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Weird Mealtime Behavior For Henry


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I'm hoping the GT experts will help me out on this one. I've been experiencing some very odd behavior with Henry at mealtimes. Just to give a little background, Henry and Truman have their "food stations" on opposite sides of the kitchen. This has been the way we've done meals twice a day for the past three years. Recently, Henry has been refusing to eat his food. But instead of walking away, he'll stand at his bowl and guard it. He just stares at Truman (who has his back turned, eating his own food), and repeatedly barks and growls. It's a rare occasion that I can say this :lol, but Truman isn't doing anything wrong! When he finishes eating, he turns around and walks away. But even then, Henry appears to be on high alert. He's so stressed out that he barely touches his food.

 

At first, I thought it was just behavioral. So I gave Henry five minutes to eat while I sat close by. And when he continued to bark and growl, I took his bowl up. Tried again at dinnertime, and the same thing happened. It concerned me that Henry had missed several whole meals, so I tried moving the food bowl to a different room where he could eat alone and not see Truman at all. That didn't work either, because for the past several days, he's still been refusing the food or only eating very minimally.

 

Then, I wondered if maybe it was something medical related, like he may be feeling sick. It would make sense that if he had no appetite, that he may still wanted to guard the food as an instinctual response to not starve. To test my theory, I tried giving him some wet food. My thought being- if he doesn't eat this, he's definitely not feeling well or there's could be a mouth/teeth issue at play. Wrong! He gobbled it up in no time. I should also add that he always eats the peanut butter on top that contains his pills. He's also been eating his daily Dentasticks with no fuss.

 

So what could the problem be? Can a dog one day decide he doesn't like his kibble anymore? It's not a new bag of food, otherwise, I might be concerned that the bag got tainted in some way. Truman seems to eat with no problem. I feel like changing the kibble to encourage him to eat may be a viscous cycle (i.e. he learns that if he holds out, he continually gets better stuff). This has really boggled my mind. I'm wondering if a vet visit is in order.

 

Thoughts?

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Guest Houston1219

Not sure as to the cause, but could you maybe keep eating places the same but stagger times? Maybe have someone take Truman for a walk around the block while Henry eats first? Just as a trial run to see if it's behavioral? I mean, if someone moved the dinner table into the living room I would be a little hesitant at first too lol keep everything the exact same as usual routine except subtract Truman.

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Something must have happened. Or Henry must have thought something happened. It might not even have to do with eating and/or mealtimes.

 

I second removing Truman from the mix for a meal or two. And if one of the two should move, it should be Truman. Unless you dtermine it's something with Henry's "place" that's the problem. Fed one, then the other.

 

It is possible that he's gone off his kibble - sometimes cancer treatment can change how food tastes - but that sounds more behavioral.

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Any chance Henry may have caught his tags on the food stand and it spooked him? When it happened to our Harold he would rather starve than go near the food stand. I held his food bowl for him for the rest of his life. Oddly, his water bowl was in the same stand and he had no problem drinking from it.

 

Since Henry did eat the wet kibble I don't think I'd change his food. When they're hungry, they'll eat. Except for Harold. :rolleyes:

 

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Guest LazyBlaze

If something has spooked him, maybe adding a couple of spoonfuls of plain yoghurt into his kibble might get him over the hump, so to speak. This usually works with Blaze, sometimes he just needs something enticing to get him back into the swing of eating the kibble, then whatever dramas get forgotten about. After that you can phase it out again.

 

Good luck in any case.

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Interestingly, my poor feeder Jeffie has just begun refusing his normal kibble halfway through a sack. Sid is still eating it (when he gets the chance - he's supposed to be on a low calorie kibble), but the most tempting of wet food won't get Jeffie eating if there is any of this kibble in his dish. I cooked up pig kidneys this morning, which is something he actually salivates over normally, but nope, he wouldn't eat. I took the bits of kidney out of the dish and rinsed them (for heaven's sake) and he deigned to eat most of them, but still appeared suspicious that there was 'kibble smell' on them.

I'm wondering if the kibble has just gone rancid in the heat we've been having. I'm going out this afternoon to get a new bag.

 

The barking and growling? No idea, unless something happened, as others have said.

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aside from checking out the meds that henry is on to see if there are any side effects which can cause this can henry now be at top weight and he's cutting back? some dogs do this. he also might be telling truman to knock it off- for what ever reason- maintaining his standing between the two of them. i would reduce the amount of food, feed in separate rooms and time how long he has to eat.i give dogs 5 min. and then remove the kibble until the next meal. i also would cut out the peanut butter and treats and have him focus on plain old kibble. a good knock it off from the other room should let henry know you don't want the guarding/growling and being hungry should get him back on track. hopefully this is not med related. if you think it's a bad batch of kibble the store should take it back with out a problem, but that wouldn't cause the growling.

 

is henry licking the air? it's a strange behavior that dogs do when they are nauseous.

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While this is an interesting problem, I'm sitting here smiling (pardon me) for picturing Henry just standing there growling at Truman, and Truman is clueless. AWH...... like "what is your problem dude, eat your food, I don't want it" lol

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Very little causes Henry to spook, and he usually rebounds pretty quickly. He doesn't wear any tags in the house, and he's completely off all chemo-related meds. I'm going to try and take a video. Maybe there's some other detail I'm missing.

 

While this is an interesting problem, I'm sitting here smiling (pardon me) for picturing Henry just standing there growling at Truman, and Truman is clueless. AWH...... like "what is your problem dude, eat your food, I don't want it" lol

I know! :lol Truman is usually at fault in some way, but this time, he's not doing anything wrong. He seems really aloof, like he doesn't understand what Henry's deal is.

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Trouble with yelling 'knock it off' from another room is that both dogs get yelled at and - depending on the temperament of the innocent dog - this can cause behavioural issues all by itself.

 

I could never yell at Sid without being right there and looking right at Sid or Jeffie gets scared. He is a bit spooky. For instance, if it happened while he was eating it would almost certainly put him off eating in that location, and maybe put him off eating altogether. For Jeffie it would take days to 'get right' again. I realise not all dogs are this sensitive, but it's worth remembering that Truman won't know he's not being yelled at.

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Just wanted to mention that any change in appetite can potentially mean a medical problem. Just because he gobbles down tastier food doesn't necessarily rule out a health issue.

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:dunno For some reason a few months ago Barkley decided he doesn't want to eat breakfast. He'd stand over the bowl and growl if Poodle the piglet came near. I started picking up the bowl and setting it aside until later in the day (usually when Poodle is out sunbathing) and he eats it up. Haven't had any problems at dinner so far.

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My first thought was medical. If he's feeling ill the wet food may be enough to motivate him to eat, while the kibble isn't. The guarding definitely fits with that. But removing Truman and seeing if that fixes it would also be telling. I would do that first and if it doesn't, get him into the vet.

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Guest iconsmum

Very little causes Henry to spook, and he usually rebounds pretty quickly. He doesn't wear any tags in the house, and he's completely off all chemo-related meds. I'm going to try and take a video. Maybe there's some other detail I'm missing

 

I know! :lol Truman is usually at fault in some way, but this time, he's not doing anything wrong. He seems really aloof, like he doesn't understand what Henry's deal is.

 

 

Have his teeth looked at.

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That was one of the first things I did. No redness around the gum line, teeth have very minimal plaque. Henry's always had really good teeth.

A tooth can appear completely healthy/normal and have disease under the gums. That's how Zuri lost his pre-molar this past dental. Absolutely no signs of a problem with the tooth, the vet only thought 2 incisors needed to come out, but when they took x-rays the tooth was totally diseased under the gum and had to come out. I'd think that's less likely if he has no signs of any dental disease whatsoever, but fwiw.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I'm pursuing a potential medical cause, as Henry is still refusing to eat after almost a week. I've also noticed a few episodes of coughing/hiccuping... my first suspicion was lung mets. :( He's going back into the oncologist this week, and I'm also consulting Dr. Couto.

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Hope its nothing like that. :goodluck

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Henry went to the oncologist today for x-rays and bloodwork, and everything was normal. He had not lost any weight since our last visit. The doctor gave him a clean bill of health. The veterinary dentist even took a peak at his teeth to make sure there were no slab fractures or other less noticeable issues going on.

 

On the way home, I was racking my brain wondering if something might be up with his food. I picked up a new bag of kibble. Then, at the pet store, it hit me. The Missing Link! We lost power for almost a full 24 hours two weekends ago. This included the power to the refrigerator. It didn't occur to me that the Missing Link has to be refrigerated, otherwise, it can spoil. Just to be safe, I fed the new kibble (without the Missing Link), and he gobbled everything up in two minutes. I'm crossing my fingers that was the problem, and we can go back to normal. :goodluck

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Oh, Henry. Stop scaring your mom! To which Henry replies, " Mom, what link did you think I was missing?" ;)

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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Guest sireltonsmom

Very little causes Henry to spook, and he usually rebounds pretty quickly. He doesn't wear any tags in the house, and he's completely off all chemo-related meds. I'm going to try and take a video. Maybe there's some other detail I'm missing.

 

I know! :lol Truman is usually at fault in some way, but this time, he's not doing anything wrong. He seems really aloof, like he doesn't understand what Henry's deal is.

 

People on. Chemo meds often lose taste buds. If Henry has been on them, maybe vet could say if that's possible for him.

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