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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a German Shepherd, male, perhaps 6 years old -- not sure, as he's a rescue dog. I've had him about 2.5 years.

We got him from a person who found him on the street, nearly too hungry to walk -- she had him for a couple of weeks, but couldn't keep him. For the first 18 months or so, he'd eat anything, but finally regained weight. He was healthy and happy.

Then he started getting picky about what he'd eat. I tried lots of different brands of food from low-end to high-end. Seemed like the more expensive, the less likely he was to eat it. There was only one brand I found that he'd consistently eat, Super Perro (I'm living in Costa Rica), and I'll add some info on this brand, below.

I tried adding some canned dog food, but he didn't like that at all. I started mixing in bits of hamburger, chicken innards, scraps of sausage, or sliced turkey, and he will eat then. Just needs a bit to get him started. Without it, he will lie with his paws on either side of his bowl and just look at me and, no matter how hungry, he won't eat.

Lately he acts like he's hungry all the time. He pants and whines a little, and has a lot of saliva. He keeps licking his lips. He acts like he's in distress. Often I can hear his stomach rumbling. I gave him some anti-worm meds, but that doesn't seem to be the problem. His bowel movements look normal to me, and he usually has 1 sometimes 2 a day. I usually check them to make sure no worms, eggs. etc. He's a bit over weight, and should probably loose some as he has hip problems.

I fed him 3 times yesterday. Right now it's 2:45 AM, and I woke up to hear him whining more than usual. He's panting and licking his lips, but won' t eat a bowl of dry food. He's alert and just went outside to pee.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Any suggestions would be a help.
Thank you,


Super Perro with BioPlus
Recommended portion for 48 kg+ is 800 grams + 25 g. for each additional 5 kg.

Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, beef and bone meal, ground rice, wheat middlings, soybean meal, chicken meal, animal fat, salt, vitamins, etc...

Guaranteed Analysis: Moisture not more than 12%, Crude protein not less than 21%, Crude fat not less than 8%, Crude fiber not more than 3%, Digestible energy not less than 3000 kcal / kg.
 

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When was he to the vet last? It could be so many things. To me the panting sounds pain related which would cause him to not want to eat. Hip pain or oral pain could be a couple of the causes. If he were mine he would get a good exam from a vet to rule out medical issues. Good luck and let us know how he is doing.
 

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That food is extremely low-quality, but I guess if that's all he'll eat you might be stuck with it. Ideally you should find a food with a named meat (such as chicken or beef, not just "meat") as the first ingredient, and no corn, soy, or wheat. But again, if he won't eat a better food I suppose that's all you can do.

If he's overweight than obviously he's eating too much. Maybe he's just trying to self-regulate his food intake? Most dog I know whose owners are worried about them not eating are like that. Personally, I wouldn't add anything to his food (actually, if I was stuck with a crummy food like that I would add some meat) or fuss over him not eating. I would offer the appropriate amount of food at a meal time, then if it's not eaten quickly I would pick it up and not offer it again until the next meal time. Unless there's something really truly wrong with him, he won't starve himself. (Of course, if a dog is sick I would add things to tempt him to eat, to keep his strength up)

The tummy rumbling, panting, and lip licking are probably unrelated to the food situation. Lip licking is usually caused by nausea, and panting can be caused by pain/discomfort. Please take him to the vet as soon as you can, there could be something seriously wrong inside.
 

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He needs to see a vet. The panting, lip licking is a sign of a problem. Could be teeth problems, or something else.

Have you tried feeding him from a raised surface/hand feeding? Will he eat then? Sometimes older dogs get arthritis in their necks that makes bending down to eat painful. If he is overweight, he may have arthritis. That can be painful, and could cause panting, signs of distress.
 

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He needs to see a vet. The panting, lip licking is a sign of a problem. Could be teeth problems, or something else.
Agreed, he needs to see a vet. The panting/drooling along with not wanting to eat sounds like a problem, possibly a tooth problem. Also, 3x a day for an adult dog is too much IMO, unless your vet specifically told you to do that for some reason or another. I feed mine once a day, if they don't eat then they get to skip. A skipped meal or two never killed anyone. :) If, after you take him to the vet and rule out any issues, he still won't eat, I would chalk it up to him being picky. Here's what I would do for that: serve up his meal, let him have it for 15 minutes. If he hasn't eaten in that time period, pick the food up. Don't give him anything until his next meal. no snacks, no treats, and don't try to coax him into eating his meal. Also, adding scraps to his food to get him to eat is just going to spoil him, if you want to give him scraps I would recommend feeding them separate. Make sure you figure them into his daily caloric needs though. For example, let's say that he needs 1,000 calories per day. The scraps you feed him make up 500 calories total, so you will want to reduce his kibble amount by 500 cals. That make sense?

Also you might consider switching to a different food, that particular one is pretty awful. Try finding something with a meat (chicken, lamb, etc.) meal as the first ingredient, preferably it should be the first 2 or 3 ingredients. Corn free is nice too. Switching his food to something better would probably help him lose a few pounds, especially if you combine that with reduced portions and appropriate exercise.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, thank you all for all the responses. I'll take him to the vet and post a follow up.
Cheers,
 
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