PDA

View Full Version : Tempting food for dog with poor appetite



Alexie
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:23 PM
My GSD dog is 9 years old and over the last week has gone off his food.
His tummy has become slightly distended with fluid and his heart is not happy (I can't remember the technical term used by the vet).
He has just started a course of his second type of heart tablets as the first type didn't seem to be helping - though they stopped him deteriorating as fast as he had been doing.
The vet has taken blood and will run tests on it for his heart, liver and kidneys but we won't know the results until Friday.

The questions I want to ask those of you with experience of this problem are about food for him, as he has gone off his food as a result of his illness.
We have tried him with chicken, beef, and cat food and he has eaten every day, but will only eat the above once or twice before going off them.

So here goes:

How bad is liver for dogs? Can we feed it every day or is it too rich? Is calf liver or lamb liver best for dogs?

What foods have you had success with when trying to tempt dogs who are off their food to eat?

Many thanks for reading.

HorseBabble
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:28 PM
Satin balls. There are a lot of variations on the recipe, but most dogs love them and if you make the balls small enough you can even "pill" them if you have to.

http://www.holisticdog.org/Nutrition/Satinballs/satinballs2.html

GoForAGallop
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:30 PM
Oh, sad. :( I have a cat with cancer, and lost a dog to heart failure over the winter, and it was a battle to get food into both.....and both were quite pudgy before getting ill!


Try baby food....Gerber Stage One Chicken or Turkey is the best/healthiest, although your dog might like some of the other varieties like Beef Stew or something. It's expensive....almost $1.00 for a little thing of it....but it's never failed me and if your dog only has a few weeks left anyway...

Again with the "if he's failing anyway" let him eat whatever the heck he wants. My Beagle stopped eating his dog food in his last few days, but was still thrilled to get any sort of table scraps that we were willing to give him, so we kept him fed that way. He would also eat the dog food if we handed it to him as a treat, but it got tedious feeding him just a few pellets at a time if he were willing to gobble down a McDonalds hamburger!


Sorry that you're having such a rough time with your dog...it's so disheartening to see them wasting away.

DandyMatiz
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:35 PM
my 18 yo maltese has days she doesn't like to eat. I'm at the point now, it's quality not quantity. I'm not feeding her anymore to live a long and happy life.. she has had that. now, just feeding her to keep her happy. Somedays that's purina dry dog food (dont ask me how as she has no teeth) and somedays that's a roast beef from hardees. she gets to eat table scraps (she loves the fat off steak) and all the fun stuff she never got when she was younger.

bdj
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:37 PM
It's totally disgusting (and might put you off of YOUR food) but try green tripe. You can buy it canned - looks and smells pretty awful, but the dogs love it.

wireweiners
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:51 PM
Satin balls are very high in fat and may not be the best choice for a dog who is ill. I've had the best luck with chicken or beef with garlic powder added. As someone else suggested meat based baby foods are good. Liver is fairly rich and can cause diarrhea. I've also had good luck with small amounts of kidney or beef tongue, also with garlic powder added.

Alexie
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:53 PM
Satin balls. There are a lot of variations on the recipe, but most dogs love them and if you make the balls small enough you can even "pill" them if you have to.

http://www.holisticdog.org/Nutrition/Satinballs/satinballs2.html

HorseBabble can I ask a dumb question? do you need to cook the ground beef before adding it to the mix?

GoForAGallop thank you so much for your advice, I'm so sorry for your losses too; yes it is hard and my eyes are all puffy from crying but this must be the price to pay for all the delight they give us over the years. I wish they lived as long as humans!

bdj i must go and google green tripe-it sounds horrid, i thought the liver was quite yucky enough :o

DandyMatiz 18 is a fantastic age, we are varying the food we offer to Joe, like you we're finding some days he will eat this and the next day we need to try other things. It's quite difficult to think up different things!

Thank you everyone, for all your suggestions.

Alexie
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:56 PM
Satin balls are very high in fat and may not be the best choice for a dog who is ill. I've had the best luck with chicken or beef with garlic powder added. As someone else suggested meat based baby foods are good. Liver is fairly rich and can cause diarrhea. I've also had good luck with small amounts of kidney or beef tongue, also with garlic powder added.

thanks, I nearly bought him some tongue today, I'll stop off for some tomorrow, and get some baby food.

If we can keep his strength up for a while to give the vets a chance to get his tablets right...well we can only try!

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 28, 2010, 03:57 PM
ask your vet for ciproheptadine.
my dog has diagnosed anorexia, and takes cipro 2x daily so he'll eat. we tried everything under the sun to get him to eat without luck before turning to meds. they really do help though!

cholmberg
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:01 PM
when my dog has tummy problems, the vet has me cook chicken in water, then remove the bones and cook some rice in the water and give her boiled chicken and rice basically. she's never failed to eat it. .. and thus far we've not had to turn to meds. she's 16 now and I'm not sure how much longer she has, her kidneys are slowly failing, not much we can or will do about it at her age. She's on a special low protien/low salt diet and she -hates- it. Good luck. . it's hard trying to tempt them when they feel bad. =(

mtnjen
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:02 PM
so sorry about your dog. best wishes to you both as you await bloodwork and more news.

Couple of other things you might try are
small tidbits of something REALLY tasty, vs. a whole serving... sometimes a few tasty nibbles gets them more engaged with eating a little serving of food just after the tasty appetizer

try a little tuna fish from the can. Some dogs do not care for it but I have also known some elderly and otherwise very picky eaters to perk up due to the very strong taste and smell

lightly cooked scrambled eggs (just eggs) are sometimes a tempting and fairly easily digested meal

cottage cheese is another supplemental food that will sometimes be appealing to dogs and cats when they are not feeling well

my final one would be based on the assumption that there are no issues with overall immune system, but raw food can be hugely tempting for them. not sure if you can obtain commercially made raw food where you are? there are a lot of great resources out there on line, as well. I had enormous success with a cat who would just not eat due to how poorly she felt, using a simple raw food diet for a short period of time.

best of luck

TheBandit
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:06 PM
As someone else suggested meat based baby foods are good. Liver is fairly rich and can cause diarrhea.

Agreed. 1-2 oz daily of liver or other organ meat for a 50# dog.

Vegetables are good too. Squash is a favourite of my geriatric non-eater. I cut it into chunks then shred it in the food processor.

and sardines, just get the ones in water, not mustard. :)

Guin
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:12 PM
My dogs will do ANYTHING for a can of sardines in olive oil. You might offer some to your old guy.

Alexie
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:13 PM
Thank you so much for your suggestions. I have my shopping list ready now for tomorrow, I'm happier now I have other food ideas to try him with.

Massive thanks.

HorseBabble
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:21 PM
HorseBabble can I ask a dumb question? do you need to cook the ground beef before adding it to the mix?

Nope. Leave it raw. Another big seller for my geriatric canines was canned salmon.

RacetrackReject
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:35 PM
My Siberian Husky would only eat mashed potatoes when he would go on his little hunger strikes. I don't know why, but it was the ONLY thing he would eat. I bought packages of butter flavored instant mashed potatoes and just cooked them in the microwave. He would lick the bowl and beg for more..lol.

HorseBabble
Sep. 28, 2010, 04:39 PM
Oh, one last suggestion: warm his food. It will smell stronger and that may help.

chism
Sep. 28, 2010, 05:47 PM
I lost my 7 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback to Lymphoma this spring. I had a devil of a time getting him to eat towards the end. At first canned dog food did the trick then that didnt' work anymore. He really loved it when I made him chicken in the crockpot. I would buy chicken quarters at the store & cook them broth in a crock pot ever day, then serve it mixed with brown rice. He also liked scrambled eggs & pizza (not together..lol) . Something else to consider..sometimes they don't eat because they're nauseous. My vet had me give my dog generic pepcid 2x daily which really seemed to help with his appetite.

Arab/WBGirl
Sep. 28, 2010, 05:52 PM
Just try anything and everything. Like someone else suggested, a few bites offered often might be the trick to keeping his weight up until you can get his lab results back. Jingles for your beloved dog, and I hope he feels betters soon.

subk
Sep. 28, 2010, 05:52 PM
I have personally found that with older failing pets that when they stop eating is the big sign that it is time to let them go. Every time I've gone down the road of enticing one to eat each day with some new food I've regretted at the end that I didn't euthanize sooner. So sorry...

DandyMatiz
Sep. 29, 2010, 09:25 AM
when my dog has tummy problems, the vet has me cook chicken in water, then remove the bones and cook some rice in the water and give her boiled chicken and rice basically. she's never failed to eat it. .. and thus far we've not had to turn to meds. she's 16 now and I'm not sure how much longer she has, her kidneys are slowly failing, not much we can or will do about it at her age. She's on a special low protien/low salt diet and she -hates- it. Good luck. . it's hard trying to tempt them when they feel bad. =(

May I ask you a question, you dont' need to answer.. and this is for anyone.. If your dog doesn't like the diet, and isn't young.. why not just feed her what she wants? Technically Fancy (don't ask lol) is supposed to be on a special diet, to help her longevity and such. (the vet was going on and on about how many "useful years" she had left.. Hate to say this, but she has never had a "useful" year. but that's another story). When she started to have failing health.. she was 16.. and she's not ready to go yet.. but she just gets whatever she's in the mood for. I'm not trying to keep her healthy.. just happy.

HorseBabble
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:00 AM
I'm not trying to keep her healthy.. just happy.

I absolutely agree with this. At some point, it is all about quality not quantity.

cholmberg
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:18 AM
May I ask you a question, you dont' need to answer.. and this is for anyone.. If your dog doesn't like the diet, and isn't young.. why not just feed her what she wants? Technically Fancy (don't ask lol) is supposed to be on a special diet, to help her longevity and such. (the vet was going on and on about how many "useful years" she had left.. Hate to say this, but she has never had a "useful" year. but that's another story). When she started to have failing health.. she was 16.. and she's not ready to go yet.. but she just gets whatever she's in the mood for. I'm not trying to keep her healthy.. just happy.


Well that's pretty much what happened. I figured it's polishing brass on the titanic at this point. . .she's NOT going to make another year. . . so I give her whatever she wants. I got sick of the baleful stares when she'd look in her food dish. . .. made me feel just awful. ...she's going, might as well go happy even if it shortens her by a few weeks. She is losing weight and if I shaved her, people would accuse me of starving her. Every rib can be felt and her spine is knobby, and she loses her balance easily and doesn't see or hear that well. . .. -but-. . . .. she still gets bright and happy and willing to run and play and mooches eggs from my son all the time. .. so I'm reluctant to go ahead and put her down just yet. she's getting old and feeble and not gaining no matter how much she eats, including all the fatty table scraps she never used to be allowed to have. . but she's not ready to go just yet. Vet said her failing system is the reason she's not gaining despite getting more than enough food. Still has all her teeth and will beg with the best of them if you have something she wants. But her eyes are all cloudy, she doesn't hear well and has gotten really cranky in her old age, sleeps 90% of the time, face all white. . .. I look back to her puppy pictures and it's hard to accept. :(

betsyk
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:19 AM
We have a 13-year-old Lab who's not a good eater under the best of circumstances, but she likes rice, scrambled eggs, cheese, chicken, sliced turkey from the deli, hot dogs from the gas station, and LOVES McDonald's. Pretty much any fast food, especially if she gets to go for a ride in the car to get it! She liked cooked ground turkey (the stuff you buy like hamburger) at first but lost interest, and prefers her ground beef hot and between buns, not precooked and refrigerated and mixed with her kibble!

betsyk
Sep. 29, 2010, 10:35 AM
Cholmberg, you were posting at the same time I was, and your dog sounds like a composite of our two! Our old lady Labradora has really responded well to accupuncture. When I started bringing her, at my partner's insistence, I really thought we'd go once or twice and then put her to sleep last spring, because I really believed it was (past) time. Now it's almost October and our mornings with Dr Andrea have become a really fun ritual, and Anna has changed so much this summer. Physically, I'm not sure she's a whole lot different, but her expression and attitude have improved, she's happier, she's communicating with us more - does NOT want to go out in the back yard, DOES want to go out through the garage on a leash, WANTS to walk down the street to poop on the neighbor's yard, sometimes drags us around the block (often late at night when we're in our jammies!) - this from a dog who spent most of her time lying on the floor and groaning. She's making it clear that she's not ready to go yet, and by the way, wouldn't it be nice to go for a ride in the car to McDonald's - she will drag us to the car and plant herself there and refuse to move - we are suckers and more than once have gone back inside for the keys! We're all enjoying our time together a lot more these past few months and the only really major change is the accupuncture.

To make this horse related -- I brought her along to do morning chores at a house sitting job a few weeks ago, and she cruised around the yard for half an hour - she never would have done that last spring - and went home and finished her breakfast. To the OP: does your dog show any more interest in food after a walk or ride in the car or any sort of outing, like a trip to the barn?

MelanieC
Sep. 29, 2010, 11:04 AM
I'd try rotating a few foods to see if the variety helps. The classic for dogs who aren't doing well is boiled chicken and overcooked white rice. You can crush up a human vitamin and add some bone meal (not too much) and make it into a real diet -- if you like PM me your email address and I'll send you a recipe formulated by a veterinary nutritionist.

If you have a pressure cooker, you can pressure cook the chicken bones and all. The bones will be soft and easy to eat. If you do this you won't need to add any bone meal.

Canned mackerel is also a good option and most dogs love it. If you can get a hold of green tripe (not the clean tripe they sell in the supermarket), most dogs go absolutely wild for it. I don't mind the way it smells. Actually, it smells somewhat like horse manure. If you can't get fresh/frozen green tripe (ground is best), there's a canned green tripe food with a name that escapes me now. Anyway, dogs love that too.

wendy
Sep. 29, 2010, 11:36 AM
I have personally found that with older failing pets that when they stop eating is the big sign that it is time to let them go. Every time I've gone down the road of enticing one to eat each day with some new food I've regretted at the end that I didn't euthanize sooner. So sorry...

ditto. Although when our dog was dying from lymphoma, before she had her final "loss of appetite" we stopped feeding her boring dog food and fed her all kinds of stuff, just to keep her happy as possible- she wasn't suffering from a loss of appetite, it just seemed silly to try to feed her a balanced nutritious diet at that point. So she got goodies- drive-thru bacon cheeseburgers, chicken, roast beef, liver, etc.

If you can get hold of green tripe, stinky as it is, it is indeed a "doggy health food" that most sick dogs will gobble up and improve on. If your dog won't eat tripe, I'd say it may be time...

birdsong
Sep. 29, 2010, 11:43 AM
My GSD with a healthy "system" but painful hips gets boiled chicken with egg noodles and whatever else I find to throw in..with some kibbled dog food.

McDonalds hamburgers are ALWAYS wolfed down!

Today will make a batch of those satinballs someone mentioned for treats.

She's on very limited time per the Vet (yesterday) so with glucosamine, adequan, and previcox I'm just trying to lower her pain and make her more content.

IMO WHATEVER makes them happy.
Good Luck on all those suggestions that you find something yours will enjoy.

shakeytails
Sep. 29, 2010, 11:29 PM
When my old dog was going downhill, I just fed him whatever he would eat, and most of it not very "healthy". He liked macaroni & cheese, spaghetti with maple syrup, hot dogs, tuna, and bread and butter. Sometimes he'd eat hamburger or chicken and rice, but he really prefered the junk food. He was always a little weird about food- he thought all canned pet foods were disgusting, wouldn't eat raw meat, and would look at me like I was crazy if I put leftover eggs in the dog dish. The first time I gave him an ice cream cone he carefully licked the cone clean; I think he was afraid to eat the "dish"! I miss that old dog...

Coyoteco
Sep. 30, 2010, 12:23 AM
Foods dogs like

Cottage Cheese.

Also, try Chef Michaels.
American cheese slices

For the GSD with arthritis, have you used the medication Dermaxx (sp)? My lab mix who almost died from the Rymadyl (sp again) did very well on Dermaxx and it really helped her pain immeasurably.

threedogpack
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:25 AM
My Siberian Husky would only eat mashed potatoes when he would go on his little hunger strikes. I don't know why, but it was the ONLY thing he would eat. I bought packages of butter flavored instant mashed potatoes and just cooked them in the microwave. He would lick the bowl and beg for more..lol.

in the last 2 weeks of her life, my Corgi loved her some mashed potatoes.

So she got them.

She also ate vanilla ice cream...real ice cream.

sometimes she would eat boiled chicken, other times not.

sometimes buttered crackers were on the menu.

tuna some days.

spaghetti sauce believe it or not was also right up there.

angel hair with s.s or butter and some romano cheese

she was on the Whatever You Want Darling Diet

Brydelle Farm
Sep. 30, 2010, 09:10 AM
My GSD dog is 9 years old and over the last week has gone off his food. His tummy has become slightly distended with fluid and his heart is not happy (I can't remember the technical term used by the vet).
He has just started a course of his second type of heart tablets as the first type didn't seem to be helping - though they stopped him deteriorating as fast as he had been doing.
The vet has taken blood and will run tests on it for his heart, liver and kidneys but we won't know the results until Friday.

You have gotten some good advice on reasonable options on palatable foods for pets that aren't feeling 100%. As one poster mentioned, you may request an appetite stimulant such as cyproheptadine, we more routinely use mirtazapine, it is once day dosing and have seen a better response with less side effects.

The biggest thing though is to address the underlying condition. Based solely on your descriptions, he is right sided congestive heart failure (based on "heart is not happy" and "tummy has become slightly distended with fluid" aka ascites). Did they tap that fluid off? Abdominal fluid is hard to shift with diuretics, and you can often get these dogs immediate relief if you tap it off. Did they take thoracic radiographs? Any pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)? Did they mention if his heart rhythm was irregular? Possibly atrial fibrillation? What is the underlying cardiac dz? He is a large breed, so dilated cardiomyopathy is highly suspect. Did they mention if was in left sided heart failure as well, ie pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)? Is he coughing? What is his sleeping respiratory rate? Does he seem to be restless?

Measuring his abdomen with a string to monitor if the ascites is reducing or increasing is a good idea.

What meds is he on? Enalapril (ace inhibitor)? Pimobendan/Vetmedin? Digoxin? Lasix/Furosemide? Spironolactone?

Generally a combination of medical therapy will be indicated.

Fish oils (40mg/kg of EPA component in food or orally once daily) have been shown to help appetite and reduce/slow the process of cardiac cachexia (muscle wasting due to chronic heart failure due to increased caloric needs and other hormonal cascades).

I wish you and your GSD the very best!!!

TKR
Sep. 30, 2010, 09:24 AM
My heart certainly goes out to you -- I lost my precious GSD in January. He also didn't have much appetite towards the end. The canned dog food green tripe (Standard Gold over here makes it) was a great appetite stimulant. It's also loaded with nutrients. God Bless!
PennyG

jetsmom
Sep. 30, 2010, 12:47 PM
I had a dog w/congestive heart failure that was "tapped" as mentioned by Brydelle farms, in the post above. I started having it done every 10 days, then once a week. When it needed to be done, her abdomen would be like a water balloon and she wouldn't eat or play. After the tapping, she would eat and play with her toys. So I kept doing it. When the tapping no longer helped, and her lungs started sounding like they had fluid in them, I had her put down. But the tapping did give her another 6 months of fairly good quality life. (She was also on 2 heart meds and Lasix the whole time).

From my experience, they won't eat when they are bloated from CHF. They feel too full and uncomfortable. Ask your vet if tapping the fluid off would help.

BBowen
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:00 PM
I had a dog w/congestive heart failure that was "tapped" as mentioned by Brydelle farms, in the post above. I started having it done every 10 days, then once a week. When it needed to be done, her abdomen would be like a water balloon and she wouldn't eat or play. After the tapping, she would eat and play with her toys. So I kept doing it. When the tapping no longer helped, and her lungs started sounding like they had fluid in them, I had her put down. But the tapping did give her another 6 months of fairly good quality life. (She was also on 2 heart meds and Lasix the whole time).

From my experience, they won't eat when they are bloated from CHF. They feel too full and uncomfortable. Ask your vet if tapping the fluid off would help.


Very similar to my situation a year ago with my Dachshund, only she had a milignant tumor in her heart. Vets thought it was congestive heart failure, but recommended I see a cardiologist for an ultrasound. He was not expecting the tumor. And, we struggled to get her to eat at times. Whatever she would eat, that is what she got. She enjoyed left over steak or salmon and developed sophisticated tastes. :-)

I kept baby food, Vienna sausage, Tyson's meatballs, anything to entice her to eat. Thank goodness, she drank well. It is very frustrating. But as long as we kept the fluid at bay and she was bright and interactive, we continued with the vet's blessing. She did let us know when it was time and the vet came to the house.

Laurierace
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:14 PM
When my sheltie was at the end the only thing I could get him to eat was ham. I let him have as much as he wanted. On the day he was euthanized he threw up the ham he had eaten hours earlier and it looked like he never even chewed it let alone began to digest it so I knew we were in major trouble. I took him to the ehospital to euthanize and they insisted on taking him in the back and doing it without me present. I refused and took him home hoping he would either die on his own or make it through the night so I could take him to the regular vet in the morning. By 5am he was unconscious so I had no choice but to go back for the ehospital. Thankfully a different doctor was there and I was able to persuade him to alter their policy so I could stay with him. I might add this all took place during a hurricane so there were trees down everywhere and no electricity. He was euthed via candlelight which was kind of nice.

wendy
Sep. 30, 2010, 02:55 PM
My GSD with a healthy "system" but painful hips gets boiled chicken with egg noodles and whatever else I find to throw in..with some kibbled dog food.


just a thought- get rid of the noodles and kibble. Grains (pasta, most commercial dog foods) seriously aggravate joint pain. Many people find their dogs go from sore n old to frisky when they switch to a quality balanced low-carbohydrate high protein diet, and supplement with lots of fish oils.
also if the only thing wrong with the dog is painful hips why not consider some kind of curative or salvage surgical procedure?

EponaRoan
Sep. 30, 2010, 04:38 PM
For the last 6+ months or so of my Fred's (also a GSD) life, I made him dog stew using the crockpot.

Just take some cheap beef, some veggies cut up - you can use frozen or fresh - a bit of water and some bouillion/garlic to make a bit of broth and let it cook overnight. Reheat as necessary for meals.

I served that over his kibble (Canidae) and that was pretty much the only way he'd eat it. Normally I would have said either eat what I give you or don't eat but he was in liver failure due to his meds for epilepsy and we were trying to wean him down off them. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but the meds essentially bought him 7 more years, so ...

I've used the satin balls as a quick fix to put weight on, but not long term. They are kinda fatty. I also hardboil the eggs rather than using them raw.

A spoonful of active culture yogurt is also good for helping balance stomachs and giving pills.

Somermist
Sep. 30, 2010, 05:02 PM
It's totally disgusting (and might put you off of YOUR food) but try green tripe. You can buy it canned - looks and smells pretty awful, but the dogs love it.

It's really true. You can also do a local search, lots of cow farmers do sell it. It is great for calories and dogs LOVE it. Good luck.

Foxtrot's
Sep. 30, 2010, 06:01 PM
We feed our hounds tripe at the end of a hunt - yum yum - judging by the noise.

Timely thread - our l6 year old daschund threw his breakfast up today. He is losing weight and we are trying to tempt him without giving him anything that will upset his tummy. We have always boiled chicken for him and know it agrees with him so we add a bit of rice or macaroni. He seems to feel well, despite his cataracts and hearing loss. As long as he is feeling well, we can handle his piddles. I agree, it is not about what is good for them - just make them happy.

I must add that these older animals we care for are so lucky to have us - society is judged by how we treat the elderly!

Brydelle Farm
Sep. 30, 2010, 07:22 PM
I had a dog w/congestive heart failure that was "tapped" as mentioned by Brydelle farms, in the post above. I started having it done every 10 days, then once a week. When it needed to be done, her abdomen would be like a water balloon and she wouldn't eat or play. After the tapping, she would eat and play with her toys. So I kept doing it. When the tapping no longer helped, and her lungs started sounding like they had fluid in them, I had her put down. But the tapping did give her another 6 months of fairly good quality life. (She was also on 2 heart meds and Lasix the whole time).

From my experience, they won't eat when they are bloated from CHF. They feel too full and uncomfortable. Ask your vet if tapping the fluid off would help.

Abdominal taps do get them relief pretty quickly. We generally can get them longer btw taps, with more extensive medical therapy, ie HCTZ, toresemide, intermittent SQ inj with Lasix, as once they developed GI edema from chronic ascites GI absorption of lasix decreases.

Sorry for your loss Jetsmom! I'm pleased to hear you got quality time with her at the end! ;)

Thanatos
Oct. 1, 2010, 12:16 AM
We had a rat terrier who had a terrible appetite. Would go days and eat nothing. We found the only thing that tempted her was the water from tuna fish. Not the fish itself, just the water, drizzled on her food. Or homemade chicken stock. Maybe try that?

Also, generally when they stop eating, yes, they're telling you something. But my parents' GSD was a terrible eater. When he got older, like 7 or 8, he hated eating even more so we had to constantly bribe him with praise, treats (yeah, treats to make him eat worked for some reason; tempting him with food to make him eat his food go figure) changes in his meal (a little water or rice on the kibble, tuna fish, etc.) and taking it away after a few minutes all made him more inclined to eat. He lived to be 11 and just had to be put down a few months ago.

Gil's Girl
Oct. 5, 2010, 06:27 PM
Just wanted to say I'm sorry about your dog's health, and best wishes for you both... and that I've heard really good things about tripe as well, it stinks, but it's a great balanced protein food for dogs, mine have only had the canned variety but they love it and will always choose it over other food.

Also my sister lost her dog last year to heart failure, but in the last few months he was "tapped" a couple of times, and he was able to have a good amount of comfortable, quality time at home with the family that he wouldn't have had otherwise, and it was definitely the right thing for him - he ate well, slept by the fire most of the day and wagged his tail constantly, and had in our mind good quality of life that we were able to extend a bit for him.

Best of luck, hope everything goes okay for you both.

yankeeclipper
Oct. 5, 2010, 07:55 PM
My dog's vet recommended Sardines. He is a Neroulogist that is now focused on acupuncture and holistic medicine. He strongly recommended Sardines, organic pumpkin, cooked: pork, fish of any kind, eggs or duck as well as mango, peaches, pineapple and watermelon, any cooked vegetable except onions and garlic.

My poor dog is on crate rest to heal from a bulging disc but he is in food heaven with the new diet.

sdlbredfan
Oct. 5, 2010, 08:23 PM
Foods dogs like

Cottage Cheese.

Also, try Chef Michaels.
American cheese slices

For the GSD with arthritis, have you used the medication Dermaxx (sp)? My lab mix who almost died from the Rymadyl (sp again) did very well on Dermaxx and it really helped her pain immeasurably.

Real cheese, not 'pasteurized processed' cheese which is what American cheese is, is much better for any dog, human, etc. That so called American cheese is to cheese as white bread is to bread....bland, artificial and less than life-enhancing, IMO.

Nvr2old
Oct. 5, 2010, 09:01 PM
As well as tuna "juice" also the juice from canned salmon - the red kind actually has oil in it, not just water, and is extremely "aromatic" as well as having some of the fats in it that will promote, shall we say "healty bowel movement". Great also if your dog is a bit constipated. The downside is you have to clean the "bones" out of it, and it is a bit more expensive than tuna, but the upside is your barn cats will love you for the leftovers as well. Good luck with the wee beastie, hope he gets his appetite back soon.

In_
Oct. 5, 2010, 09:04 PM
My dogs have always flipped for yogurt. They were fond of the french vanilla and 'banilla' (banana + vanilla) flavor. I gave them organic, natural only yogurt - but whatever you (and your budget) prefer! You can place a few dollaps ontop of the dry food - or coat the dry food in the yogurt.

vacation1
Oct. 5, 2010, 10:23 PM
Oh, one last suggestion: warm his food. It will smell stronger and that may help.

Ditto. Microwaving anything, even crushed dry kibble mixed with water, will increase interest in eating. It's hard to see a dog refusing to eat; I remember spending a lot of time searching for new canned meat products when my last dog had cancer. I'm not much of a carnivore, so it was kinda amazing to me what lives on the supermarket shelves next to the Vienna sausages. Ultimately, I resorted to McDonald's burgers.

On a related note - my dad had CHF, and he was on Ensure (and I have been bemused at how it's now sold in groceries as a health food, crazy) at various times, because his diet was so restricted. Anyone use that for dogs, or is there a vet product similar?


in the last 2 weeks of her life.. she was on the Whatever You Want Darling Diet

:sadsmile:

Alexie
Nov. 21, 2010, 03:48 PM
Many thanks to all of you for your replies, and each and everyone of you - your kindness helped at a painful time.

Joe was PTS about 2 weeks after posting this thread, I had a pretty good idea he hadn't got long left, as some of you picked up on from his symptoms. He did manage small amounts of liver, ham, ginger biscuits and dental sticks for a time, and though he turned his nose up at a large variety of tasty treats that he was offered it was of no matter, the important thing to me was to try.

He did have the fluid drained off and his medication upped, and he did improve for a while, but his heart just kept deteriorating and we had him PTS when it became obvious that it was the best thing to do for him.

He was a ray of sunshine, rest in peace gorgeous boy.

LauraKY
Nov. 21, 2010, 04:05 PM
I'm so sorry. Godspeed, Joe.

jetsmom
Nov. 21, 2010, 08:18 PM
Alexie, my condolences. It's so hard to let go a a beloved pet.
Godspeed Joe.

ellyka112
Nov. 21, 2010, 08:26 PM
Oh, sad. :( I have a cat with cancer, and lost a dog to heart failure over the winter, and it was a battle to get food into both.....and both were quite pudgy before getting ill!


Try baby food....Gerber Stage One Chicken or Turkey is the best/healthiest, although your dog might like some of the other varieties like Beef Stew or something. It's expensive....almost $1.00 for a little thing of it....but it's never failed me and if your dog only has a few weeks left anyway...

Again with the "if he's failing anyway" let him eat whatever the heck he wants. My Beagle stopped eating his dog food in his last few days, but was still thrilled to get any sort of table scraps that we were willing to give him, so we kept him fed that way. He would also eat the dog food if we handed it to him as a treat, but it got tedious feeding him just a few pellets at a time if he were willing to gobble down a McDonalds hamburger!


Sorry that you're having such a rough time with your dog...it's so disheartening to see them wasting away.

my 18 yo maltese has days she doesn't like to eat. I'm at the point now, it's quality not quantity. I'm not feeding her anymore to live a long and happy life.. she has had that. now, just feeding her to keep her happy. Somedays that's purina dry dog food (dont ask me how as she has no teeth) and somedays that's a roast beef from hardees. she gets to eat table scraps (she loves the fat off steak) and all the fun stuff she never got when she was younger.

fivehorses
Nov. 21, 2010, 08:31 PM
Alexie, you sound like a great mom to Joe.
I am sure you miss him terribly and glad you were to enjoy a bit more time with him.
Godspeed Joe.

Dorienna
Nov. 22, 2010, 08:04 AM
You have gotten some good advice on reasonable options on palatable foods for pets that aren't feeling 100%. As one poster mentioned, you may request an appetite stimulant such as cyproheptadine, we more routinely use mirtazapine, it is once day dosing and have seen a better response with less side effects.

The biggest thing though is to address the underlying condition. Based solely on your descriptions, he is right sided congestive heart failure (based on "heart is not happy" and "tummy has become slightly distended with fluid" aka ascites). Did they tap that fluid off? Abdominal fluid is hard to shift with diuretics, and you can often get these dogs immediate relief if you tap it off. Did they take thoracic radiographs? Any pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)? Did they mention if his heart rhythm was irregular? Possibly atrial fibrillation? What is the underlying cardiac dz? He is a large breed, so dilated cardiomyopathy is highly suspect. Did they mention if was in left sided heart failure as well, ie pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)? Is he coughing? What is his sleeping respiratory rate? Does he seem to be restless?

Measuring his abdomen with a string to monitor if the ascites is reducing or increasing is a good idea.

What meds is he on? Enalapril (ace inhibitor)? Pimobendan/Vetmedin? Digoxin? Lasix/Furosemide? Spironolactone?

Generally a combination of medical therapy will be indicated.

Fish oils (40mg/kg of EPA component in food or orally once daily) have been shown to help appetite and reduce/slow the process of cardiac cachexia (muscle wasting due to chronic heart failure due to increased caloric needs and other hormonal cascades).
I wish you and your GSD the very best!!!


My 5 yo GSD mix also lost appetite when he started getting sick, or showing the symptoms of his heart troubles. He is now on Enalapril, Vetmedin, Furosemide, Spiro, and another drug which i can't remember the name right now. He was in early CHF, and was clearly uncomfortable. Before the drugs started working, all I could get him to eat were table scraps. I figure since he has max 1 yr left, and probably less since he is such a large dog at 145 lbs, he is on an "whatever you would like" diet. Just to get him to take his pills (23 a day i believe), it takes at least one hotdog sausage per day, which can't be healthy but at least i get the meds in... Meat (chicken, beef, game) cooked in the slow cooker and added to his regular food seems to help, he also loooves a can of tuna.

Brydelle Farm
Nov. 25, 2010, 11:26 AM
Alexie, I'm so sorry for your loss. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Godspeed and RIP Joe!

tradewind
Nov. 25, 2010, 12:27 PM
So sorry for your loss. The old saying is the very best place to bury a dog is in the heart of its master. I hope you have tons of wonderful memories of Joe to give you comfort during this sad time. There is not much on this earth as wonderful as a good dog.

sisu27
Nov. 29, 2010, 11:26 AM
I have personally found that with older failing pets that when they stop eating is the big sign that it is time to let them go. Every time I've gone down the road of enticing one to eat each day with some new food I've regretted at the end that I didn't euthanize sooner. So sorry...

Sadly I would agree with this. I have lost many of my Dobes to DCM and I have never had one bounce back and be happy once they stop wanting to eat. I did try feeding them whatever they wanted since I knew they were dying (scrambled eggs and cat food always seemed to appeal). At one point I was so desperate to keep my young (6yo) Dobe going that I was blending his meals and using a syringe. I cringe to think about it...selfish of me. My last Dobe lived on Beef Tenderloin (yes, filet!) his last few days as that was what he wanted. That boy had good taste. I also give Pepcid but you may want to ask your vet if it is ok with meds.

Ugh, it is so hard. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this.

Sorry, just read the update. So very sorry. RIP Joe.

Dorienna, so sorry that you are also dealing with this. I am all too familiar with those drugs. I did have one of my Dobes survive for 2 years after she was diagnosed with DCM on that cocktail. I have used Pill Pockets with much success. They stink but it makes pill time much easier. Best of luck.