Adopted/Rescued senior dog with food/water/skin problems

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Adopted/Rescued senior dog with food/water/skin problems

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  • #145264 Report Abuse

    I’m here as I’m having a lot of trouble finding solutions to many problems I’m having with a recently acquired dog. I have went to 3 different vets, spent countless hours researching online and tried several different strategies and continue having trouble.

    Short backstory on the dog.. He is an 11 or 12 year old boston terrier who I gave to my father before I left for the Army. My father recently passed away and I was the only one willing or able to take him in. When I first saw him again in a long time, two months ago, he was in very bad shape. He was completely covered in hundreds of fleas, due to my father being unable to take care of him during his struggle with cancer in his final week or two. His skin was in bad shape and he was missing a lot of hair. He has, for at least several years, had an unusually bad time with allergies, inability to drink normal amounts of water without regurgitating it short after, and refuses to eat on a schedule. My 3 areas where I’m in need of help are those. I hope I’m not writing too much, but I want to be thorough, and it seems like most responses in here are very thought out and helpful in return.

    I know he has always had trouble keeping water down, but I don’t know why. We have it counted out to literally 30 licks of water about every 1-3 hours without him throwing up. However, he is extremely driven to continue drinking. He will literally drink a gallon of water if its sitting in front if him, throw up, and still want more. I’ve tried using a rabbit bottle that he very slowly can drink from, but he will stand there for 30 minutes until he has drank too much. It’s usually just a clear or foamy liquid that comes up, which from what I gather online is “regurgitating” not “vomit.” It may be an esophagus problem, but the vets have offered me nothing other than “dont let him drink too much,” which feels like a copout answer. I’ve recently changed his diet to a limited ingredient, grain free diet (Nulo Senior) in Hope’s that his whole health would be better. Not sure if that could help at all.

    His diet with my father was terrible. My dad would buy cheap dog food and mix it with some other cheap bag of treats and he would only pick the treats out and leave the rest, with the bowl left out all day. I’ve never seen him eat a whole bowl before. I’m trying to avoid doing wet food, due to his teeth not being great, however I spent the first month primarily putting water in his food to moisten it and motivate him to eat a whole serving since he really just wants the small amount if water. Since removing the water, he turns his nose up to the food usually once out of the two times hes fed daily. We tried picking up the bowl and just waiting until the next meal, which he will usually eat, but it isnt fixing the problem of not eating enough. Has clearly losing weight quickly as he went from 23-24 pounds a few months ago to about 20 pounds today. My only ideas now are to simply try a different food in Hope’s he likes it more, but I dont think he will.

    His skin is continuing to be an issue, although it is significantly better than before. My father was having him get steroid shots roughly every month for years, which I think was just a bandaid for the awful food he ate. I’ve included coconut oil n most of his meals for about 2 months which may or may not be helping, but he doesn’t mind it usually. I’ve also put a lot (probably too much) coconut oil on his skin and recently reduced that to once a week. He constantly is gnawing at his paws and scratching. Again, hes visibly improved, which i think is do to the food change, but he clearly has serious allergy issues or something.

    I’ve always been told to go the vet for these answers, but literally all of them seem to think my concerns are silly. I’m just looking for any help I can get to make his life better. Thanks!

    #145282 Report Abuse

    Consider consulting a veterinary internal specialist that specializes in senior care. Ask your vet for a referral.


    #145284 Report Abuse
    Gretchen B

    Have you had his thyroid checked? And, bloodwork to check if he is diabetic. Both of those can cause excessive drinking and weight loss. He could also be allergic to the fleas. I had a dog that was allergic to flea bites and the vet gave him steroids, long story short, the steroids induced diabetes. The fleas were brought in by my mothers dog from the groomers. I also have a little long-haired chihuahua that is allergic to environmental things, such as mold and grass, she has to take cortisone pills for her allergies.

    Just a few things for you to check on. There are also some good shampoos for itchy skin and dermatitis.

    #145286 Report Abuse

    Gretchen, I’ve had his blood checked but the vets never mentioned checking his thyroid. The weight loss, I’m assuming, is from his recent diet change and unfortunate final weeks with my father who probably wasn’t able to monitor his eating. Now that I’m not allowing him to eat the garbage he had before, hes refusing to eat a lot and I can only assume that’s why hes losing weight. He was maintaining weight around 24 for years until right before my father passed.

    I’m sure the fleas made him have a bad reaction, but doesn’t it seem like 2 months and beyond is too long for him to continue having reactions? I’m weekly bathing him with anti itch shampoos and hopefully its helping. Seems like a lot of trial and error ahead.

    #145287 Report Abuse
    Gretchen B

    It does seem like you have given it some time for his skin to heal, but I know that once they get an allergic reaction and it affects their skin, depending on how bad it got, it can take time to heal. With that being said, if it doesn’t heal you may have to put him on apoquel, which you will have to get from the vet. That helps tremendously with skin conditions and allergies. Maybe try sprinkling something on his food. Like, some freeze-dried raw food (primal, Stella & Chewy) or Etta Says Liver Sprinkles, this will entice him to eat his food. The liver sprinkles are a miracle. I would still have his thyroid checked and his blood sugar level for the excessive drinking. I hope I was a little bit of help. Update when he gets back to his old self. Best of luck.

    #145296 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    The food he was on was probably upsetting his stomach, and his skin is bad from flea bites and he can be allergic to the flea bites. Is he treated for fleas? And give him a better food, I would start to give him Holistic Select look on It is a good food. Right now make him some boiled chicken and rice, than start mixing in new food but do it slowly. I think it all stems from his diet, also did the vet rule out anything? By mixing in chicken with the broth into his food will get him to eat. Also you can try baby food, but get the one for infants you can get chicken and it just has chicken and chicken broth. Read the ingredients on the baby food so you get the right one, you don’t want to get the ones that have added stuff in it. I read that it will make a sick dog eat. So you can mix the baby food with his dog food.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by joanne l.
    #145311 Report Abuse

    Joanne, I’m reserving those techniques for the future if I still cannot get him to eat as I transition to the next food. I agree in that I believe the food is the root of most of his problems. Boston terriers have a history of excessive allergies, so I’m sticking with limited ingredient. My other boston is incredibly healthy on Acana, and I’m slowly moving into feeding him that. He seems to like it more at least. I chose Nulo due to it having a senior blend.

    He is on bravecto now and flea free, and the vets all were quick to brush off all my concerns. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time trusting any available vets any longer. I’ve always had good ones before, but in my current location they dont seem to care.

    #166580 Report Abuse
    Alam W

    Appreciate you chiming in from the recipient’s point of view. you can try Bravecto for dogs an effective flea and tick treatment for dogs that treats Lyme Disease to know more visit:

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