Refusing to eat can result in serious health issues for a Chihuahua and for other small dog breeds, particularly small breed puppies, according to veterinarian and VeterinaryPartner.com educational director Wendy C. Brooks. Problems with maintaining blood sugar levels in toy breeds make regular meals critical to avoid hypoglycemia -- a potentially life-threatening condition.
Take your dog to the veterinarian for evaluation of any medical conditions that might impact eating, including mouth, tooth or gum injuries; metabolic disorders; kidney disease; parasites; diabetes; medication side-effects; or gastrointestinal blockage, advises Vetinfo. Inform your veterinarian of any incidents involving vomiting, diarrhea or possible exposure to toxins. Treat medical conditions in order to help your dog regain its appetite. Discuss vitamins and other supplements with your veterinarian.2
Establish a routine time for meals. Avoid adding foods with low nutritional value, such as gravy. This habit creates picky eaters and causes an unbalanced diet, advises veterinarian James W. Randolph. Feed your dog a balanced diet to help improve appetite, advises Vetinfo.3
Help your dog develop an appetite by giving it regular exercise. Provide your dog with attention and play to avoid depression, which can cause appetite loss.4
Consider a new diet with a different protein. To determine preference, try changing from a chicken-based to a fish-based food suggests Vetinfo. Mix the new food with the old, gradually increasing the percentage over several days to avoid causing gastrointestinal problems.5
Use high quality foods that allow your dog to eat smaller amounts with more nutritional value. Offer your dog food, then, after not longer than 30 minutes, put it away to help encourage your dog to eat all of the food on schedule, advises Chihuahua Club of America.6
Contact your veterinarian regarding appetite stimulants such as cyproheptadine, an antihistamine that helps increase appetite through suppression of serotonin, according to PetsMD. Inform your veterinarian prior to giving cyproheptadine if your pet has heart or bladder problems or is pregnant.