Of course I'm talking about our dog. As anyone who's been following along knows for the past several weeks we've been dealing with our sick pooch, culminating in our taking her to the NC State Veterinary Teaching Hospital last week. The best guess is it's something related to her kidneys, probably either an infection or hormone-related, and for nearly a month now she hasn't wanted to eat. I made her chicken and rice and did everything I could to get some nutrition in her but she still lost 7 pounds over a month. She'd been carrying a few extra pounds (she wasn't overweight—yet—but we didn't want her to gain anymore) so losing a few was ok, but she now has a perfect shape (according to the vet) and she shouldn't lose anymore.
Now I have some good news: She finally seems to be getting better. She's definitely drinking and going less so we're hoping the trend continues. She's a walking animal pharmacy now so that may have something to do with it; maybe the antibiotics and thyroid medicine she's on are making a difference!
Over the weekend I took our local vet's advice and got some different types of canned dog food to try and find something she might like. Most dogs like routine and don't mind eating the same thing everyday; our dog apparently likes variety. I started giving her small amounts of the canned food, then mixed it with some of her dry food, and she's been eating it; she still isn't eating what I'd call a full meal but it's a HUGE improvement compared to her not eating anything at all. Her favorite is the expensive gourmet stuff I got, of course, but so far if I mix a small amount of that with other food it's enough and she'll eat what's in her dish. Up until she got sick she ate 2 meals a day; now I've been giving her small amounts 3 or 4 times a day and that seems to be working. I'm pretty sure her digestive system shut down while she wasn't eating so eating small meals multiple times a day will help with that.
As silly as it sounds I'm also fairly sure our dog has to be retrained to eat. She's always been a creature of habit and routine (as most dogs are, I think) and when she doesn't do something for a while she tends to forget how to do it and has to relearn. Like sleeping through the night: In this case her going out every night was due to being sick but in the past she's sometimes gotten up for a few nights and then "forgotten" how to sleep through the night. We've then "reminded her" (usually by putting her in her crate) how it's done. Now when she didn't eat for so long I think she got used to not eating and lost interest; she wasn't even interested in treats or her bedtime biscuits (as we call them) that she gets every night. For the past 2 days she's been interested in her treats and biscuits again. Not having so much water in her system anymore is also probably helping get her appetite back. Last night we could definitely see a difference in her energy level now that she had some food in her stomach: She was playing with her toys (and my husband) much more energetically than she had recently. I'd already taken her for a walk before he got home so pooch was pretty pooped; after playing with him she excused herself and promptly fell asleep on the couch.
Today our precious pooch has managed to eat some breakfast and lunch, so when I get home from class tonight we'll shoot for some dinner. And tomorrow I'll be going back to the store to get some more of that gourmet dog food... If a little of that is all it takes to get her eating again then I'm all for it!