Jump to content
BC Boards

Eating issues in an older BC, need some advice.


BC-Liz
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey folks, 

It's been a while, I used to frequent these boards on a daily basis. Well time's have changed and my trio of border collies is down to a solo, the other two passed on this year. 2020 can kiss my ass. 

Masi, the last remaining, was my rescue dog. She's always been a bit edgy but after 14 years with Rhea at her side, she'd really come around. Rhea was every dog's security blanket, she was amazing. I won't get started. Masi had already been through some changes before Rhea's passing, my moving out of the house that I shared with my husband and into several different friend's houses until I settled on an apartment and only having Rhea around every other week as my husband and I shared her. She started being finicky about eating near December of last year. I'd add a walnut or two to her food to encourage her to eat. When Rhea was around, she ate with gusto. Same food, different atmosphere. 

With Rhea passing I knew Masi would continue to struggle with eating and I was right. To exacerbate the issue, I bought a house and moved her again. To make matters worse, I had to temporarily (3 months) relocate to a far away town for work and I tried to take her with me. This is when she got really bad and would go into full body shakes from nerves. Ultimately, I gave her to my ex to watch for the last month that I was there. Returning to a home she remembered and a routine she remembered was good for her and she calmed. That project ended in October and she and I have been in my new house since then, with a solid routine. Still this is a struggle. I've exhausted my expertise, I've exhausted my food stores expertise, I don't want to have to put her on appetite enhancers unless absolutely necessary. Can anyone lend some advice?! Here is what I've done, none of these have been successful:

  • Switched kibble both brand and flavor inside the same brand. 
  • Tried wet food
  • Tried adding varies people foods, carrots, cheese, beans, eggs, etc 
  • She's been to the vet for bloodwork to make sure there's no underlying cause, there is not. 
  • She's recently gotten her teeth cleaned to make sure she didn't have dead ones that were making it hard to chew (she did not).
  • CBD Oil, 1ml didn't seem to affect her (she's 30 lbs)
  • Composure liquid (this seems to have some small affect)
  • Adding the freeze dried raw meal mixers that my food store recommended. 
  • Cut out people food completely (I've started doing this now)
  • Feeding her on the carpet instead of the hardwoods
  • Doing tricks to jazz her up for food time

I'm at a loss. I would greatly appreciate any new ideas. I thought I had this pupper figured out but she's definitely tense and I think she knows I want her to eat even when she refuses and that makes her more tense even though I keep my voice light hearted and give her loves. I don't want her to get skinny and hasten her way to the rainbow bridge. Thanks for reading! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 58
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

BC Liz, I've never had this issue with any of my dogs except when they were actively ill or recovering from surgeries. The only thing I can think of is to put down a little of the food that she most recently ate, and then walk away. Out of her sight. Stay away for at least 10 minutes. At the end of that time, pick up the food and store or toss it away. Stop the pressure on her from you to eat.

The other thing is to do the above, adding in some of the stuff that encourages her to eat, and then walk away, out of her sight.

I understand your concern and I think it's possible that the 'social pressure' from you watching her and encouraging her is actually having the opposite effect.

Please let us know how you get on.

Ruth & Gibbs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear about Masi.

I see you tried Composure liquid. Along the same lines, have you tried a dog calming pheromone diffuser? Both vets I use have started using them. They are plugged into a wall socket. It may help to have one near where she eats, and maybe one near where she sleeps.

As far as diet, a rehab vet I used (before she retired) recommended canned mini raviolis. In her experience, it seemed to appeal to many dogs and was used until the dog returned to a more normal eating pattern.

Maybe an slightly elevated food bowl to make eating easier. My oldster (13.5 years) does better when his bowl is raised. (4-6 inches)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My last golden retriever Annie was always somewhat uninterested in eating but when she was about 14 she just didn't seem to enjoy much of anything especially eating. Well I switched my picky eater cats to Nomnomnow (cat recipe) and they loved it so I decided to try it with Annie and Jesse our BC. Wow Annie got so excited about eating again! Actually bounced around the kitchen for her meals and she had NEVER done that. Ever since then, that's all I feed. Rylie is now the "kitchen dancer" as Annie is no longer with us but she made it to 16. Rylie's favorite choice of the four recipe options is the beef. They have chicken, beef, turkey, or pork and they all look and smell good enough for our own dinner! You can check them out or I could send a referral and we'd get a discount. Not trying to sell you anything but just letting you know how our dogs love it and do great on it. You can even check out the shine on Rylie's coat in the photo section here on the board. Good luck in finding what ever works for Masi as that's what's important!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my Oscar passed away late in 2019, his littermate George lost his appetite nearly entirely.  George often goes through a picky phase around late Winter/early Spring (southern hemisphere) and he was in this when Oscar died.  He almost stopped eating entirely, and really would only eat if I hand fed him, and only a limited amount then.  He lost quite a lot of weight, probably 4-5 kgs (8-11lbs).

In the end, I found an air dried all meat kibble called Ziwi Peak (from New Zealand) and feeding him that and also roast chicken picked off the bones lead him to eat.  I gradually added back in sardines, natural unflavoured yoghurt or cottage cheese, my homemade casserole and his normal kibble until he was eating normally again.

I will add this was not cheap - a 1kg bag of Ziwi Peak cost me around AU$65, and lasted a couple of weeks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I wish I could say I found the magic sauce over the weekend. I actually started adding warm broth to her food because I read somewhere that making it warm and smell like it has been cooked helps. It worked for a day. I think  @urge to herd is onto something and I've tried disappearing. It's strange, if I don't stand there and encourage her in high pitches baby voices (my god I sound like an idiot), she won't start eating. But once she starts, she finishes and I'll disappear. I'm going away for a couple days and she's staying with my ex but when I get back, I'm going to try dehydrating chicken livers and see if something homemade like that will make her excited again. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@urge to herd He does have the same issues that I have. Just not as pronounced. Meaning she still snubs food but he doesn't have to coax her at long. There's  a few things that might help that though. For one thing she's back in the house that we lived in for 10 years. It's familiar and comfortable for her. I left him with an arsenal of things to try, hopefully she does alright. I recently started giving her a small dose of trazodone to help with anxiety of "life". It appears to help her here. Maybe after a week or so of being on that, she'll be less anxious. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you feed her multiple times a day?

Not much help. Cressa my senior I sometimes struggle getting her to eat.

She is on homemade food. Sometimes she wants it warm up. Sometimes she doesn’t.

If she is going to snub it. It seems to happen most often in the morning. Those day I try to give her a lunch or a bigger lunch.

Somedays she doesn’t want homemade food and will beg for dry dog.

She used to love bone broth but now she snubs it.

Lately she will only eat if I place it on a plate not in her bowl.

I guess not much help but I feel your struggle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

One thing my oldest did:  she had always been a good eater.  But as she aged, before she had any real healthy issues, she didn't want her morning meal.  Something about being too "empty" to put much in her mouth.  But by noontime, she was ready and would eat as much as she normally would have in the morning.  So - while it's inconvenient if you're working, if there's any way to try a mid-day meal, that just might work.  Good luck.

diane

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another suggestion: when my 16-17 year old sheltie rescue started not wanting to eat, my vet said "let's try mirtazapine". It was a fairly inexpensive drug, and she prescribed a month to start to see if it would work. Within 24 hours, she showed an interest in eating. Mirtazapine is used to treat depression in humans, but my vet said that it works as an anti-nausea drug in dogs. I would never have guessed that she was nauseous, but the drug worked - however it worked. She was on mirtazapine until she passed at 19 years of age

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice! @diane allen, I've noticed the same. If she's not interested in breakfast, I'll wait until 10 or 12 to try again. Luckily I'm working from home as we all are. @gcv-border & @Journey I am not really sure she's nauseous because she will normally eat treats. I'll keep it in mind if she does the "my stomach hurts" things. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, diane allen said:

Just for the record:  mirtazapine is also used as an appetite stimulant (though he can also be used for vomiting, diarrhea and anxiety).  If your dog continues to not be interested in eating, it would be worth looking into.

diane

When my dog was prescribed mirtazapine, she showed no signs of nausea, other than not wanting to eat her meals despite trying many delicious options. She would eat treats normally. As I said above, another option - and it was fairly inexpensive. IIRC, it was about $25/month for my 30 lb dog.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@gcv-border I think I'll be calling my vet for this after Christmas. After about 6 days of getting her to eat pretty regularly, she's back to refusing everything. I even just dehydrated chicken livers to see if she'd eat those as a treat and she wouldn't, makes me think there's something up with her tummy. Thanks for the advice.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, BC-Liz said:

@gcv-border I think I'll be calling my vet for this after Christmas. After about 6 days of getting her to eat pretty regularly, she's back to refusing everything. I even just dehydrated chicken livers to see if she'd eat those as a treat and she wouldn't, makes me think there's something up with her tummy. Thanks for the advice.  

I hope you can figure this out. I hate it when a dog, especially a senior dog, doesn't want to eat.

Another suggestion: my rehab vet suggested canned mini-raviolis. Many of her clients would eat those to get over the hump of not eating. I tried them before mirtazapine, and they helped with another day or two of eating, but then my dog was back to no interest in meals. Luckily, my general vet suggested mirtazapine at that point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@aschlemm She's going back into the vet today for another blood draw. About a month ago when her teeth got cleaned her kidney values were elevated and they asked I come back in a month, so here I am. Or there I'll be. You get it. 

I'm also asking the Vet about Mirtazapine. The vet tech on the phone said they have Entice, which may also work. Anyone used Entice before?

She was eating pretty good for about 5 days b/c I was using her food as treats to do tricks. But that's stopped working. Yesterday I "cooked" wet dog food up (I warmed up a half a can) and she ate that. This morning her stomach is upset from the wet dog food and I finally relented again and gave her human food by way of a flour tortilla (she seems to love them) because I wanted her to have something on her, more than likely, cramping stomach. 

I honestly hope it's kidney issues, so that I have something to blame and something I can fix. If it's just depression because she misses her sister...well that's just a whole bunch of sad. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As hard as it is to accept it, she may be telling you she's near the end of her life.

Absolutely work with your vet to determine if it's something that can be managed to give her more time while maintaining good quality of life. I understand that you've had a tremendous amount of loss recently. I'm firmly of the belief though that to honor these special friends we have to be sensitive to their needs and desires. (Dunno if you're open to such things, but have you considered consulting an animal communicator? If you're interested you can PM me for a contact that I've been told is amazing.)

Wishing for the very best outcome for your dear Masi. :wub:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...