Older bulldog suddenly not eating from bowl?

Lunabully

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Hi everyone. This is my first post - I tried searching but could not find anything relevant.

My (soon to be) 8 year old English bully Luna suddenly stopped eating from her bowl about a week ago. She will eat only if hand fed. This was a very sudden change in behavior since her meals had previously been her favorite part of the day. She normally scarfs up her meals and licks her bowl clean. Now she will either take a few nibbles and walk away, or not even acknowledge her bowl whatsoever.

We’ve tried everything from raising her bowl, to changing her food, to changing her bowl, to modifying her meal times - and nothing seems to help. We are very worried. We took her to the vet and they are unsure as to what is causing this. This issue coincided with a sudden decrease in mobility and increased lethargy (which x-rays confirmed was likely due to a flare up of arthritis), but even as her mobility/energy levels have steadily recovered over the past few days - she still isn’t eating on her own. All of her blood tests are normal. She is drinking normally. Pooping/peeing normally. And again, she will eat if hand fed, and will still eat her treats. While I’m glad she is still eating when hand fed, this sudden, drastic change in behavior is seriously worrying me.

Anyone have a similar experience with their pup? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

helsonwheels

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She’s drinking without issues too. hmmmm
When you say you change food, what are you feed her exactly? Have you tried putting only treats in her bowl n see what happens?
 

Bulldog2001

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Hi everyone. This is my first post - I tried searching but could not find anything relevant.

My (soon to be) 8 year old English bully Luna suddenly stopped eating from her bowl about a week ago. She will eat only if hand fed. This was a very sudden change in behavior since her meals had previously been her favorite part of the day. She normally scarfs up her meals and licks her bowl clean. Now she will either take a few nibbles and walk away, or not even acknowledge her bowl whatsoever.

We’ve tried everything from raising her bowl, to changing her food, to changing her bowl, to modifying her meal times - and nothing seems to help. We are very worried. We took her to the vet and they are unsure as to what is causing this. This issue coincided with a sudden decrease in mobility and increased lethargy (which x-rays confirmed was likely due to a flare up of arthritis), but even as her mobility/energy levels have steadily recovered over the past few days - she still isn’t eating on her own. All of her blood tests are normal. She is drinking normally. Pooping/peeing normally. And again, she will eat if hand fed, and will still eat her treats. While I’m glad she is still eating when hand fed, this sudden, drastic change in behavior is seriously worrying me.

Anyone have a similar experience with their pup? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome!

What are you feeding her??

Has she always eaten the same thing other than the odd switch up to make her eat recently?

Maybe she is tired of the same texture of the food. And now is picky.

Has she had any human food lately? That can cause picky eater and not wanting the original dog food.
My dog wouldn’t even eat from my hand and made himself so sick and vomit cause he was being picky with what he was eating cause he had something he liked better and got bored of his food.
Since then, I put him on Raw diet and rotate proteins and brands often and over a year since being on raw, no more problems with getting him to eat. He is always excited to eat.

The moisture keeps them hydrated and raw is best for dogs(if your open to trying her on it). I haven’t heard of a dog say no to raw. Every dog is different though.

As @helsonwheels said, I agree you should try putting treats into her food dish and see what happens if she eats or not.

If your vet says bloodwork is good and health issues have been ruled out, I would try her on something completely different and see if she will eat it out of her dish. Try a few treats alone in the dish first, see if she eats them from the dish.

What are you feeding her right now??

I know it’s hard when this happens especially when unusual, but In my experience, giving them toppers, or hand feeding and only giving them what they want will only make them more picky unfortunately.

Keep encouraging her to eat from her dish and hopefully you can try a new food totally different that may be more exciting for her.

Have you tried giving her current dog food on a plate so your not hand feeding her or eating out of the dish? Maybe try that and see if she eats it off a plate instead of your hand or the dish.

Please keep us updated
 

oscarmayer

Have Bulldog Will Travel
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See Vet and have her teeth and gums checked. In the mean time add some fresh refrigerated sauerkraut to her bowl...perhaps some eggs. Do not keep hand feeding her. Put the food down for 15 minutes and then take it up. Next meal time...repeat. When she gets hungry enough, she'll eat. This, as long as there's not an underlying health concern. Again, see Vet
 
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Lunabully

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See Vet and have her teeth and gums checked. In the mean time add some fresh refrigerated sauerkraut to her bowl...perhaps some eggs. Do not keep hand feeding her. Put the food down for 15 minutes and then take it up. Next meal time...repeat. When she gets hungry enough, she'll eat. This, as long as there's not an underlying health concern. Again, see Vet

Thanks for the advice! She’s been to the vet 3 times this week since this issue popped up. Most recently this morning - vet says teeth and gums look fine. Bloodwork is fine. X rays show arthritis and effusions in several joints. She received an immune system blood test this morning so will see if anything pops up there.

Will try the time limit suggestion. Thanks!
 
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Lunabully

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Welcome!

What are you feeding her??

Has she always eaten the same thing other than the odd switch up to make her eat recently?

Maybe she is tired of the same texture of the food. And now is picky.

Has she had any human food lately? That can cause picky eater and not wanting the original dog food.
My dog wouldn’t even eat from my hand and made himself so sick and vomit cause he was being picky with what he was eating cause he had something he liked better and got bored of his food.
Since then, I put him on Raw diet and rotate proteins and brands often and over a year since being on raw, no more problems with getting him to eat. He is always excited to eat.

The moisture keeps them hydrated and raw is best for dogs(if your open to trying her on it). I haven’t heard of a dog say no to raw. Every dog is different though.

As @helsonwheels said, I agree you should try putting treats into her food dish and see what happens if she eats or not.

If your vet says bloodwork is good and health issues have been ruled out, I would try her on something completely different and see if she will eat it out of her dish. Try a few treats alone in the dish first, see if she eats them from the dish.

What are you feeding her right now??

I know it’s hard when this happens especially when unusual, but In my experience, giving them toppers, or hand feeding and only giving them what they want will only make them more picky unfortunately.

Keep encouraging her to eat from her dish and hopefully you can try a new food totally different that may be more exciting for her.

Have you tried giving her current dog food on a plate so your not hand feeding her or eating out of the dish? Maybe try that and see if she eats it off a plate instead of your hand or the dish.

Please keep us updated
Thank you! She currently eats the Hills sensitive skin formula. She started this a few months ago. I changed her back to her old food to see if it would help and it does not fix the problem (earthborn unrefined).

Even if I put in a topper, freshly cooked salmon (her favorite food), cottage cheese, or sardines, she still won’t eat it herself. So frustrating.

I tried different bowls and plates too :/
 

helsonwheels

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Thank you! She currently eats the Hills sensitive skin formula. She started this a few months ago. I changed her back to her old food to see if it would help and it does not fix the problem (earthborn unrefined).

Even if I put in a topper, freshly cooked salmon (her favorite food), cottage cheese, or sardines, she still won’t eat it herself. So frustrating.

I tried different bowls and plates too :/
Ok so you did try her favorites. I was curious cause some dogs do have their masters wrapped around their paws.

Like @oscarmayer mention would be good to check out. That being said, Hills sensitive skin or anything from Science Hills, Royal Canin is definitely to be avoided. Have you tried a raw diet?
 

Bulldog2001

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Thank you! She currently eats the Hills sensitive skin formula. She started this a few months ago. I changed her back to her old food to see if it would help and it does not fix the problem (earthborn unrefined).

Even if I put in a topper, freshly cooked salmon (her favorite food), cottage cheese, or sardines, she still won’t eat it herself. So frustrating.

I tried different bowls and plates too :/

Definitely recommend getting her off Hills vet food as all Hills, Science Diet, Royal Canin, Purina, and anything from grocery stores is all fillers/garbage and will cause many health issues.
She could possibly know this food isn’t good for her and avoid it.

Good brands;

- Natures Logic
-Carna 4
-Farmina N&D


Maybe try raw if your open to it?
 

benny

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millie vanilly, beth anne (guest member)
Has anything else changed environmentally? New home, different/missing people or animals, different/missing/moved furniture? Millie won’t eat when we are on the road unless I’m hand feeding her, or have mixed in crushed Orijen treats (which I just recently figured out).

Millie stopped eating, completely, earlier this year after having fully switched to carna4 for a little bit. I eventually switched her back to ProPlan, but it took a while to get her appetite back completely. The not eating when traveling started around the same time.

I think the Carna4 was too small and she had a hard time chewing it. It looked like it would get lost in her mouth - at least that’s what I am blaming. I still have a big bag and she still won’t eat it, spits it out when I top with it. The traveling is an environmental thing. Both present the same way: not eating.
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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i'm going through this with Cheli right now (our Frenchie) he will not eat breakfast... the first few days I hand fed, but then I had to go into the office the next three days and hubby is not into hand feeding so Cheli didn't eat , but once dinner came around he went right into the bowl and ate it all. See if what Chip (oscarmayer) suggested works. And, i agree with others, hills/science diet has a place and time, but not for long term use, in my opinion.
 
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Lunabully

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i'm going through this with Cheli right now (our Frenchie) he will not eat breakfast... the first few days I hand fed, but then I had to go into the office the next three days and hubby is not into hand feeding so Cheli didn't eat , but once dinner came around he went right into the bowl and ate it all. See if what Chip (oscarmayer) suggested works. And, i agree with others, hills/science diet has a place and time, but not for long term use, in my opinion.
My girl has started eating more over the last week luckily. Started doing half kibble (Earthborn) and half cooked ground beef/turkey or baked salmon. She still isn’t eating ALL of her breakfast (will usually leave a few pieces of kibble) - but she scarfs down her dinner. Seems like reduced appetite in the morning is somewhat common when the seasons change and as the weather gets warmer. From other anecdotal reports I’ve seen online. But weird that this trend is happening with my Luna after 8 years without it! I’m just happy that she is trending in the right direction.

Also regarding Lyme - she tested negative for all tick born diseases and her broader immunology panel came back completely normal too. No one is quite sure what happened. She was put on doxycycline in case her arthritis was bacterial (or something like that - forget exact term off top of head) but ever since then, about a week ago, she has been steadily improving. That and 2 weeks of dasuquin seems to be helping her. Very strange!
 

benny

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Jan 9, 2022
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millie vanilly, beth anne (guest member)
I was recently told about Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried raw “Marie’s magical dinner dust” topper. Millie tackled me when I let her try some
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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I was recently told about Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried raw “Marie’s magical dinner dust” topper. Millie tackled me when I let her try some
I call it doggie crack.... when Cheli gets picky, it is the ONLY thing he won't turn down
 

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