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By Sandra from Wilson, AR
I had a dog that did that too. She grieved intensely for her lost son (she was 12 and the son was 6 and died from a respiratory problem). Here's what I did (I had started feeding her by hand just like you are doing):
1. I stopped feeding her by hand all together. Instead I put a small dish in the spot where she spent most of her time. In her case it was the bed she had shared with her son. Only put a little bit of food in at a time--she was a Welsh Corgi so I only put about 1/4 cup in at a time. Any animal's survival instinct will kick in before they starve, so don't worry about that. I checked it every couple of hours though and as soon as it got eaten, I'd give her another 1/4 cup.
2. Another thing I did was I took a small amount of beef and boiled it up good. I didn't use processed or canned broth as it has too much salt in it. But by boiling it myself I knew it was good. I kept this water in the fridge and added 1 Tbs to her water every day. This also helped to get her hunger activated.
3. Once she started eating better, I slowly moved it back to her normal feeding place. I only moved it a few feet at a time though, because whenever I tried to move it more she'd refuse to come and get it.
4. All through this time, I gave her all the loving I could possibly give. You have to realize the dog is grieving just as you would if you lost a close family member. They need your love and support. And patience. It may take a while but he will come around. And the two of you will be closer for the experience.
5. Oh, also through this time I also gave her a doggy multi-vitamin daily too just to make sure she was getting the vitamins she needed while she wasn't eating enough.
One thing that will help you understand is to ask yourself, when you are hurting emotionally due to a loss or whatever, are you hungry? If you're like most of us, the answer is a profound NO. The same goes for your dog. He's hurting from the loss. Plus he doesn't understand why his best friend isn't there anymore. You can't explain to a dog that the other dog has gone to heaven. So he's confused too.
Be patient and give him time. In his own time he'll come around. Plus right now is NOT the time to get another dog or companion for him. If you lost your child, would you be in a hurry to get pregnant again to replace him/her? Of course not. Don't expect your dog to want a replacement either. Once he's been through his grieving, then and only then would be a time to consider another dog. Just because he's got 4 legs instead of two and barks instead of talking, doesn't mean he feels any less intensely than we do. For that matter most dogs feel even more intensely than most people do.
Agree with so many other posters here in that you have to realize that though they're not humans--believe that they grieve. When you've suffered a loss, your appetite suffers, too.
I'd cease the hand-feeding, though, because the repetition of it is going to reinforce a bad habit that you really don't want to continue long-term. Cuddle him and love him, but put down his regular portions and leave them there only fifteen minutes and take them away. If you feed twice a day, set the food down at the next feeding for the same time period.
If he wants nothing to do with it the first day, he won't languish and die and chances are that by day two he'll be looking forward to mealtime. This isn't cruel--it's also a method used when trying to regulate the house-training of young puppies to introduce some sort of schedule and sense of normalcy. Your pup's world has been abruptly changed, and often they revert to puppy-like behavior.
Give him (and yourself) time to grieve; his missing a couple of meals is really quite normal and the situation will usually get better on its own if you try to preserve the routine that was in place while the other dog was alive.
This may sound a little morbid, but: if the other dog passed away in the house, that could be presenting you with another issue. Just as there are service dogs who pick up on chemical changes in their owners' bodies and can detect seizures coming on--death (and impending death) presents a scent that dogs often pick up on, trained to or not.
If the bedding, feeder/water and toys of the dog that passed away are still present, the bedding should be discarded and the rest thoroughly washed and either stowed away for memory's sake or be otherwise removed and apart from your surviving dog while he adjusts to life without his pal.
Would also run it by your vet to rule out any health problems in your surviving dog--just in case.
Have you considered getting another companion for your Yorkie? Maybe that might help curtail your dog's grief over the loss of friend.
I'm so sorry for your loss .Give him plenty of time to grieve as well as yourself. He'll not starve himself. Could be his way of wanting more affection while he's getting through this. Try mixing a bit of dry w/the canned food.
Best wishes and hugs
Start adding a bit of dried food into the canned food you feed by hand, then every day add a little bit more of the dried food until the mix in about 90% dried. You'll have to add a bit of water to get them to mix. Then eventually you'll be able to set this down on the floor & not have to feed by hand.
You can also try putting tiny pieces of chicken or well-cooked ground Turkey in with the dried food & a little water. The smell of the meat may give him the encouragement he needs to begin eating the dried food again! Then slowly take out the meat. Meat babyfood can also be used, but it is costly!
Also, I would recommend you change to a totally different brand of dried food than he was eating when his friend was alive. This way, he won't be reminded of his friend whenever he eats.
* Please let us know when your pet starts eating again, we'll all be praying for him!
Thank you so much for your suggestions. This has been going on for almost two years, so I supposre I shouldn't have waited this long to try something else. I love my little Baby and I know how much he has grieved, as we have too. About a year ago we got another dog through a rescue, and they are getting along pretty good now, although Baby knows that is not her Boogie.I am still feeding him by hand, and although I will try some of these suggestions, I will feed him forever by hand if that's what he needs. Love to you all for the kindness.
I'm at the end of my rope. She just WON'T EAT. But, man, she'll play ball, wags her tail. I FORCE FED her tonight and, then, "rewarded" her by playing a little ball. I am taking her to a vet but I'm 99% sure it has to do with her grieving for her "sister" who died suddenly.
I had my old dod euthanaised 2 days ago he wa s my other dogs best friend and hes not eating atall ?
My dog charming is doing the same. You have to feed your dog by hand till he learns how to eat by himself again. If he does not just feed him canned food my hand till he learns how to eat normal food again