhelmed to eat.
This is particularly true if you keep your puppy in a separate room throughout the night.
They’ve woken up and are excited to see you and want to play. Therefore, ignoring any attempts of you getting them to eat in the morning.
Is It Normal For A Puppy To Not Eat Breakfast?
It is normal for a puppy not to eat breakfast from time to time, especially if they are in good health. However, consistent breakfast avoidance or other signs of reduced wellbeing could indicate that something is up and needs closer attention.
Dogs are unique in their behavior and habits. And puppies are no different.
Some puppies will be ready at their food bowl, ready to break their fast. Others aren’t concerned about food at all.
So long as you’ve got a clean bill of health from your vet.
And you don’t notice any behavioral issues causing them not to eat breakfast; it’s generally considered normal for a puppy to skip breakfast.
It’s common among many breeds of many ages.
Is It Bad For A Puppy To Forgo Food In The Morning?
Unless it’s specifically advised by your vet, it’s okay if your puppy refuses food in the morning. So long as they’re getting all their nutritional needs met, a skipped meal in the morning is okay.
When you’re trying to determine if it’s okay if your puppy skips food in the morning, the best place to look is your puppy.
If their behavior is normal and hasn’t changed, then forgoing their breakfast is okay.
Some puppies are picky about when they eat or are not food-oriented. Or they simply aren’t hungry yet.
So long as your puppy is healthy for its weight and is gaining the right amount for its age and breed, then skipping breakfast is safe.
Unless your puppy has a condition that requires set meals or food with medication, such as diabetes, then there’s no need to worry about this behavior.
It’s easier for an owner to accidentally overfeed a puppy than underfeed them.
Unless they have a medical need for a morning meal, forgoing it has no negative side effects.
Of course, the caveat here is if they always forgo food in the morning or become particularly fussy.
That could become a long-term issue if not otherwise nipped in the bud.
How Do I Get My Puppy to Eat In The Morning?
If you want your puppy to eat in the morning, it’s important to rule out underlying conditions first. Once that’s done, then you’ll need to identify the reason your puppy isn’t interested. Correcting this behavior isn’t a difficult process.
After you’ve ruled out any medical reason your puppy isn’t eating in the morning, then you can safely move on to addressing the behavioral reasons.
Wean From Free Feeding
If your puppy is used to free feeding, it may take some time to adjust your puppy to set meals.
It’s important to remain disciplined with weaning them off. And don’t offer treats or human food in replacement.
To get your puppy familiar with set meals, give your puppy access to their bowl for 15 minutes. If they don’t want to eat within this time, remove the bowl.
Most likely, they’ll be sure to eat at their next mealtime.
It may seem cruel to see your puppy go without food, but they will quickly learn to eat their food when offered.
Implement Morning Exercise
Some puppies aren’t food motivated, or they need a reason to eat.
One tactic you can implement is to bring them on a walk before giving them morning food.
Light exercise will help them feel hungry. But it’s important to wait 30-45 minutes after their walk before feeding them. Otherwise, this can cause digestive issues for your puppy.
Create A Calming Space
If your puppy isn’t eating because of overexcitement or anxiety, creating a calming space will encourage them to eat in the morning.
If your house is busy in the mornings, let your puppy eat their breakfast in a separate space. And consider playing gentle, soothing music to help keep them calm.
If your puppy is overexcitable in the mornings, avoid interacting with them as much as possible.
Don’t pet them or give them too much attention as they’ll choose your attention over food.
Make sure their toys are out of reach and other animals are separate from your puppy during their morning meal to prevent playtime from happening.
Be Aware of Other Food Sources
If your household has children or other pets, your puppy might be skipping breakfast in exchange for tasty food droppings or tastier pet food meant for others.
Or they could be waiting for an opportunity to get into the trashcan when you’re not looking.
With these possibilities, it’s important to remain mindful of where food of the house is going.
And to restrict access to the trashcan, possibly getting a dog-proof one instead.
Check Quality Of Their Food
It’s a simple thing to overlook, but your puppy might be skipping their morning meal if it’s lacking in taste, flavor, or is otherwise unappetizing.
Is it past its expiration date? Is it a cheap brand?
It’s also advisable to check if there has been any product recall or recent ingredient changes that could be the culprit.
It’s not uncommon to recall food because of contaminants or other issues.
Check the food container for odd or unusual smells. And look for the presence of mold as white flecks.
At first, it can be concerning when your puppy doesn’t eat their morning meals.
With rare exceptions, puppies skipping their breakfast is usually okay so long as they’re healthy and happy.
If you’d prefer to train them to eat at certain times, it’s not a difficult process to train them to.
But if you are worried, do check in with your vet.
It’s better safe than sorry, so they say.
Have other questions about your puppy’s eating? Well, my following guides may be of help:
- Why Does My Puppy Always Seem Hungry?
- Why Does My Puppy Eat Mud?
- Why Does My Puppy Eat Sticks?
- Why Does My Puppy Eat Cat Poop?
- Why Does My Puppy Eat Stones?
- Why Does My Puppy Eat Leaves?
- How Long After a Puppy Eats Do They Poop
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.