The Most Dog Friendly Community Online
Join Dog Forum to Discuss Breeds, Training, Food and More

Managing appetite and expectations

JudyN

Moderator
Moderator
Registered
Messages
7,845
Reaction score
9,531
Points
113

Join our free community today.

Connect with other like-minded dog lovers!

Login or Register
Jasper has always whined for his tea well before it's due, but he's starting earlier, and getting more persistent. This could just be because his dementia makes him generally more unsettled, but I've read that gabapentin can increase appetite.

Also, I've been giving him his gabapentin mixed in a small amount of Lily's Kitchen. He gets an evening dose, and I've been giving him one in the early afternoon if his anxiety seems to spike. I think when he whines earlier in the day, he might just be doing it in the hope that he'll get a dose of Lily's Kitchen.

Any suggestions for how to deal with his appetite, please? I don't want him to put on weight as it'll put extra strain on his joints, and I can't give him long-lasting chews/bones because of his guarding. I could try games/distraction, but they'd only work if they resulted in an endless stream of treats. Splitting his food into three meals might help, but he's supposed to have one of his meds twice a day (currently midday and 10pm) on an empty stomach.

It is just possible that this is not all about appetite - sometimes he'll whinge incessantly for ages, not getting up when I suggest he does, and then finally go for a wee or to get a drink of water and then settle down peacefully again:confused: So feel free to brainstorm any strategies that might help!
 
I've no experience of gabapentin, so don't know if it increases appetite, but I suspect the beginnings of dementia might. "I want my dinner" "You've had your dinner" HAVE I?"

I'm inclined to go with the art of the possible i.e. a small amount of food as a third meal. Dogs' digestions are very quick from stomach to gut, and in all probability his stomach will be empty for each dose of gaba. If not, well, its better imo for the drug to be marginally less effective because of a small amount of food, and having a contented dog. Or at least one that doesn't think he's starving.

Others might have better advice, but that's what I'd do.
 
Thanks Hemlock. I'll need to think about meal timings carefully, or I can see him thinking that any time is a potential meal/snack time. Or if I introduce another meal he'll start whining for that an hour before it's due, as well as for his normal meals! Quite possibly he's so used to anticipating mealtimes he'd whine for them even if he's not that hungry, and the anxiety of dementia makes it seem more imperative that they turn up.

Thinking further... previously, when it's getting on for walkies time he'd whinge, then when he saw I was getting ready he'd settle down and wait patiently until I opened the door. Now, once he sees me getting ready it's bark, bark, bark... Quite possibly crying for his tea is driven by a similar anxiety rather than appetite.
 
It is so difficult to judge with dementia, I would go with what hemlock suggests re splitting the meals if poss. I found with Jake that he'd have his meal, then wander out of the kitchen, come back in and look at his bowl and me as if to say 'it's meal time, where is it?!', it was like he'd completely forgotten he'd just eaten. But then so long as I was not in the kitchen he'd wander off again!.. Though it was a bit easier with him because he was never quite as vocal as Jasper which I can imagine makes it more distressing for you too:(

I also think at this stage it is about reducing anxiety and aiding him to settle as much as possible, which again I do realize is difficult. You could always give him extra meals of mainly steamed veg with maybe just a small spoonful of raw mince, then he'll feel like he's eaten a decent bowl of food but without the calories.. presuming he'll eat veg that is!!:confused:

I just wanted to add too that it could be, like you suggested, that he just doesn't know what he wants, but he knows he needs/wants something... With Jake I also found that he'd 'forget' to toilet when we were out on a short walk or the hundred times he'd be in and out of garden, he'd just go when his body physically needed to go, thankfully only solids and never wees strangely...
 
Last edited:
I found with Jake that he'd have his meal, then wander out of the kitchen, come back in and look at his bowl and me as if to say 'it's meal time, where is it?!', it was like he'd completely forgotten he'd just eaten.

When my MIL developed early dementia, she did the same with wine! FIL rang his daugher one evening, thinking MIL had had a stroke as she'd 'gone all funny', but it turned out that she'd had her 'just one glass' of wine several times:D

I'm still concerned that the more often I feed him, the more time he'll spend thinking that it must be mealtime, whether he's hungry or not, but I agree, the main thing is to keep him happy - I'm sort of regarding myself as a full-time carer now. And if he does gain a bit of weight, even if it does ultimately shorten his life, at least he'll have enjoyed the extra food.

I need to do more sniffy games, I think, like a handful of kibble scattered round the garden. The weather's getting better now, which helps.
 
When my MIL developed early dementia, she did the same with wine! FIL rang his daugher one evening, thinking MIL had had a stroke as she'd 'gone all funny', but it turned out that she'd had her 'just one glass' of wine several times:D

I'm still concerned that the more often I feed him, the more time he'll spend thinking that it must be mealtime, whether he's hungry or not, but I agree, the main thing is to keep him happy - I'm sort of regarding myself as a full-time carer now. And if he does gain a bit of weight, even if it does ultimately shorten his life, at least he'll have enjoyed the extra food.

I need to do more sniffy games, I think, like a handful of kibble scattered round the garden. The weather's getting better now, which helps.
 
I think mine has got it to I put him on aktivate seems to help him (14 years young)
 

Welcome to Dog Forum!

Join our vibrant online community dedicated to all things canine. Whether you're a seasoned owner or new to the world of dogs, our forum is your go-to hub for sharing stories, seeking advice, and connecting with fellow dog lovers. From training tips to health concerns, we cover it all. Register now and unleash the full potential of your dog-loving experience!

Login or Register
Back
Top