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My dog refuses dog food


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Just joined this forum and am looking for some advice please.

My Romanian JackChi, Rudi, has been with me for 7 years (he's 9 but vet seems to think he is more like 12/13). Rudi has had a lot of health problems of which the latest is liver disease causing hepatic encephalopathy. This meant he was literally on deaths doorstep six months ago. I had to change his diet so he didn't have any of the wrong type of protein.

Rudi was so poorly, and wasn't eating anything. The vet said he doesn't have long left so just give him whatever he'll eat. I started giving him human food I know he likes as he'd lost a lot of weight. Eggs, salmon, cream cheese, rice, pasta, pork etc.

Rudi takes antibiotics and steroids long term to manage the liver disease but the problem I have now is that he is bored with the human food. What he likes one day he won't eat again and I end up cooking lots of different meals until he'll eat. I've tried dog food again; he point blank refuses wet and dry food but will eat raw food sometimes.

I am literally at my wits end of how to get Rudi to eat and it's really getting me down because I worry that I've made a rod for my own back by giving him human food despite this being the vet advice. I just want him to eat a balanced diet.

He seems pretty stable on the medication and doesn't display the hepatic encephalopathy symptoms. He cannot have anything chicken based as that's the wrong type of protein. I've ordered some meals from "different dog" to try but just really want him to eat dog food without pestering me for human food that I cook/make that he won't eat.

I've spoken to the vet but they are not concerned because he's not losing weight.

Can anyone help please?
I'm so sorry to hear about your problem, I know what a worry some of our pets are.

Are you trying to get your little chap to eat more than he really requires?
Is he hungry enough to eat what he is given and when it is given. Probably not!

We all look towards our vets for advice, but our dogs diet is not one of a vets qualified profession. Vets have very little or NO training from a qualified canine nutritionist and are not the best to ask for advice on nutrition.
Please find the time to read my attachment. Myths About Raw: Is my vet really qualified to be giving nutritional advice?

Do try to find a "Raw feeding" vet or a Holistic vet who very often have a lot more knowledge and often personal experience in correct feeding for our canine pets.
Look for "Nick Thomson" for great advice.

Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I think Rudi is hungry enough to eat because he will go days without eating a proper meal and he pesters me for food.

I have had specialist dog nutrition advice and recipes which I have tried. Rudi ate them once or twice but after that he turned his nose up at them. I end up throwing so much food away which I hate doing for obvious reasons.

I suppose what Rudi has is maybe a behaviour issue because who wants to go back to dog food when they've had top notch decent human food?
Another vote for Nick. He wears his knowledge lightly, but he really knows a lot. Really nice approachable chap, too.

It isn't a behaviour issue. He's poorly and has little appetite. Liver issues (I've had them too) make it really unpleasant to eat anything. He's also an old dog.

There's nothing wrong with giving dogs the food they enjoy, so don't beat yourself up about that. Food specially for dogs is a modern concept. And think - we don't eat things we don't like either.
Thank you very much Hemlock.

I will try and find Nick Thomson's contact details so I can have a chat with him.

So sorry to hear that you've been struggling with a fussy eater. It's possible that your dog has some imbalance in their gut bacteria that is causing them to be fussy eaters. Your dog may be trying to tell you something - that what is in their bowl is not exactly what suits their overall health!

Also I have to say - regular antibiotics are probably causing Rudi's gut to be completely wiped of bacteria, therefore resulting in fussy eating...

You may want to do a gut microbiome test for your dog to check up if everything is ok - its a quick at-home poop test. You can check out "Treat Therapeutics" in the UK for this kind of test. We offer actionable insights and one on one consultations to help you with what to do next. We've had some great success with similarly fussy dogs in the past.

Source: I'm a microbiome researcher at Treat Therapeutics:)
Hello AMJ - this just popped up in new posts, and I wondered if you had looked at the website All About Dog Food?

I found the site ever so useful for my little JRT/CSCS cross as she also has liver problems and pancreatitis, with Alk Phos rates off the scale - that was 4 years ago, and she is still with us, age 13 and as bonkers as ever! The site lets you sort different brands by ingredients, and through it, I found Natural Instinct Raw Special Diet, which she has been on ever since.

Also wondered if your vet mentioned Denmarin tablets? They are non-prescription, but my vet recommended them (they are basically milk thistle) and they seem to help too.

Another shout out for Nick Thomson too. Have been to his seminars and he is really, really good.

Good luck with your little dog.

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