Puppies normally have healthy and robust appetites. They explore the world with their nose, ears, and sometimes, much to a new pet owner’s chagrin, their mouths. Puppies like to taste the grossest things imaginable — slugs, dirt, poop, garbage.

It can be a shock when a normally ravenous puppy refuses to eat the meal you thoughtfully prepared for them. If the behavior is sudden and accompanied by other symptoms — diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, excessive panting or drooling or anything else unusual — contact your vet immediately. It’s possible your puppy is feeling ill, picked up a bacteria, or ate something toxic.

As long as your dog is otherwise healthy, growing, and maintaining a healthy body conditioning score, there’s probably not cause for serious concern. You can always consult with your vet, breeder, or rescue facility for advice.

After all, there are plenty of nonmedical reasons your puppy may refuse to eat or doesn’t eat as often as you expect.

7 week old Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy eating from a red dog dish