View Full Version : No eating for 4 days...concerned

19th December 2008, 02:54 AM
Bella hasn't eaten in the last four days and I'm getting really concerned. I was able to hand feed her (bad I know but I'm starting to worry about her) a bit yesterday and then she lost interest but today she wouldn't even take that. For the last four days her food has sat untouched. She has been a very picky eater in the past and has gone two or three days sometimes without eating but then eventually gives in. She will still take treats though which is why I'm thinking maybe she is being just stubborn with her food...but I'm still really worried. Her energy is fine on walks and when playing but she seems tired inside. I know loss of appetite can mean many things so I'm wondering if I should take her to the vet or if I am just over-reacting, which I have the tendency to do sometimes. Has anyone elses dog gone that long without eating before?

Daisy's Mom
19th December 2008, 03:16 AM
Yes, 2 summers ago, Daisy went on a complete eating strike and it was just as you described -- it happened over the course of about 2-3 weeks. At the beginning, she would eat only treats and eventually not even them. The absolute only thing she wanted to eat was grass, and one of the vets we saw told us to stop her from doing that because it was so hard on her digestive tract, especially since she was eating nothing else. We took her to the vet several times and I think he thought I was exaggerating that she wasn't eating a thing. He eventually kept her overnight for 2 nights and lined up 5 kinds of canned dog food in front of her and she wouldn't even sniff a single one.

We ended up doing x-rays, ultrasound, and barium series before it was all over. They never really did find out what was wrong with her, but eventually just called it gastritis (or gastroentiritis, I don't remember.) The concern was that she had a blockage, but none of the tests showed any evidence of that. The last time I was at the vet during this period, he gave me a feeding tube/syringe thing and said that we had to get her eating, one way or another, even if it meant force feeding her. So I decided to try Satin balls, and that got her eating a little bit, and then more and more over the course of several days. Then I had the chore of switching her back over to regular dog food. You can look up the recipe for Satin balls on this forum and read more about them. I have to say they really did the trick for Daisy, but you need to rule out possible serious causes for the lack of appetite first.

So I would definitely take her to the vet, in case there is a blockage or some other problem. If her abdomen/tummy feels hard, that is one indication of a possible obstruction, along with vomiting and stopping pooping. Daisy never did those things (except the lack of poop, but of course that was because she wasn't eating), but he eventually ordered the x-rays, barium series, etc. because he just couldn't figure out why she wouldn't eat.

We had gone on a trip in June and right before we left, she had become very picky eating. We had a dog sitter here for her, and I think that stressed her out, and I think the sitter was giving her all treats because she was so scared about her not eating. At the time, we were giving her the Smokehouse chicken breast jerky treats that I've read terrible things about since then, so I think those were contributing factors.

Daisy's fine now and has been an eating machine ever since. I spoke to her breeder several months later and she said she had a dog that did that a couple of times and they learned that they just treated the symptoms and it eventually went away.

Good luck and let us know what the vet says (or if she starts eating on her own, let us know that, too!)

19th December 2008, 03:31 AM
The only time my dogs have ever totally ignored a meal- something was wrong. I've had some pick, but if they DON'T eat anything, I worry.
It could be a upset stomach, a partial bowel obstruction, a bad tooth etc.... You didn't say whether or not the dog was otherwise healthy (good weight, playing, drinking etc...).

19th December 2008, 03:48 AM
thanks for the feedback. The thing that concerns me most Daisy's Mom is what you mentioned about the chicken tender strips. I started giving Bella chicken breast strips (not smokehouse - another brand) these chews about a month ago and she loves them. I give her about one a day and didn't think for a second they could harmful since they are just dried chicken but now I'm totally questioning them. Coudl you tell me more about what is so bad about them? Bella has completely ignored meals many many times so I think shes just super picky but has never held out for 4 full days. She seems otherwise healthy - a little more tired than normal but still playful and no hard tummy that I can tell. We are getting a foot of snow tomorrow and now I'm wondering if I should run out to the vet tomorrow or if this is somethign that can wait til Sat if she still isnt eating.

19th December 2008, 04:07 AM
just called the vet - we are bringing her in - I am worried. Thanks for the heads up on the jerky - I think that may be it after doing some more research on it.

19th December 2008, 07:45 AM
ah its 3am and we just got back from the vet. After doing some research on the jerky i got really freaked out. After a 3 hour visit which was mostly spent in the waiting room her blood work and everything came back normal. The best the vet could come up with is she might have an upset stomach. She gave us an appetite stimulus pill that I will try in the am and I hope shes just being stubborn right now which is what I first suspected. If she still isn't eating this weekend its back to the vet but at least my mind is at rest for now - I always jump to worst case scenarios. g'night!

19th December 2008, 03:14 PM
Anastasia's been going on eating strikes since she was a puppy. she'll do really good for while, then all of a sudden she just has no interest. she'll always eat treats and OUR food though. sometimes she'll hold out for a couple days before she finally gives in. I think she's bored of her food and I need to switch it up. my bad!

Daisy's Mom
19th December 2008, 04:39 PM
Boston Girl -- I'm sorry I just got back to this thread. Yes, I was shocked about all the press on the jerky treats, too. It sounds so good -- just 100% chicken breast and nothing else. But apparently, too many of them is just very bad no matter what kind they are, and some of them are contaminated with bacteria of some sort. I now avoid "Made in China" on all the treats I buy, and I drastically limit any treats that have jerky as a part of them. I do still give her Free Range brand which is very thin-sliced dried chicken breast wrapped around fruit or sweet potatoes. They are made in America and she has had no problem with them, other than they drive her crazy when she sees one!

I hope you get a hungry dog soon! I'm thinking about you and Bella. It's good that the vet didn't find anything of concern. I'm sure you feel better knowing that.

Good luck!

Cathy Moon
20th December 2008, 11:08 AM
Thanks for the information about the jerky treats! :thmbsup: I threw some away during the height of the dog food scare, and am careful to read labels before I buy treats, thanks to others sharing information here.

I'm glad to read that Bella's blood work came back normal. :flwr:

Just for information, my co-worker's dog stopped eating last winter, and his blood tests showed that he had Leptospirosis. He survived, but has permanent kidney damage and is on a special diet for life in addition to being less active and less playful.

Just based on my co-worker's experience, which took weeks/months of vet care, I would call for a vet appointment at the first sign of lost appetite.

20th December 2008, 05:16 PM
Here is a current posting about chicken strips:

http://www.fda.gov/cvm/CVM_Updates/ComplaintsChicJerky.htm (http://www.fda.gov/cvm/CVM_Updates/ComplaintsChicJerky.htm)

21st December 2008, 12:19 AM
Keeping my fingers crossed that Bella is feeling better and finally eating. Please keep us posted. I have always thought she was so cute....Judy

Daisy's Mom
21st December 2008, 02:22 PM
Updates, please! I've been thinking about Bella!

I hope she's getting back to normal!

Cav Daddy
21st December 2008, 03:33 PM
I hope Bella is doing better. To be honest, although the Chicken treats are an issue, my bet is that its just a tummy bug. Chicken and rice homemade should help.

Princess Buttercup
22nd December 2008, 01:59 PM
How is she doing today?

One quick question - is she spayed? Only asking coz my little one had exactly the same symptoms a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be pyometra. Don't want to alarm you, but if she's showing no signs of improvement, bring her back to the vet asap... Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!!

22nd December 2008, 02:07 PM
Hope little Bella is feeling better.

22nd December 2008, 02:56 PM
How is she doing? I've been thinking of you both.

22nd December 2008, 09:28 PM
Sorry for the delayed responses. I haven't been online much the last few days. So since the vet on Thurs night I was able to get her to eat on Friday after some encouragement. I did change up her wet food to a can of 100% chicken canned I had on hand to entice her and it worked. She ate all I gave her and seemed happy and fine again. She picked at her food on Saturday and ate about half but then wouldn't eat again yesterday!! I really am at a loss of what to do. She still is begging for food at the table, will still eat treats, chew on her bully stick, etc. Is she just being stubborn!? This is not uncommon though - at least weekly she won't eat her food that day for whatever reason. She just is never that into food. Her entire puppyhood she stressed me out about not eating which is why I am thinking its just her personality. My question is... if a dog was really sick would she refuse all food, even treats? I would think so right??

Princess Buttercup - Bella is spayed. What is pyometra? I'm not familiar with it.

Those jerky treats really worried me - I will not be giving her any of those again. I was giving her one a day for a while and now I'm really worried they at least may be partially to blame...

She also is hating the foot of snow which just got and seems kinda unhappy now that its winter and we are not outside as much. Could she be just bummed out?? I think I am going to make her some boiled chicken tonight and see if that works - she loves chicken so if she doesn't eat that I'm going to call the vet again.

22nd December 2008, 10:18 PM
If she is begging from the table, this sounds like it's a lot more likely to be a behaviour issue than a medical issue (especially if while she has been holding out on regular food she has had daily treats like the jerky? Feeding treats IS giving her nice small tasty handfed meals -- and reinforcing her to not eat her normal food. Cut ALL treats therefore). I'd try very strictly following the routine of not giving ANY attention a feeding times, and NO TREATS, and no additions to try and cajole her. Do not even look at her, or talk to her. Feed her in a crate so she is focused only on the food and not on trying to see you. If she doesn't eat just remove the food and try again the next scheduled time. Don't switch around types of food, just stick with a food and stick with it for several weeks, not a few days or a week or two.

Other possibilities -- has she any chance during the day to get at cat poop, either in a litter box or if cats leave little calling cards outside when you might not see this? a dog could live off eating cat poops and treats, easily.

Cathy Moon
23rd December 2008, 12:24 AM
I would definitely try what Karlin is suggesting, now that she has been to the vet and her blood work looks good. Just ignore her when she has her food bowl and don't make a fuss over whether she eats or not. Try this for at least 2 days - hopefully you feed her twice a day so she'll have more than one opportunity to eat each day. Let us know what happens!

You might want to buy her a new toy and swap out her toys regularly, so she has something novel to play with each day.

I would let her chew on a bully for awhile each day, then put it away - but no treats at all besides that one chew.

Cav Daddy
23rd December 2008, 01:28 AM
Principessa (another Boston Cav) has been acting like this also at 5 months old.

I have gone to boiling white rice, adding in chopped up boiled chicken and the broth into the rice and she will eat it endlessly. Seems to have also helped with her loose stools issue also.

Best wishes.

Princess Buttercup
23rd December 2008, 05:00 PM
BostonGirl - Pyo is a serious womb infection - so if Bella is spayed, it can't be that - PHEW!!!

Sounds like she's just being picky - filling up on treats, and then guilting you into giving her fancy meals coz she's bored of her usual food... seems to be a common Cav trait!

23rd December 2008, 05:03 PM
BostonGirl - Pyo is a serious womb infection - so if Bella is spayed, it can't be that - PHEW!!!

Sounds like she's just being picky - filling up on treats, and then guilting you into giving her fancy meals coz she's bored of her usual food... seems to be a common Cav trait!

ACTUALLY, it depends on the size of the uterine stump. Please don't think that it "can't" happen, it can. It would be rare.

Brian M
23rd December 2008, 07:52 PM

Pls do exactly what Karlin says ,have been through exactly whats happening to you at similar ages with all my three ,they had me sitting on the flloor hand feeding them fresh turkey/chicken/tuna all top quality Marks & Spencer food .Then it sunk in all this high quality food was actually harming them ,then I followed Karlins advice now they get plenty of quality foods and vitamins and variance but it is all meant for consumption by dogs ,so pls persevere with what is advised cos going down the path you are (and its the same one I went down ) in the long run you will be hurting your babies .My three girls are all my babies and they get what they want money no object but food wise they have what is best for them and not me and are thriving so much Poppy is and shortly Rosie will be on diets .:)

24th December 2008, 04:53 AM
Thanks this is good advice and I have read about similar situations many times on the board with the same advice given. I should and will cut back on the treats (I guess I always just wanted her to get something in her tummy and wasn't thinking she was subbing these for her meals). My only question is what is a reasonable amt of time to continue holing firm before panicking? How long can should I hold strong and how many days can a dog go without food before it threatens their health?? She is quite stubborn and won't even walk over to her food most times to check it out or sniff it. I'm so bummed - there was a good few months where she seemed to love her food and would gooble it down - is she just sick of it? Thanks for all the support - this dog causes me more sleepless nights! :-)

Brian M
24th December 2008, 01:49 PM

Pls hold firm she may go 3-4 days but providing she is drinking she will be fine its only a battle of wills ,I had Poppy and Daisy behaving together exactly as you say so for me it was double trouble. Now they all have a quality food like Burns or Royal Canin Cavalier dry foods (Burns is not available in the US but you do have lots of others available ) about 35 gramme ,some cooked chicken ,spoonful of bran ,some Keeper Mix (herbal additive ,squirt of Kronch salmon oil then uncooked veg as a filler IE green beans ,carrots ,cauliflower,broccoli .So good luck and persevere and pls post your progress and pics of your Cavalier pls.

Happy Hols and New Year :)