When Your Dog Stops Eating: Julie’s Story

When a Labrador stops eating and when a Border Collie becomes lethargic, even just a little bit, you know you ought to worry.

Julie is a two-year-old Border Collie, and she did both. Stopped eating and had less energy than usual.

When Your Dog Stops Eating: Julie's Story

Julie is a typical girl for her breed. Happy, active, spending a lot of time outdoors, living the perfect life a Border Collie should live.

She always enjoyed a good romp and a good meal. Until the day when she walked away from her bowl without touching what was in it. She refused her next meal as well.

Could it be the food?

Well, it could be the food though I’d think that is much rarer than one would figure. Dog food can spoil, the fats in it rancid. Or it can be a new bag with a different formula or perhaps even some contamination.

This was not a new food or a new bag, and Julie is not a picky eater. And she refused treats as well.

More importantly, she was acting somewhat lethargic.

Julie didn’t have a fever, and her dad was confident she didn’t get exposed to anything toxic. Some of their friends suggested that it is so unusual that a dog would occasionally go off food for a day or two. Which is true, it does happen, and it can be from an upset belly after some dietary indiscretion. But Julie has never stopped eating before and has not gotten into anything.

Julie’s dad considered all the possibilities.

Your primary job is to know your dog and know when something truly doesn’t add up. Julie’s dad did his job.

The veterinarian examined Julie and recommended x-rays.

The x-ray images showed that Julie’s belly was full of rocks.

However that happened, her dad did not see her eat them, Julie needed surgery. I suppose the cause was a dietary indiscretion after all. But it was the kind that you don’t just sleep off.

Julie’s surgery was successful, and she’s recovering well. The question, I believe, remains, what came first? The upset belly or the rocks?

Naturally, the rocks ingestion would make the belly upset. But what if the belly was already upset BEFORE?

Sometimes a dog can eat things that are not food because they’re trying to fix their already unhappy belly.

For example, even though not listed as a common breed-specific health issue, according to one study, collies have an increased relative risk of chronic pancreatitis. So Julie’s dad has a bit more work to do in figuring out why she figured that eating rocks was a good idea in the first place.

Categories: ConditionsLoss of appetiteObstructionsPicaReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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