23 answers

Need Help Getting Dog to Eat.

Hi Everyone,
I have a two year old Cockapoo. She has never been a very good eater, sometimes going two or three days without eating. We have tried different things and not much makes a difference. We tried canned dog food and it worked for two feedings and then she wanted nothing to do with it again. Our vet is not concerned about her eating habits, as she does not lose any weight. Our vet says that some dogs just don't eat every day. Here's the problem though: When she doesn't eat, say at dinner time, she wakes up early the next morning throwing up. It's an "empty stomach" throw up. Mostly just bile. We have been feeding her Science Diet, Lamb and Rice small bites for the last several months. She will usually eat if I mix a glob of cream cheese into it. The vet tells us not to do that, but to give her a zantac every day to keep her from puking. Both seem ridiculous to me. Having to put cream cheese on it every time or giving her a zantac every day. Well, the last couple of days I've stopped the cream cheese. And, of course she stopped eating. I was up with her at 4:00 in the morning, because she was, of course, throwing up. I think the hardness of the kibbles might be part of the problem, so I went out and bought Ol'Roy's soft and moist food. Because she won't eat the other food, I can't very well "gradually" mix this in with her old food the way you're supposed to. So, I just gave her the new food by itself. She devoured it! However, 30 minutes later, she puked all over my house! All of the food came up whole. I don't know what to do. Do I trying just mixing it a little at a time with the old food, knowing that she will just pick out the new stuff and leave the old? She won't get much to eat that way, but maybe she won't puke it up. Do I try something different? Does anyone know of a "soft" type kibble dog food. Not this soft wormy kind of food? I looked and couldn't find any "kibbles" that weren't hard. I am at my wits end. I don't know what else to do. I can't handle the throwing up anymore and she is ruining my carpet. Do I give in and give her the zantac everyday? I just think giving a dog medicine just because she's a picky eater is silly. Please help. I would like to listen to any suggestions you might have. We are going on vacation in a couple of weeks. She is staying with my parents part of the time and a dog sitter is staying with her a couple days. I don't want my parents or the dog sitter to have to deal with this craziness. Thanks in advance.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Update: Well, we had her eating pretty well on Solid Gold brand Bison small kibbles. However, she again starting boycotting the dry food. She was eating pedigree wet food for awhile. Then, this winter, she started scratching horribly. Her belly would be bright red and broken out all over. She would even keep us up at night with all the scratching. At first we thought it might just be dry weather, but when it got so bad, we went back to the vet. They put her on prednisone which helped immediately, but we decided to switch her food again, with the vets recommendations. She told us to stay away from anything w/ poultry, lamb or beef. We can't afford the prescription science diet, so I did a bunch of research on store bought foods. One problem I found was that even though some foods would say for "sensitive skin" or say no corn, etc. They would say "animal oil" or "animal by products". I even called many companies to find out what type of "animal" ingredient it was. Most of them were chicken. I finally found Natural Balance sold at Petco. We are using the Limited Ingredient Diet - Sweet Potato & Fish formula. I bought the dry food. She absolutely loves it! I can't believe how well she eats this dry food. One thing that is different about it is that the kibbles are more like flat discs, rather than round kibbles. I think it's easier for her to eat. She's a "fast" eater and some of the other kibbles I think took her too long to eat, so she just quit. These she can still eat fast. It's only been a week, and after 3 years of having a finicky eater, I'm not totally convinced yet. But, I really think this one has promise. Her scratching is almost completely gone. (However, she's still on prednisone so we won't know for sure for another week or two) Regardless, I think this food is much healthier for her. The vet said to give it 8-12 weeks to know for sure if it is a food allergy. She gets nothing else but this food and the same formula in treats. FYI: I found this food on petco's website on sale for $10.37 for a 5lb bag. At the store it was $14.99. However, I had the printoff from online and they matched the price. I didn't know they would do that, but it sounds like they will match the online price as long as you mention it. They also had $1.00 off coupons for Natural Balance at the register, so I got it for $9! I was thrilled. I will be checking the online price everytime before I go now.

Previous update:
Thanks for all the advice! I'm am considering everything and deciding where to start. :) I will keep you informed on what ends up working for her. I do want to clarify for some people though, that she does not puke when she eats, so it is not a sensitive stomach. She puked yesterday only after gobbling down the new "cheap" food. Other than that, she only pukes when she DOES NOT eat. I feel bad for her because she has "empty stomach" indigestion. I really want to find a food that she likes, other than cream cheese covered food. :) To the person who asked why I wasted my time on taking her to the vet if I'm not going to take her advice...First of all we discuss it everytime we're there for groomings, shots, etc. This has been an ongoing issue since she was a puppy. I have nothing against giving her the zantac if she truly needed it. Meaning if she puked all the time even when eating. If I truly thought she had sensitive stomach or acid reflux after eating. Neither I or my vet feel that is the problem. The problem is simply she won't eat her food, so she gets "empty stomach" indigestion. I don't agree with giving her a medicine just because we can't find a food that she will eat. She needs to eat! Would you let your dog go two or three days without eating and just give zantac instead? If it comes down to it, I will do the zantac, but I feel that the right thing to do is to keep trying to find her a food that she will eat regularly. Keep any suggestions coming. Again, I'm probably going to have to try many different things, so I like all the advice. Thanks!

Featured Answers

You could try making her boiled chicken & rice. It is very easy on the digestive system and she'll probably enjoy it. My dog sometimes goes for days without eating and he also has that bile throw up on those days. It's best not to do any kind of food change abruptly. I know you're concerned about her not getting enough to eat, but believe me, when she gets hungry enough she'll eat...regardless of what's in her bowl. Hope this helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would try putting water in her kibble. Let it set for about 10 minutes to soak up the water. Then the kibble will be soft enough to eat. Often this is suggested for puppies. If she has a sensitive stomach, perhaps she isn't able to breakdown the food very well when it is solid.

I have tried several different food for my puppy to see which agrees with her tummy. I have tried organic foods. I tried a Solid Gold. PetSmart has a brand called Healthy Balance that is organic. My puppy does well on both of those. The kibble is really small. She seems to like the taste. Sometimes I add water to is because she likes softer food.

More Answers

You could try making her boiled chicken & rice. It is very easy on the digestive system and she'll probably enjoy it. My dog sometimes goes for days without eating and he also has that bile throw up on those days. It's best not to do any kind of food change abruptly. I know you're concerned about her not getting enough to eat, but believe me, when she gets hungry enough she'll eat...regardless of what's in her bowl. Hope this helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

How funny!! I just watched an episode of the dog whisperer and a woman on there had the same problem and you know what cured it what exercise the dog was not getting enough exercise to make him hungry! I would try waliking him alot and see if he gets hungry! Little dogs are usually very high energy and need exercise!

WOW. I never heard of this one. Does your vet know that you are giving the dog Zantac? Lay off the cottage cheese and dairy products. They could give your dog bladder stones from the excess calcium. Our Bichon got a painful bladder stone with bleeding because we listened to somebody's advice that cottage cheese was good for a dog's coat.

Have you tried Bil-Jac dog food? Have you tried smaller bowls? I read somewhere that small dogs are intimdated by larger bowls. Try emailing the Pedigree Dog Food Company. They may give you some good advice. Good Luck.

S.

Maybe the dog food makes her sick, so she doesn't eat, which causes her to throw up bile. My dog throws up any food with gluten in it. Most have gluten, wheat gluten specifically. I feed her Wellness, which has human grade chicken, available at Petco, and IAMS Healthy Naturals. The Iams is cheaper than Wellness so I mix them.

We've had a couple dogs with stomach "issues." The best thing we've found is, when you have time, cook a big batch of ground turkey/chicken/beef (whatever's on sale) and mix it with rice. You can keep it in the fridge for a week. Give it to her alone or mix it with dog food. It's not a perfect solution but she should eat enough of it to keep from getting sick.

If your dog threw up when he ate the new food too it doesn't sound like he is just a picky eater and throws up when he has an empty stomach. It sounds like he has some type of stomach issues. I don't know anything about dogs. I am just thinking outloud. Maybe it is a bit like having acide reflux to the point your throw up. I experienced that when I was pregnant and hated eating because I didn't know what was going to trigger it. Maybe that is what your dog is going through and the zantac would calm it down. Like I said, I have no knowledge of dogs, but am just throwing out suggestions. Good luck. It sounds like a situation that I am glad I am not in. :)

My dog was once sick and in the hospital and when we brought him home they told us to boil chicken and rice and feed that to him. Maybe that would work for your dog if she has a sensitive digestive system because it's bland. Also, for your carpet, there is a product called "Nilodor" and it will take ANYTHING out of your carpet. It is a pet product I used with my dog when he was a puppy (he's 9 now) and I still keep some on hand in case anyone spills anything. I don't know where you live, but I know Fishers grocery store in Massillon and Canton OH sell it. The place where they make "Nilodor" is in Navarre, OH. Good luck, I hope your dog gets better. It's rough when they're not doing well. Let me know if you need anything else.

Dogs are such a trip!! When we go away, a lot of the time our dog gets depressed and won't eat, sometimes for a few days, sometimes long enough that I get worried. There are also times when he throws up the bile, like your dog does.
When we first got him, he got really dry skin in the winter. My vet suggested giving him a teaspoon of grease (animal) and a teaspoon of vegetable oil on his food in the morning. He loves it! I don't always put it on, but when I do, it whets his appetite and he gobbles his food up. Save the grease the next time you cook up some meat and put it on the dog's food. It can't hurt to try and it will help his coat to shine.
The cream cheese probably tasted great to the dog, but there may be some concern on, your vet's part, about the dairy content.
Another thought: When we were growing up, my cousin used to fix his German Shepherd hamburger and rice as a treat. This would be an expensive way to feed a dog, but it may be worth considering.
I hope this helps.

Dear S.,
Why did you go to the vet? If you aren't going to take his advice you just wasted your time, gas, and the cost of the visit.
Why are you against giving the dog the Zantac? We think of our dog as one of the family so if my vet said to give her any medicine that is what she would get.
I think it would be worth a try to give her/he the Zantac and see if it works, it isn't expensive and it may just be what your dog needs. Also I think that breed of dog are a little high strung so she/he may just have a nervous stomache. Anyway good luck and hope it all works out for you and your dog.

When my dog was upset and wouldn't eat, my vet told me to give him hamburger and rice cooked together. I'd put a lb. of hamburger in the microwave with about 2 cups of rice and cook them until the rice was soft, let it coold down and give him some of that. We had a big dog, so it lasted about 2-3 days. It may last longer for you. He liked it and it was soft so he could get it down and keep it down. Good luck to you, pets are like kids, they tug on your heart strings.

My German Shepherd is a picky eater because of sensitive teeth/gums and a sensitive stomach. We brush her teeth regularly to help with the mouth issues and feed her yogurt to help with the tummy issues

When my dog was sick, we fed him cat food. Our vet said this was fine until he got better. Most dogs love cat food! You could even try mixing it in. I hope your sweet little dog gets better. Best of Luck1

My advice would be a different vet for a different opinion. Your dog is sending you a message. I have had many dogs over the years. Only twice I had a dog that does what yours does. I also feed my dogs Science Diet. When my St. Bernard had that problem the vet recommended a bland diet of cottage cheese, ice cream and rice. The lining of the stomach may be aggrevated. I would put my dogs on that diet for 7-10 days so the stomach could heal. After that they would be fine. Neither vet I had really knew what was causing the problem but diet was able to get them relief.
Throwing up too much is bad internally. Just like a person who keeps throwing up, it eventually eats away at the esophagus causing even more problems.

Our dogs have had issues like that as well. We put yogurt on their food and it seems to help. And you alos can try mixing in some rice with the food to help a bit as well. And you might want to find another vet that will take the issue more seriously. Good luck.

You have received some good responses already. I worked in a pet store for 7 years and before that I thought pet food was pet food but now I know that the quality of the pet food that you buy is important. The more natural and organic foods that are out there now are far better than the some of the other brands out there. If you look at the ingredients some of them have meat by-products, whether it be chicken or sometimes they just say meat!! They don't even say what kind of meat! By-products are leftovers that we wouldn't even eat!! Corn is another big one that they put in there for a "filler" and it really dosen't have any nutrional value to it. Some dogs are allergic to the corn and gluten like one person said on here. I would pick a better quality food and stick with it. Ol' Roy is lesser quality with probably some nasty ingredients. I have always bought Nutro pet food and my pets have always seemed to do well on it. They also make a food for smaller dogs, I think it is called small bites and it is a smaller kibble so it may be easier to chew and digest. I think there are a few other brands out there that offer a smaller kibble for smaller dogs so which ever one you go with I would try that. Giving your dog a Zantac might not be a bad idea to try because if there is any sort of reflux or stomache upset it might help and also calm the vomiting. Worth a try anyway.
I don't know if I offered any more insight but whatever you try I hope it works!! Good luck.

Have you tried adding warm water to her food to make it soft?
Some animals have very sensitive digestive systems just like people do. Before you give her zantac try Papaya enzyme.It is sweet and all natural if you find a good health food store.It calms the stomach and keeps gas from building up which is probably why your dog is vomiting, she eats too fast.Ever think about hand feeding her?

We have this problem with our dog too. It seems to be even worse with the hot weather.

Our vet also isn't concerned aside from the vomiting. We feed him twice a day, so our vet said if he didn't eat his "breakfast" to give him a bone/treat to prevent him from throwing up. Same thing at night. She said he'd eat when he was hungry otherwise. Does your dog like any kind of treats that would tide her over?

I think our dog is obsessive compulsive though because if we kick his food out onto the floor, he'll "clean up" all the food on the floor. When we go away, that is how my sister gets my dog to eat.

I'm thinking you should take her to another vet. I personally am not a big vet person, but I have 2 close friends who had the same thing happen to their pets(1cat, 1dog.) Both situations started with the pet not eating and then vomiting. The cat was put to sleep for kidney failure. It was 16 or 17 years old, but the dog went through treatment of IV, special diet, and meds. When I say special diet, I mean my friend was boiling potatoes and chicken water for this dog! I thought she was crazy for the treatments, but the little booger is the same old hyper minpin she was before!

Science Diet does make a canned dog food that will be much more similar to the food she's "eating." Going from a decent quality science diet food to a poor quality Ol'Roy is bound to upset her tummy. I have also added water to the dry food and let it sit for awhile to make it softer which would keep the same food in her system and might make her more interested.

I sometimes have a hard time getting our beagle to eat her dog food too. I put just a little bit of chicken broth on her hard food and she gobbles it down. The vet might not agree with that method, but I think the chicken broth might be better than the cream cheese - I only have to put a bit in to get the regular food wet, so she's not getting too much table food from it. She gets the empty stomach syndrome too.

Good luck.

S., first you really need to stop the cream cheese. Then you will have to tough it out for a short time. Don't continue to try her or him on new foods, stick with one and leave it out all nite for her, if she gets up to puke just let it happen, nothing you can do about it anyway. Your dog will get hungry and start eating, especially if your vet is not concerned you shouldn't be either. I know this must be hard on you but,its like weening a baby from the bottle,patients.. good luck

I would try putting water in her kibble. Let it set for about 10 minutes to soak up the water. Then the kibble will be soft enough to eat. Often this is suggested for puppies. If she has a sensitive stomach, perhaps she isn't able to breakdown the food very well when it is solid.

I have tried several different food for my puppy to see which agrees with her tummy. I have tried organic foods. I tried a Solid Gold. PetSmart has a brand called Healthy Balance that is organic. My puppy does well on both of those. The kibble is really small. She seems to like the taste. Sometimes I add water to is because she likes softer food.

I have 2 cockapoos. A 3 and 2 yr old. The 2 yr old has stomach issues right now on empty stomach so we have to make sure she eats at night. We hand feed her with a spoon if need be. She's had this issue before and was given a vet prescribed science diet which helped 100% at the time. She has a sensitive stomach. When this happens we cut apples and ham and she gobbles it up! The apples seem to help. She likes going outside and eating leaves which can cause problems if there are parasites on the leaves. Her feces was a little soft and gooey today also becuase she was sick. She even shivered at times. She's better right now but she has to be hand fed tonight to avoid the a.m. vomit. It's yellow vomit like bile due to empty stomach and or stress..The food from science diet from the vet is a good choice but it's expensive. Look for healthier foods. Google "bad dog food" and stay away from those brands. Buy the best...natural/expensive. NO CORN OR FILLERS or Meat BY PRODUCTS OR ANYTHING THAT SAYS "MEAL" IN INGREDIENTS. We love our dogs and they are worth the research to make them comfortable and happy. We use Merrick dry dog food from Centinela. It's healthy at least if you can't cook for your dog.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.