For the first 14 years of her life, mealtime for Slink was simple- food went in the bowl and she ate it all. Over the last year, that has slowly changed.
It all started back in February. When I’d put food in the bowl Slink would eat just part of her meal and eat it very slowly, or she wouldn’t eat it all. As usual, I first made sure there was no medical reason for this – her teeth were fine, her lab work was fine, she wasn’t in any noticeable pain. So, I started to look for ways to encourage her to eat. I started out by adding a little water and she seemed excited about the change to start with. But after a short while, she was back to not eating much. My colleague, Dr. Jennifer Evans, suggested that I actually leave the kibble soaking in water for many hours so that it would get very soft and mushy. This seemed to do the trick! All of a sudden Slink liked eating again! To do this, I put Slink’s kibble in a little container and add water to it. I put this in the refrigerator at the meal before it is to be served- I prepare her dinner at breakfast time, and breakfast at dinnertime, so it generally soaks for about 12 hours. When it’s time for her meal I heat the container in the microwave for about 15 seconds. While the mushy food might not look appealing to me, Slink loves it!
If your old dog seems to not be eating as well anymore, try the mushy food trick! It may be that their teeth get sensitive as they age, just like in people. Of course, be sure to contact us so we can make sure there aren’t any medical issues that need to be addressed first.
I’ll have more information about feeding old dogs, helping them maintain their weight, and some mealtime routine tips in my next article!