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.
Best of luck, Melissa! I'm sorry to hear that Kirby is being so difficult. But if he doesn't show any outward sign of physical distress, then perhaps it really is just him being silly. I am afraid to admit that I doubt I have the patience required to deal with a dog who has "anxiety issues". Ace was already more than a handful for me, with his shyness and initial distaste for human company. I really admire the work and love and time you are putting towards Kirby's benefit. Rock on!
Good luck! I really hope he starts eating again for you. He sounds a lot like a toddler. Ever see a 2 year old that refuses to eat anything but mac & cheese suddenly decide he doesn't like that either? It was a rough day, but by dinner time he finally started eating normal food again (he's 3 1/2 now, and was just diagnosed with anxiety disorder himself).
This is usually the method that works. I remember when my girl stopped eating, it seemed the more I fussed over it the less she ate. Stopped fussing, she started eating.
Just checking in to see how it's going? Is he eating yet? This boy of yours reminds me of a book by James Dobson about kids "The Strong Willed Child". LOL