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Old 06-02-2013, 06:43 PM
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kady05 kady05 is offline
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Default Talk to me about anxiety meds.. aka: Help me figure out my dog.

I apologize in advance if this is long, you've been warned!

Sako has always been a bit of a sensitive/soft dog, but nothing that wasn't manageable or that really concerned me. I just had to change my usual training methods to suit him better and all was fine.

About a year ago he went through a phase when he decided that he was "afraid" of turkey necks. When I say "afraid", it's because whenever I offered them to him, he would immediately walk around with his tail low/tucked, head and ears down, classic signs of stress, etc. So I said whatever, and just stopped feeding them to him (he would eat everything else). I think maybe a month went by and I offered him a neck again and he ate it.. okay cool. All was fine and dandy (in the eating category) til the beginning of May this year.

He started again with the turkey necks, so I figured it was another phase and would continue to offer them to him, but he wouldn't touch them. Same behavior as last time also. Then that phased into him not wanting to eat his boneless meals, even when the meat was ground. Then it just turned into him not eating period. I decided to get some kibble for him just to see if he was sick of raw, thought it would solve the problem. Nope. Same reaction.

I've been videoing him when I remember to, so I'll post some here. FYI, I usually don't talk to him this much, I just tend to talk when I'm recording for some reason.

This one shows his response to one of the ceramic bowls being dropped onto the rug. It didn't make that loud of a noise, but it was enough to upset him. He acts like he's in trouble for whatever reason:



This was the second time I offered him kibble:



Another morning, this was a particularly bad day for him, you can see he worked himself up to the point of panting:



In this one I had tried to put the kibble in his favorite green ball. It actually worked pretty well the night before, he ate maybe 1/2 cup from the ball but then it was like something clicked and he realized he WAS eating and shut down again. I tried again the next morning and he pushed all the food out of the ball but wouldn't eat:



And this one I took this afternoon. He hadn't eaten anything since Friday night (so going on 2 full days):



He DID eat tonight when I offered him food later.

So those are all the videos I have. He seems to be worse in the mornings by far, but like I said, he didn't eat at all Saturday, no breakfast this morning, but did eat dinner tonight. He also seems to eat better when he's outside for some reason.

If I walk away when feeding him, or feed him in a crate, he will.not.eat. At all. He does seem to do better if I stand 5-10' away and "coach" him a bit. He seems to get "stuck" and I have to.. unstick him. Like tonight he was acting like he didn't want to eat again and just stood over his bowl so I called him to me and said "go eat!" (happy voice) and he did go eat.

I have tried having him do some tricks when he seems "stuck" with his food. He will do them, but it doesn't get him to eat. When he's in that frame of mind he won't take ANY type of food.

He just had blood work and a checkup and everything came back completely normal.

He also has some SA going on. It's not bad, per say, but for example, he almost got us kicked out of our hotel a few months ago because all he did was howl when we left. I can still leave him in his crate when I leave the house but often times when I get home he is noticeably upset, but he doesn't try to break out or anything.

I took him to my friends farm recently while I did a photo shoot. He could see me the entire time but wasn't right next to me and was extremely upset and stressed. My mom (who he knows well) sat with him in her house at one point and said all he did was pace and howl til I returned.

If we raise our voice (even if it's in a playful way), 95% of the time he immediately lays down and/or acts like he's in trouble. Like if I correct Piper, he acts like I'm correcting him. Takes things VERY personal.

His breeder is aware of all of this, and is trying her best to help me from 10hrs. away. We have decided to get him neutered, so that will be done on the 17th. Figure it can't hurt him.

He is 100% fine with all people, has never met a stranger. No aggression toward any other animals either, FWIW.


That's all I can think of right now. I'm really at a loss here, have never dealt with a dog like this. 90% of the time he's fairly normal, but that other 10% is just.. bad. Food is definitely the big issue right now, but in general he is much more anxious than usual.

I've shown the videos to a few of my friends who are trainers and they're all pretty stumped. One said it looks like he's had a traumatic experience while eating and is now afraid of it. He has NEVER been left with anyone, he always comes with me if we travel and I'm always the one that has fed him. So, nothing bad has ever happened. I'm not one to immediately jump to medicating a dog but quite a few people have suggested it for him based on what I've told them. I just have zero experience with anxiety meds for dogs so I feel like a newbie here.

Anyone have any suggestions/thoughts/questions?

Last edited by kady05; 06-02-2013 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:57 PM
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AdrianneIsabel AdrianneIsabel is offline
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Something wrong with his gut? A friend said they experienced something similar right before they found their dog had stomach cancer. I know that is a terrifying thing and hopefully extreme but is it worth another check up?
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
Something wrong with his gut? A friend said they experienced something similar right before they found stomach cancer. I know that is a terrifying thing and hopefully extreme but is it worth another check up?
Not as scary as multiple people mentioning a brain tumor :/ I'm really trying not to go anywhere NEAR there at this point, but the dramatic changes in behavior (how he goes from eating perfectly fine to just one day *poof* "I'm scared of my food") are definitely concerning.

He does throw up bile if he doesn't eat some days. But I'm not sure if that's just a "I'm hungry" thing or if there's something more to it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:03 PM
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AdrianneIsabel AdrianneIsabel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kady05 View Post
Not as scary as multiple people mentioning a brain tumor :/ I'm really trying not to go anywhere NEAR there at this point, but the dramatic changes in behavior (how he goes from eating perfectly fine to just one day *poof* "I'm scared of my food") are definitely concerning.

He does throw up bile if he doesn't eat some days. But I'm not sure if that's just a "I'm hungry" thing or if there's something more to it.
Have you pandered? changed bowls, inside, out, tried a bunch of foods, canned? It's so odd...
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
Have you pandered? changed bowls, inside, out, tried a bunch of foods, canned? It's so odd...
Changed bowls, check. He usually eats out of a stainless steel raised bowl, so I switched to ceramic. He's eaten out of both since this started, doesn't seem to prefer one over the other.

He does seem to want to eat outside lately. Like when I get the food out he immediately goes to the door, almost like he's claustrophobic. So I have been letting him go out there to eat once Piper finishes (she's always eaten outside, Sako inside). However, he ate 3 meals in a row (Thursday PM, and both Friday meals) inside so..?

Haven't tried any different kibbles yet. I only switched him off the raw out of curiosity to see if the kibble would snap him out of it. Like I said, with the raw it started with him not wanting turkey necks, then phased into not wanting to touch everything else, even ground up boneless (tripe and beef).

It IS odd. Seriously, everyone I've talked to says the same thing "Well.. that's weird." If this was a case of him just being stubborn and not wanting to eat that'd be totally different. But he is very obviously stressed and can't get a grip right now when it comes to food. The SA stuff is concerning as well, but that's been an on-going issue that's gotten worse in the past 6 months or so.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:31 PM
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And he doesn't have any obvious signs of GI distress? Vomiting or diarrhea? Gassy or burping?
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:32 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
Something wrong with his gut? A friend said they experienced something similar right before they found their dog had stomach cancer. I know that is a terrifying thing and hopefully extreme but is it worth another check up?
This. Wasn't exactly the same, but went through similar with Rosey before we discovered a cancer in her bowels/anus.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:34 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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How about trying one of those black rubber livestock feed pans? I got one for Logan at TSC for $4. Logan hasn't been eating well lately, either, but it's because he thinks I'm trying to poison him with his antibiotics Anyway, the rubber ones aren't shiny, so if it's a reflection or something doing it, that won't happen with the rubber.

I would talk to your vet about it, anxiety meds may be worth a try if everything else checks out fine. Gavroche grinds his teeth every. freaking. winter. and fluoxetine helped with that to some extent this year.

Also, how about offering something he doesn't have to chew? Canned pureed food, or ground raw, or soaked kibble...something soft, just in case he has mouth pain somewhere?

Logan has always thrown up bile if he goes more than about 18 hours without food. Some dogs just do it, but if it's something new for him, you might think more about it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:43 PM
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kady05 kady05 is offline
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Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
And he doesn't have any obvious signs of GI distress? Vomiting or diarrhea? Gassy or burping?
Nope he doesn't. Like I said, he does throw up bile if he doesn't eat, but I think that's more of a "I'm hungry" thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post
How about trying one of those black rubber livestock feed pans? I got one for Logan at TSC for $4. Logan hasn't been eating well lately, either, but it's because he thinks I'm trying to poison him with his antibiotics Anyway, the rubber ones aren't shiny, so if it's a reflection or something doing it, that won't happen with the rubber.

I would talk to your vet about it, anxiety meds may be worth a try if everything else checks out fine. Gavroche grinds his teeth every. freaking. winter. and fluoxetine helped with that to some extent this year.

Also, how about offering something he doesn't have to chew? Canned pureed food, or ground raw, or soaked kibble...something soft, just in case he has mouth pain somewhere?

Logan has always thrown up bile if he goes more than about 18 hours without food. Some dogs just do it, but if it's something new for him, you might think more about it.
I could try one of those, I know what you're talking about since I had horses. I did try feeding him off the ground (on a mat) a couple times and it made no difference, he still didn't eat.

Have offered the ground raw and he got to the point where he wouldn't touch that either. When I fed him kibble before switching to raw (he ate raw for about 18 months) I always soaked it, so that's what I did when I tried kibble again. He actually seems to prefer it not soaked right now. :sigh: he's so confusing.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:59 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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GI distress/upset from food was the first thing that came to mind for me. Maybe do a fecal to see if there's bacteria over growth or something? Not sure what other diagnostics would help. Another thought would be a sore neck - making it painful to bend down to eat. Maybe a chiro visit?

Sue Ailsby's technique for teaching a dog to eat miiiight help as well if you think it's behavioral: http://sue-eh.ca/page24/page39/
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