I have an almost 3 year old mixed breed named Kosi who has what appears to be acid reflux. his primary symptoms are discomfort (he can’t sit still) and vomiting of bile – this is particularly the case if he doesn’t eat for more than 8 hours. If I feed him meals throughout the day – particularly one at 8 or 9 pm – right before bed – he is fine. The problem is he is SO picky! he will gobble food up for 2 days or so and then completely turn his nose up at it. I have a rotation of foods I use, but nothing really tempts him.
Generally speaking he refuses to eat any and all wet (canned) foods, and will refuse his kibble if there is a single drop of water mixed into it. He also refuses any of the freeze-dried foods on the market. The kibble he eats most consistently is Taste of the Wild wetlands formula. I rotate with other TOTW formulas and used to rotate with a few other brands, but at this point he refuses all of them.
He refuses any food that has any oil or “palate enhancer” added to it. He doesn’t like cheese or most other people food (he’ll accept ham, chicken, or turkey in small quantities, he refuses all tuna or other fish), in fact the only dog treat he will eat are old fashioned milk bones (which makes my other dog happy – she gets all the fun organic jerky chews!)
I cook for my other dog (she’s 11, with different issues), and Kosi sometimes will eat her food (mix of rice, meat, veggies, etc), but the last two days has turned his nose up at it. my vet has also suggested a bland diet to use on occasion – again he’ll eat it once or twice and then turn up his nose at it for a week or more.
he has mouth issues from an injury as a tiny puppy, so sometimes he seems scared of chewing his kibble (and he chews each piece 10 times), I’ve tried small sized kibble, which he liked the first time I offered, then refused ever since. Again, he refuses wet foods or softened kibble. I’ve actually thrown out a bowl of kibble mixed with expensive Evenger’s canned rabbit (which he liked one time), and offered him a bowl of plain dry kibble, which he ate.
The problem with all of this, is that it is very difficult to keep him fed often enough to keep away the acid reflux symptoms! For example, last night he ate his evening meal, but this morning he decided he didn’t want the kibble, or the rice mixture, or anything else I offered. Several hours later, as I write this, I can tell he’s actually hungry and would likely eat his “normal” kibble, but he’s refusing to eat his food, because his stomach hurts… which just makes him cranky. He’s also built very skinny. he’s active, and his coat is shiny, but if he goes a day without food, you can see all his ribs.
I can’t leave food out for him to pick at all day, as my other dog is a corgi mix (read stomach on legs) and would gobble it all up as soon as Kosi wanders off.
I’m at my wits end!! Any suggestions?
What does the vet that examined him advise? Has the dog had blood work done? A GI workup? What was the diagnosis and treatment prescribed? Where you referred to an Internal Medicine Specialist?
That’s where I would start.
I should probably have mentioned: I live in Nepal. We don’t have Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialists, we are lucky to have a couple of vets who are passionate about looking after our dogs but their training is equivalent to a vet tech in the US, at most.
there is one vet who does blood work (most vets here are trained to think they should know what is wrong with an animal by looking at them… they don’t do any differential diagnosis), and he has tested Kosi… his Liver and kidney stats aren’t great, but they are okay. He’s been on medicine for both, but since it makes him even less likely to eat (local veterinary medications are generally herbal, and in liquid form, which he obviously refuses on food), it doesn’t help with the acid reflux!
What I’m really hoping to get are suggestions of foods or feeding rotation techniques that have worked for other people with picky dogs, so I can at least get him to eat a little bit through out the day and stave off the acid reflux. I gave all the details since the “normal” stuff (canned food, dehydrated food, people food, etc.) don’t work. Heck, I’d let him eat cat food, if I thought he’d eat it! (actually I’ve tried… he won’t)
Hi Bronwyn, there’s one thing you have not mentioned, he’s not on an ant acid medication like Zantac (Ranitidine) or Pepcid (Famotidine)… I had an Endoscope & biopsies done on my boy & he had Helicobacter-Pylori, he was given the triple therapy meds-Metronidazole, Amoxicillin & Zantac for 21 days, after the 21 days his acid reflux returned cause I didn’t know that I needed to change his diet so I’d say the Helicobacter returned & Patch was put on Zantac & I did the triple therapy again & put Patch on a Gluten, Sugar, Dairy free kibble…. he got his appetite back again I had to give 1/3 of a 150mg Zantac tablet 1 hour before breakfast then 8-12 hours later again 1/3 of a 150mg tablet…….
Has he had a blood test to see if he has Pancreatitis??
Most of the foods he’s refusing to eat cheese & oil are high in fat, when you have acid reflux you need a low fat diet…. with kibbles the fat % has to be around 10% in fat %….with wet tin foods 3%fat & under, 5% fat in a wet tin food is about 22% fat when converted to dry matter (Kibble) same with raw & dehydrated….that’s probably why he doesn’t eat wet tin food, the fat was probably tooo high & he got his acid…. if I feed my boy wet tin food with 4-5% min fat, he starts grinding his teeth about 40-60mins after eating the wet tin food….
Your last paragraph, you wrote this morning he decided he didn’t want to eat the kibble…
if you give him a ant acid medication 40mins before breakfast he probably will eat or even liquid Mylanta, I give my boy 3-4mls of the Liquid Mylanta some mornings cause as soon as
he wakes up, I can tell if he has his acid reflux, he starts to grinds his teeth….I hate that sound now cause I know we are going to have a crap day, well he is going to feel like crap & I have to watch him feel like crap all morning, so I have 2 syringes of 3-4mls Mylanta in the fridge already made up, the Mylanta seems to work for Patch, also Slippery Elm is suppose to help with acid reflux, I tried the Slippery Elm it worked the first 2 times, then the next 2 times I gave the Slippery Elm slurry & Patch vomited, so I went back to his Mylanta…
I’d be putting him on either Pepcid or Zantac every morning & every night & you watch, he probably will start eating more & feeling better, he’s a very smart dog, he knows what foods make his tummy worse…..
also I’ve read adding water to kibble can make acid reflux worse…. I’ll try & find the link I saved it, that’s probably why he won’t eat kibble with water in it…..I’ve been giving Patch those Jatz dry biscuits as a treat, I give him 2 at 9pm & a couple thru the day, the Jatz seem to settle his stomach or line his stomach they help..
HI Susan, that is very helpful! I’ve tried using Pepcid before, but usually only after he starts showing symptoms and it doesn’t seem to do much. i’ll try giving him a tab every morning and night as you suggest and will see if that helps. I’ll look for a low-fat grain free diet (would you also suggest lower protein? I’ve read different opinions on that vis a vis acid reflux). I’ll also check out the Jatz!
Thanks so much!!
Hi, yes a lower protein 23% & lower fat kibble is the best, I bought a higher protein-28%min & lower fat kibble about 3 months ago, its just sitting in the cupboard now, Patch loved it but every time he eats it, he starts grinding his teeth & whinging after eating it you’d think he’d learn like your dog & stop eating foods that make him uncomfortable but he doesn’t, so I’ve stop feeding any kibbles that are higher in protein… I’m having problems keeping his weight on with the low fat food & low protein but his acid reflux is much better then it was 1 year ago…..
Pepcid & Zantac are best taken before the acid reflux symptoms have started, try again & give the Pepcid or Zantac 40-60mins before any food every 12 hours, try this for a good 2-3 weeks to see any results, if the Pepcid doesn’t seem to help then maybe try Zantac (Ranitidine)….I tried the Pepcid (Famotidine) & Patch kept vomiting it back up, I don’t know why the Pepcid made him sick the Zantac didn’t…
I have found that Custard, Gluten free, thick custard helps Patch, I started giving Patch 1 teaspoon on a plate about 2 weeks ago when I came home from hospital, I had my custard from lunch that I hadn’t eaten yet, it said it was Gluten free & made with Skim milk & low in fat, so I gave Patch some on a little spoon & he seemed OK, no sloppy poos, no more grinding his teeth, so I’ve started giving Patch 2 teaspoons thick custard when he starts his whinging or grinding his teeth of a morning, normally after he has eaten his breakfast he starts the whinging some mornings…Good-Luck with Kosi
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