Last Updated on April 23, 2023
Healthy dogs come with a healthy appetite. If your dog isn’t feeling very well, the first tell-tale sign would be how enthusiastic he is during meals.
Some dogs are simply picky eaters and are easily bored with what’s in their bowl. Regardless of whether you have a fussy doggo on your hands or if your beloved pooch is suffering from a health problem, offering appetite stimulants is one way to get him eating again.
What Are Dog Appetite Stimulants?
We can imagine how worrying it is when your dog isn’t excited about their meals. Appetite stimulants can help you rest easy and encourage your dog to chow down.
Some appetite-stimulating supplements can also ease anxiety and upset stomachs.
On the flip side, appetite stimulants may be hiding an underlying problem that’s causing them to be less keen to eat.
It isn’t advisable to give your dog an appetite stimulant without knowing why they aren’t eating as much as they used to.
As each dog responds differently to different substances, finding the perfect appetite stimulant may take some trial and error.
Best Appetite Stimulant for Dogs
Some dogs require extra support when it comes to reaching their daily intake of calories. This is especially true for older dogs or dogs on certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
If you have a dog that’s struggling to finish his meals, here are the highest-rated supplements you can find online.
1. TomLyn Nutri-Cal Dog Supplement
Our rating: 5
Ingredients: Malt Syrup, Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup, Cane Molasses, Cod Liver Oil
One great thing about TomLyn’s gel supplement is that it’s so high in calories and nutrients, it can sustain your dog’s weight even if they still refuse to eat.
Whether your dog is super active or sickly, you can give them this for an added boost of nutrient-rich calories.
- Packed with essential fatty acids and nutrients
- Veterinarian formulated for adult dogs of all breeds
- Malt flavor doesn’t sit well with all dogs
2. Vetoquinol Nutri-Cal Oral Gel Supplement
Our rating: 5
Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Soybean Oil, Malt Syrup, Water, Fish Oil
A palatable gel that you can feed directly to your dog or mix into their food. Vetoquinol is a supplement that’s perfect for dogs requiring additional calories.
Owners have used it to keep their dog’s blood sugar up and help sick dogs regain their strength.
- Recommended by vets
- Suitable for dogs of all breeds and life stages
- Safe for pregnant or lactating dogs
- Suitable for both cats and dogs
- Picky-eater friendly
- Strong odor
- Slightly expensive
3. Lexelium Weight Gainer for Dogs
Our rating: 4
Ingredients: Beef Muscle Hydrolysate, Yeast Extract, Siberian Ginseng Extract
You can add this odorless powder to your dog’s diet by incorporating it into their dry food or water. It’s highly versatile, which means that you can even get the pickiest eater to consume this supplement.
It is recommended that you take a two-week break every thirty days to keep your dog from building tolerance to this supplement.
- Suitable for both cats and dogs
- Results may be apparent from the second to the third week
- Can be given to all breeds of all ages
- Some pets experienced diarrhea after consuming the product
4. Rebound Recuperation Formula for Dogs
Our rating: 5
Ingredients: Spray Dried Chicken Liver, Poultry Fat, Water, Poultry Broth (Concentrate)
Nutrient-dense, this formula can be added to water or food to help your pooch bounce back to health. Because it is a low caloric fluid therapy, Rebound Recuperation Formula is not meant to replace meals.
- Filled with essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids
- Contains prebiotics for better absorption and healthy gut
- Free from preservatives
- Suitable for dogs of all ages, regardless of breed
5. Agatha’s Elixir Dog Appetite Stimulant
Our rating: 4
Ingredients: Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin A, Vitamin E
This is a health tonic that contains milk thistle for liver vitality, green tea extract, and ginger root for a healthier immune system.
There have been reports of improvements by pet owners whereby their sick pooches suffering from cancer or liver failure thrive on this supplement.
- Money-back guarantee
- Does not contain high fructose corn syrup
- Suitable for dogs and cats of all ages and breeds
- Owners have raved about how it’s extended their dog’s life expectancy
- Sticky consistency makes feeding time slightly messy
- Some dogs don’t like the taste
6. KONA’S Food Topper for Dogs
Our rating: 4
Ingredients: Chicken, Natural Vegetable Glycerin, Sea Salt, Celery Salt
Type: Dry Jerky
This limited ingredient treat is a wonderful choice for dogs with food sensitivities. Made mainly from chicken, you can use this crunchy treat for dental care as well as an appetite stimulator by sprinkling it on your dog’s food.
These treats cannot replace your doggie’s meals, though.
- Made with USDA approved chicken and produced in the USA
- It might be slightly too hard for older dogs or dogs with dental problems
- Not recommended for dogs that are less than 7 lbs
- Considered pricey
7. Dr. Becker’s Appetite Flakes
Our rating: 5
Ingredients: Beef Liver, Bison Liver
Type: Dry Flakes
You can use Dr. Becker’s two-ingredient flakes as a meal topper to whet your dog’s lack of appetite. Or simply use it to add some real meat into your dog’s diet.
You can crush it further into a powder if your dog is struggling to chew or swallows these flakes whole.
- Suitable for all dog breeds
- Can get pricey
When Can Appetite Stimulants Help My Dog?
If your dog is constantly pushing aside his food, he’ll invariably lose weight, making room for disease and illnesses. Medical conditions such as stomach disease, renal failure, cancer, liver or kidney disease often have underactive appetites.
Older dogs may also turn away from meals due to dental issues, digestive problems, or a loss of interest in eating.
Eating is the first step to recovering and regaining energy, which is where appetite stimulants come in. Appetite stimulants can encourage your dog to eat and increase their nutritional intake.
How to increase a dog’s appetite naturally?
Dogs are highly motivated by food. Meat and tasty treats are natural appetite stimulants. A vet should check dogs that aren’t interested in real meat or their favorite treats because that’s a clear sign that your dog isn’t well.
A proper routine with adequate amounts of exercise can work wonders for your pup.
If your dog is particularly picky, you can mix some dog-appropriate human food into his kibble. You can try chicken or other meat-based baby food products.
On a low-fat diet? Top off his kibble with some braised white meat instead.
You may also add a bit of excitement to your dog’s feeding routine. Instead of just offering their food in a bowl, you can put a lid on it so your dog will have to work for it, which makes it all the more interesting.
Hand-feeding is another option, but it can develop into a bad habit. Dogs that enjoy being hand-fed might be feeling isolated, and not eating is one way to get your attention.
Spending more time with your dog and giving him more stimulation is another way to help enhance your dog’s appetite.
Aside from companionship and mental stimulation, you can offer your dog new flavors and dress up their kibble with herbs. Chamomile, ginger, celery seed, and peppermint are a few additives you can try.
Garlic is also a popular additive, but you will need to monitor the amount given, as garlic can be toxic to dogs in large amounts.
Vitamin B can help increase your dog’s food intake. A dog that’s deficient in B Vitamins will also be lethargic or even depressed, on top of having no interest in food.
How can I get my dog to eat with Kidney Failure?
Dogs with kidney problems often have poor appetites. An appetite stimulant can help in case they refuse to eat their prescribed food. Remember to consult your veterinarian first before using any stimulant.
You may also try to feed them wet food. It is highly recommended because hydration is important to dogs with kidney failure. Here is a list of the best dog food for dogs with kidney disease.
Hand-feeding your dog may entice your pup to eat. You can also try to warm up the food beforehand to make it more appealing.
Holistic Appetite Stimulants
CBD has become trendy in recent years and is said to alleviate chronic pain as well as treat anxiety.
While the FDA has yet to approve pet CBD supplements, some pet experts recommend them under careful administration and can be used to stimulate appetite.
Check out Dr. Jones and the seven things he wants you to know before getting your dog started on CBD:
CBD is derived from the marijuana plant, but it does not contain any THC, which is toxic to pets.
If you are hoping to avoid consumable products, acupuncture has also been used in dogs to treat health issues and even appetite stimulation.
Prescription Appetite Stimulants For Dogs
You’ll be able to get multivitamins at any pet store, but you will need a prescription from your vet to get the medication below.
A quick disclaimer, the information below does not constitute veterinarian advice and should be considered as general knowledge.
If your dog is dealing with nausea on top of a loss of appetite, you might want to give Mirtazapine a try. Mirtazapine helps curb nausea in cats and dogs and helps improve their eating habits as a delightful side effect.
You should adjust the dosage in accordance with your dog’s weight and size.
Ensure your vet is made aware of your dog’s medical history, especially blood, liver, or kidney disease. It should not be taken with other medication which may affect your dog’s serotonin levels, such as antidepressants.
Serotonin syndrome may sometimes develop, and it is characterized by agitation, vomiting, abnormal heart rate, loss of coordination, and vocalization.
If you miss a dose, you should give your dog a dose immediately and wait the recommended amount of time before their next dose. You should never double your dog’s dose without veterinary approval.
In the event of an overdose, you should contact your vet immediately.
When administering Mirtazapine, find one that does not contain xylitol, as it is toxic to dogs.
Entyce is the only FDA-approved appetite stimulant. It contains capromorelin, which is a type of ghrelin receptor agonist medication that increases hunger. It comes in the form of a vanilla-flavored liquid for easy administration.
Before giving it to your pup, make sure you shake the bottle well and wash the syringe after every use.
It should come into effect within 1-2 hours. If you miss a dose, give your dog the recommended amount when you remember. Do not give a double dose.
Extra precaution should also be taken when giving Entyce to pregnant or lactating dogs and dogs with liver or kidney disease. Tell your vet if your dog is on any medication or supplements.
According to studies, some dogs that go over the recommended dose experience swollen feet. Other side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, increased thirst, gas, nausea, lethargy, head shaking, drooling, gastrointestinal sounds, or gas.
Meclizine is not technically an appetite stimulant. It is an antihistamine that helps combat nausea, effectively restoring appetite if the nausea was the cause of your dog’s unwillingness to eat.
This medication has the potential to cause sleepiness or excitement, depending on how your dog reacts to it.
Meclizine commonly comes in the form of a small pill which can easily be hidden in treats. Your dog’s nausea should improve within 1-2 hours of taking the medication.
If you miss a dose, you should give the missed dose immediately and the next dose after waiting the appropriate amount of time.
Consult Your Veterinarian to Amplify Your Dog’s Appetite
Whether you go with CBD oil or rotisserie chicken, it’s not going to work unless it is compatible with your dog.
You will definitely have to try out a few of these products and methods before finding something that works.
It’s important that dog owners know exactly why their dog is not eating before attempting to remedy the problem.
There’s a clear distinction between anorexia and simply being a picky eater. If you’re not sure what’s causing your pup’s appetite loss, speak to your vet so they can help you.
Have you tried any appetite stimulant for your dog before? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Veronica hails from the rainy tropics of Borneo where she landed her first job as a radio announcer. Armed with a zest for life, she’s escaped into the rainforest with a group of volunteers and traveled out of her comfort zone. After settling down and having two kids, she’s shifted her focus to writing.
A writer at heart, she has penned articles ranging from paw parent’s guide to dog training. Currently, she’s working on an ethical pet care series for children. Veronica now has five dogs and they inspire her to learn more about dog behavior every single day.