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How to Get Your Older Dog to Eat

There are a few things that you have to take into consideration when determining how to get your older dog to eat. Chances are that if you’re reading this article then you’re struggling with how to encourage your old friend to eat or stimulate his or her appetite.

Why is my elderly dog not eating?

There are many reasons that can cause an older dog to stop eating:

  • Disease or illness should be your first suspicion.
  • Bad teeth – If you don’t clean your dog’s teeth regularly, your dog could be in a great deal of pain due to periodontal problems. Abscessed teeth and bacteria under the gum line can go to your dog’s heart quickly and also be deadly. Learn how to naturally and easily clean your dogs teeth without brushing here.
  • Pain can be a big problem. Just like us; when we’re in pain, we don’t feel much like eating.
  •  Dogs DO get depressed. Consider including a Hemp aka CBD Oil to help with nervousness or anxiety and exercise your dog daily!
  • Poor, unhealthy food choices. Your dog was  and NEVER will be meant to live on kibble. Ever. For any dog to thrive, they must be fed the appropriate diet for their genetic makeup.

Here’s a few helpful natural remedies you can do yourself right at home:

how to get your older dog to eat

Like the human body, your dog’s entire body thrives off of water.

This means that every part of your dog’s body including his or her brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and skin are affected by the dog’s level of hydration.

Don’t assume that your dog drinks what he needs. They are much like us. Humans that are sick are almost always dehydrated.

However, we realize that the old cliche “you can lead a horse to water, but not make him drink” holds true.

But, this is where you come in by following the recommendations here on our page. When your dog is fully hydrated, this means he will have higher energy levels, better skin, a healthy cardiovascular system and renal system and more.

Dehydration is a BIG Problem

Dogs that are extremely sick to the point of not eating on their own are likely dehydrated. Your starting point should be to hydrate your old friend.

Regardless whether your dog is drinking water or not or if he seems to pass the dehydration skin test; many of these animals are still dehydrated and lacking nutritional vitamins and minerals.

We can help in this area which requires more than just water. Many of the dogs we work with show improvement quickly. Please reach out to us at the link further down the page where we discuss personal consultations.

Ideas to Stimulate Your Old Dog’s Appetite and Get Your Older Dog to Eat

old dog that won't eat

The following ideas may help. However, if your dog is suffering from a serious disease such as liver disease, cancer, etc., these recommendations may not work and specific nutritional guidance is often needed in the form of private consulting.

If you feel that you fall into this category, please scroll to the bottom of the page for additional information on how to move forward with a private consultation.

What can I feed an old dog that won’t eat?

  1. Food variety:  Your dog was never meant to eat the same thing day in and day out. This completely goes against nature. You have to provide variety and variety in the form of real, whole foods and proteins. NOT dog foods or prescription dog foods. Our cookbook may help. The recipes are made using limited ingredients for easier digestion. You can learn more here.
  2. The stinkier the better: Dogs LOVE stinky things. With this in mind, try enticing your pet with something such as a GREEN tripe (NOT WHITE) or sardines packed in water (drained).
  3. Missing minerals:  Despite what you read, there are only a few examples of when a dog doesn’t need a little salt in the diet. Dogs with heart or liver issues should avoid. Other than that, your dog requires sodium in the diet just like you do. Use common sense. You don’t want it to be too salty, but enough to give some light flavor and nutritional value. If you’re currently homecooking, you should also be including calcium daily.
  4. Feed their meals warm. NEVER cold right from the fridge. Just like you, they prefer it warm.
  5. They have to eat: With this in mind, there may come a time that you have to feed your dog whatever he or she will eat. At this point, carbs may make a difference. This can be scary, especially if your dog has cancer. The key is to provide more protein than carbs while getting your dog to eat.

Appetite Stimulants You Can Purchase

It’s important to understand that for best results these stimulants should be used in conjuction with a healthy, home cooked diet and NOT dog foods or prescription diets.

  • Just like it works for depression & anxiety, Hemp aka CBD Oil is used by many holistic, herbal professionals to successfully stimulate the appetite in people and pets. Learn more about Hemp here.
  • Agatha’s Elixer contains some excellent ingredients that stimulate the appetite, boost the immune system and detox the liver.

The Effect that Your Dog’s pH Balance Has on His Appetite & Health

how to restore pH balance in dogs

If you’re already feeding a healthy home made diet for your dog and you’re dog no longer wants to eat, then you should suspect that it could be something serious.

Assuming that you’ve taken your old dog to the vet and they’ve given your pet a diagnosis (or maybe not) of kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, pancreatitis, etc.,  please consider contacting us to so that we can help restore your dog’s pH balance in the body. We do this using FOOD. Understand that we are not giving medical advice, instead providing nutritional help.

Your dog’s body works to carefully monitor the pH levels of blood and other bodily fluids. When your old dog is sick and won’t eat, this means the body is either too acidic or too alkaline. In order to overcome any sickness, healthy pH levels are a must for your senior dog. Disease and sickness are typically secondary to unhealthy pH levels in a dog’s body.

Urine pH determines whether the food your dog is eating is working or not. Karen Becker, DVM says that normal healthy urine pH for dogs is between 6 – 6.5 which is just slightly acidic and good for dogs.

It’s critical to keep your dog’s urine pH around 6.5 and always below 7.0 to avoid the urine becoming too alkaline and cause the development of struvite crystals. To complicate things even more, a pH below 6 can cause calcium oxalate stones.

Dog’s that eat dry dog foods and especially grain based diets are at a higher risk of the dog’s urine becoming too alkaline. These foods also cause urine concentration and ammonia pH to escalate as well.

So, you see why it’s important to understand your senior dog’s pH levels and where they stand. Your dog cannot heal from anything when the pH in the body is out of whack. If your old dog is sick and not eating, then he or she needs help right away.

You can purchase strips from your pharmacy and test your dog’s urine at home so that you know where your dog’s pH levels are, however, this won’t help the immediate situation.


Setting up a Private Consultation

We work with many older dogs on a regular basis and we simply ask that you make a contribution to our website to help us spend the time it takes to help you.

The suggested contribution is $50-$100 for the personal consultation.

You can read a few of our many testimonials below. If you decide that you would like a personal consultation, please Contact us here.

In order to give you the best consultation we can, we need vital information from you. PLEASE take the time to provide the following details.

While we don’t want you to write a book, we do need to know certain details that impact your dog’s overall health.

Copy and past the following questions into the form on our contact page listed above and place your answers below each question please.

  • How old is your dog?
  • Do you exercise your dog?
  • What have you been feeding your dog through out his life?
  • What was/is your dog’s latest diet?
  • What treats do you feed?
  • Has your dog been diagnosed with a disease? If yes, what?
  • Is your dog arthritic?
  • What symptoms does your dog have?
  • When did you last vaccinate your dog?
  • What did you last vaccinate for?
  • How often have you vaccinated this dog?
  • What product or protocol do you use to treat fleas and ticks and how often?
  • Are you willing to feed a home cooked diet?
  • Are you willing to include some supplements if necessary?

A few testimonials from happy dogs and happy owners … 

I have to tell you your recipes are working. Lizzie won’t eat food out of her bowl but after we gave it to her in a syringe, she decided she liked it and was licking it off a spoon! So glad I found you.Julie9/20/19


Hi Janie, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all of your diet and supplement advice for my fourteen year old dachshund, Buddy.  He was basically dying from his liver disease when I contacted you a month ago. Buddy was suffering from hepatic encephalopathy and my vet had not given much hope for him to survive. The prescription food he prescribed seemed to make the symptoms worse and when it looked like I was going to lose him, I decided to make some homemade chicken and rice to feed him for what looked like his last few days to live.When I started to feed him the chicken and rice he started to improve and that is when I started to search for answers about natural homemade diet for him. I found your recipes online and decided to contact you for diet advice. The plan you recommended has given miraculous results for Buddy and he has improved each day since starting it. I have also learned to recognize when a certain food is not working for him. I will admit I was skeptical when I started the hydration diet and hydration therapy but the results have been amazing! I wish I had learned about the amazing benefits of a natural diet many years ago. Buddy is so much more energetic and the hepatic encephalopathy symptoms have completely stopped. I can never thank you enough for all of the time you have taken to help our Buddy.Kindest regards,Kathy Hamilton8/7/19


Hi Janie:

I am cooking your recipes for Speedy and actually just recently started cooking for all of them. It has made a world of difference!

T. Culley
12/7/18


I contacted Janie in hopes for help to know what to do for our little Kinsler who was diagnosed with Stage 3 Kidney Failure. She immediately offered help for Kinsler. At that time he was not eating and Janie suggested a quick solution of whole foods. I had a time getting the greens down him, but it worked!

He is now eating everyday!

B. Bradford
10/4/17

Note: Please note that we no longer respond to questions in the comment section of our blog. If you have any queries regarding the blog content please contact us through our contact form here Contact Us.