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Pup won't eat or drink outside, even if we're out all day
  • My 6 month old pup refuses to eat or drink unless we're at home. I'm concerned because we'll do some tough hikes and he still won't take any water.

    Once we get home, he'll chill for a bit and then inhale a ton of food and water.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
  • Wow...
    That could be a tough problem -- my gut, of course, might not be the best info source for you, but, since dogs won't starve themselves, my gut says he'll work his way out of it over time. I've found that Sachi isn't so inclined "sit down for a meal" outside -- likely because there is just too many other things going on -- but, she happily eats treats along the way. (I'm not sure whether you're saying the Tempa won't even do that...)
    1: Move in baby-steps. (Likely goes without saying, but don't make the leap from the 30min walk directly to the 3-day backpacking trip...)
    2: Be sure to have a good supply of "high value" treats with you -- whatever it is that yo know Temba LOVES! (I know that Sachi has NEVER declined a piece of boiled chicken -- she'll even interrupt play time with other dogs for it, which she will not do for much else.)
    3: We went on our first hike (5mi nature walk on flat terrain) last weekend and I packed a couple of the Nature's Recipe Pure Essentials "Wet Cups" with us. (She really likes them and I've only fed her this outdoors -- so far, not as much by design as happenstance, but it could be a good idea to have a dedicated "outdoor food" that you know he likes. I'm going to be sure to keep that going for Sachi from now on...) They're small, 2.75oz cups so they (a) pack easily, (b) act as their own bowl as long as you hold it, and (c) clean up easily.

    As I said, I would bet that he'd eat when he got hungry enough and (probably) after he tires out a bit. If you find that turns out NOT to be the case, remember that dogs can survive for quite a while without food. (Here's one article.)
    Post edited by EmpressSachi at 2016-11-08 19:48:35
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8465
    @sirhomer - The concern here is not that your dog is not eating while on hikes, but that he will not drink water. That is dangerous, especially if you are doing tough hikes. My suggestion is to first stop the tough hikes. If your pup is six months old, he is too young to be going on long or difficult hikes. Take him on shorter walks in different areas.

    The second suggestion is to utilize different methods of offering him water. What are you using to tempt him to drink? A bottle, a bowl, a collapsible bowl, a stream (not recommended unless you know for 100% sure that there is no chance of parasites or harmful bacteria/algae in the water). If you have tried multiple water vessels (my dogs do best with bowls or collapsible bowls), then you will want to try something with a bit more incentive, such as water with some low sodium chicken broth or unflavoured Pedialyte.

    Chances are, once he is more familiar with being outside, he will be more inclined to drink when he is thirsty. But in the meantime, shorten his walks/hikes and try to make sure that he is never without water for more than a couple of hours when you are out and about. If he drinks, praise and treat with something special.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Yeah my only thought was that perhaps your pup is too stressed to take the items while out. Most dogs will refuse food and water when under stress. Maybe you're just pushing them in to it faster than they are actually prepared to handle? Try toning it back and moving in baby steps, and use high value treats they won't refuse to reward them while out.
  • Thank you all for your responses. Temba is usually the one pushing me to go further... maybe he's letting his enthusiasm get the better of the things. Even after a hike, he'll want to keep walking around the neighborhood when we get home... He's happy, running and shows no symptoms of dehydration, but going several hours with water is just plain bad.

    I'm currently using a plastic container for water when we're outside (he has porcelain and stainless steel bowls at home). He is not treat motivated at all when we're outside, and barely so when inside (I've tried everything, but praise and play work better), but I will definitely try some adding some broth to his water.

    Will keep you posted...

  • Ok, looks like using some homemade chicken broth did the trick (basically boiled some chicken and saved the broth... nothing fancy). I guess I'll be making batches and freezing them. I'll try cutting back on the broth to water ratio over time as well.

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