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.


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.

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