Update 2: Well I am going to try a new approach with Kirby. Honestly this not eating thing is getting REALLY OLD. I am about 99.9% sure this is a personality issue and not a health issue so that's why I haven't taken him to the vet. It started exactly when I started giving medications. He now has not eaten a whole meal in one sitting in about 3 days. He did not eat dinner (I don't think, I was making my own dinner and Franklin was caught in Kirby's crate licking the bowl! Lol) and he didn't touch his breakfast. My new approach is going to be you don't eat now, you don't eat. Meal time has become such a to-do with preparing the meal and getting him to eat (canned food, warm it in the microwave, mix well, pour on kibble, place kirby into crate, lots of praise, check on him every 10-15 minutes, etc) and honestly I have lost my patience for this game. This morning I did the normal routine of mixing the wet food in with his dry and placing him in his crate to eat (because now he will not eat if ANYBODY, including the cat, is near him). I gave him 15 minutes in his crate, and now I am picking up the food for the rest of the day. He is of an ok weight, I've put about 6 pounds on him since I got him, he still has another 3-4 to go but he isn't total skin and bones anymore so I'm going to try the starvation method and see if it works. I have a HUGE bag of food left for him which he loved before I started medicating him so I'm in no hurry to switch up the food at this point. We will see how starvation works as a motivator. Wish me luck! :-D
Update: Kirby still isn't eating. I've tried changing the bowl he eats from and the location he is being fed. I'm leaving his food in his crate with him and then the bowl down at night. He will eventually eat his morning meal sometime while I am at work but will only eat a little of the evening meal and then leave the rest. I checked all over in his mouth to make sure there wasn't something causing him pain and there was nothing there. He will walk over to the bowl and nudge a bunch of food out onto the ground like he is looking for the hidden pills. There hasn't been a pill in it for I think about 4-5 days. Yesterday he tried to bury the whole bowl with his nose. I talked to the vet yesterday and we have changed the medication. She has a very anxious dog too so she knew more of how to help and what route to take than the other vet Kirby saw. We put him on Clomipramine (Clomicalm) and now I just need a ton of patience for the next 4-6 weeks for it to kick in. She said to quit giving the Ace (as I suspected) because it does nothing for the actual anxiety and is just tranquilizing him. Also no need to taper the Alprazolam since he only got 3 pills. She was thinking the Ace would make him MORE anxious since the anxiety would still be there but he would be tranquilzed so feel more vulnerable. We thought maybe that extra anxiety was why he wouldn't eat. No Ace today, still no eating. At what point do I switch food or mix in wet food or chicken broth to get him eating again?
If its not one thing with Kirby its another! Finally figured the meds out, for now. The vet put him on alprazolam (Xanex) for his anxiety and the medication seemed to just make him much worse. She suggested adding in Acepromazine and using it in combination with the alprazolam but still I had a very anxious boy on my hands. The last few days I quit giving the Xanex all together because clearly it was making him more anxious. He is now on straight Acepromazine and that seems to be working. Problem is, Ace is a tranquilzer and I am not ok with just sedating my dog everyday. I want something that will help with his anxiety, not make a doggie zombie. I am going to talk to a different vet today at work and see what she suggests. The Thundershirt was a complete failure. I did as suggested and kept it on for short periods and he either became completely immobile and whined like crazy or tried to eat it so I took it back. The vet also suggested fish oil and glucosamine/chondrotin for his joints. I had him on ground flax seed already but CVS was having a buy one get one free sale so I got him some fish oil as well as the glucosamine.
My new issue is, he's not eating. I suspect its from the medication that before I was just throwing in his food. He is a chow hound and scarfs his food without chewing. Now I think he realizes there are meds in his food and he won't touch it. I've been just pilling him every morning and not putting anything in his food but now he will just go to his bowl and spill half the dish on the ground with his nose and then leave and go to sleep. This is a dog that I have JUST started putting weight on and can't afford to miss meals. I'm at a loss for what to do. I had previously put him in his crate and fed him there and that seemed to work but now that doesn't even work. There are no meds in his food anymore so I don't know why he continues not to eat. Its been about 3 days of him only eating one meal with effort and totally skipping breakfast. I know the common thought is keep his food down for 15 minutes then take it up and no food until the next meal, but he already knows the feeding schedule and he is so skinny as it is. Should I just put his food in his crate with him when I leave the house and let him eat it throughout the day? I'm hoping he realizes soon THERE ARE NO MEDICATIONS IN THE FOOD and starts eating again. How long do I wait for this to go on before I consider a food change? Its been about 5 days now of no meds in his food and since the issue first started.
Hi Melissa, I just want you to know that I think about you and Kirby a lot and admire you for your constant attention to him and all his difficulties, even though it causes you great frustration and heartache! Take a deep breath and hang in there!
thank you! I really am trying!
I wonder if changing the time, place and bowl you feed from will get him to start back up again...
interesting thought, I'll have to try that. He did not eat his dinner, only ate about 1/4 of it. Will try again later tonight and see if he'll eat it from a different dish. Interesting you say that as I put his breakfast in a smaller bowl in his crate to take up less room and he did end up eating it while I was gone.
tried changing both the bowl and location and he still won't eat :-(
Could you just hand feed Kirby his whole meal? Maybe occassionally drop some kibble in his bowl while hand feeding him his meal.
One part of Kirby's anxiety is he won't eat if somebody is watching him. I fed him in a room by himself and he would scarf his food then come in all happy. If I look at him while he's eating he will run away and/or run outside. Today he didn't even eat his breakfast. I put some chicken broth in it an he still didn't eat. I offered it to Franklin to see if maybe there was something wrong with the kibble that my human nose can't detect, and Franklin ate it so I'm not sure what the heck is going on. He will eat treats and peanut butter Kongs but won't eat his breakfast or dinner. At least I know he is getting some nutrition because I stuff a kong with peanut butter mixed with some of Natural Balance's big dog food rolls they make. It's not much, maybe 1/16th of what he should be eating, but at least its SOMETHING. I think I'm going to get some wet food and mix it in when I get off work today and see if he eats that or try his prescription diet and see if he'll eat a different kibble.
I had the same problem with Bella last year when I was giving her several stomach meds and I had to take her off all the med(she was worse with all the meds and shots to keep her from vomiting) and she slowely started eating again. I added warm water and this helped some. I don't have an answer but I know how frustrating it is:( It may have been some psychological thinking on her part that everytime she ate she got sick so if Kirby was feeling the effects of the meds maybe he is afraid to eat even now????
Just read your update, Melissa. Honestly, at this point, I'd start doing whatever it takes to get him to eat again. Canned food. Boiled hamburger and rice. Boiled eggs. Vienna Sausages. Anything to get his trust back and jumpstart his appetite. There used to be a product (put out by Beecham) called Lixotinic, which was basically an iron supplement but we used it to get sick dogs to feel hungry. Don't know if it's still out there or not, but you might check. Back in the days when parvo first hit, every parvo dog got lixotinic to help them keep going.
I also think that at this point I'd feed him anything he'll eat. How about some scrambled egg or cottage cheese? Mine really like canned salmon or sardines. If you are worried about the salt, you can rinse them first in a strainer. If he eats that stuff, you can start putting just a couple pieces of kibble in after a few days to see if you can get him back to eating regular food.
I bought some canned food today and mixed it in with his kibble. He ate his whole dinner! Yay! I am going to have to give him pills indefinitely so I figured I'll just use the canned food to make meatballs to hide the pills in and for now mix canned food in with his regular food until he starts eating regularly. He still didn't scarf like he used to but hopefully with time he will start scarfing again. I'm just happy he FINALLY ate!
YAY!!!!! I use either Pill Pockets or Velveeta to hide pills in for all mine. (Seems like someone needs a pill all the time at our place!) They both work well. You might do something like that so if he tastes the pill again and gets mad, he won't associate it with the canned food, at least!