I came acoss this site in my desperate search for an answer to my problems with my dog, and it seems like there are a lot of wonderful dog lovers out there with some great advice! So dog lovers, I am turning to you! :-) My lab mix is somewhere between 8 & 10 years old. (I am not sure, as I adopted him from the humane society.) I have had him for about 6 1/2 years. There are a couple of things going on with him, and I am about to pull my hair out! First, he started whining. Not al lthe time, but a LOT of the time. I am having a hard time remembering exactly when it started, but I would say close to a yaer ago. We moved to a new house abouit 7 months ago, but I am pretty sure it sarted before that. I cannot tie it to the normal life events (timing-wise) - moving, my daughter moving out, taking in a stray dog for a couple of years and then sending him to a new home, etc). The times of thee events do not match up with the whining. He seems to stop if I pet him, but I obviously cannot do that all the time. Right now as I sit at the computer, he is sitting besude me whining! I have had him checked thouroughly by my vet, and there seem to be no health issues. He also follows me and sticks to me like velcro! We have tried dog prozac, hormones, natural calming remedies made from flowers, - you name it. I can take him for a walk, and 5 minutes after we get home, he will start in. I don't know what to do. I even (don't laugh) consulted a 'Pet Communicator' and she claims he tells her he is just feeling 'blah' and has lost his spark! Okay . . . . help! Second problem - a few months ago, he quit eating dry dog food. I know - it is a behavior thing, and if I give in, he will never eat the dry. However, if I wait him out, he will eat some of it after a couple of days - just enough to tie him over for a couple more days, and this goes on and on. He is only 54 pounds, so he really can't afford to only eat every few days! I tried mixing half dry/half canned and sometimes he will eat it. Other times he will leave it sit and I eventually have to throw it away. And still other times, he will eat all around the dry food, no matter how well I mix it, and leave it in the bottom of the bowl The canned food (Merrick) I have been using is almost $2 a can (I mix it with Iams dry), and I cannot affod it, let alone to throw it out! IF it were up to me, I would feed him whatever he likes! But strictly canned, as I have been doing lately, presents 2 problems: 1) it is very expensive and 2) it does not keep him full - I am guessing because of the water content), and he sits at his bowl and whines MORE and wants to eat most of the time! If anyone has any suggestioons, I would really appreciate it. All of these 'experiments' are causing a lot of wasted food and money down the drain! I just want him to be happy - and to eat and quit whining!
Sorry this is so long, and please excuse all of my typos! Thanks so much!
Tammy, Wow, sounds complicated! My first question is, did you have any bloodwork done when you took him to the vet. Since he is probably around 8-10 years old that would make him "geriatric". Usually at my clinic (i'm a technician) we recommend running bloodwork about once a year when they get to be that age. Even if they don't find anything, it will give the vet a baseline to go by as he gets older. I'm wondering if the whining and picky eating is due to something going on internally...something the vet would not have noticed on an outter exam. If you haven't had bloodwork done you might consider this, and make sure they include a thyroid check and a urinalysis. Is he drinking more water than normal? Has he lost weight, or is 54 pounds his normal weight? Its hard for me to tell you if there is something wrong without being there, but bloodwork would rule out some major concerns like thyroid disease and diabetes, early kidney disease, etc.
Have you tried a different brand of dry food. Normally we don't recommend changing a dog's diet, but if they aren't eating the food they are on then you might try something different to see if he does better on it. Just mix it a little at first to get him used to it.
Anyway, it sounds like he's uncomfortable in some way. Does he ever seem stiff? Like could he be developing arthritis? Again, sometimes its hard to tell on an outter exam if there's something wrong. Even if the vet palpated his joints, if he was nervous at all sometimes they will stiffen up and hide their pain. The best way to check their joints is under sedation. That way they can really get a good feel of them. Usually we would sedate, palpate and take xrays.
Anyway, I hope that you can find an answer to your problem and I hope I've helped. Let us know how he's doing!
Actually, yes - I have had bloodwork and urinalysis done and nothng at all showed up. He is not drinkin any more water than usual, and does not appear to be stiff at all. I am just at a loss, and don't know what else to try to address the whining. The vet wants to try Ametryptolene (sp?) next. 54 pounds is pretty normal for him, but I just don't want him to get any thinner. As far as the food, as I said, he loves the canned Merrick, but it does not keep him full and it is expensive. Would you have any other suggestions for food that is of good quality but not as expensive?
I actually own two lab mixes that have gone through everything your's is going through! I kind of laughed when I read your original entry, because that is my two to a tee.
For the whining, I had to break down and get another dog for my first one to play with when I can't pet him. Also, I am sure your's is very stressed out by the move. I know you mentioned that the whining started prior to moving, but were things already packed in boxes when he started whing? That is when my started to whine! I would give him just as much time as he needs to get used to things. Also, if possible, I know from experience that having a younger dog in the family lengethens the life of the older dog, so possibly look into another dog.
For the food, I have always mixed one to two tablespoons of lowfat vanilla yogurt with my dog's food. The bacteria cultures are just as good for them as it is for humans, and you can experiment with flavors- just stay away from anything grape, and stick to lowfat or fat free. When in a pinch though, I simply put warm water over their food and let it sit about a minute before I give it to them. The water warms up the dry food and releases the aroma of the food.
Just some tips and tricks that have worked for me! Good luck!!
I have heard of using Ametryptolene (i can't remember how to spell it either) in cats but never in dogs. We had a clinic cat who took it to control her wild behavior. (such as peeing on the vet's desk, lol) Anyway, if the vet recommends it for her it's worth a shot because it did a lot of good for our clinic cat. As far as keeping you dog satisfied with food....hummm.....that's a tough one. We always just recommend a senior diet. Iams, and Eukanuba both put out foods that are formulated for different age groups. Science Diet does as well, but a lot of people don't like it because it's mostly fillers. Our vets recommend all 3 of those brands. I'm not that familiar with some of the premium brands, though I have heard that Solid Gold is a great brand, but it is more expensive. Someone suggested putting warm water on it to make her eat it which I think is an excellent idea.
Also, I just thought of this, one time we had a client who couldn't get their dog to eat a particular food. I called Hills (the people who make science diet) and they gave me a homemade forumla equal to the diet their dog was on. You might call your vet and see if they can do that for you. Hills just faxed the recipe to me. It might be more palatable, and that way you know he'd be getting a balanced diet.
Have you tried having his teeth cleaned and examined? oftentimes if they suddenly stop eating crunchy food it is because it has become impossible for them to chew it. He could have an abcessed tooth (or several).
I agree Hopesheltie! :) That was my first thought too! Please have his teeth & gums looked at very carefully & thoroughly by your vet! he could have a cracked tooth, cavity, abcess, or broken tooth, gum disease etc. That without a doubt will bring an abrupt halt to eating.
Just because the vet recommended a food, does nto mean that it is a good food. Science diet, Eukanuba and Iams are all mediocre foods.
If your dog is found to have a clean bill of dental health, a slow change to Solidgold, Nutro, Wellness, Flint River, Canidae, Natural Balance, Chicken Soup for A Pup Lover's Soul and there are probably a few other good foods people could reccomend.
Most of the better quality foods require you to feed less, so they are not as expensive as people think. 4 cups of iams was the requirement for my dog, versus 2 cups of nutro. Most of the better quality foods have lower daily intake since they aren't full of filler.
Thanks for all of your suggestions! We just came from the vet, and he is healthy and she said his teeth and gums look good. He chews on rawhide bones sometimes with no porblem, so I didn't think they wouldprobably find anythign there. I will definitely look into some of the foods suggested. The trainer told me that Iams was bought out by Purina, and they now use a lot more filler in it. Does anyoen know if this is true? IF they changed the recipe, maybe that is why he doesn't likeit - although I have tried samples of other dry foods and he doesn't seem to like those either.
Someone asked if the whining started when I was packing, and I have had that thought myself . . . could be - dfinitely in the same timeframe. I just don't know about a second dog - I have thought about that too, but if tha is not the answer, I do not want to traumatize home more. And I don't feel like I have enough time to spend with Jordan, so I feel bad about bringing hime yet another dog. I belong to Curves and go to Weight wathcers and work full-time and have a jewelry business on the side, so I think something is goingto have to go in order for me to spend more quality time withhim. If only I would win the lottery and I would not have to work! :-)
I too am having a BIG problem getting my 10 year old dog to eat. He's a Great Pyrenees He doesn't eat a cup of anything. Hes down to 68 lbs. I've had blood work done, along with a chest x-ray. Nothing is physically wrong. I'm even considering putting him down, because I don't want to see him waste away to nothing. I have tried every conceivable form of food.... even McDonalds quarter pounder. He won't eat it.
Sorry, I'm no help on the Lab/Lab mix problems, both of ours were true "chow hounds"!
I have found that Pyrs are either picky or not. If they are, they will starve themselves rather than eat something they do not like. With Angel (the world's PICKIEST eater) I used a combination of yogurt, eggs, chicken liver, calves liver, Natural Balance rolls (which she adored) and the "Satin Balls". What a mess! I was cooking for her at 4 a.m. every morning!
I finally got her to eat her dry food by mixing the "special foods" (satin balls and natural balance rolls) in with the dry. Less and less of the "special" stuff every few days. It took a few weeks, but eventually she would eat her dry (Natural Balance as well) without any problems and would get the special foods given by hand as treats.
Since I nearly lost her once after the pups (she refused to wean them, then had serious problems with her spaying when the pups were about 12 weeks old) she was nothing but skin and bones.
I cried when I picked her up from the vet's after 3 days. We went straight to Wendy's for her favorite, Home Style chicken strips, then while she munched them...off to the pet store where I bought all (6) of the large rolls of Natural Balance for her (all the pet store had in stock).
After getting her home and settled, I mixed a batch of the satin balls and within about 5 weeks had her back up to a healthy 90 pounds. Just took a bit of effort to find what she would eat that was healthy for her as well.
Wow whineing, my favorite, nothing makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand like whineing.To me it sounds like a baby thaTs crying because its hungry. I would guess somewhere in your past, youve petted him for whineing. I think its just a learned behavior.Labs are definetly attention seekers. Never touch him, make eye contact or talk to him when he whines. Think ahead and have chew toys ready before it starts. Provide him with chew toys and things that occupy his time, especially when you are with him. Provide kongs or real hollow bones filled with good things like yogurt, peanut butter or cheeze whiz, freeze it inside the kong or bone and offer it when you are going to spend time near him.This will occupy him for long periods of time. Verbally talk to him when hes being good (and not whineing) When hes sitting chewing or licking say "good boy". Once in a while leave the room for only seconds, over a few months of time, we want to increase the amount of time you spend out of the room. While your out he will hopefully keep licking and chewing. Chewing and licking is very rewarding and burns off some steam.Also when you are absent, hes being rewarded when your not there. Hopefully he'll make an association to your absence and the yummy bone.(building some independance) Increase his exercise, get some more steam burned off. A tired dog is a happy dog, and a dog thats not getting into trouble.(And hopefully sleeping)
The food thing is really up to you, either feed wet or dry. Put down a hand full of dry, call him, if he sniffs it and walks away, pick it up and put it away, try again and again till he decides to eat. If he knows there may be something better, hes going to wait you out. You need to be just as stubborn as he is.