Rethinking Nutrition for Your Pet when They Refuse to Eat

A major struggle for a sick dog, and in our case Lucky with Lymphoma Cancer, is to keep on the weight and prevent weight loss. Most pets when they are sick refuse to eat or eat very little, hence rapid weight loss is often the result. It’s an Owner’s biggest struggle when the pet refuses to eat anything that is offered. It can be very frustrating and it can seem hopeless.

I can speak to this since I am dealing with a Dog with Cancer, but I can also offer some tips, tricks and hope. Not all is lost because your dog refuses food. While it has been a struggle I am not giving up and want to encourage you not to give up either. I am putting on my thinking hat every day to figure out another way to get her to eat. Not every approach works every day, but in time I am coming up with enough strategies to choose from, and most of the time one or another works.

The first few weeks were not so difficult as all it took was to find the food she liked. It took some trial research since cancer dogs need to be on a grain free and low carb diet and Lucky was not always excited about homecooked. The Honest Kitchen Base Formula was our savior for a while. All I had to do was adding the protein and she loved it. I am continuing to feed this Brand (keeping different formulas for flavor change) in stock to all my dogs. This product is FDA approved and is made in Plant producing human food, hence all ingredients are items me and you eat. When a company goes through the trouble of FDA approval, I trust they use the best ingredients available.

Since one week we are in a more difficult struggle. One week ago Lucky refused to eat and a day later we ended up in the Emergency Room for dehydration and infection. She received a Fluid IV and Antibiotics and we were sent home with antibiotics. One side effect of Antibiotics can be loss of appetite. A double edged sword. Antibiotics are need to fight infections but what good does it do when your dog gets too weak from weight loss. I needed to get crafty in getting calories into my dog.

The first thing my Oncologist told me was to stop all Antibiotics as these meds can cause loss of appetite. Lucky seemed fine without taking the medication but still would not eat. I solicited my other dogs to stand around to create a little competition for food and at times this does the trick. I know, not nice to do to my other dogs, but they all get a treat after for helping out 🙂

Finally I started to rethink nutrition. After realizing Lucky does not popoo all food, only her strict cancer diet, it was time to adjust. I started offering her part of what my other dogs eat, which is The Honest Kitchen Force – Grain Free Chicken Formula which is a complete Dog Food with Protein included. I am starting to really like freeze dried formulas, as they are so simple to prepare, much fresher and do not contain carcinogens that are often present after pressing kibbles in extremely high heat.

To get Lucky to eat more I started adding a lot of water to the mix. Instead of waiting 3 minutes for the freeze dried formula to rehydrate, I had her slurp it up immediately. I noticed that she at times stops eating but is not full yet. This way she actually gets more food into her belly. As she eats this yummy mash will swell a little more inside her tummy.  to keep her feeling good and full for the next few hours. As I said, you need to start thinking outside the box and get creative at times. There is always an option and way if you just don’t give up on your pup.

Since starting this Journey with Lucky I decided to switch our other 3 Dogs to a different Dog Food as well. You can find several great Dog Food Companies. After careful reviewing many of the options I opted for Merricks Dry Dog Food Brand. Beef, Fish and Chicken and Grain Free are among the many options and Ingredients are wholesome, healthy and yummy. I mix Healthy Kitchen and Merricks Kibbles for some crunch. And I use the Dry Food as treats as well.

I also use half a handful of Merricks Dry Food to mix into Lucky’s Food Mixture at times. This changes the texture and gives the meal some crunch.

This is Merricks Statement: “At Merrick, we don’t just make pet food. We make the Best Food Ever. For the Best Pet Ever. Yours. Merrick Pet Care’s real, wholesome recipes use USDA-inspected deboned meat and fresh produce for industry-leading levels of protein, glucosamine and chondroitin. And we never import ingredients from China — all our food is handcrafted in our Hereford, Texas kitchen with ingredients from farmers we know and trust. Merrick Pet Care strives to make the best dog and cat food and treats. Because your best deserves our best.” My dog’s love this food and highly approve of Merricks:)

I have been researching a lot of Wet Dog Foods that would be suitable for dogs like Lucky as well. After much research and comparing of ingredients I opted for the Merricks Brand again. Canned Grain Free Dogs Food by Merrick contains great ingredients and none of the junk, fillers and preservatives other canned dog foods contain. I ordered Merrick Grain Free Real Beef/Lamb/Buffalo Pet Food, 13.2-Ounce, 12-CanMerrick Grain Free Real Chicken Dog Food, 13.2 Ounce Can, 12 Count Case, and Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef Dog Food, 13.2-Ounce Can, 12-Pack which will last me for a while and gives me a break from cooking protein. I was so convinced that I bought in bulk but if you want to try before buying to much get this Merricks Wet Dog Food Variety Sampler.

This canned dog food is a great option to change flavor frequently. It is also a great option when I run out of chicken, ground beef or other protein, or when I need to fix a meal quickly. I like to buy products in bulk when there is a sale or discount available. All links and clickable pictures on this page take you to the products and more information about the products I am buying and feeding my dogs.