Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Picky Eater

My Roma has always been a robust eater. Now a dainty 43 pounds, she once weighed in at 60 lbs, back when I worked in an office and she free-fed all day. Lately, though, her appetite has faltered. About a month ago, she refused to eat hard kibble. Fair enough. It's easier to get the nine different pills (five different medications) down her throat when I can hide it in soft food. So we switched to expensive, stinky (tripe!) canned food. But then, she lost interest in it. She ate less and less of it and none of the bits that had pills hidden in them. Yesterday she did not eat for 24 hours, yet I knew she was hungry. I took her on brief walks to generate some appetite. She spent most of the time sussing out bits of trash. I morphed into my mother, actually saying out loud, on the sidewalk, "You eat garbage and turn your nose up at wet food I pay $3.00 a can for?" And she didn't just turn up her nose; she shivered and fled from the bowl.

At this point, nutrition is almost an afterthought. My goal is to get something in her stomach. If I can get at least one pain pill down, all the better. So I rummaged through the refrigerator to find some alternatives to dog food. We started with plain Dannon yogurt, always a favorite. It is a humbling moment in a woman's life when she is crawling around under the ironing board trying to ply her skinny old dog with a scoop of yogurt. But it worked. Hooray! Until I blew it by crushing up a pill in a later helping. Then she stopped eating it.

My next plan of attack was homemade bread, sliced thick and slathered with peanut butter. This, too, worked. She not only ate it with gusto, but I was also able to slip in one pill, wrapped in the gooey spread. If Roma noticed, she did not complain or reject it.

So now each meal is an adventure. This morning, I crossed my fingers and offered her a smorgasbord—a plate of tiny servings of the foods she has been willing to eat recently--yogurt, wet food, peanut butter sandwich. She snarfed down two plates, including medication. Woohoo! My goal now is to see if I can also get her to eat a wider range of foods—maybe some chicken and rice or eggs or banana. Now, am I being manipulated? If Roma were younger, I might say yes. She has always been a schemer. But when a hungry dog actually acts afraid of the food in her bowl, something else is afoot, or apaw. If any of you, dear readers, have any advice, I'd be happy to hear it. I can barely get it together to cook for myself, but for Roma, I will make a greater effort.

Thanks for reading. -z


  1. Chicken livers! They are really cheap too - about a dollar a pound. CM usually has them pre-packaged in the meat case. If not, ask the butcher. They usually have them, but not displayed alongside the beautiful ribeyes.

    Treat yourself to a nice piece of fish with skin and cook it. Strips of salmon skin will roll around a pill nicely.Also that dark skin from the bottom - they go nuts for that.

    Liverwurst or deviled ham. Soft goat cheese.

    Hard salami cut into thin strips, wrapped around cheese which disguises the pill.

    Hmmm...sounds like we are designing cocktail food for Roma. At least you can eat the leftovers.

  2. Hmm. I think I might have some liver in the freezer. Let me check. Smelly, but then Roma has never had a problem with smelly.


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