Letters April 2008 Issue

Food and Friends

Two cases of anorexia in dogs grieving for their lost companions.

Regarding the article about canine anorexia ("Tales of the Lost Appetite," March 2008): As an RN and 50-plus-year dog owner, I appreciated it very much. However I did notice a mention of one cause of anorexia that almost took the life of my Boston Terrier: grief. I had two dogs at the time, the other being a 10-year-old Pug who suddenly became critically ill with a lethal brain tumor. We had gotten both dogs at the ages of eight weeks and they were very, very close. When the Pug did not come home from the veterinarian and her crate was put away, the Boston totally stopped eating and became very lethargic (she had always inhaled her food and was extremely active prior to this.) We were frightened that we were going to lose her too, and made numerous calls and visits to our vet to investigate. To make a long, terrifying story short, we never found a physical cause for her inappetence; it was grief. I spent several weeks tempting her with various treats, human food, and finally baby food mixed with her dog food. I also took her to a local pet supply store for a change of scene. She picked out - on her own - a small latex ball slightly larger than a golf ball, proudly carried it out to the car by herself, and it became forever known as "Happy Ball." That was what started her back on the road to health! Well, that and much loving care and snuggling from her human family.

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