Dog Not Eating After Other Family Dog Died

March 5, 2010

Our little Yorkie mix stopped eating after his companion of six years died. The only way we could get him to eat was by hand (canned dog food). How can I get him back to eating dry dog food by himself? I am not going to starve him to get him to eat, any other suggestions?

By Sandra Mercer from Wilson, AR


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March 9, 20105 found this helpful
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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.

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March 9, 20103 found this helpful
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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.

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March 9, 20102 found this helpful
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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.

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6 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 30, 2019

We just lost our 12 year old girl. It was a sudden passing on 25/12/19 and we have two other dogs 10 years and 7 months. Our 10 year old is really missing our girl. He's not eating; they were both brought up together as puppies. I know he's grieving as is our 7 month dog as our girl was like a mum to her.

I know I can't take the pain away from our boy dog/dogs, but how can I try and make the process of their grieving as comfortable as we can. The whole family are grieving atm, but I'm really worried about our 10 year old boy. He knows she's passed. We brought her home from the vet hospital when our girl passed for the family to see her before we took her back. Our boy sniffed her and when we laid our girl on our bed our boy came and laid over her and just stayed there.

When he's in the house he runs straight under our bed in our girl's sleeping spot. He's looking for her all the time or just lays there looking sad. They have never been apart. Our 7 month old dog is missing her playmate she was so loved by our girl. She's eating, but not at her fullest.

Plz help.


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December 30, 20190 found this helpful
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I am so sorry you and your pets are experiencing the pain and grief of losing a companion. Please take a few minutes to read the information at

Keep in mind every situation is different. Use your instincts to guide you in assisting your dogs through this difficult time. From my personal experience patience is an absolute necessity. Your dogs will pick up on your emotions so it's important that you try to keep an upbeat attitude when interacting with your dogs even though that is a difficult thing to do.

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December 30, 20190 found this helpful
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I am so sorry I know how hard this one is. My female dog did the same thing when our male dog died. It was hard to see her go to his favorite resting place and stay there all day long and not move. She did not want to really ear for almost 3 weeks. What we did was give her a lot of attention, take her for very long walks, and take her swimming as much as we could in the lagoon. We let her know how much we loved her and gave her an extra amount of love. Within a few weeks it did pass and she came around to her old self once again. I know it will take time but all yu can do is give the dog an extra amount of love and allow the dog to sleep where the female use to sleep.

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December 31, 20190 found this helpful
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You and your fur kids have my deepest condolences on your loss. May your girlie's memory always be a blessing.

Time is the best thing for moving through the phases of grief.

Keep blankets and toys with your girl's scent for the others to use and be comforted. You said your 10 year old is already using her bed. That is good. That will offer comfort.

Be sure to offer regular food and water. Maybe make the food a little more enticing by adding a little low salt broth or a few scraps of cut of white meat of chicken (canned white meat of chicken is a good offer up at a low price).

If you feel the pups are getting dehydrated, talk to your vet about using clear Pedialyte to supplement water (they can tell you how much based on the weight of the dogs). Sometimes you have to use a syringe to put it in their mouth (the plastic part, no needle).

Offer both pups as much love as they are willing to take. You are all grieving so you all need to be easy with each other.

Post back with an update.

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February 5, 2021

My German shepherd has lost her appetite after the loss of our another family dog. Actually I had two GSD, Mom (8yrs) and her pup (6yrs) and the pup just died and now I had to hand feed the mum or she won't eat. What should I do?

P.S She has a mobility problem in her back leg so the physical activity is minimal in her case.


February 5, 20210 found this helpful
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When one of my labs died, the other one became so depressed, he wouldn't eat, drink, move, or wouldn't run in the yard. It was terrible to see him like that. I took him to the vet and was told to get another lab. We ended up doing that and my yellow lab came back to life. He was so lonely, just like a person loosing a partner. I didn't believe it until I saw it.

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February 11, 20210 found this helpful
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We can be sad and grieve but it still hurts to see a pet feeling these same feelings and find that you are almost helpless in how to help them.
Almost all vets and AKC recommend providing more attention but mostly, they recommend getting another dog.
Perhaps you can read some of the suggestions online and see if there is anything that might work in your situation.
ThriftyFun also has a link about this:

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February 26, 2019

My German Shepherd Riley, who is 4, lost his best friend Alfie 2 weeks ago. He had lived with Alfie his whole life. Since the loss of Alfie he is rarely eating anything and when he does, he ends up throwing it all back up. His normal diet is dry biscuits, however since then we have mixed his biscuits with mince (this is once a day or once every 2 days) to try and interest him in eating, with this he throws it back up. When the mince isn't down Riley just has his dry biscuits in his dish which he doesn't touch.Dog Not Eating After Other Family Dog Died - closeup of Riley


I understand his survival instincts are put into place when he's about to starve making him want to eat his dry food, he manages to keep this down.

However he has no appetite at and has started to lose quite a bit of weight, as whatever Alfie did, Riley did. How can I get him interested in eating again on his own intentions. I have told my dad not to take him out on long walks whilst he isn't eating. Please help.


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February 26, 20191 found this helpful have my deepest condolences on the loss of Alfie.

Poor Riley. He sounds like he is depressed. Please check with his vet and see if it is warranted to get something for him (like an antidepressant or an appetite stimulant). This is so common and vets have really good tools to help the pup grieve (at least they do in Pittsburgh where I am.) The vet will also make sure nothing physical is going on just to be safe!

Be sure to take care of your grief also and seek help if you need it. Losing a pet is so hard. They take such a piece of your heart with them over the rainbow bridge. May Alfie's memory always be a blessing!

Prayers for Riley to come around. Give him time and post back what his vet suggests!

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February 26, 20191 found this helpful

Your dog is grieving. It is more important that he drinks. Perhaps the vet can give you something equivalent to Boost or Ensure for dogs. This way the dog wont vomit and the caloric count will go up.

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February 26, 20190 found this helpful

I am so sorry to see that you lost your other baby. It seems that Riley has grieved himself to the point where he can't eat.

You will have to feed him small amounts of hot dogs, or chicken, at a time to help him learn to eat again.

I actually had a rescue dog, that was very underweight, and I had to actually cook him hamburger patties, very little ones, and then freeze them in the freezer. I called them cookies.

I would then feed him one of these 'cookies' many times a day. This worked for my rescue dog, because her tummy did not want to digest much at a time.

So feed your darling little bits of real meat, with real nutrition, lots of times a day, starting with little tiny bits.

The chicken or hot dogs would be easier to digest.

Another thing, have you actually talked to your baby about the other dog's passing, and mentioned the other dog by name? Tell your dog that it will be ok and that its friend passed away.

It is amazing, but animals can understand.

Blessings and prayers,



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February 26, 20190 found this helpful

barring poor Riley isn't sick, and just mourning, the important thing is to keep him hydrated, give him lots of attention, talk to him a lot, and feed him small things, or you could make him soup.

there are some herbal products available to help pets cope with anxiety or other bad emotions:

a walk would be a good mood lifter so would actually be a good idea, just not a long one

also please make sure he is not sick. Throwing up sounds like more than just depression to me

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October 14, 2019

I had to put my dog down; he was 15 yrs old and now my other dog won't eat. They were together for 11 yrs; what can I do?

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June 27, 2017

I have a 2 yr old Shih Tzu who is not eating as he should. It all started when our other dog died 8 months ago. He will go days with no food and then for a few days to a week he will eat as though nothing is wrong and is playful. Then he starts refusing to eat again and doesn't want to do anything. This has gone for months now.

He was 5.3 kilo before this started he is now 4.5 kilo. When I walk him he has no interest in anything going on until he sees another dog then he runs about playing and stiffing everything in sight. As soon as the other dog leaves he goes back to being uninterested and walks behind me like I'm having to almost drag him along.

He was treated 3 times by a vet for an upset stomach. I am not sure if it was due to not eating or something he has eaten so I had him on gastro food from the vet, but didn't help at all. I've tried hand feeding and spoon feeding canned food and sometimes he will eat and sometimes not. I'm at a loss of what to do now and really need help please.

I've now even bought a puppy. I just hope this will help him and not make him worse as he wants to play with any dog he sees even if never met before. So far he wags his tail when sniffing the pup, but runs when the pup tried to play.

Can anyone please help me I don't know what else to do.


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June 27, 20170 found this helpful

I think dogs suffer from depression too. I would consult with a vet. There are medications for this.

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June 30, 20171 found this helpful

You must make sure that you don't favour the new puppy & ignore the older one as this will isolate him even more. Every time you pay attention to or cuddle the wee pup you must also do it with the older dog. Walk them & play with them together.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 5, 2010

I had litter mate Bouvier des Flandes (male and female). The male was put to sleep on October 27th, 2008 and the female has not eaten very much since then.

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