Dogs on chemotherapy often lose their appetites. They sometimes feel nauseous, are lethargic and can be a bit depressed, all leading to poor eating. Since cancer and its treatments can sap a dog’s strength, it’s very important for them to eat and give the body the proper nutrition. Here are some tips that can help encourage a dog to eat.
Change the type of food. If you’ve been feeding kibble, try canned food. Cancer dogs need high protein and fat with low or no carbohydrates unless they have another medical condition that requires special foods. Check our diet for cancer dogs that includes a recipe for broth that usually stimulates appetites. Foods with strong smells such as tripe (if you can stand the odor), sardines, cheese, hamburger, sausage often work. Offer your dog some meals from fast food restaurants. They may not be the healthiest fare, but the point is to get your dog to eat.
Sometimes warming the food (not hot) will encourage your dog to eat.
Your dog may associate his/her bowl with feeling ill. Change the bowl and/or the place where the dog eats.
If you’ve been adding supplements to the food, leave them out for a couple of days. Ask your veterinarian which supplements won’t interfere with chemo.
It’s best not to force your dog to eat if s/he really is feeling ill. Check with your vet about giving your dog an antacid to combat nausea. Most times, 2 or 3 days after a chemo session, your dog’s appetite will return.