Having a dog that won’t eat, for me, is like having a child with anorexia .
It started with my beloved stoic strong Madeline many years ago where she went 13 days without eating. Those 13 days were pure hell. I tried everything with her – McDonald’s, barbecue, home cooked meats and she barely ate anything for 13 days.
I remember sobbing and holding her. We did a battery of tests and finally an endoscopy revealed fairly significant inflammatory bowel disease. We were already fighting her mast cell cancer so this was a diagnosis which freaked me out- now 2 serious diseases to contend with.
Once we got her on the right restricted diet and added it in a high dose of prednisone to reduce the inflammation in her bowels – she started to eat. For the next several years – she would have flareups and I would end up hand feeding her often, sobbing on the kitchen floor.
Then came my little angel Abbey’s diagnosis of kidney disease. For years she was not really that affected but the last three years or more – we saw specialists. and Things began to look eerily similar to my Madeline’s plight. Kidney disease affects the appetite and the dog must be on a low protein low phosphorus diet. Once again our meal times were the center of my days – often wrought with anxiety.
A good day was determined by how much she ate.
The last year got really bad . I can’t bear to relive it in this blog in full but I will say we fought so hard. We fought with all of our might. My little ray of light.
Recently Patrick started showing signs of inappetence and I immediately had an increase in anxiety. Here we go again I thought. Why won’t my child eat?! Once again I was hand feeding him on the kitchen floor – cooking all kinds of organic meats but he still turned away.
More tests and finally an ultrasound showed low level inflammatory bowel disease. The same disease as my Madeline. It was not significant yet but because he is a very sensitive boy – any nausea or discomfort made him not want to eat.
We put him on budesonide – a steroid for the gut and on a very strict rabbit meat only diet and within two days he was eating. I was overjoyed. We now have days where I still have to hand feed him. I don’t hesitate. As soon as I see him unsure about eating – I just sit down lovingly with him and hand feed him canned rabbit and Kibble.
And karma would have it – Bernadette Rose has shown inappetence. I think she might be following Patrick’s anxiety around food. She really looks up to him. I’m doing everything as consciously as possible to not project my own anxiety. That is no easy task. I sometimes hand feed her as well. I remain extremely calm and gently encouraging. Maybe she will need testing one day too.
Yes I strive always to be a strong assertive leader and hand feeding my dogs is not in contradiction to this position. I will do anything for my dogs well-being. I will go to the ends of the earth for them, always. I love them with every ounce of my being. They are my children after all❤