View Full Version : My dog wont eat!!

Helen Mulcahy
4th May 2009, 08:11 PM
Hi everyone. I have a 21 month old tricolour bitch called callie. From the day we got her at eight weeks old she has been the fussiest eater imaginable. I have tried EVERY dried and wet food available to me with little or no success. She barely eats enough to keep herself going and even if she appears to enjoy one particular thing today she will turn her nose up at it tomorrow. Callie is really small for her age but in every other way she is healthy and a bundle of fun and energy. I am really worried about her now as she is thin and appears hungry but wont eat. I have tried keeping her hungry for a day but it doesnt work. I battled for 3 days with her to get her to eat nuts but she starved herself completely for the whole time. I would really appreciate any help anyone has to offer. I have talked to vet but as no medical problem obvious he cant help.

4th May 2009, 08:23 PM
Well no dog will go hungry if they are offered food and I have had picky eaters in regards to dog. Abbey is one actually and in the past has gone days before eating. She would much rather have cookies and the stuff she smells on our plates. You just have to stick to your guns and set an amount of time for her to eat and if she doesn't eat just lift it up and offer it at the next feeding. Believe me she will eventually eat it.

4th May 2009, 08:24 PM
This sounds entirely behavioural -- and I think you need to simply hold out longer than you are. A dog can easily go many days without eating without any problem. Right now, she has learned that if she holds out she is getting plenty of attention and a change of food. You'll need to be very strict -- not simply with her, but with yourself to absolutely, positively NOT give in. The fact that this is not a trained, rewarding behaviour for her because she knows eventually you will give in is clear in the fact that if you simply change the food she then eats that for a short time.



And follow this unflinchingly, to a T. Do NOT change the food, do NOT give any treats, do NOT pay her any attention whasoever at mealtimes, simply remove food if she doesn't at within 10 minutes and absolutely no food til the next scheduled time. For most dogs this will solve the problem permanently within days.

She is extremely unlikely to starve herself and must be doing OK if she has made it to 21 months. Does you vet feel she is actually starving herself in a dangerous way and is seriously underweight? Some cavaliers need very little food -- I have two that only eat 1/3rd cup each in TOTAL food a day. So perhaps you are also giving her more than she actually needs and feeling she isn't eating enough when actually she is?

Also: many people think their dogs are thin when they are simply in good lean weight. I recommend reading this great breeder's page on feeding and what a healthy waist looks like -- you might be surprised. In my opinion, most cavaliers (and most dogs) I see are carrying more weight than they should because we have gotten so used to seeing overweight animals.


Good luck! Let us know if this works for you. Really there is no other solution -- it is her will being pitted against yours and as she always so far has won, you are going to have to force yourself to stick with this. Courage!

4th May 2009, 09:24 PM
Here's the direct link:


4th May 2009, 11:32 PM
Our collie goes on "food strikes" for days at a time. He will eat a new food for a few days good, then he will decide he doesn't really like it. He will eat one day, maybe pick a few bites the next. Then skip a day, even two before he eats again. He seems to stay okay in spite of it. I do rotate foods with him about every six weeks to alleviate boredom, and I seldom give him treats.

5th May 2009, 12:37 AM
I really feel for you Helen, my Alice, who will be 6 months in a few days has always been a picky eater! We tried many foods, both dry and wet as well. We have older dogs and of course she has always loved the adult food so we ended up feeding her a mixture of adult and puppy. One thing we have found that works: for meals we take her into a small room with us & and shut the door - then we put the food and water down - then we ignore her - and then she usually eats. My hubby feeds her in the bathroom while he's having a shower in the morning & my daughter (she's 13) takes her in her bedroom with her for her dinner while she reads a book or does her homework. Sometimes she only eats once a day, but that one meal is pretty big. If we try to feed her in the kitchen with all the other dogs/cats running around she usally won't eat at all. They really don't need to eat much though, they are small breed dogs with tiny stomachs. My Westie who is 16 lbs & 8 years old only eats a really small amount per day, probably barely 1/3 cup. I agree with what the others said, I'd only offer food twice a day and resist the temptation to feed people food. Also, I wonder if you have ever tried a gravy on her food? I'm not sure where you live but in the US we have a gravy called VitaGravy that you can buy at Petsmart. I've heard dogs like it a lot, although we've never used it personally.... best of luck...:dgwlk:


5th May 2009, 12:52 PM
i feel for you having had the same problem with my girl for a long time,1st i got the vet to rule out anything medical & he asked if she took treats ok,which she did so he said she was just playing me& for me to be firmer as has been said here. It is sooo true i used to hover around her coaxing,pleading even hand feeding bits of chicken(major rookie mistake i know now!!) it seemed to go on forever& i was a bag of nerves at every meal time.One weekend i tried leaving food down 15mins then nothing til next mealtime, after 48hrs i cracked 1st & hand fed:sl*p:
It dawned on me that i was the problem not rubes so i just put food down& left her to it,went out of the room for 15mins sometimes she ate,sometimes not, but if not i just said cheerfully "ok" & took it away, wouldnt give treats on the days she didnt eat but gave her doggy choc drop after, if she'd eaten any.Interestingly if i walked in the room she immediatly stopped eating-for 10months that went on until xmas dinner when the turkey i'd added to hers was too good to miss& she got stuck in-weve not had that problem since!
Last week i was told she is overweight from being such a skinny waif i would say this method works! It isnt easy to force yourself to pretend cheerful nonchalance but after awhile its not forced anymore cos you realise if they dont eat today they will tomorrow.Good luck:thmbsup:

Helen Mulcahy
12th May 2009, 08:13 PM
Thanks to everyone for their help. New regime starts today!!! :)

12th May 2009, 09:28 PM
Stick with it and you wont regret it. Your description of Callie sounds exactly like Maddie. Even now, when she eats fairly well and seems to enjoy her food, she'll go on hunger strike for a day or two. No reason to it, but we just have to remind ourselves not to stress, make a fuss, or offer her endless treats. We just offer food each mealtime, and eventually she decides she's hungry and eats. Even today, while on steroids which are meant to increase her appetite, she's having a not eating day. They are a worry aren't they?

12th May 2009, 10:18 PM
I think rubys steriods must be starting to wear off, she's just left about half of her dinner tonight for the 1st time in about a month! i have to say its been wonderful whilst it lasted, as ive said above she normally only eats sometimes but in the last few weeks she's eaten every scrap ive put down for her & has followed me into the kitchen even if ive only gone to put the kettle on& has watched my every move incase theres been some more food going! As ive put her dish down she's been spinning round all excited-never seen her do this before!! its been so funny to see!
However she has gained weight recently so now if we're back to normal i guess she'll loose it all again-it'd be great to get her on a happy medium:)