Getting a new rescue dog to eat

(38 Posts)
SteveBrucesNose Sun 21-Jun-15 15:17:26

We rescued a dog last Thursday, not from a shelter, a proper rescue. She's unspayed, full of ticks and very thin.

We took her straight to the vets before taking her home. She had a tick bath and an hour of tick picking by the nurses, weighed in at about 5kg underweight, but otherwise just seemed to need feeding. She's lovely and friendly.

She ate some chicken on Thursday evening, and half a sausage on Friday (to bribe her into eating worming tablets). Now she won't eat anything. She's had food down all day in case she wanted to graze and hasn't touched it.

We've tried chicken, rice, minced beef (cooked and raw), scrambled egg, royal canin recovery formula on a spatula, new potatoes, Gastro dog food, fish 4 dogs food, wet food, and nothing has been eaten. She'll happily eat leaves in the garden though.

I'm wondering if she now doesn't trust us as we hid tablets in her sausage.

We're back at the vet later this evening because of this, but thought I'd ask if any other ideas?

ClaimedByMe Sun 21-Jun-15 15:22:45

Have you tried pedigree chum in gravy, our rescue wouldn't eat any good quality dog food when we first got her but would eat cheap tinned food or custard creams we then weaned her onto a good quality dried food but she still has pedigree chum mixed in!

Stealthpolarbear Sun 21-Jun-15 15:23:37

Thread title quite unnerving!!

HidingFromFred Sun 21-Jun-15 15:25:54

I thought that, stealth.

I second the cheap food.

SunshineAndShadows Sun 21-Jun-15 15:26:11

Lots of dogs won't eat if they're anxious and she's had a lot of new experiences recently. Also depending on her history she could have been punished for taking food/scavenging and this could be adding to her food anxiety. Stick with nutritious and easily digestible food. Don't keep trying lots of different things - at the moment familiarity is important. Try warming food slightly in the microwave so it smells appetising and sit with her, stroke her, talk to her and offer her some food from your hand (assuming she's enjoying your company and not scared of you)

TooOldForGlitter Sun 21-Jun-15 22:48:22

It may be worth getting some liver to try. Morrison's sell pigs liver very reasonably priced. If you flash fry it and chop it up then I bet your dog would find it hard to resist.

14Elephants Sun 21-Jun-15 23:03:56

If she hasn't eaten for a while a portion of chicken and half a sausage would have upset her stomach a bit, maybe that's why she's eating leaves in the garden. Sorry to be indelicate but how is poo?!!

SteveBrucesNose Mon 22-Jun-15 03:32:24

Thanks for the suggestions (and for making me laugh stealth! Perhaps it should have said 'convincing a rescue dog to eat')

Trip to the vets didn't go well, Her temperature was sky high at 40.5. £250 of blood tests later, some of which we're waiting on lab results from today but some came back last night, and it's looking like Ehrlichia, which is a tick borne disease. I'll know more today when the main lab guy is in, but our lovely vet is pretty much convinced. Unfortunately she was reluctant to give any treatment last night without having at least initial bloods to know how her kidneys and liver were functioning (very common in this breed for there to be problems). They're clear so we can start some proper treatment today following the main results.

Her blood glucose is very low too, assumed at this time to be from lack of food.

14 - her poo has been very small quantity rather expected but orange. Has been reasonably formed, no diarrhoea.

She's latched on to DH and he managed to get her to eat the chicken (4 small pieces only) on Thursday. Now she won't take anything. On the vets advice we managed to get a small amount of the recovery into her last night. With DH holding her mouth open and me putting it as far back as possible so she couldn't not eat it. I'll do that again this morning.

Poor little girl. Keep your fingers crossed for her

AcrossthePond55 Mon 22-Jun-15 04:56:22

I don't know if it's available in the UK, but see if you can find Tomlyn Nutri-Cal. It's a high calorie & nutrient gel in a tube and you can either squeeze a some on food bits or even put some on their nose or mouth (they'll usually lick it off). We've used it when our dogs have gone off their feed to add extra calories and nutrition.

Good luck with your new family member!

ClaimedByMe Mon 22-Jun-15 09:58:51

Fingers crossed for her, poor thing must be feeling awful, what is the treatment if she has Ehrlichia?

What kind of dog is she?

Mrsjayy Mon 22-Jun-15 10:00:57

Cant believe a rescue gave you such an ill dog usually they do the worming etc anyway you have her now what i would do is keep little titbits on me chicken or whatever and give her something every now and again something smelly also enticed my dog to eat rescue gave us fancy pants dried dog food i had to give him tinned meat in small portiond little and often i gave him chappie which reeks and within a fortnight he was eating fine he still wont eat when he is anxious or the fancy pants dog food but we have him on chappie dry. Oh and pets at home sell that paste a pp was on about

SteveBrucesNose Mon 22-Jun-15 11:25:24

Thanks all. I'm not in the UK so I'll ask some local FB doggy pages about those products.

Mrsjayy a rescue didn't give me an ill dog. Even so, rescues and shelters here aren't anything like back home with their standards I'm afraid. The dog was dumped at the municipality, and they give 7 days for someone to claim them and then they're put down. DH saw this online, left work mid morning to race across the city and got there with 15 mins to spare. He took her back to work thankfully he has an understanding boss, gave her water and shelter and a fan, and turned up at home with her he's a soft arse We're trying to do our best for the poor little love.

She's a Dalmatian. We already have one, who is strictly kept away at the moment until NewDog is well (upstairs dog and downstairs dog).

The treatment will be steroids and antibiotics. Can take a month to work properly apparently but will find out more tonight

Will keep trying to tempt her to eat with all these suggestions. Anything to get food into her :-(

Mrsjayy Mon 22-Jun-15 11:31:47

Oh fair enough if the country you are in has different rules tbh i always assume uk blush

Dieu Mon 22-Jun-15 11:35:39

Poor thing. Hope she recovers ok, and well done you for giving her a chance.

Mrsjayy Mon 22-Jun-15 11:46:34

You could also try letting her lick natural yoghurt her stomach will be unsettled because she isnt eating poor girl

CQ Mon 22-Jun-15 11:55:41

Keep it very bland initially would be my advice. Her poor digestive system will be seriously upset.

My vet in the USA told me canned pumpkin is very good for rebalancing stomach bacteria, and simple brown rice with a little chicken is the most gentle on the digestion.

Maybe consider these once she's accepting food - can't imagine canned pumpkin is particularly tempting smile.

What a lovely softie your DH is.

Also, my dogs go berserk for peanut butter - I can hide all manner of medication in it when they need it.

GnocchiGnocchiWhosThere Mon 22-Jun-15 12:02:31

Oh OP do keep us posted, this thread has got my hormonal state all worked up! grin

The idea of her being afraid to eat because she'd previously been punished for scavenging is just sad

GnocchiGnocchiWhosThere Mon 22-Jun-15 12:08:05

Oh, and my advice was going to be to try a meat paste / pate type thing. They are ridiculously pungent smelling for what they are, and she can eat them out of your hand which might make her feel better.

LetThereBeCupcakes Mon 22-Jun-15 12:10:59

Our rescue was afraid to eat when we got her - for the reasons sunshines suggested. At first, we would put her and her food bowl in a room and leave her for about 15 minutes. We would have to be silent. If she heard anything, she'd stop eating and that would be it. If a door slammed, she stopped. If we opened the door, that was it... Tough times but she got through it.

Now she knocks the food bowl out of my hand in excitement. hmm

Good luck OP. Hope your DDog improves. Lots and lots of patience is the way to go!

Mrsjayy Mon 22-Jun-15 12:46:28

Jaydog is the slowest eater he takes forever and he is always looking round him and ifa sudden noise happens he stops eating poor bugger god knows what happened to him before we got him, atm he wont eat his breakfast at his usual time because we had birds chirping out the back hmm

AcrossthePond55 Mon 22-Jun-15 14:29:18

I second the rice and chicken (boiled) and trying putting food down in a silent place. Ddog may have been mistreated for 'stealing' food or has had it taken away from her whilst eating by other dogs.

BlueKarou Mon 22-Jun-15 15:07:46

Definitely chicken and rice if she'll eat it. Something slightly warm will smell nicer and more appealing.

It might be worth looking online for some Royal Canin Convalescence Support. I get mine from Amazon for an ailing ferret, but it's designed for dogs and cats. It's not a replacement for food, but is a good high-calorie supplement to help get dogs back on their feet. Amazon link

Also, the classic suggestion is the wet food Chappie, again - if you can get it in your part of the world. Apparently it's good for tummy upsets.

SunshineAndShadows Mon 22-Jun-15 19:39:14

His OP if Erlichia is suspected then it's better to start doxycycline asap - it can be a fatal infection, and doxycycline doesn't pose any significant risks to organs (the Erlichia is the major threat). Steroids shouldn't be needed unless she's already developed serious immune-mediated side effects. Also please check your pup for ticks and remove any to reduce the infection (they carry Erlichia) www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=2103

SteveBrucesNose Tue 23-Jun-15 10:09:23

Thanks all, and sorry for the hormones grin

No probs mrsjayy, unfortunately we're in a place where animals aren't treated well at all and softies like DH want to save every single one of them. Would be so much simpler in the UK!

Well last night the vet called me back - the erlichia test was inconclusive. He asked me to bring her down to the surgery straight away and kept her in over night. She's on a drip to ensure she gets nutrition, and he's running a couple of more tests, including putting another erlichia test through the machine - he's suspecting it could have been a misreading rather than it not being there.

Sunshine - doxycycline was one of the drugs mentioned last night as going into her drop so thanks, I know nothing about these things so good to know it's the right thing and won't harm her. I managed to find one more tick last night despite her tick bath and tick collar and the vets picking on 2 separate visits, so some have survived.

Hopefully they'll call soon with an update on how she's been overnight - they're not open til 1pm as its Ramadan so not been able to speak to anyone yet.

Mrsjayy Tue 23-Jun-15 10:22:42

Your poor dog sad

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