German Shorthaired Pointer Won’t Eat? Here’s What To Do

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) are naturally not fussy dogs. They are big people-pleasers, and their priorities lie in making their owners happy. With that said, any spoilt dog can become precious, and German Shorthaired Pointers are not above this. If your GSP is not physically or emotionally ill and suddenly chooses not to eat, this may have been caused by you overindulging them.

If your German Shorthaired Pointer won’t eat, you need to figure out the underlying reason so you can find the best solution. These solutions may include retraining, a visit to the vet, additions to their diet, appetite stimulants, reducing treats, or increasing interactive eating.

There are several possible causes and circumstances that can result in your dog not eating. Once you have a clear understanding of why he isn’t eating his food, you will be able to take the necessary steps to get him to eat again.

Why Has Your German Shorthaired Pointer Stopped Eating?

It is always concerning when your pup suddenly loses his appetite, especially when mealtime is usually his favorite time of day. There are, however, a number of reasons why this might be happening, and whilst some are concerning, others are just a matter of readjusting.

He may not be eating for any of the following reasons:

  • Illness
  • Dental Disease
  • Recent Vaccination
  • Social/Emotional Issues
  • Aging
  • Stale Food
  • Change in the normal dog food formula

How To Get Your German Shorthaired Pointer To Eat Again

Once you’ve determined the cause for your GSP not eating, you can figure out the best method to get them to eat again.

How To Get Your German Shorthaired Pointer To Eat If They Are Ill Or Anxious

The techniques to getting your sick or anxious GSP to eat are different from those that you would use if your dog is just picky.

Get Your GSP To Eat With Hand Feeding

Hand-feeding is one option to try to get your GSP to start eating again. If they are ill or anxious, this intimate act might comfort them. The small individual pieces are manageable, and the taste could make them realize they are actually hungry.

Get Your GSP To Eat By Making Their Food More Appetizing

You may want to attempt to make your dog’s food more appetizing to persuade them to eat. You could do this by warming the food in the microwave, thus releasing the aromas of the food and hopefully stimulating their hunger. You could also achieve this by adding warm water to soften the pellets. This would be especially helpful if your dog is suffering from dental problems as the soft pellets will be far easier to eat.

A bland diet is often recommended to get sick dogs eating. You could try lean chicken, turkey, or hamburger meat with white rice or sweet potato. These foods are tasty treats for your pup but are also easily digestible and soothing for their digestive system.

Adding some extra yumminess to their meals might entice them into eating their food. These extras are also good for their health but always check with your vet first before adding a new type of food to your sick dog’s diet.  Depending on their illness, not all healthy foods will be good for them.

You could try to add the following foods to get your GSP eating:

  • Raw eggs
  • Goat’s Milk
  • Vegetables like carrots, peas, and pumpkin puree
  • Kefir
  • Sardines
  • Bone, chicken, or beef broth
  • Clam juice or tuna water
  • Coconut Oil

Get Your GSP To Eat With Training

Work to eat training is another way to get your German Shorthaired Pointer to eat if they are no longer interested in eating from the bowl. This is an effective method with a GSP because they are so keen to please their owner.

Your dog will eat throughout the day, and the training will also be stimulating for them. This will really aid a dog with anxiety as it distracts them and releases endorphins.

The same concept applies if you’d like to introduce food dispensing toys. Getting their meal becomes a game. They become more motivated to eat as German Shorthaired Pointers are genetically inclined to enjoy a challenge and reward scenario.

Get Your GSP To Eat With Exercise

Exercise is a natural appetite stimulant, so this is a healthy way to get your pup hungry enough to eat. German Shorthaired Pointers are, however, high risk for bloating and torsion, so it’s not a good idea to try and feed them directly after heavy exercise. 

Rather wait an hour or so after a good workout. They will only be hungrier at this point, and you reduce the risk of any digestive problems.

Get Your GSP To Eat With Changing Their Eating Situation

If an external influence is a reason your GSP has stopped eating, you can try moving their bowl to another room to see if this helps. This will be a good method if there is another dog that is bothering them during dinner time or a change that has happened in their feeding space that is unsettling them.

Get Your GSP To Eat With Appetite Stimulants

Although still somewhat controversial, cannabis is a great resource for increasing a dog’s appetite. There are CBD products specifically designed for our canine buddies that don’t contain any THC, which would be harmful to them. CBD also assists with pain management.

There are other natural herbs that could also assist with stimulating your German Shorthaired Pointer’s appetite:

  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Celery Seed
  • Peppermint

When you administer these to your dog, do so in small doses and first check with your vet that none of these will cause harm to your dog’s current condition.

In severe cases of loss of appetite referred to as canine anorexia, where your dog is refusing to eat anything at all, your vet can prescribe medication to stimulate the appetite.

How To Get Your German Shorthaired Pointer To Eat If They Are Being Fussy

If the physical and mental health of your GSP is absolutely fine and they are just choosing not to eat, the methods to solving the problem are a whole lot simpler. They do, however, involve you needing to take a hard line.

The good news is that your GSP will not starve himself for the sake of fussiness. Eventually, their hunger will drive them to eat whatever is placed in front of them.

It’s also unlikely that they have actually become bored with their food. Dogs only have 1700 taste receptors versus the 9000 that humans have. Therefore most dogs can eat exactly the same food for their entire lives.

The reason they are choosing not to eat is due to bad habits as they have learned something more tasty and exciting could be waiting for them. Therefore the first change you need to make is to stop feeding them any table scraps and treats.

 If the problem does not pertain to the extra food you are feeding your GSP, find out where they are getting more tasty options from and put a stop to this.

The best method to retrain your GSP to eat the meals placed in front of them is to teach them no other option exists. The most effective method to get this done is to place their bowl of food down for them and leave it for 30 minutes.

If they don’t eat, pick it up and only present them with food again at their next scheduled mealtime. Don’t reprimand them for not eating. This will only exasperate the situation. Dogs are fast learners and will figure out that not eating gets them attention.

This may seem cruel, and your heart will probably break as they look at you with those big puppy dog eyes begging for something to eat, but you need to remain firm. Eventually, after a few missed meals, your German Shorthaired Pointer’s survival instinct will kick in, and they will eat the food placed in front of them to satiate their hunger. In the long run, having them return to their regular food and eating schedule is healthier for them. Although it will be hard to remain strong, you need to remember you are doing it for the well-being of your fur baby.


It’s important to understand why your German Shorthaired Pointer has stopped eating his food so that you are able to implement an appropriate method for getting him to eat again. If it is an illness that is causing the problem, you will need guidance from your vet.

Emotional issues may take some time to gently coax your pup back into eating, but if they have just decided to be a princess and only want to wait for more exciting food alternatives, then the only way to fix this is with a strict attitude.

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