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New dog won't eat!

Hello there! My husband and I are parents of 3, loving cats and now a one year old Chihuahua/Yorkie mix. We just got her 6 days ago from a family that was about to put her in a shelter. She's very loving, playful and just all around perfect for our little family. We haven't given her free roam of the house just yet due to the cats that we have. They're a little territorial right now and she's very timid. We're taking it day by day, little by little we introduce them to each other, let them sniff each other and exchange toys so they can get used to the smell. Aside from the cats, she seems very happy and is already attached to our hips. We are obsessed with her. The only problem is that she hasn't eaten in 6 days. We took her to the vet two days after we got her to get her vaccines and the veterinarian said it was normal due to all the change, which we kind of figured anyway. Not to mention, she is an 8 pound dog so she doesn't eat that much as it is. Maybe this is ignorant of us but, here it is, almost a week later and she still has absolutely no appetite, we're thinking this can't be normal? We bought her the same food her previous parents had fed her, we even tried buying something different, we bought her treats...she won't touch any of it. She'll drink lots of water and for a pup that won't eat, she still has a ton of energy when we go out on walks or play outside. I can only imagine how scared/nervous she must feel coming from one home to another so I'm sure it's completely normal but, I can't help but wonder if we're doing something wrong or if maybe having the cats around is making it worse for her. If she doesn't eat today, I'm taking her back to the vet. Has anyone else experienced this at all? I'll take any suggestions, please! Thanks!

Re: New dog won't eat!

  • I agree it does sound odd but i still think it could be normal with all her changes- new parents, new house, new siblings. I would call the vet today and at least let them know. She is probably still confused and excited. Do you leave her food down all day or are you leaving it for a time period and picking it up? Maybe her previous pet parents let her graze so she could eat whenever she wanted.

     Good luck with your new furbaby! 

  • Have you tried canned food? A tasty canned food may jump start her appetite. I'd try something with real meat and veggies in it - something along the lines of Merricl foods (ours love the all natural type of blends..not the ground up mush). 

    I agree it's likely her nerves, but with such a small dog you really don't want her going more than a week. I'm glad she's drinking though, that's a plus for sure. I'd cook her up some chicken and rice as an alternative to canned. If she didn't eat cooked chicken, I'd take her to the vet. I would try this all immediately, and take her to my regular vet Monday morning as long as she had no other issues. If she started to develops any other problems, I'd take her to an ER vet. 


    Good luck!  

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  • Thank you both, I really appreciate the input! I called her vet a while ago and again, she said it was normal but, if I felt uneasy about it on Monday, I could bring her in for another check up. She said "She'll eat when she's good and ready." I just didn't realize dogs could go this long without eating!! It made me feel very uneasy. The good thing is that she still has so much energy and she seems great otherwise. The vet did suggest your idea of buying some wet food and perhaps mixing a little bit of it with her dry food but, only a little due to the fact that she is a Toy breed and wet food is bad for her teeth. My husband ran out to get some so, hopefully this works. We also have tried leaving her food out all day for her to pick at and we've tried putting it out twice a day and neither options seem to make any difference so, hopefully once she's ready, we'll be able to figure out what's best for her. Again, I really appreciate it!
  • I agree with PPs, try something with a strong smell! Maybe even microwave it for a few seconds to really make it stink.  Even though you say wet food is bad for toy breed's teeth, this is short term, and to just get her to eat something! Maybe even boil some chicken for her...mmmm meat!

    Maybe also try Vita's a sauce you put on your dog's dry food. I think it's available even at Petsmart. I'm sure it's really bad for them, but she's gotta eat! 

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  • My dog gets really nervous when we move to a new location ad does exactly what you are describing. I give him peanut butter because he is unable to spit it out. Its not the best food for them, but is totally fine is small quanities or every once in a while, and I feel much better knowing he has some protein in him. You NEED to get something down her. With a dog that size she could end up getting low blood sugar and could get really sick. This happened to my sisters rat terrier. Just give her some peanut butter in the meantime and I she isn't doing better by Monday than take her back to the vet. Also you may look into getting a calming collar. It seems to help my dog.

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  • I agree with the others, I would try mixing a couple spoonfuls of wet food in with her dry food. When our dog was a puppy she was very picky and would not touch her dry food, but as soon as we mixed in a little wet she scarfed it down. Also, by adding just enough to get all over the dry food, the kibble will still help clean her teeth and keep from tarter build up.
  • Our dog hates commercial dog food. He has really bad allergies and our vet recommended that we cook for him. So, more recently, we've started cooking for him. Once a week I make a batch of beef and rice with pureed veggies or chicken and rice with pureed veggies.

    He finally eats and his allergies went down. I was worried he was underweight and we tried gourmet dog foods, wet dog foods, small bites dog foods...literally everything. It got to the point where he would puke bile because he was so hungry, but he STILL refused to eat. (We DO think it was stress related.) 

    Now that he gets some home cooked nutrition, he is so much happier. 

    The one disclaimer I have is that it is a lot of work monitoring that the food is nutritious and the research is pretty intense to make sure the dog is getting the proper food. It's important to talk to your vet about it so that he or she can explain to you exactly what the dog needs and how he needs to eat. Commercial dog food has only been around a short time and dogs have been around much longer, so finding a vet who is willing to talk to you about home cooking can also be a challenge.

    However, if you already care about your own nutrition and take proper steps to ensure that you and your family are eating properly, it's a fairly simple challenge to undertake. 

  • Thanks for all the suggestions, I really appreciate the help. We spoke to her vet the same day and she gave us a few suggestions, one of which was to try cooking some homemade dog food for her or adding a little gravy like one of you suggested. We looked up a few doggie recipes online and also bought some wet dog food to mix with her dry. She wasn't having it at first but, that night she scarfed down her entire bowl! We were extremely happy and relived. I did not realize dogs could go so long without eating, it broke my heart. We've almost had her for a month now and have had no trouble getting her to eat her normal dog food or any other treats. She is a happy, healthy pup that now loves eating. I suppose it was just nerves that got to her! :)
  • Glad she finally started eating.  I think that is very normal and once they eat the first time they are good to go.  Changing homes is incredibly stressful for dogs, but once they adapt they are good to go.
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