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Dog Not Eating and has Little Energy
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Dog Not Eating and has Little Energy

Hello,

My parents' 4 yr-old sheltie has been staying at my house during their vacation. Since he has come, his eating habits have been far from regular. Over the past week or so, he has only eaten roughly one cup of his food (Orijen Adult Dog Food). He is a pretty nervous dog and has a reputation for not eating properly when he is not at his home. However, this usually does not last longer than 3 days. Moreover, he has stayed with me before and ate consistently after 3 days. He has never been very food motivated, although this behaviour is still unusual.

He seems to be a little lethargic, although he spares no energy running around when he`s nervous. He does not have difficulty moving, but lies around and sleeps quite frequently. Being a university student in exam time, my sleeping habits are not normal either, which may contribute to his tiredness.

Thankfully, he does still react well to treats and eats them without any issue. He has also been drinking plenty of water.

I am concerned mainly because he has not been eating. He will be going back home in a week's time. Should I take him to the vet or try to cook for him? I'm afraid that he may enjoy the cooking too much and not eat his Orijen food even when he gets back home. Or should I continue to harass him to eat food (with some success) until next week to see what happens?

Sorry about the long question, and I am very thankful for any input you guys can offer.

Mitchell
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675347_tn?1365464245
I knew a dog who wasn't very food-oriented either. He was a friend's dog, seemed quite well and active, though didn't really like his dry kibble (which his owners had especially bought as being a good, healthy, quite expensive, well-balanced dog food) It was a good quality food. I think he was just terribly bored of it -keep on crunching on the same things all the time....
I was looking after this dog, and didn't want him to go back to his owners without having had a thing to eat. I had an idea, and added only a very small amount of chicken stock (that was, simply water in which chicken, green beans and carrots had been cooking -no seasonings)
I added about 3 tablespoons of this liquid to his food, stirred it about, and hey presto! he wolfed ALL of his dinner down, no problem.
However it's true that if I had done the same thing every day he might not have gone back to eating the dry food without the chicken stock...I don't know, as he didn't stay with me the next day.
You could always try this? And explain to his owners what you had to do? They might not agree, but on the other hand they might start doing the same? Who knows! And at least you would be getting some food down him! And it wouldn't be radically altering his diet.
(If you do this, you could always take the chicken out when it has cooked, then season it and put it into a stir-fry with veggies for yourself? So nothing's wasted)
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675347_tn?1365464245
Sorry, I got so caught up in the chicken-stew recipe, that I forgot the other worry you have about him.
If he's normally an active dog, and suddenly has become lethargic, and just laying around, then it's possible he's not well. True -your unusual sleep patterns may mean he has disturbed sleep, and that might have something to do with it. Dogs need their shut-eye just like we do! And they need a little more sleep than we do. Usually 9-10 hours to our 7 or 8.
But lethargy can mean a dog is unwell in some way. Coupled with loss of appetite....I mean half a cupful of food in 3 days is no way enough, and even though he doesn't really like his food much,  that is WAY too little to be eating. That too, could mean he feels unwell. After 3 or more days, it's unlikely to be an attitude issue alone.

Can you take his temperature? That can only be done with either a digital thermometer with a long "mouth-part"...or a standard mercury thermometer. (You may not feel like using the thermometer afterwards, so would probably have to sacrifice it!) Moisten the end, up to about 2" with vaseline, and insert into his rectum about 1-2" Keep it there about a minute. He must keep very still while you do this. If there's someone who will hold him, so much the better. His temperature should read anywhere between 101 degrees and 102.5. Anything above, and he has a fever.

Has he pooped properly? Has he been for good walks (at least 3/4 hour at a time)? Is he peeing OK?

If he has any other symptoms, such as diarhea (diarrhea) or vomiting, or if his lethargy gets worse, or of course, if he has a fever....he will need to see the vet.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Mitchell!

   I am sorry that you're having trouble with your parents dog. I know how MY dogs are when we leave them to go somewhere. They can be pretty fussy about eating when they are pouting! :-)  The good thing is that the dog IS still drinking water and will eat treats if encouraged. Unlike us, a hungry dog will eat. Sometimes they will go a few days, and you have obviously seen that particular behavior. Although we cook chicken, ground turkey and veggies with other supplements for our pugs every day ... doing something like that for your parents dog would probably encourage him to be even more picky. Your parents would probably not appreciate that! :-)  I would keep trying to get him to eat his own food. When he gets hungry enough he should eat. If he hasn't eaten after 72 hours or so, I would call the vet and see what they think you should do!  I wish you all the best!
Take care ...
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Ginger,

Thank you for your very thorough advice!

He did eat about half a cup today, but it's still not as much as usual. He is not an active dog by any means. The outdoors (and everything not the house) scares him and makes him panic. We do not try to walk him anymore because any time we do, he gets very nervous and starts charging back into the house. He still acts that way when I take him out to the yard to pee, which is a good sign. He usually just lies around the house anyway, walking around when he feels like it. I suppose he does that here, too, but I just feel he's sleeping more (as opposed to just laying there).

He is fine when he does his business as well. He pees normally, and he does not poop unless he eats, but his poop is normal when he does.

I know he will hate the thermometer experience, so I will try adding chicken stock to the food first. He ate some food today, so I will wait a day or two until I try the chicken stock idea. Hopefully taking his temperature and taking him to the vet won't be necessary!

Thank you again for all your help and concern!

Mitchell
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello 4slenderthread,

Hopefully shoving food in front of him every few hours will get through his stubborn-ness :)

Thank you for your advice! I will call the vet after a few days if his lack of eating does not let up.

Mitchell
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Avatar_f_tn
We had a sheltie that would not go for walks, also.  She would want to head back home as soon as you left, and sit down until you turned around to go home. My husband would take me and the dog in the car and drop us off two or three miles down the road, and she  was fine, because she knew she was walking home.  Maybe your dog will have more of an appetite if he can get some exercise in, can't hurt to try.  Good Luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 4/5 month old pit bull and I'm worry sick about her she not eating and not playing usually she would jump all over my lil girl and husband but all she is doin is laying around she was a little wobble when she walk and she falls over but I'm worry with npt eating .she jus walk from kitchen to living room an diddmt wobble.. any suggestions
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