What to Feed a Dog with Cancer Who Won’t Eat: Innovative Strategies to Rekindle Their Appetite

What to Feed a Dog with Cancer Who Won’t Eat: Innovative Strategies to Rekindle Their Appetite

When a dog is diagnosed with cancer, one of the most distressing challenges for pet owners is the loss of appetite. Proper nutrition is crucial for maintaining strength, supporting the immune system, and enhancing the effectiveness of cancer treatments. If your dog is refusing to eat, here are some innovative strategies and tips to help encourage their appetite and ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

Understanding the Problem

Cancer and its treatments can cause nausea, pain, and a general loss of interest in food. Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach, combining medical intervention, dietary adjustments, and behavioral strategies.

1. Offer High-Quality, Palatable Foods

Providing highly palatable and nutritious foods can make mealtime more appealing:

  • Canned Wet Food: Rich in flavor and moisture, often more enticing than dry kibble.
  • Homemade Broths: Chicken or beef broth can enhance the flavor and aroma of their meals.
  • Fresh Meat and Fish: Lightly cooked chicken, turkey, or fish can be very tempting.

2. Small, Frequent Meals

Instead of two large meals a day, offer smaller portions more frequently. This can make eating less overwhelming and more manageable for your dog.

3. Warm the Food

Warming your dog’s food can release more aroma, making it more appealing. Just ensure it’s not too hot to avoid burning their mouth.

4. Add Flavor Enhancers

Boost the taste and smell of their food by adding:

  • Bone Broth: Packed with nutrients and flavor.
  • Fish Oil: Enhances taste and provides beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Grated Cheese or Yogurt: Adds a flavorful and creamy texture.

5. Hand-Feeding

Hand-feeding can provide comfort and encourage your dog to eat. Your presence and gentle encouragement can make a significant difference.

6. Use Appetite Stimulants

Consult your veterinarian about appetite stimulants. Medications like mirtazapine or capromorelin can help stimulate your dog’s appetite.

7. Manage Nausea and Pain

Addressing underlying issues like nausea and pain is essential. Your vet may prescribe anti-nausea medication or pain relievers to make your dog more comfortable.

8. Offer Nutritious Treats

Incorporate healthy treats like:

  • Peanut Butter: Rich in calories and highly palatable.
  • Pumpkin Puree: Easy to digest and can help with any digestive issues.
  • Baby Food: Ensure it’s free from harmful ingredients like onions and garlic.

9. Create a Calm Eating Environment

Ensure your dog’s eating area is quiet and free from stress. A calm environment can make them feel more secure and willing to eat.

10. Monitor and Adjust

Keep a journal of what works and what doesn’t. Regularly adjust your strategies based on your dog’s preferences and health status.


Feeding a dog with cancer who won’t eat requires patience, creativity, and persistence. By offering a variety of high-quality, palatable foods, managing underlying health issues, and creating a supportive feeding environment, you can help ensure your dog receives the nutrition they need. Always consult with your veterinarian to tailor these strategies to your dog’s specific needs and to explore additional treatments that may aid in their recovery.

Tilbage til blog