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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20927
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 11 year old German Shepherd stopped eating about 2 days.

Customer Question

My 11 year old German Shepherd stopped eating about 2 days. She is still drinking lots of water. I came home from work today and she greeted me with extremely slow walking, head down, ears back, and tail tucked between her legs. I'd been at work for 9 hours as usual and could not get her to go outside. Finally after a total of 13 hours of her not going goutside I forced her out but had to take her for a car ride and a walk so she would go to the bathroom. She's just been continuously laying in the same spot. As of 3 am her breathing has become heavy with groans here and there. And then just a few minutes ago she started whining pretty loud. It's 4 am on Thanksgiving morning and I don't know what to do! Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Has she had any gagging, retching, lip licking or vomiting?

Is she spayed?

Are her gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly,does she have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Could she have eaten something she should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Since you reported breathing changes, can you take a breathing rate for me (just count her breaths for 10 seconds +multiply that by 6)?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No gagging, lip link no or vomiting. She is spayed. Her gums are punk and moist. No reaction or signs of discomfort when I press on the stomach and surrounding areas. I keep everything free and clear of her getting into anything that could be harmful. I'm 100 percent sure she didn't get into anything. The heavy breathing is currently off and on. At the moment I am unable to count since the breathing has become much more relaxed but she did just start the high pitched squeling/whining for a few seconds again. She stops when I put my hand on her and talk. She has readjusted herself on her pillows a few times now and is holding her head up.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did have a flea issue recently where she had hot spots. But I have the issue taken care of now. What's left is scabs from the hot spots healing up. I didn't know if this had anything to do with it.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

First, I am glad to hear that her gums are pink and that a risk of foreign body being lodged is a lesser concern here. And just to note, fleas/hot spots won't be an issue triggering this.

Though is she on any medications for that just now?

Do you think her breathing rate is more than 30 breaths in a minute?

Is there anything that happens before she cries? Do you think she is moving into an uncomfortable position?

Was the increased drinking only since her appetite loss?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is not on any medications. I would say when she was doing the heavy breathing that it was most definitely more than 30 breaths a minute. It's very normal breathing now but every so often has gone back into fast heavy breathing. And as for the whining/whimpering she is usually laying in what seems to be a comfortable position and with out moving the whining comes out, then she lifts her head. And Im not sure if the increased drinking is just from loss if appetite. Since she barely moved I filled her bowl and brought it to her numerous time. She's very unresponsive to me, her ears don't perk up for anything.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

Now even though she didn't react to you pressing on her belly, the intermittent yelping and increased breathing has me concerned she was putting on a brave face during your palpation and that these are being triggered by pain. Given her other signs, this could be related to a stomach ulcer (primary or secondary to the anorexia or something sharp if she did ingest something she should not have), but can also be due to gut occlusions (from non-edible items but also tumors or compression from enlarged organs at her age). As well, we can see signs of this nature associated with inflammation or infection of the pancreas. Furthermore, while inflammation/infection associated with any of these can increase the thirst, we'd also have to be wary of metabolic (ie diabetes, cushing's disease, addison's, etc) and organ (ie liver, kidney, heart) issues as all can impact drinking as well.

Now in your lass's case and with all her signs, I do think it'd be ideal to have her seen urgently. If she were my patient and you phoned me on the holiday, I would see her at this point. This is because we are best to at least get the pain treated (which we don't have any OTC safe options given her lack of appetite) +/- start her on anti-nausea and appetite stimulating medication to get her eating for us.

Otherwise, if there is any delay in getting her seen, I would suggest that you can at least try to offset stomach upset putting her off her food by treating with an antacid. There are a number 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 @
Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with her vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention.

Once that is on board, we'd want to tempt her to eat (as I am sure you have). You can try her on a light diet option like rice with boiled chicken, white fish, scrambled egg, or cottage cheese. Or since we don't have any vomiting here, we can even syringe feed her using watered down canned puppy food, Dogsure, Clinicare, or veterinary calorie rich diets like Hills A/D or Royal Canin Recovery diet. All have more nutrition per bite and can get some calories in even if we cannot get a large volume in.

Overall, I am quite concerned about your lass. I am concerned that we have a gut based issue that is causing her pain. Therefore, it would really be best to have her seen at this stage if possible. That way we can get to the root of which of the above issues is lurking, address it and get her pain free and eating as quickly as possible.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As of now she has very little mobility in her back legs and can hardly walk.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

With her being an elderly dog off food for 2 days, she could certainly be weak with this. Still, as I noted before, I am concerned that she has pain here. So, if she is going off her back legs, then again I'd not assume this is a GI bug and would advise having her seen urgently to just ensure we address this as quickly as possible for her.

To find your local ER veterinary clinic, you can check @ or

Take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im getting ready to take her to an emergency vet now. It's about an hour away from me. If her gums are pale now, is it to late?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

It is not a good sign, as it can mean a gut twist or internal bleeding. I wouldn't say its too late, but we'd want to get there as quickly as is safe to do so.

Please take care, my thoughts are with you,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?