Unwell dog won't eat anything whatsoever. What else to try?

43
Found 15th May 2016
Hi all,

EDIT: HE HAS FINALLY EATEN!!!!!

On Thursday night, my dog vomited then collapsed and we rushed him straight to the vet. He was diagnosed with Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome which is similar to a stroke and was admitted overnight but came home at 5pm the next day. Since then, he's got LOADS better. His balance and co-ordination are probably 60-70% better than they were. He's brighter in himself and this morning, he walked competently and confidently into the garden and back with barely a wobble or paw out of place.

One problem. He hasn't eaten a single thing since Thursday teatime, and his dinner that evening came back up when he was sick so really, he's not had anything since Thursday breakfast. I phoned the vet for advice yesterday and they said to try tuna in spring water, any human meats or chicken soup/broth which he can lap.

I don't have any chicken soup or broth (I can try making some as I have chicken breasts) and I can't go out to get some because I can't leave him. I'm just putting together an online order from Asda and hope to have these things delivered in the next day or two. I have small tins of tuna, but in brine. I opened a tin this morning and gave it a good wash then offered it to him but he's not interested at all. I put a tiny bit in his mouth and he swallowed it but he hates being 'force-fed' and I don't want him to associate food with being force-fed or it'll make him less inclined to eat. However, if I have to force-feed him to get SOME nutrition into him, I will.

Tomorrow, I'm going to ask the vet for an appetite stimulant such as Mirtazepine and something to either add to his water for some nutrients or something a bit more solid to feed him.

Other things I've tried are:

Dry dog food
Wet dog food
Smoked ham
Warm, freshly cooked chicken
Warm, freshly cooked sausage
Dog treats
Scrambled egg
Dentastix - he loves them normally!

Today I'm going to try:

Making mushed up chicken broth
Smoked salmon fillet
A small piece of warm beef

Does anyone else have any ideas on what I can try feeding him please?
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fish (not smoked) and rice
Scrambled eggs?
wowbiggy

fish (not smoked) and rice



Why not smoked? He won't eat rice, he never has done. If I mix rice with chicken, for example, he picks out all the bits of chicken and leaves every grain of rice in the bowl!
Rose5

Scrambled eggs?



Yes, the vet suggested that too. I'll give them a go. Thank you for reminding me!
Our 10 year old jack Russell suffered her first attack around 18 months ago, then another in January. Both times she was off her food for a few days before coming around almost completely. She's been left with a slight droop on the right side of her face.
They say it's similar to a stroke but that it's nowhere near as serious as in a human. Because it's not actually a brain injury, it's more to the vestibular system that consists of both areas of the brain & the inner ear.
It was very frightening when she had her first attack and we thought we were going to lose her, the second time we were on holiday which made it harder.
The vet told us that they don't really know what causes it and it's sometimes referred to (our vet prefers this term) as idiopathic vestibular syndrome for that very reason.
We were told that she may get future attacks or that she may never have another. It's not any more likely than with a dog that's never had it.
wolf359

Our 10 year old jack Russell suffered her first attack around 18 months … Our 10 year old jack Russell suffered her first attack around 18 months ago, then another in January. Both times she was off her food for a few days before coming around almost completely. She's been left with a slight droop on the right side of her face. They say it's similar to a stroke but that it's nowhere near as serious as in a human. Because it's not actually a brain injury, it's more to the vestibular system that consists of both areas of the brain & the inner ear.It was very frightening when she had her first attack and we thought we were going to lose her, the second time we were on holiday which made it harder. The vet told us that they don't really know what causes it and it's sometimes referred to (our vet prefers this term) as idiopathic vestibular syndrome for that very reason. We were told that she may get future attacks or that she may never have another. It's not any more likely than with a dog that's never had it.



Sorry to hear your dog has suffered this too. I agree, it's very frightening and I thought I was going to lose my dog when it first happened too. I've also heard/read that it's not as serious as a stroke and that full, or nearly full recovery is possible, but the vet said there's a 50% chance of it happening again within two months of the first episode. I'm so glad your dog started eating again after a few days. What did you feed, or try feeding her?
You don't say what breed, so how long he could go without food for varies. Compare husky to a lab.

Personally I'd leave fresh water and some dry food for him all the time. He will eat when he feels like it.
When my lab was a tad unwell he wouldn't eat, tried everything only thing he eat was either scrambled egg or pasta (plain unsalted)
Id second scrambled egg! Our dog had major surgery a few years ago and didnt eat for nearly a week and was literally nearly gone then we tried scrambled egg and he perked straight up! We also had vitamin drops in his water. And used homeopathy arnica to help with bruising! Hope you get sorted soon
mclovin9091

You don't say what breed, so how long he could go without food for … You don't say what breed, so how long he could go without food for varies. Compare husky to a lab.Personally I'd leave fresh water and some dry food for him all the time. He will eat when he feels like it.



He's a Collie/Alsation cross, so medium size and 22kg. He's had food and fresh water right next to his bed 24 hours a day since he came home. He is drinking well, so I'm not worried about his fluid intake.
andynicol

When my lab was a tad unwell he wouldn't eat, tried everything only thing … When my lab was a tad unwell he wouldn't eat, tried everything only thing he eat was either scrambled egg or pasta (plain unsalted)



Thank you, I'll try both
ellese

Id second scrambled egg! Our dog had major surgery a few years ago and … Id second scrambled egg! Our dog had major surgery a few years ago and didnt eat for nearly a week and was literally nearly gone then we tried scrambled egg and he perked straight up! We also had vitamin drops in his water. And used homeopathy arnica to help with bruising! Hope you get sorted soon



Thank you. So glad your dog made it, well done! I'll make a scrambled egg in a few minutes and get back to you. What vitamin drops did you use please?
try the eggs and make sure anything you give is really small cut it up whatever he might not feel like chewing much might make him feel off, if he is drinking but not eating don't panic yet can take a few days for his apetite to come back, mine when he had a similar thing loved milk or a while then went right off it, hope he gets back to himself soon
When my dog is unwell and is off his normal food, he'll sometimes go for warm milky porridge. or weetabix, sometimes with a tiny bit of sugar added. Hope he perks up soon.
nitelighter

try the eggs and make sure anything you give is really small cut it up … try the eggs and make sure anything you give is really small cut it up whatever he might not feel like chewing much might make him feel off, if he is drinking but not eating don't panic yet can take a few days for his apetite to come back, mine when he had a similar thing loved milk or a while then went right off it, hope he gets back to himself soon



Dogs can't have cow's milk though
Scrambled egg was one of the only things my old lab would eat when she was ill last year. She also ate a tiny bit of wet food but only if it was warm, yes it smelt horrible but I gently warned it in microwave for a few seconds and she ate it.

I got to the stage that I would try anything so wet food and eggs it was. Hope your boys feels well soon, it's hard when they are poorly

The thing with asking your vet for something else to feed him they won't give you anything different to what you have already tried. They can recommend a dry or wet food they they sell, very expensive and poor quality. If you have tried dry and wet then there's will be no different.
If he is really poorly then a stimulant may not work and trying to force feed him is not a good idea.
Have you tried a really nice meaty dog food? As I said I warmed some for my girl and she did eat it, maybe the smell as it was warmed helped. If the vet thinks he's is fine and he is up and about he may just scoff something down eventually. If he still hasn't had anything by tomorrow then I would phone the vet back for advice. I she drinking?
Edited by: "takethatfan1978" 15th May 2016
squiff

Dogs can't have cow's milk though



​Never heard dogs dont have cow's milk before
He won't touch scrambled egg either. I even tried putting a tiny bit on his tongue but he spat it out. Repeat x 3. I don't know what else to do. I've got chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker and should be ready this evening. I'll blend it into a paste and see if he'll eat that.
takethatfan1978

Have you tried a really nice meaty dog food? As I said I warmed some for … Have you tried a really nice meaty dog food? As I said I warmed some for my girl and she did eat it, maybe the smell as it was warmed helped. If the vet thinks he's is fine and he is up and about he may just scoff something down eventually. If he still hasn't had anything by tomorrow then I would phone the vet back for advice. I she drinking?



I usually feed him Skinners dry food with a tray of Cesar Country Kitchen. He won't touch either of them, either mixed together or on their own. I might try warming the Cesar, but if he won't eat warm chicken or sausage then I don't think he'll eat the Cesar either. He's drinking plenty. I'm not worried about his fluid intake at all.
squiff

Sorry to hear your dog has suffered this too. I agree, it's very … Sorry to hear your dog has suffered this too. I agree, it's very frightening and I thought I was going to lose my dog when it first happened too. I've also heard/read that it's not as serious as a stroke and that full, or nearly full recovery is possible, but the vet said there's a 50% chance of it happening again within two months of the first episode. I'm so glad your dog started eating again after a few days. What did you feed, or try feeding her?


i'd say she's back to about 95% of where she was before the first attack
we gave her her favourite food, Bernard Matthews chicken slices with sage and onion lol
its her goto food. she generally ignores her food for hours on end but that she wolfs down. always has.
she picked at it for an hour or so then decided she was well enough to eat it

squiff

I usually feed him Skinners dry food with a tray of Cesar Country … I usually feed him Skinners dry food with a tray of Cesar Country Kitchen. He won't touch either of them, either mixed together or on their own. I might try warming the Cesar, but if he won't eat warm chicken or sausage then I don't think he'll eat the Cesar either. He's drinking plenty. I'm not worried about his fluid intake at all.



It's worth a try warming it, you never know. My old girl wouldn't eat anything either but ate that. Is he on any medication? Sometimes that can knock them off a bit.


Edited by: "takethatfan1978" 15th May 2016
Re. cow's milk. All our dogs have been ok with it over the years but only in small amounts once in a while, certainly not for every day. Depends on the dog I guess. Just thought a porridge may tempt him if he's off usual savoury foods. Works for mine as he also watches me have a spoonful and say yum and seems to help him want to try it as well.
you could try him with any human food he might like. Mine love the odd ginger biscuit they love pilchards an scrabled egg (had it as pups) only thing I don't give them is chocolate which is bad for dogs. Good luck hope he gets well soon.
takethatfan1978

It's worth a try warming it, you never know. My old girl wouldn't eat … It's worth a try warming it, you never know. My old girl wouldn't eat anything either but ate that. Is he on any medication? Sometimes that can knock them off a bit.



Yes, he's on Vivitonin which helps blood supply to the brain. When he was admitted, the vet gave him an anti-emetic as he was vomiting and had nystagmus but also gave him an anti-inflammatory.
squiff

Dogs can't have cow's milk though



Never heard that before.

Mines gets a drink of milk, possibly around a mug full once a week or so.
My dog has Colitis so tends to go off food completely when he has a flare up,
We normally give him either scrambled eggs or boiled rice with chicken for a few days after as it's easily digestable.
However, if those two don't work for you then get some Chappie. For short term use, it's brilliant and very easily digestable, it'll fill your dog up until he starts feeling himself. Beware though, it smells alot! But that's probably why they love it so much.
Ps. The vets also advise me to give Chappie to my dog after a Colitis flare up, so it obviously works for many dogs.
Edited by: "gsj87" 15th May 2016
squiff

Dogs can't have cow's milk though


Our lab gets milk every morning when i make my cuppa has done for 8 years. Never had any bother
I put chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker this morning. Just blended them into a paste and put a bit in a bowl to cool down. He sniffed it and turned away so I put a bit on his tongue using my finger and he swallowed it, so I offered him the bowl and he ate the lot. Crying (me, not him)!!!
missleading

Give your vet a call in the morning; anti-emetics may help, as it's … Give your vet a call in the morning; anti-emetics may help, as it's possible that although mobility and coordination are getting better, he could still be suffering nausea due to the mini-stroke.



It wasn't a mini-stroke, but thank you for your reply. He has eaten in the last half hour
So glad he has eaten x
squiff

Thank you. So glad your dog made it, well done! I'll make a scrambled egg … Thank you. So glad your dog made it, well done! I'll make a scrambled egg in a few minutes and get back to you. What vitamin drops did you use please?



I can't remember the name of them, got them from the vets though. We were told aslong as he kept drinking and was hydrated they can go a while without food so try not to panic too much! They're tougher than we think, he should have technically died 3 times but hes still here 6 years later, sat on my knee waiting for his tea!
Isn't it amazing how are pets become integral parts of our families. Glad ur is finally eating. I generally find asalmon (steamed), scrambled egg and potato combo generally does the trick when my lab sick. I have also been using a daily tablespoon of coconut oil in her food for the past 12 months and the difference has been noticeable. A lot less sickness, ear infections and a better coat to boot.
IMO, every dog owner should have some of this in the cupboard. Works brilliantly to settle any stomach upsets your dog may have and encourage them to eat.
gsj87

IMO, every dog owner should have some of this in the cupboard. Works … IMO, every dog owner should have some of this in the cupboard. Works brilliantly to settle any stomach upsets your dog may have and encourage them to eat.



We have a tube of that on hand as my Labrador had giardia when she was very small. Have not had to use new tube but there just in case
Glad he has managed to eat something and hope he is on the mend soon I'm sure you are very relieved.

Just thought I would add this link as its a great site that offers advice and reviews for lots of different dog foods as you had mentioned feeding wet and dry I found it brilliant when researching food for my pup last year
allaboutdogfood.co.uk
He's refused all food since he had that bit of liquidised chicken and potato. He's also gone more wobbly on his feet again. I'm worried sick and don't know what to think but will ring the vet in the morning.
squiff

He's refused all food since he had that bit of liquidised chicken and … He's refused all food since he had that bit of liquidised chicken and potato. He's also gone more wobbly on his feet again. I'm worried sick and don't know what to think but will ring the vet in the morning.



Isn't there an emergency vet you could call? 'Wobbly on his feet' doesn't sound good...
gsj87

Isn't there an emergency vet you could call? 'Wobbly on his feet' doesn't … Isn't there an emergency vet you could call? 'Wobbly on his feet' doesn't sound good...



Wobbly on his feet is normal and expected after an episode of GVS. The vet is fully aware of it!
He's just eaten solid food for the first time since Thursday. An inch and a half long chunk of sausage, cut into smaller pieces. I'm over the moon!
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