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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22596
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My dog is very lethargic not eatin and only drinking a little

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My dog is very lethargic not eatin and only drinking a little , hes never been a big eater anyway but this is out of character for him its been 3 days now , he just wants to lay down , normaly he goes mad when you walk in but hes not even been doing that can you help me linda

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


Has Rocky had any vomiting or retching?

Any diarrhea?


Is there any chance he could have ingested anything he should not have (ie chemicals, plants, trash, fatty food, toys, bones, stones, socks, etc)?


If you feel his belly, any soreness or tenseness?


Waht color are his gums (nice and pink, not pale/white)?



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No vomiting or retching no diarrhea his belly doesn't seam to be giving him pain when I touch it but seams a bit harder than usual his gums are pink but a little paler than usual I think

Thank you Linda,

Now due to his age and his signs, I do have to note that I would be concerned about whether he has ingested anything that could have caused an obstruction in his gut. When dogs eat something that cannot easily pass and it becomes stuck, we can often see a situation where they cannot keep any food down. Many will vomit with this, but others can just stop eating all together. That said, I am glad that you are not seeing any belly pain with him. I would advise to keep an eye on his gum color (just to make sure it doesn't become pale) and also advise keeping an eye out for any straining or darkening of his feces, vomiting, or restlessness. If you so see any of these, then that would be your cue to get him to his vet urgently for an exam and xray.

Otherwise, if you are sure he hasn't ingested anything that could cause obstruction and since he is keeping water down, you can try to settle his stomach at home. To do this, you can start by addressing the suspect nausea that is putting him off his food with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). This medication of course shouldn't be given without consulting your vet if he does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease his upset gut signs.

Once that is on board, you can try to tempt him with a small volume of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill's I/D or Royal Canin's sensitivity). You want to offer a small amount (1 tbsp) and if he keeps that down, a bit more can be offered about thirty minutes later. If no vomiting is seen, then you can increase the volume you are feeding. I usually advise that the diet be continued until they are settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.

If you are concerned that he is become dehydrated (since young dogs just don't have the body reserves adult dogs do), then you do want to check his hydration. When checking a pet's hydration status, there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If he is showing those dehydration signs at this point, then we'd want to have him to the vet before it gets out of control for him.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX supportive care, as long as we have no vomiting, you can offer or even syringe feed him pedialyte (pr pediatric rehydration solution). A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day. This value will give you the total he needs for the day and is a good starting point to give you an idea of his daily requirement. If he vomits you given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don't want vomiting because of our intervention).

Overall, the signs Rocky is showing can be triggered by a range of causes from bacterial gastroenteritis to pancreatitis to viral infections to toxin or foreign body ingestion. So, as long as you don't suspect anything being lodged in his GI, do initiate these treatments. But if you do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (especially since we do have a possible foreign body concern and he is wee), he is appearing dehydrated, or shows any of those other signs that I have noted above, then I would advise following up with his vet at that stage. They will be able to have a feel of that belly to make sure nothing is potentially lodged there. Depending on their findings, if they don't find anything that requires removal, then he can be treated with antibiotics and anti-sickness medication by injection to get him back on track.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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