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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21222
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 7 week old puppy bear is not eating. He is drinking water

Customer Question

Hello, my 7 week old puppy bear is not eating. He is drinking water and I had to feed him puppy formula with an oral syringe which he threw up within the hour. I tried giving him nutrical but to no avail. Also tried blue wilderness soft canned food and
he was disinterested. Any idea what could be causing this? He just keeps coming to lay by me and will drink occasionally. Thanks!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has he had these signs?
Can he keep water down?
Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?
Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?
Has he had any diarrhea?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've only noticed it since yesterday evening after I got home from work. He can keep water down and his gums are pinkish /black. No tummy tenderness and he is kept away from anything toxic. He is peeing normally and had a normal bowel movement this morning. No diarrhea. He has been a little lethargic but I think that's only because he hasn't been able to keep any food down. Any idea what could be causing the symptoms?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
Now based on Bear's signs, we can appreciate that his lack of appetite and inability to keep food down is a sign that he is suffering with significant nausea. In regards ***** ***** causes for both these signs, we’d have to consider bacterial infection, viral disease, pancreatitis, dietary indiscretion, and toxin and/or foreign material ingestion.
Now since the last 2 are less likely for Bear and he can keep water down, there are some options you can try at home. If it has been a few hours since his last vomit (else we'd want to rest his stomach for a few hours first), you can consider treating him with an antacid to settle his stomach. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to use are:
*Pepcid (More Info/Dose @
*Zantac (More Info/Dose @
* Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @
These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your wee one has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Once that has had time to absorb, you can consider starting him on a light/easily digestible diet. If you do so, start with a small volume (a spoonful) to start. Examples would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). When you offer that spoonful, give him 30 minutes to settle. If he keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. The aim of the easily digestible diet is that it will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until he is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.
Since GI issues like this can quickly dehydrate a pup, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check his hydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE ( If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, since he is older, then you do want to have him seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for him.
If you are concerned that he is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage him to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Of course, since we have such vomiting, do make sure not to try to syringe feed food or fluids since this can actually make them vomit even more.
Overall, Bear’s signs are highly suggestive of severe nausea, but the challenge is that it can mean a wide range of underlying issues. Therefore, in this case, we’d want to try resting his stomach now and starting supportive care to see if we can settle his stomach and get him back to eating for you. But if you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (or he cannot even keep the above down) then it would be best follow up with his vet so that they can make sure there is nothing sinister afoot. The vet will be able to have a feel of his belly to make sure there are no hints of pancreatitis, infection, or any signs of something present that should not be. Depending on their findings, the vet will be able to cover him with antibiotics and anti-nausea/vomiting medication by injection to help settle his stomach and get him back on track as quick as possible.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
As of today Bear doesn't appear to be eating or drinking at all, he has pooped once, and peed maybe 2 or 3 times. The only way I have been able to get him to drink is by pretending the oral syringe is a bottle or momma dog. He doesn't willingly drink, so I'll give him a milliliter slowly, wait a minute, then give him another.....I couldn't get him to eat broth, food or wet canned food yesterday other than putting some on my finger and letting him try and lick it off....I'm concerned because he appeared to have a seizure yesterday in which he cried and had no control over his legs...we are taking him to the vet tomorrow as I'm worried he may have somehow contracted distemper and we were getting his shot for distemper at 8 weeks which is this Thursday. Today I used my vitamix to make a type of liquid meal for him with science diet ground chicken, water and some children's pedialyte which I had to feed him with the oral syringe over the course of an hour. I am going to try and feed him again in an hour or so, he has not thrown up or had diarrhea so I'm really concerned maybe his internal functions are not completely working which is why he hasn't gone to the bathroom. He is losing his strength he had yesterday and at this point I'm hoping he makes it through the night. Does distemper cause a puppy to deteriorate that quickly? Is there something else that can cause this? I'm really worried about him...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't know if these pictures will help but here is a picture of his gums, face and body.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your help yesterday, Bear ended up passing away in my hands about a half hour ago.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
I am so sorry to hear that he has passed. I have looked back at your photos that I have just seen and he did look quite wasted and collapsed. So, I am concerned that we may have had suddenly onsetting severe nasty viral infection like distemper for wee Bear.
Please take care & my thoughts are with you,
Dr. B.