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Dragoness
02-08-10, 10:06 AM
My old shepherd has gone off her food and Im after ideas on different things to try and encourage her to eat. Previously all she would eat was canned food mixed with dry food, now she won't even look at it (there are other issues, back/hip problems that are common in sheps that are also being taken care of). Happy to try anything that doesnt involve bones of any kind (she buries them around the property, then digs them up weeks later when they are rancid and disgusting, then spends the next 3 days throwing up)
All she will currently eat is mince (or anything off our dinner plates), but I don't know that that is enough to give her everything she needs?

All ideas appreciated

Cheers

vixen
02-08-10, 10:26 AM
Cheese,sardines in oil,puppy food,leftovers[no onions or garlic],gravy,yoghurt[flavoured],toast,plain cake have at times all worked well for us.You can get through your vet some VERY high calorie tinned food that you add in very small amounts.It really doesn't matter what she eats as long as there are no other problems i.e.kidneys,talk to your vet,first.

reveleus
02-08-10, 11:14 AM
I feed my mastiffs chicken necks. I get them from the butcher. They love them and they are good for their teeth and gums. She won't bury them unless you are feeding her too many of them.

Personally I hate canned dog food. It's like feeding your kids Macca's everyday. Don't beleive all the hype about them being balanced meals. They are all the crap offcuts of meat and fat. Usually full of preservatives too.

tickle2
02-08-10, 11:30 AM
G'day Dragoness

How active is your dog? If due to her hip problems she is not very active then maybe she doesn't need anymore food than what she is currently getting.

Dogs can be funny like that.... certainly our working dogs (kelpies), won't eat anymore than what they need. (except when it comes to us butchering the killers....then they make pigs of themselves!!)

Good luck with your dog

Cheers
tickle

Blue Sapphire
02-08-10, 11:32 AM
My doggie LOVES cat food;)

Dragoness
02-08-10, 11:46 AM
Vixen, she is under vet supervision (spent a day there last week and spending another day there this week to do further tests) When we got her from Shep rescue, they said to feed her sardines, had never fed a dog sardines before, but they said the fish oil is great for joints. Anyway, she loved them, but now even turns her nose up at that!

BS, now I have always used cat food to get a dog to eat when it wouldnt eat otherwise, have no idea why I didnt think of it this time (my brain has left the building since my uni exmas last week).

Rev, she buries EVERYTHING, you can give her a tiny treat and its buried, if she is inside its buried in any potplant she can find.... She is a weird dog (rescue dog and came with some strange habits, lol), but Im willing to give anything a shot!

Tickle, up until last week, she was generally active for an older dog, we were walking about 45 minutes a day and a fair pace (her jog, me powerwalking) then it was like a switch had been flicked and one day she couldnt even make it 1km, let alone the 5 or so we normally do. However, you could be right, in that she is not walking as far and doesnt actually need the food.

Im just a bit paranoid, as the first thing with my last old dog to go was her appetite, then within a few weeks she had passed away, Im not sure Im ready to lose this one just yet!!! (don't know that you're ever really ready are you....)

Thanks for the ideas, knew you guys would help!

Cheers

mackiemad
02-08-10, 11:55 AM
firstly i would try some sardines in spring water with some kibble-good oils in it, so if there is anything a bit stuck or whatnot in her guts it might help loosen it and flush out all the old stuff. plus all dogs seem to love the horrid smell of fish so it can hopefully get that nose and stomach on the same page.

also, what kind of kibble are you feeding? if it is a cheap one it is probably full of corn and preservatives as well as vegetable proteins which dogs don't digest as well a meat. i would put her on a good premium food (such as eukanuba, eagle pack, nutrience, nutro, artemis ect) but change her slowly or only feed her a little at first. the rich protein could cause scours in the first few days if you don't change gently.

or go to your butcher and ask for some minced up chicken meat and frames-so it will have tiny tiny fragments of pulverised bone as well as meat and fat-great source of calcium and protein and dogs think it smells fab. or some cubed stewing meat of some kind, i try to avoid red meat as it can commonly cause allergies, though lamb is much better than beef, although fattier... it will smell great to her and also be good for her teeth-feed meat raw. (freeze it if necessary and defrost the day before you are going to feed it if you bulk buy)

alternatively you could try cooked and mashed jap pumpkin, gravy, some goats milk or soem probiotic yoghurt (i feed plain/natural rather than flavoured-goats milk is at the supermarket btw in the natural food or specialty items section) with her kibble and see if that tempts her. she just might not like the smell or taste of her old kibble? if you can't get her to eat anything in the next 24 hours i would take her to the vet though, she could have a blockage that might need to be removed.

also, tickle is right, your dog may need more exercise to stimulate appetite-perhaps try swimming her if she has hip problems?

hope that gave you some ideas and help... good luck!

storm horse
02-08-10, 11:57 AM
i'd have a chat to your vet.

my old dog started occasionally vomiting his meals & was beginning to lose weight. i took him to the vet & he said that as they get older they can't tolerate as much protein in their diet? anyway, he had the beginnings of athritis, so i was lucky enough to be in the trial of a herbal product. it also had the benefits of settling tummies (a bit like ginger does). i reduced the amount i fed him & divided it into 2 feeds a day, introduced dry food, which he hadn't had before & i played around with his diet until i found a tinned food that he tolerated better. he was still sick every now & again, but he stopped losing weight & improved out of sight.

Dragoness
02-08-10, 12:38 PM
Mackie, she has eaten occasionally and pooped a few times (that I have seen, of course I dont see it all as Im away from home for 9+ hours a day) and the vet is confident that there isnt a blockage (that was the first thing I asked her about when the vet had her last week). She hasnt really improved much, but she hasnt gone downhill, which is what I would expect to see if there was something stuck in there. She ate her mince this morning, but only if I hand fed her, not out of her dish! (spoilt? yes...)
might try the goats milk, gravy and pumpkin thing as well!
Luckily Im great friends with my butcher and its shopping night tonight, so will buy a heap of things and see how I go!

Thanks all :)

Cheers

shadowmystique
02-08-10, 03:08 PM
You can get a Valuepet Vitamin and Mineral Paste that helps stimulate appetite and covers their basic mineral/vitamin/energy requirements.

Its is a brownish colour and sticky, the animals quite like it but even if she won't eat it voluntarily you can syringe it into her.

I have brought a kitten back from the brink of death using this paste. She was so far gone she wouldn't eat at all... this got her to the point she was eating 4 solid meals a day and if I hadn't gone down that path I would have lost her. She weighed 200g at 10weeks old when I started on this stuff!

Dragoness
02-08-10, 03:32 PM
Oh, thankyou SM!!! After her vet appointment this week if the tests don't find anything (of course my mind jumps straight to sinister things like cancer etc) I will look for this stuff. Is it a vet only, or available all around?

Cheers

mackiemad
02-08-10, 03:38 PM
hey dragoness-good to hear it isn't a blockage!

as for the gravy and pumpkin-try them together. but i'd feed the goats milk and/or yoghurt just with kibble and not other stuff-it might feel funny in her tummy is all. my dog loooves goats milk and his youghurt! also i say jap pumpkin because the sugar content isn't as high as something like butternut squash. you can try carrot as well but it is higher in vege proteins which i think you might want to lower.

did your vet mention a vitamin b booster? if her immune system is down it mgiht give her a bump up, but most vets believe this isn't proven (well it isn't, but neither is feeding glucosamine and chondroitin either and we still do that?). if your vet doesn't want to give a booster then try the stuff shadowmystique mentioned cos it is wonderful stuff-in fact maybe give it a go anyway as it is cheaper than going to the vet!

and nothing wrong with spoiling your old maid! maybe warm up the food (but not the raw meat, just other stuff and kibble) before you give it to her so it smells better and it is a nicer sensation to eat. i do think that some meat chunks would help and it is very instinctively satisfying for them to munch down on springy, uncooked meat.

i would still reccomend a very good quality kibble as that will ensure she is getting everything she needs whist any other foods will encourage her to eat. also don't feed rice, or if you do feed long grain brown rice, but i prefer something like oats or barley as they don't have the same energy content and take longer to break down-basically they won't put weight on her, but will fill her up-also they are a brilliant thing to warm up and mix through the food so that it is warm and appetising!

maybe soak her kibble in some stock you've reduced down to intensify the flavour of-so the kibble smells and tastes of stock? if she doesn't seem to pick up by the weekend, take a stool sample and make your vet do some tests and bloods as it probably won't be the food but a heath issue...

good luck!

shadowmystique
02-08-10, 03:54 PM
You can get it a a good petstore that stocks a range of health products or some vets carry it too... online stores will have it for sure.

I would start her off by syringing and then move on to seeing if she will eat it voluntarily