Good nursing is the most important feature in dealing with sick dogs, as this is essential in obtaining warmth, comfort, cleanliness, pure air, good food and water, the regularity of medicine (when same is necessary), kindness and watchfulness in the progress of symptoms.
Diet for sick dogs
The diet for sick dogs should be light, sustaining, and digestible. Milk, eggs, beef tea, meat extracts, proprietary foods, and so on, all have their use.
As convalescence comes along, finely minced lean meat (not mincemeat) will be acceptable. Boiled fish, if available, or tripe are useful changes, and a little cooked liver, besides being a great luxury, is a natural laxative.
It must be remembered that water is a natural drink for dogs. Milk must always be regarded as a food rather than as a thirst quencher, but it is of great value for invalids.
A healthy adult dog is generally better if fed on what is called a dry diet, such as raw meat, wholemeal crusts baked hard, dog biscuits, cubes, etc. Household scraps, such as pieces of cooked meat mixed with vegetables and gravy make a welcome change once or twice a week.
A day’s fasting once a week is a splendid thing for dogs confined a considerable time in their kennels and runs. Care must be taken that an ample supply of fresh water is available to them.
Never allow your dogs to eat stale food. The remains of each meal should be removed after a reasonable time has been given to your dog to eat his fill.
What to feed a sick dog with no appetite
Often when dogs are sick they go off their food, especially if nausea or vomiting is one of the symptoms of their illness. There are a few foods you can offer that are bland and easy to digest.
1. Chicken and rice
Plain shredded chicken breast and boiled rice is a common meal for dog owners to offer their sick pets. Chicken is naturally easy to digest, but shredding it reduces the amount of energy required to break down the food.
2. Bone broth
Bone broth is another good option for dogs experiencing episodes of vomiting. It is also great for dogs with food allergies. You can either purchase it from a store or cook it yourself. All you need is a deep soup pan and a few beef bones with marrow in the center or a chicken carcass with the joints intact. Simmer in the water on a low heat for 24 hours. The longer they stew, the more nutrients will leach into the water. Strain the water to remove all the bones and let the broth cool before pouring it over your dog’s dinner.
3. Sweet potato or pumpkin
If your dog is suffering from constipation or diarrhea, sweet potato and pumpkin have some excellent health benefits. They are rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, plus fiber and potassium. This helps to regulate a healthy bowel and prevent constipation or diarrhea.
4. Baby food
This may seem like an odd one but many veterinary surgeries have baby food on hand for dogs suffering from intestinal illness. Since baby food is blended and the ingredients are bland, it is easy to digest and doesn’t further irritate the stomach.
5. Wet food
Some dogs prefer canned over dry food because they find the texture more appealing. Wet food is also easier to digest than dry kibble; this makes it easier for sick dogs to digest as well. Some brands of canned food come with added vitamins and minerals that can help boost your dog’s immune system.
If your dog loves fish, try feeding him or her cooked fish such as salmon or tuna. These types of fish contain omega 3 fatty acids which provide a number of health benefits including improving skin conditions such as allergies and dry skin as well as boosting their immune systems so they can fight off infections easier.
How can I stimulate my sick dog’s appetite?
As you probably know, the last thing you want to do when you are sick is to eat, but a sick dog is a weak dog and it can cause more serious symptoms.
- Bland food is best because it does not cause irritation to the stomach and it is easy to digest. To entice your dog to eat the food, you can pour a little bone broth over it as this will have a strong aroma.
- Feed him wet food instead of dry kibble. Wet food is easier to digest than dry, so it may be more appealing to your dog’s taste buds.
- Add some canned pumpkin to his meal. The fiber in pumpkin helps with digestion and may help stimulate your dog’s appetite as well
- Feeding smaller portions is also a good idea as your dog’s stomach may not be able to tolerate a normal-sized meal.
If your dog is still not eating, consult a veterinarian. They may want to put your dog on a drip to replace nutrients that have been lost through not eating. They may also prescribe a veterinary-approved diet or medication to help ease their symptoms.
What can I feed my elderly dog with no appetite?
As dogs get older, their appetite will naturally change. They may stop wanting foods that used to be their favorite and they will also not be able to eat as much. Due to their reduced activity, they do not require as much food as younger dogs.
It is common for older dogs to refuse the odd meal or only eat a certain food, but this should not be a regular occurrence and may indicate an illness.
The biggest cause of loss of appetite in elderly dogs is oral issues such as gum disease or tooth loss. Dry kibble can be difficult for old dogs to chew and swallow, so you might want to try transitioning them onto wet food instead. Wet food also has a stronger aroma and may be more appealing to your dog.
When changing your dog’s diet, this should be done slowly to avoid shocking the digestive tract. Start by adding a small amount of the new food to his current brand. This may naturally encourage him to eat a little as the new food will smell different. If he has no side effects from the new food you can slowly increase the amount you offer while decreasing the amount of his old food. Changing food should take at least a week, but for older dogs, smaller changes over 2 weeks are better.
Try getting excited when you offer him his food. Instead of simply putting his dish down, try interacting with him by saying “what’s this?” Use an encouraging tone like you would during puppy training or when giving him a fuss. He may be tempted to investigate and eat the food if he sees you getting excited about it.
You could also try adjusting your feeding times. Instead of feeding your normal morning and evening meals, try feeding a small portion for breakfast, then offer another small portion at lunchtime. Since he didn’t have as much as normal at breakfast, he may be hungry again. If he eats his small lunchtime portion you can wait until dinner to offer him another small portion.
The last tip is to try to offer a few of his favorite treats with his dinner. You can crumble a few of his favorite dog biscuits on top of his food or mix in a few lumps of cheese and pieces of ham to get his interest. Mixing it in rather than just placing it on top means he will have to eat some of his regular food to get at the tasty treats.
My dog won’t eat or drink and just lays there
If your dog refuses food or water and just lays around all day or seems lethargic, it’s time to see your veterinarian immediately.
The most common medical conditions that cause dogs to stop eating or drinking include:
- Dental disease
- Inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis)
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as an ulcer or obstruction
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
How long can a dog go without eating when sick?
If your dog won’t eat or drink for two days, his health is at risk. His body will begin to break down fat reserves to keep his organs functioning. If he goes longer without food, he’ll start losing weight rapidly. And if he doesn’t replenish those fat stores with food soon, he’ll become too weak to move around and his internal organs will stop working properly — which could lead to death within 24 hours.
You should see a vet as soon as possible to make sure they’re not dehydrated and get them on some treatment for whatever they have contracted.
Conclusion of feeding sick dogs with no appetite
In conclusion, dogs lose their appetite for various reasons. Some of these reasons are serious and require professional assistance. This is why our advice is that you don’t try to treat your dog at home and wait for the veterinarian to tell you what to do next.
This article is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. Only a vet can make an accurate diagnosis and provide treatment. If you have any doubt or you see something wrong with your dog, please contact a licensed veterinarian immediately.