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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16754
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have an 8 year old Boston Terrier. She won't eat today and

Customer Question

I have an 8 year old Boston Terrier. She won't eat today and I have noticed that her appetite has been slightly off lately. On our nightly walk she decided to eat grass. This I have seen before. She eats grass, gets sick and then is normal and hungry. She was drinking alot of water lately but not today. Her temp feels normal and she does not appear to be dehydrated. Any ideas ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my apologies that you did not receive a prompt response, that is likely because your question was waiting for a response from your requested expert and the expert is not online presently.
My name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian, I'd be happy to help. I am very sorry to hear about your pup Maggie's slightly off appetite, and increased drinking lately and eating grass today.
Dogs with nausea or gastroesophageal acid reflux often eat grass or foreign material to make themselves vomit. They will often swallow repeatedly and lick things trying to soothe their nausea and acid burn. If they can rid themselves of whatever is irritating their stomach that way then all is good.
But when they are vomiting repeatedly and/or continue to be uncomfortable then we need to stop them from eating any more grass. It becomes a vicious cycle where the more they vomit the more their stomach acid burns their esophagus and the worse they feel from the grass irritating their stomach.
Possible causes of nausea and decreased appetite causing grass eating include a change in diet, dietary sensitivities or allergies, or eating things that they should not like too many fatty table scraps or garbage, bones etc. Addison's which is a poorly functioning adrenal gland is another possibility for waxing and waning vomiting and nausea. Metabolic organ failures (kidney or liver disease), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even infiltrative cancers are possible causes as well.
Has she eaten anything she should not have recently (toy pieces, bones, garbage)?
Any changes in food or treats?
Her recent increase in water consumption concerns me, that may mean that she has something more serious going on.
You can give her acid reducers to try and settle her stomach. Either:
1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one half of a 10mg tablet per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one half of a 10mg tablet per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.
These will reduce stomach acid and should help settle her stomach. These can be used long term if necessary as they are very safe.
I'd also pick up her food and water for now. A couple hours after giving one of the acid reducers I mentioned you can offer small amounts of water or ice cubes to lick. She's likely thirsty but we need to settle her stomach first.
No food for 24 hours. Small amounts of water only.
After her 24 hour food fast then start a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger (or boiled, white, skinless chicken) and 2/3 boiled white rice. Give small meals several times a day. Feed the bland diet for several days until she is eating well with no signs of nausea, then start mixing in her regular diet and slowly convert her back.
If her vomiting or nausea continues then she may need injectable medication from her veterinarian to get her stomach upset under control and diagnostic testing to look for a reason behind her symptoms.
So watch her for continued vomiting even with the acid reducers, blood in her stool or vomit or a fever (more than 103.5F rectally), a tense painful belly or lack of appetite after her food fast. If any of those occur it is time to seek hands on veterinary care.
If this has been a repeated problem for her consider whether she has been getting different treats or lots of table food, or have you been feeding a different diet?
If you go back to her original food, stop table food and treats and her nausea continues even with the acid reducers, fast and bland diet then you may wish to consider using a using a low irritant food, like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN, or a hypoallergenic food such as Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA long term. She may have a dietary allergy or a sensitive stomach. It would also be a good idea to have blood tests done as well to make sure there isn't an underlying metabolic problem like pancreatitis or Addison's disease present.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hi Mike,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Maggie. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara