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New rescue dog won't eat

zoe's mom
April 8th, 2006, 10:06 AM
I recently (about 3 days ago) rescued a small jack russell/rat terrier mix from a humane society. she is very sweet, but has very low self esteem and separation anxiety. I'm currently crate training her to keep her from having so many "accidents" (she's mostly house trained, but dribbles when she's excited or nervous), but my most pressing concern is that she absolutely will not eat. at the humane society, they said they gave her "whatever was around", and were currently on puppy chow. as i wanted to give her something healthier than puppy chow, i got her some Nutra. However, she refuses to eat it. she'll sometimes eat if i put a little peanut butter in her dish with it, but i'd like to reserve peanut butter as a treat. this weekend, we came to stay at my parents' house, and she hasn't eaten anything (including her treats, which she loves). i put peanut butter in her dish and even broke down and bought some puppy chow to induce her to eat something, but she turns up her nose at everything, including treats, pig ears, water, and her food. is this normal, or should I see a vet?

April 8th, 2006, 10:13 AM
Anytime you rescue a dog from a shelter, they need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible. She could have any number of issues going on causing her to not want to eat, including health related which only a vet can diagnose. Good luck and keep us posted :)

Lucky Rescue
April 8th, 2006, 10:18 AM
Dogs who are stressed out often won't eat for awhile, but usually by the 3rd day will take what is offered.

New dogs should not be taken anywhere at all (except for walks) after going to a new house. A new dog should in fact be confined to one small area of the house, and given more freedom as they become comfortable and anxiety drops. The single most important thing for a newly adopted dog is routine and consistancy. This give confidence.

You put a whole new level of stress on her by taking her to your parents' house so soon.

The problem with very small dogs not eating is that they can quickly become hypoglycemic.

Instead of peanut butter, I suggest you get some really yummy canned dog food, like Merrick's, and try that right away.

When you return home with her, do not take her visiting at all until she is happy and eating properly.

If she still refuses food or water, you must take her to the vet.

zoe's mom
April 8th, 2006, 10:32 AM
how will i be able to tell when her anxiety drops? although i know you're right about her anxiety, she doesn't act nervous at all. some little dogs shake, but she prances around like she owns the place. she does follow me around all the time, but she only cries a little when i leave her in the crate, but then lays down with her tail between her legs and her head down. she's so sad i can hardly stand it. i know it will take time to build her confidence back up, because she's been in probably 5 different homes in her few short years, but how can i go about doing it? i want to leave my parents' house as soon as possible, but my mom was just diagnosed with strep throat and my dad can't be here, so we're stuck for awhile. we'll have to ride out the rest of the day before we get back home and start getting zoe back into the routine that she was in for just 3 short days. how do i go about building her confidence?

Lucky Rescue
April 8th, 2006, 11:07 AM
Dogs show stress differently than we do, but she is not eating, has separation anxiety and is urinating fearfully, so those are pretty good indicators.

5 wonder she's upset! And now she has no way of knowing if she'll be left at your mom's place.

You'll have to wait til you get her home and start over. Food, walks, playtime - do all these at the same time every day. Up until now, she has never known what is going to happen next, so she needs to learn she can count on everything being the same every day. This is what will give her confidence.

Before anything, you must get her to eat, so try the Merrick canned. And get her to the vet as soon as you get home to make sure she's healthy.

April 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
I can only agree with all above. We got the standard lecture when we homed Buddy, and were told not to take him long walks (as he doesn't know if he's coming back with us),
avoid introducing him to new people until he knows us, and if he doesn't eat at first, this is normal.
Needless to say, he ate from day one, and is now very much part of the family after five weeks. However, he still doesn't like strangers.
It'll work out, and good luck to you.:thumbs up


April 8th, 2006, 03:08 PM
you should try merricks canned........start with grammys pot pie it has alot of liquid so should be quite easy for the little guy to eat.

zoe's mom
April 9th, 2006, 07:47 AM
well, i took all of your advice and zoe and i came home last night. there was an immediate pickup, she ate a little bit, had a treat while we practiced how to sit, and slept like a rock. this morning we went for our early morning walk, which she finished off by eating a full breakfast! she's back on track.

i, unfortunately, did not get any lecture at all from the humane society when i brought her home and, as this is my first dog, had no idea how traumatic it was for her. from now on, we'll take it slow.

thanks so much for all your advice, i'll be back when the next crisis occurs!

Lump of Kohl
April 9th, 2006, 08:59 AM
Zoe I too am first time pet owner and had the same problem with my rescue Chihuahua. All the advice they gave you was given to me and it helped. Also there is always the thought that dogs eat any and everything all the time THEY DON'T!! As my Chi taught me, some dogs are just very picky eaters. If your new girl is small she just may not eat much. I come from a family of excellent cooks and feeders so all I know is eat, eat, eat so I was trying to feed my 6.5lb baby (his name is Kohl) probably about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of food a day when he should only be eating 1/2 to 3/4 cup a day. I did well with the Solid Gold Wee Bits as the kibble is really teeny tiny, even smaller than the Nutro I had originally had him on and mixing a little of their Green tripe(It smells horrible:yuck: but he loves it!) into it. I have also been advised not to leave the food there all the time. I was advised to put the food down (and make sure they see you doing it) for 15minutes then pick it up. It lets them know that they need to eat now or never(actually to next feeding time but have you ever been really hungry? it feels like never). I hate doing it but it has helped. My vet just kept telling me that a dog is not going to starve itself.