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How do I get my puppy to eat?

Getting your puppy to eat seems like something you shouldn't really have to worry about. Eating is a natural instinct, right? But, you just got your puppy home and it's dinner time and she's not hungry at all. She sniffs the kibble and has a drink of water and that's it. She doesn't eat one bite.

I'm here to tell you, "Don't worry." It's actually quite normal for your puppy to be uninterested in food the first hours or first day in their new home. This is a stressful time for the pup. She's just left all her litter mates and the only home she's ever known. Everything is new and while she is excited to meet you, it is still a lot for her to take in.

Three things you can do to help your puppy eat:

1. Don't overstimulate your puppy. Allow your puppy to explore people, spaces, and things at her own pace. When she seems tired or overstimulated, put her in a designated crate or safe space where she can settle down and take a nap.

2. The puppy's breeder should have sent some of the food your puppy has been eating ever since being weaned. You need to continue feeding this food to the puppy during the first few days she is in her new home. Everything else has changed, she needs the food to remain the same. If you would like to introduce a different food to her then do so in tiny increments by mixing it with the food sent by the breeder.

3. Put the food down, have the puppy sit, and then say "eat" and leave the food out for fifteen to twenty minutes in a controlled space where she will not be distracted. Once the time is up, take up the food and try again in a few hours. Try and establish a routine for her to eat, go potty, sleep, and play. Whatever works for you and your family will be what works best for your puppy. Just be sure to offer food twice a day.

If your puppy eats absolutely nothing for more than a day or two, then you should call the breeder and also schedule a veterinarian appointment to be sure there are no other issues going on. Also, if your puppy seems lethargic, can't stand up, or has pale/gray gums - go directly to the veterinarian's office. I have never seen this type of reaction in a Doodle Dog, but I know tiny breeds do have sugar crashes and issues with hypoglycemia at times.

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