Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today!
I am sorry to hear that your dog is having good and bad days in his senior years. Often there are days that are good because they are pain free and comfortable while bad days may have a higher rate of pain and therefore he is stiffer, less energetic but also affecting his appetite.
I can give you some handouts to help guide those bad versus good days and gauge whether pain management is warranted. Often we look at whether they are still doing any of their favorite things, whether it be a favorite toy or treat, sitting with you while on the couch, barking at the neighbors to name a few. In addition, do they still have the "light" in their eyes, meaning are they still responsive to their environment and you or are they dull, listless, and fading away?
Quality of life assessment handout: http://www.peacefulpetdepartures.com/quality-of-life-assessment/
Pain assessment handout: http://www.csuanimalcancercenter.org/assets/files/csu_acute_pain_scale_canine.pdf
If there are days that the appetite is down, you can try some of the options below but again if there is pain related to causes of reduced appetite then it would be best to discuss safe medications to control pain and hopefully stimulate the appetite.
- Begin pepcid 0.25 mg / pound every 12 hours to help settle the stomach 15 minutes prior to offering small more frequent meals
- Foods to try: boiled lean meat such as bison and white rice. Bison has a more "gamey" odor and dogs tend to be more interested when this is offered. Other options include jarred baby foods meat varieties (try several types to see if there is one preferred, often it is pork for some reason that dogs are interested in), rotisserie chicken, even canned kitten foods have a strong odor and can increase interest in food
- Try to avoid the more acidic foods if possible
- Simethicone (gas x) once to twice daily to reduce gas production and cramping if you note any issues with this
Please let me know anything I can do to assist you both.
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