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Can A Dog Forget How To Eat?


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It's been about six weeks since Marla went off her food (short version: she has pneumonia and a possible mass on her lung). The first few weeks I cajoled and bribed her with various novel things only to have her routinely reject everything after one or two meals. I was finally reduced to feeding her baby food and yogurt, as it seemed that she just wouldn't eat any solid food or treat. After she decided to refuse that, the last few days I've been syringe-feeding her. I am liquefying her regular kibble with supplements and chicken broth and squirting it into her mouth many many times daily to try and keep her weight up. She doesn't seem to mind the feedings at all, in fact she may even kind of like it. :blink:

 

I think getting her back to her old kibble (even in liquid form) has helped her, calmed her upset bowels at least. This morning she even came into the kitchen (which she hasn't done in days) to ask for a treat. But when I offered her several different items in succession, she rejected each one. But she was drooling profusely all the while, just like she used to do when she wanted a treat.

 

So what gives? Has she forgotten how to eat solid foods? Is that even possible? I would SO love to see her just eat food again. I'm frankly exhausted from syringe-feeding her all the time!

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~Aimee, with Flower, Alan, Queenie, & Spodee Odee! And forever in my heart: Tipper, Sissy, Chancy, Marla, Dazzle, Alimony, and Boo. This list is too damned long.

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No, not yet. I spoke with the vet two days ago to ask about starting Tramadol. That seems to have helped a little, even though I don't know what hurts. Might go in for followup bloodwork next week to see if her WBC has changed since being on Cipro for two weeks now... Possibly new xrays then, to monitor the fluid...

gallery_4518_2903_2157.jpg
~Aimee, with Flower, Alan, Queenie, & Spodee Odee! And forever in my heart: Tipper, Sissy, Chancy, Marla, Dazzle, Alimony, and Boo. This list is too damned long.

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I doubt that she's forgotten, especially since she came to the kitchen looking for food. But she may associate certain foods with being in pain, or something negative like that.

 

Is she willing to try eating the liquefied mixture from a bowl or plate? That would be a step in the right direction, I'd think. What a lucky girl she is to have you taking care of her! :)

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No, she won't voluntarily eat anything, liquid or otherwise. :( Each time I syringe-feed her, I offer her the bowl, just to see... She won't even try it, just turns her head away. She hasn't even licked the spoon in two days.

gallery_4518_2903_2157.jpg
~Aimee, with Flower, Alan, Queenie, & Spodee Odee! And forever in my heart: Tipper, Sissy, Chancy, Marla, Dazzle, Alimony, and Boo. This list is too damned long.

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Yes, just like with people that haven't been eating for a while - tummies shrink, and need disappears.

i'm assuming she's older, and also pickier. And there are also medical issues at work here. But if she is showing life, and wanting to eat, then you can get her to eat.

small meals througout the days. cooked foods - usually proteins like eggs, meats. parmesan cheese, or garlic powder on things. i also use an organic chicken broth on something. evo kibble is good too.

 

1. find an acupuncturist - there are points that will trigger her food need - www.ahvma.org is one web site that lists them. this works.

 

2. treats - dried liver is something they all usually love. chicken jerky. all natural proteins are good treats for them, and they usually like.

 

hope this helps.

 

claudia

Greyhound Gang

Claudia & Greyhound Gang
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Yes, just like with people that haven't been eating for a while - tummies shrink, and need disappears.

i'm assuming she's older, and also pickier. And there are also medical issues at work here. But if she is showing life, and wanting to eat, then you can get her to eat.

small meals througout the days. cooked foods - usually proteins like eggs, meats. parmesan cheese, or garlic powder on things. i also use an organic chicken broth on something. evo kibble is good too.

 

1. find an acupuncturist - there are points that will trigger her food need - www.ahvma.org is one web site that lists them. this works.

 

2. treats - dried liver is something they all usually love. chicken jerky. all natural proteins are good treats for them, and they usually like.

 

hope this helps.

 

claudia

Greyhound Gang

 

Thank you for the suggestions. I really have tried most of the foods you've listed already, and many others. Nothing tempts her anymore. I still offer her various things each day, but nothing passes her lips anymore except syringed food and pills. :( She wasn't picky at all until six weeks ago. She was a regular drooling little glutton. :chow: At first I'd thought it was behavioral/depression, since we'd lost our Chancy the week before Marla started refusing food. But bloodwork and xrays two weeks ago revealed fluid and a mass in her lungs.

 

I haven't tried acupuncture for her yet though, that's one I hadn't thought of... Thanks! :)

 

ETA: I forgot to add, Marla is ten years old.

Edited by ZoomDoggy

gallery_4518_2903_2157.jpg
~Aimee, with Flower, Alan, Queenie, & Spodee Odee! And forever in my heart: Tipper, Sissy, Chancy, Marla, Dazzle, Alimony, and Boo. This list is too damned long.

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Sugar has been very picky off and on for the last 6 weeks (but not as bad as Marla) She had her first acupunture treatment Monday, and the vet said she would specifically target the points (I think that's the correct term) to stimulate her appetite as well as the ones for pain (the reason we were there). I must say, she has been eating much better since then, and it was only her first treatment. Maybe those little needles can get Marla going again too! :candle

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Oh Aimee how frustrating for you. I have no helpful advice , my first thought was unrelated to the lung mass that maybe she had a tooth problem and chewing was hurting her, but that wouldnt explain not eating yogurt etc. Doe the inside of her mouth look normal, same as always?

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That is so frustrating.... :grouphug

 

I have a friend here who has had good luck with the acupuncture thing for getting the appetite back for her 14 year old girl.

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Guest chigal950

Our grey who had liver disease would drool at food but not want to eat because she associated eating with not feeling well. [This is because the liver enzymes kick up after you eat]. She had no appetite for any kind of kibble at all the last year of her life. One food she would eat fairly reliably when going through her illness was Jewel Chefs Kitchen cheese pizza, I am sure the warm cooked food and the aroma helped her appetite. Other foods that worked sometimes were: strawberry or raspberry fruit bars (not granola, the oatmal cake-type ones). Sometimes luncheon meat and cheese. Tortillas. Beggin strips and snausages and Old Mother Hubbard dog cookies.

 

Best of luck with your baby.

Edited by chigal950
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Guest Greensleeves

This is out there, but... have you tried squirting the food from the syringe onto a plate, right in front of her?

 

Whistler got really picky the last year (not to that extreme), and one way we found to get him to eat was changing the way we served him. Since she's willing to be syringed, maybe you can re-teach her about eating by herself by gradual steps, starting with changing the way she gets the food. But right now it sounds like she *needs* that syringe to be part of it. Maybe it doesn't seem "safe" or appetizing to her if it doesn't come with the syringe.

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I read somewhere that when dogs are ill they may stop eating so that their resources are used to heal, instead of to digest. Of course the conundrum there is that if they don't eat at all they will have no energy to heal with!

 

Katie is ill and does not eat well for weeks at a time, but she will still 'perform' for her dinner or her treats - sitting and providing a weak 'please' via a short roo or too when I ask 'what do you say.' She is going through the motions by habit I think, remembering that this is something she used to enjoy, and I wonder if that's what's happening with Marla. I can hand Katie a meatball and she'll take it in her mouth and then put it down next to her instead of eating it.

 

I wonder if you've seen the article on feeding on Dr. Stacks site? It's under 'Tips for a Speedier Recovery.' Once you open the link, scroll down to 'Forced Feeding.' Maybe this will be easier.

 

Another Way to Force Feed

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... one way we found to get him to eat was changing the way we served him.

 

Interestingly, that is how I lured both Sissy and Chancy into eating when they were sick. What they wouldn't touch from their bowls became a delicacy when served on a small plate. It worked surprisingly well for whatever reason. :dunno: Doesn't work with Marla, sadly.

 

And Cynthia, thanks for the link. I'd read that before, but currently I prefer to syringe-feed even though it takes longer, as long as she doesn't fight me on it, rather than cramming chunks of food down her throat against her will.

gallery_4518_2903_2157.jpg
~Aimee, with Flower, Alan, Queenie, & Spodee Odee! And forever in my heart: Tipper, Sissy, Chancy, Marla, Dazzle, Alimony, and Boo. This list is too damned long.

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  • 13 years later...

Dogs can forget how to eat it’s dementia my Sammi who is elderly acts starved though he has forgotten how to eat he tries though he does not open his mouth and does not eat like he used to I have to hand feed him and open his mouth and he gets my fingers a lot ouch but he is my Sammi boy and is loved and likes to lay he head on my lap his time is almost over Sammi my Shih Tzu

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I'm sorry to read about Marla - wishing the best for her. My current hounds are 10+ and almost 11.

I'm no expert but have learned much over the years. Every dog is different. I always feed my two hounds WARM meals (breakfast and supper). They have a base kibble, which you can forego, but I serve w/canned food, add a little water and heat in the microwave -- so it's like a stew.

Periodically, I mince a hard-boiled egg white and also heat that up (split between the two hounds). Once in awhile, I divide a poached egg between them - but the yolk may be too rich/fatty for some dogs.

My hounds also like cooked (frozen - no salt added) vegetables but if Marla isn't feeling well - vegetables probably wouldn't be very appealing

I adopted a senior female a number of years ago -- she was a very picky eater. Canned chicken and salmon were the ticket at the end. She was 14-1/2+. Again, no salt added is best; otherwise I just rinsed and drained like crazy.

Hugs for you and your girl.

 

 

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I have a female greyhound that developed a strange habit only to eat at her breakfast time. I give my two fresh cooked chicken, ground up apple, shredded cheese and some other added food to change it out for breakfast and or dinner. That said, the boy (Into The Future) will eat his meal with gusto from his metal aluminum bowel no matter what and where I feed him a main meal. However he will only take and eat treats on his dog bed in the living room. 

The girl (Hashtag Pasadena) has decided that she likes to eat her food off of a rail outside on the ramp. So each morning, I take her meal outside and put scoops of it on the rail for her to eat, while the boy is eating inside. I leave a little in her metal aluminum bowl just to try and get her to eat breakfast from the bowel. Dinner is no problem at all. She eats it from the bowl, in the house, next to the big boy. She would have you feed her by hand all the time if she had her choice, as she acts like a little princess. 

Just saying this as they all have had different eating habits.

One pair would eat out of the same bowel at the same time. But if they did eat out of a different bowl, the boy would always leave the carrots and peas for the girl. That was HeartSweet and Surprise. 

Ec Flirt, and San Tan Snuggles ate normal. 

I'm Just Stormy liked to eat out of a bowl normal, but would lick his milk bone until it got soft before he would eat it. Surprise ate his milk bone the same way too. It was so funny the first time I gave them one, it was like they did not know what a bone was like. 

It takes time to see how, where and what they want to eat their food from. They're just like people, particular. It may just take time to discover  how they want to eat.   

 

 

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