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6 year old male neutered ridgeback, with history of two Type 2 mast cell tumors (which were completely removed with clear margins)

For about 4 months now, my dog will occasionally (once every 7-10 days) have a bout where he shies away from breakfast -- tail between the legs, nervous, like he really wants to eat but he thinks his bowl is poison or something. Instead, he wants to go outside and eat grass. Then in the evening, he will eat the same kibble for dinner without a second thought, and then he will be just fine for 3, or 7, or 14 days, and then same thing happens again. When such a bout of odd eating behavior occurs, I can usually hear gurgling in his stomach in the morning that is loud enough to be heard across the room.

My vet put him on a diet of some expensive Z/D hydrolized protein kibble, pro-biotics, and an antacid, as a preliminary troubleshooting step for 2 weeks, and we plan to do blood test and maybe ultrasound to check for intestinal lining swelling. On this special diet, he was doing fine for about 12 days, and then today, once again he had a bout where he was disinterested in breakfast, went out and ate some grass, and didn't want to eat any of his fancy Z/D kibble, nor his normal kibble (except he did ravenously consume yogurt). But dinner time, he gobbled it up. And I suspect tomorrow he will as usual be just fine, and will be so for another 7-10 days until another bout presents.

I know it's a shot in the dark, but I'm just curious if anyone has any ideas on what might be going on. Some interesting tidbits below. Due to the complete absence of diarrhea and vomiting, no bloody stool, and a lack of increasing severity of symptoms or onset of bouts, it doesn't seem like any of the bowel diseases or intestinal tumor diagnoses I've read, so I'm kind of stumped.

  • Never has diarrhea, just normal poops 2x a day. Never bloody stool.
  • No vomit.
  • Fecal test revealed no parasites
  • It seems to have started shortly after he was bitten by another dog 4 months ago, and received a Rx for Amoxicillin 500mg 2x/day, and Carpfroen 100mg. Coincidence? Not sure.
  • Always wants to eat dinner -- it is only breakfast that he skips
  • Constant supervision, not eating stuff he shouldn't be
  • Bouts of not eating have occurred here at home in the mountains, during a camping trip in the desert, during a road trip 1000 miles away from home: Therefore, environment doesn't seem to play a role.
 

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Hm. It does sound like he's having some sort of queasiness or stomach issue, given everything that's been ruled out by the vet.

What time is his last meal in the evening? I'm wondering if he's occasionally suffering from "so hungry he's nauseous" in the mornings. Typically I'd expect to also see some yellow bile vomits in that case, but it might be worth moving his dinner later, or giving him a pre-bed snack and see if that improves matters.
 

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If he only misses 1 meal per week, I suggest leaving things alone, unless you notice less eating or more problems. A healthy dog can do this, simply because he wants some treats, instead of dog food ... Or because he hasn't been exercising and he ate enough the previous night. So, I think your dog sounds like he's OK for now.

The gurgling on its own may be minor, simply a symptom of an empty stomach ... again this is also normal in a healthy dog eating normal food. When the dog's stomach is empty, it may be a little unsettled, so the dog may want to eat grass ... then may or may not vomit.

My current dog is 3yo and healthy and has a similar issue a few times a month. In his case, he wants dog snacks and dog condiments added to his food, instead of the dry food that I currently use. I also have this problem after a lot of training with treats ... He wants more treats ... instead of dog food.

I don't think this is an issue with your dog, based on your description.
 

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Thanks for the input, guys. I'll keep track of his eating schedule more closely and try to feed him closer to bedtime. Still planning to do an ultrasound to see if anything funny shows up, will respond with results.
 

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I totally understand wanting to do more in-depth diagnostics, given his medical history. Good luck, and I hope it's just a minor issue or a quirk!
 
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