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New shelter dog won't eat her dog food...

We adopted a retriever mix from our SPCA last evening.  She's the sweetest thing but she's so skinny.  I bought a small bag of Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Bison to get her started but she won't have a thing to do with it.  She's not crazy about dog treats, although she has eaten them.  Doesn't drink much water either.  She was spayed on Wednesday, so we were thinking maybe she didn't have much of an appetite due to not feeling 100% and being in a new place, new people, etc.  Finally, this morning I gave her a hard boiled egg.  LOVED IT.  Looked for another one.  Cut it up small and mixed it in with the kibble and she ate the egg around the kibble spitting out the random kibble pieces she came across.  Should I try another food?  Leave it down for her until she gets hungry enough to eat it?  The SPCA is having a major adoption weekend so they may not be able to let me know what she was eating before she left.  She's had two bm's so far and urinating okay so I don't think she's ill.  She has a vet appointment for Wednesday for a check over and to look at her skin.....she has a small bald area on her neck/back and a spot above her eye.  If you think changing her food would help, what would you suggest being she may have some skin issues?  I've had a dog before but eating was NEVER a problem for her....quite the opposite.  Any and all suggestions are welcome and appreciated.  Thanks!

Re: New shelter dog won't eat her dog food...

  • It isn't uncommon for a dog to not eat for a few days, especially coming from a shelter. Most likely she is anxious and scared and therefore not really wanting to eat. I adopted a pit from a shelter last year who was majorly skinny and she didn't eat for 2 days. When she was hungry enough, she ate.

    Was she eating the Natural Balance at the shelter? If no, then I would recommend changing foods cold turkey. It can mess with her digestive system. If you know what they were feeding her gradually go from the old stuff to the new: day 1 use most of the old food with a little Natural Balance. Day 2 mix in a little more Natural Balance, etc. so you gradually fade out the old food.

    ETA: sorry just re-read your post and saw that you don't know what they were feeding her. I would try and call and ask or look on their website. Most shelters in my area use Science diet. As for the bald spots, I would wait for the vet to check her out before changing her food again.

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  • It can take them a little while to get into the routine and feel like eating.  You may try getting some samples and see if she likes something else better
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  • When we adopted Ernie, he wouldn't eat for two days. I think it's normal. I second pp about trying to find out what he was on before. A lot of shelters in my area are supported by dog food companies, you may be able to find info on their websites.


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  • Thank you, Ladies.  I feel better knowing it's probably pretty normal.  I'll check with the SPCA to see if she was on a particular food, and give her some time.
  • Our new shelter baby was so frightened she didn't eat for the first days, even rice boiled with beef or chicken stock.  She ate maybe a hand full in the first few days.  And she didn't have a bm until we took a long walk on day 4 of her being with us.  Then she finally started to eat soft food.  At week 2, we were able to wean her from soft onto hard kibble.  She was so terrified of us and her new surroundings.  It takes a while to settle in, and they can be so scared.  Give her time and she'll come around.

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  • Our fosters routinely go 1 - 3 days without eating when they first come to us.  It's a big change.  I'm sure she'll warm up soon. 
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