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We just got a black lab mixed puppy from an animal shelter, and he was the most amazing thing we've ever had walk into our lives. We discovered a few days after bringing him home that he had parvo. It really took a toll on us. We had him hospitalized at the vet for 4 days, being hooked up to an IV constantly to keep fluids going. When we first got him, he weighed 7.4 lbs. Now, after almost a full recovery from the parvo, he weighs 5.2 lbs from all the fluids he lost, and refusing to eat much food at the vet's.

I'm not quite sure how I should go about feeding this puppy now. The vet gave me some medical wet dog food to give him, and told me to give him 1 tablespoon for 3 times a day, but to increase feeding as time goes on. He's kind of picky about eating, sometimes he wants to eat, sometimes he doesn't. A lot of the time, to get him to eat, we have to get down and pretend we're eating it before he'll start eating. He really needs to gain weight, so I try to feed him multiple times a day. How much wet dog food should I be feeding him in a serving, and how many times? I don't want to deprive him if he's hungry, so I try to leave fresh food out for him all of the time. I also don't want to overfeed him, but he really needs the nutrition! A lot of the time he eats ravenounsly, as if he hasn't eaten in days, even when he's had food available to him all day.

Also, he doesn't seem to want to drink from a water dish. To get him to drink, we have to put a lot of water in his wet food. He seems to like drinking the broth it gives from the food. He rarely ever goes to the water dish. Is there anything I can do about this? If he's not getting enough fluids, we have to give him a pedialyte/water mixture from a syringe. I hate doing this, but he just got over parvo; we have to make sure he's always hydrated at this time.

Our dog also seems to REALLY hate his kennel. I know a lot of people say, "just ignore him, that's the best thing." But really, ignoring him isn't seeming to help at all. I never really know whether he has to use the bathroom or if he's just whining to be whining since he's a pup. I try to make him go potty always before entering the cage, but how can I know if he really has to go or not? Last night, after I had put him in the crate, I gave him a treat to try and show him when you enter the kennel, you get treats, it's a good place. I also heard it's not good to force the puppy into the crate, but when it's nighttime, we can't let him roam around the house; we live in an apartment. After giving him the treat, he snatched it out of my hand so fast, he seemed like he was starving! I couldn't understand this because we fed him multiple times during the day, and just a little earlier before we put him in his crate. I let him out, thinking he was starving, and gave him some food to eat. Was this wrong?
 

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The vet said he was around 6 weeks when we brought him in, so now we figure he's about 7 weeks. The shelter we got him from didn't have any information on him, so we had to estimate his age.
 

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1st thing, I don't see a problem with you adding water to his food. If he's thirsty, he'll go and drink from the water dish. Shouldn't be a problem as long as he knows where to find it.

Secondly..... please, if you want this dog to be crate trained.. IGNORE him when he's making a fuss in there! Before you put him in for the night, bring him out for a walk. If he's unwilling to pee in one spot, don't just leave him in your yard to wait for him to pee and poop. Puppies will always, always eliminate when they are walked. The further you walk, the more likely they are to empty their bladders and bowels. Once he's done both, you can bring him back, and put him in a crate with his favourite toy, some treats or something. Then, if he whines, ignore him.

This is really the easiest way to get a puppy used to its crate. If he wakes up in the middle of the night and whines, then that's the time to bring him out to let him pee. After he's done that, put him straight back to the crate... and ignore any whining he does after that.

Also, he probably IS starving.. 3 tablespoons a day of food for a pup who used to weigh 7lbs (and probably more now) is very little food. Listen to the instructions your vet gave you, though. Once he's all recovered, you can start to feed him the amount that is recommended by the kibble bag, back of the can etc.
 

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Look at it this way...for the last week every time he tried to eat or drink he got nauseous, got cramps, had diarrhea...it will take some time for both his body and his mind to readjust to the pleasantries of food and water. He's also been in the hospital in a kennel. So the associations with all these things has not been pleasant.

I can only say what I would do:
Put the crate in the bedroom (if it's not already there) and set up an xpen fence around it so he can come and go, put down a floor of something if you have carpet in there.

Feed and water the pup in or near the crate as much as possible. Once he's starting to feel better get out the GOOD treats (roast beef, chicken, etc) and start luring him into the crate, feed IN the crate and then release him to come back out (not closing the door). Then use the hand the way you would with the lure but without the food in it and reward AFTER he's in. Release etc. You are buidling up to a cue that will let him go in on his own and then be rewarded. Then gradually build up the time between the cue and the reward, then work on shutting the door for couple of seconds etc. I had to recently retrain Cracker to a kennel and she did NOT want to use it. Within a couple of sessions of rewarding and clicker shaping she now voluntarily goes in it at night to sleep.

Also, keep in mind that at 7 weeks this pup SHOULD still be with mom and littermates and a lot of the crying and screaming is based on natural instinct not to be abandoned. This will take time and your proximity (hence being in the bedroom) to overcome and yes, you will likely have some sleepness nights for a while, during which time his bodily functions will start to mature and his neediness should diminish.

As for feeding, several times a day (maybe more than three) give him a little bit of wet food and water and then take it away. Do this as frequently as you can and see how it goes. Don't leave food out all the time, wet food gets gross very quickly and you also do not want a free feeding lab, behaviourally in the long run, scheduled meals are best. A slow gain is best, easier on his system.

GOod luck and keep us up to date on him.
 

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Most food packages have recommendations on them. They are good starting points, but many dogs need significantly more or less. At that age, I would be feeding 1 1/2 - 2 cups dry. Canned would be much higher due to the water.

He may have had a bad experience being shut up in a cage too long. As long as you don't leave him over 4-5 hours at a time, he should adjust before long. At bed time, with a new puppy, I have found lying down in front of the crate like you were going to sleep and speaking softly to it, or singing, until it settles down and goes to sleep works very well. Follow the pattern, a period of active play, outside to eliminate, and then into the crate.
 
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