Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating
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Thread: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

  1. #1
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    Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    My elderly toy poodle is having difficulty getting food into his mouth. I often feed him a wet, store-bought, mushy beef and liver blend. He attacks his food voraciously, but very little food seems to make its way into his mouth and down his throat.

    When he was younger, he would eat more slowly and take big bites. Now he pushes the food with his snout, and takes small rapid bites. He doesn't open his mouth as widely as he used to when digging into his food.

    He is missing his small front teeth between the canines, which I think makes it harder for him to scoop food up. He still has most of the rest of his teeth, except for some very small ones between the canine teeth and molars.

    Any insight or tips would be greatly appreciated. The poor guy is losing a lot of weight. Is there a way to help with this or will I have to force-feed him with a syringe.eyedropper?

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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    You should probably take him to the vet to have his teeth and mouth checked. Sometimes dogs have trouble eating when they have a painful mouth. Once you rule out pain or another medical condition, you can go from there.

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    Senior Member sydneynicole's Avatar
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    Re: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    I agree that you should have the vet look at his teeth, mouth, jaw.

    Before jumping to force-feeding, I'd probably try switching to a raw mix (complete mix with all vitamins/minerals) and rolling it into little balls and hand feeding him. Or if you chill the wet food in the fridge, it may become a consistency that you can roll it into balls or feed him chunks, so he doesn't have to get the food out of the bowl - you are feeding it to him like you would a treat. Another option would be multivitamin tabs that you can stuff in some sort of cooked meat like chicken or ground beef, etc so he still gets his nutrients but you can easily hand feed him.

    My other thought is perhaps watering down his wet food enough that he can lap it up, but not confident this will work all that well.
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    Re: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    Thank you for your responses. He has been to the vet.

    I have tried hand feeding little bits and balls of food many times. He starts out well and is eager to eat. A lot of the food spills out of his mouth though if he has to chew it. The bigger problem is that he starts refusing the food fairly quickly.

    Today, I tried watering his food down until it was like a bean soup. He lapped it up quite eagerly, but still didn't eat as much as I hoped for. I am going to try giving him more watery food later tonight. My worry is that he will wind up filling up on water rather than his food.

    From what I can discern, he finds it easier to pick up chunky food but then has problems chewing it. Conversely, he finds it hard to get soft food in his mouth but can swallow it more easily. I have been trying different consistencies to address this problem, but haven't found the right balance yet.

  7. #5
    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    Might be a matter of arthritis or injury in his jaw.

    If that's the case, the answer is as simple as inexpensive medication.

    FROM THE VET.
    Once In A Lifetime Kinda Girl (Kylie) NAC, TN-N, OAC, TG-N, NJC, WV-N, EAC, TG-O, OJC, TG-E, NCC, TN-O, TN-E, WV-O, EJC, OCC, O-TG-E, O-JC-E, O-EAC, O-NCC, S-NCC, S-TG-E
    Odds Are (Molly): IAC, NAC, WV-N, TN-N, NJC, TN-O, WV-O, NCC, TN-E, OAC, OJC
    Mr. Fahrenheit (Kiran): NAC, NJC, TN-N,TG-N Canis Magnus (X2)

  8. #6
    Senior Member sydneynicole's Avatar
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    Re: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    What did the vet say his problem is? It may help people give you advice.
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    Re: Senior dog getting very little food into mouth when eating

    Quote Originally Posted by sydneynicole View Post
    What did the vet say his problem is? It may help people give you advice.
    Both vets I took him to attributed his problems to his extreme age. One vet said his teeth looked very good for a dog of that age, but that was only from physically examining them.

    He has gastrointestinal problems, particularly with his rectum and anus. He had impacted anal glands which are now ok. His anus is still inflamed though, and he yowls when expressing stool. He is quiet immediately afterward.

    He has a great appetite and and drinks lots of water. Unfortunately, although he attacks his food with great gusto, he stops eating too quickly.

    Last night, I put his watered down food in a small, shallow, rectangular tupperware container and held it near his mouth for him. That worked very well, and he ate much more than usual. I think being able to touch the bottom of the container somehow makes it easier for him to get the food in his mouth.

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