Dog Won't Eat

I have a 7 year old German Shepherd mix. She is so skinny you can see her ribs and her back bone. We put food out for her, but she just won't eat. And when she does, she doesn't gain anything.


We took her to the vet for blood work; she has no worms, no cancer, and no parasites. She has diarrhea. I am afraid that I will lose her. We used to give her dry dog food. Now we switch food every day from meat to fish to pasta. She doesn't eat, she only rests. Please help me.

By Dakota from New York

December 1, 20090 found this helpful

It's obvious to both of us there's something very wrong with your german shepherd. I'd get a second vet's opinion elsewhere and soon.

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December 1, 20090 found this helpful

This link is where you get expert answers but for a fee. How much? I don't know, but it's a live response to this question/answer type website if you might be interested. I hope your german shepherd gets well. Keep us posted please and good luck.

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with Lorelei I would get a second opinion. We all know there's something wrong. good luck and let us know how your german shepherd is doing.

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

Is your dog pooping? Check out "constipation in dogs" on Google. If they have a bowel obstruction, they won't eat. Ask your vet if they checked that.

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

Keep hydrated-keep hydrated-keep hydrated. Give enema with colloidal silver (health food store) 1/2 hour later another enema. If she has sickness in her intestines this will help. Right now, it sounds like she will die if nothing is done. Get another vet. He should have at least hydrated her with bag fluids. This dog could have been poisoned. Could have kink in gut, Could have pancreatitus. Could have sensitive tummy. A good vet can find it.

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December 3, 20090 found this helpful

Personally I would go on and get the Total-zymes Plus as quickly as possible. Read some of the testimonials on that site. I have been giving it to my dog for about 4 weeks now. Its digestive enzymes and probiotics. I also give my dog plain yogurt 1 Tbsp per day. She would always throw up the "yellow foamies" and whatnot and she's had some problems with pancreatitis. She's been good for a while now. Please try it. I don't think it's that expensive for what you get.

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December 3, 20090 found this helpful


I have worked for a Veterinarian for over 27 years. There is something wrong with your fur baby. Please go to another Vet for a second opinion. A dog that does not eat is an emergency. You can have your current Vet fax all the medical records/lab results to your new Vet, then the new Dr. can evaluate how to treat your baby. Good luck

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December 4, 20090 found this helpful

There is something wrong with your dog! Please, please take her to another vet or you are going to lose her. She is suffering and in need of medical attention so please do the right thing and get her help with another vet. Any good vet should be able to figure this out without sending you home with no further ideas! Good luck and I hope this can be resolved quickly so your baby doesn't continue to suffer and die.

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December 4, 20090 found this helpful

Recently, some people we know had the same thing happening to their dog. Like with your dog, at first the vet found nothing. But at their second visit he took x-rays which showed that the dog had ingested a partially eaten ball and it had caused a a blockage in his intestines. It took emergency surgery to save him. He is now well and thriving.

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December 6, 20090 found this helpful

I remember reading an article somewhere that specifically talked about germen shepherds with this problem. It resonated with me because we have a german shapherd that we took in that was really skinny. The article stated that these dogs are often allergic to the grain based foods they are often fed, and will loose weight rather than gain it--almost like a human with severe lactose intolerance (stomach pain, diarrhea, etc). Try switching to a meat-based food, giving all meat and veggies, etc, to see if it helps. Luckily, our dog did gain weight, but it took a long while, and he is still trim. I'd still call around, do internet research, and get a second opinion too.

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December 7, 20090 found this helpful

How is your dog doing, and did you find out what the problem is/was?

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December 8, 20090 found this helpful

Just another voice here repeating what others have already said: please take your dog to another vet; the current one MUST release your pup's records to you when you request them. (At this point, I wouldn't be concerned about hurting anyone's feelings by doing this--even if you've been going there for a while. A good vet will understand your concern for your animal is the bottom line).

Also--we've had a few GSD's over the course of our lifetimes here and a way too thin, non-eating Shepherd is not common with a healthy specimen of that breed--just the opposite. They should eat you out of house and home and be full of muscle and energy.

Sending best wishes for a better diagnosis of your dog.

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July 18, 20160 found this helpful

Our 8 yr old male German Shephard stopped eating about 2 months ago. Our family has decreased in size due to death of both my parents, our son moved away after college, our family don't come by as often anymore. At first I thought it was anxiety or just missing the crowed and full house. But now it seems he sniffs anything in his bowl and just walks away. He went from a healthy 95 pounds to 77 from eating very little. Blood work, urinalisys and stool test all is ok. However his weight loss is a concern. Even X-rays reveal nothing of concern. It's expensive to do the tests. What can be affecting our boy?

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December 11, 20090 found this helpful

Raw beef liver minced, I also give 2 ml of olive oil. I hope this helps.

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December 22, 20100 found this helpful

I just want to give my own personal experience. And for the record, I am a vet, but not currently practicing. In any case, I ended up with a rescue German Shepherd with a severe megaesophagus (Sami) that he did really well with for about 6 months and suddenly began to lose weight. All other vets I talked to said his megaesophagus was incompatible with life and that was the reason, but I didn't think so since he had done well with it for so long. He'd always had a loose stool, but the weight loss was sudden and scarily severe. I tried supplementing him with pancreatic enzymes to trial treat and see if exocrine pancreate insufficiency (EPI) could be playing a role, but it didn't help at all. I was at a loss, and he was looking positively skeletal.

Then a friend of mine who is also a vet made a suggestion. She is from Germany, and she said she saw lots of GSDs with a similar problem in Germany, and the problem was responsive to doxycycline. Well, I was worried about the doxycycline because I was afraid that with the megaesophagus that Sami would have a hard time with nausea and esophagitis, but I finally tried it. This poor boy was skeletal, and had even become anemic.

Only other abnormality on blood work was white blood cells. Well, I tried the doxycycline at a dose of 50 mg twice daily... within a month he gained 15 pounds (he had gotten down to a mere 40 pounds, and he was a year old).

Now he is playing again, and acting like a happy boy, despite that megaesophagus that is "incompatible with life" according to every vet that ever saw his radiographs. My German vet friend said that she had seen many German Shepherds whose weight loss responded to doxycycline. She told me that after they gain weight, you can gradually try to wean them down until you find the lowest dose that allows them to maintain their weight. She said she had one dog that did great as long as he got doxycycline twice a week, but that he would lose weight if it was given any less frequently.

I haven't yet started weaning Sami down yet. It was only two months ago that I tried this, and the results have been so amazing that I am almost afraid to wean him down, but I also hate the idea of giving antibiotics all the time. Regardless, I have no doubt he would have died by now if I had not decided to take my friend's advice. Oh, and I even asked other vets, before I tried it, what they thought, and they all acted like it was a crazy idea because they had never heard of it and it didn't make sense to them.

Well, the whole reason I don't practice is because I have many special needs rescues, and many of them should have died years ago based on what the textbooks say. I have learned that given a chance and persistence, animal's do heal from things that supposedly shouldn't heal, and they do manage to live with conditions that are "incompatible with life." And I don't mean that they barely get by and it's almost cruel to keep them alive. I am referring to a cat paralyzed from the neck down that supposedly would never walk again (no deep pain in any limbs) and did, a cat with a heart problem that usually causes death within 3 months of diagnosis that is still alive and thriving 8 years later. That is just a sample.

Anyway, enough rambling, but the doxycycline is worth a try if you have tried everything and nothing seems to work. Of course, you have to find a vet that is willing to prescribe it, and that may be difficult if they have never seen such a condition, but they never will see such a condition respond if they never actually try it! I tried it, and it worked. If I saw the same condition again, and eliminated EPI as an option, I wouldn't hesitate to try this again. Oh, and I tried metronidazole, and even Clavamox, and neither of these medications did anything to remedy the weight loss!

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