Great Dane Not Eating? Here’s Why And  What To Do

Loss of appetite or a Great Dane not eating is a symptom that sometimes occurs in Great Danes. 

Loss of appetite  is a decrease in interest in food or a complete refusal to eat and it is an unusual dog behavior that raises concern.

It is important to understand what causes these this and when to seek veterinary care.

We outline the potential causes of a Great Dane not eating, along with the associated symptoms and when to seek help.

Why is my Great Dane not eating?

A Great Dane may not eat due to a number of illnesses and health issues which include illness, diet change, gastrointestinal infection, poisoning, stress, and medication side effects.  Loss of appetite is a symptom of a condition, rather than a condition itself. 

great dane not eating

Possible causes of a Great Dane not eating

A Great Dane not eating or experiencing loss of appetite is a common symptom of a dog suffering from underlying health problems or issues. 

The possible causes behind a Great Dane not eating include:

Underlying illness 

A Great Dane not eating can be a symptom of a wide range of illnesses, including viral or bacterial infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and systemic diseases.

There are many factors that can cause a dog to not eat when they are ill, which include pain, nausea, digestive problems, and emotional distress

Pain due to an illness can cause a Great Dane to avoid eating or drinking. In addition to this, many illnesses can cause nausea which can make them feel too sick to eat.

Digestive problems due to illnesses with vomiting or diarrhea can also lead to a lack of appetite and emotional distress experienced when they are ill can cause them to also lose their appetite.

Gastrointestinal infection

Gastrointestinal infection by bacteria, intestinal parasites, or viruses can cause loss of appetite.

Gastrointestinal infections can cause a Great Dane to lose its appetite due to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and discomfort. 

Change in diet

A change in your dog’s diet can lead to the refusal to eat due to food intolerance or allergy, an upset stomach, and stress.

This is because it takes time for your dog’s stomach to adjust to the new food and a sudden change to a new food may cause diarrhea and a shift in behavior by refusing to eat. 

Dogs are also sensitive to changes in their routine and environment, and a sudden change in diet can be stressful. 

The stress can lead to digestive upset, other symptoms and a Great Dane not eating due to :

  • Taste preference: Great Danes like all dogs have preferences for certain flavors and textures of food, and if their new diet is not appealing to them, they may refuse to eat it.
  • Digestive issues: Switching to a new diet can cause digestive upset, such as diarrhea or constipation, which can cause a Great Dane to feel sick and not want to eat.
  • Food allergies or intolerance: Some Great Danes may have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients in their new food, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and loss of appetite.

If you are planning to change your Great Dane’s diet, it is important to do so gradually over a period of several days to allow their digestive system to adjust. 

Related: Understanding Great Dane sensitive stomach and how to help


A stressed Great Dane can also experience loss of appetite. Stress can cause a Great Dane to lose its appetite in different ways. One way is that stress can affect their digestive system, causing nausea, stomach discomfort, and other digestive issues. 

This can lead to a loss of appetite because your dog associates food with discomfort or they may simply not feel hungry.

Stress can also cause changes in the Great Dane’s hormone levels, particularly the stress hormone. Elevated levels of  the stress hormone can cause a decrease in appetite. 

Chronic stress can also suppress the immune system, leading to other health problems that can further affect their appetite. In addition to this, stress can lead to depression or anxiety, which can also cause a loss of appetite in a Great Dane.

Stress and anxiety also cause a variety of symptoms including pacing, licking, drooling, yawning, crying, barking, and hiding.

Stress can come from a variety of sources such as a change in their environment or routine, new people or pets, loud noises, and other fear-related stressful situations.

Toxin ingestion

Poisoning in Great Danes can lead to a range of symptoms, including loss of appetite. This is because many poisons can cause gastrointestinal upset and also affect a dog’s appetite.

Loss of appetite can happen because of:

Nausea and/or vomiting: Many poisons can cause nausea or vomiting. When a Great Dane feels sick, they may refuse to eat or drink.

Mouth ulcers and irritation: Certain toxins can cause ulcers or irritation in a Great Dane’s mouth. This can make it painful for the dog to eat or drink.

Organ damage: Some toxins may cause damage to a Great Dane’s liver, kidneys, or other organs which can lead to a loss of appetite, as well as other symptoms.

Neurological problems: Some poisons can cause neurological symptoms such as seizures or tremors which can make it difficult for a Great Dane to eat.

Great Danes may accidentally ingest toxic substances such as household cleaners, contaminated food or water, pesticides, insecticides, poisonous plants, or human medications, which can cause diarrhea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms.

Side effects of medication 

Medications can sometimes cause side effects in a Great Dane, including loss of appetite and refusal to eat. Many medications can cause gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can lead to a decreased appetite. 

The taste or smell of the medication can also be unpleasant, making a Great Dane reluctant to eat.

Some medications also affect a Great Dane’s sense of taste or smell, altering the way food tastes or smells, which can reduce their desire to eat. 

A Great Dane’s mood and behavior can also be affected by some medications which lead to a decrease in appetite as a result of anxiety or depression.

Great Dane not eating: What to do

If your Great Dane is not eating, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. 

Here are  other signs that indicate that you should see a veterinarian immediately:

Severe or bloody diarrhea: If your Great Dane has diarrhea that is severe or if there is blood or mucus in the stool, this could be a sign of a serious underlying condition and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Other symptoms: Other symptoms may accompany loss of appetite in a Great Dane such as vomiting. If your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea, this can lead to dehydration and other complications. This requires immediate medical attention. 

Other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, breathing difficulties, signs of pain or discomfort, fever, and signs of dehydration, such as a dry nose or mouth and sunken eyes.

Suspicion poisoning: If you suspect that your Great Dane has been poisoned, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

If your Great Dane is a puppy or an older dog: Puppies and older dogs are generally more vulnerable than healthy adult dogs so delaying treatment could result in their condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat. Therefore, it is essential to seek immediate medical care.

Key Takeaway: Great Dane not eating

A Great Dane not eating or loss of their appetite can be caused by a variety of factors. If you notice your dog showing this symptom suddenly or for extended periods of time alongside other concerning symptoms, consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. 

By addressing the underlying cause and providing appropriate care, you can help ensure that your Great Dane remains healthy.

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