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Get Your Dog Eating After Amputation Surgery

When Tripawds come home after amputation surgery, they often refuse to eat for a day or two.

Understandably, this freaks out pawrents, who only want to see their dog healthy and eating again.

But dogs are smart, and instinct tells them it’s wiser to save their limited energy to heal their body, instead of using it up for digestion.

Dr. Marty Goldstein, author of “The Nature of Animal Healing,” concurs. When a dog won’t eat due to illness, Dr. Marty says:

“This is no more than an extreme case of what animals in the wild do when they isolate themselves to gather strength and get well. Indeed, it’s different only in degree from what we do when we refuse food when we’re sick, and let our bodies focus on elimination through sweating, expectoration and intestinal release.

Unfortunately, a domesticated animal exhibiting such behavior is force-fed almost immediately, which is antithetical to the fasting that is one of nature’s prime methods of healing.”

What we’ve seen here at Tripawds is that typically, most dogs will not eat when they come home, but post-surgery appetite loss will subside in a few days. While it’s impawtant to let nature take it’s course with recuperation, there are some things you can do to stimulate your Tripawd’s appetite without resorting to force-feeding.

  • Add low-sodium chicken broth to his water to get him drinking liquids
  • Prepare an easy, home-cooked meal such as boiled chicken and rice or scrambled eggs
  • Canned mackerel or salmon (cooked) can work well too
  • Warm the food just a bit (test it first with your finger)
  • Try feeding the stinkiest, moistest most tempting healthy foods you can think of. Human foods include liverwurst, braunschwager and chicken livers.

Do you have any other suggestions? If so, add them to the Comments section below.

One food that we can almost guarantee dogs will eat is;

Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls Turkey 4 lb. Roll Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls Turkey 4 lb. Roll

Scientifically formulated by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to provide high quality nutrition and optimize skin and coat condition.


We’ve think that the best way to use these rolls as an appetite stimulant is to grate them over your dog’s regular food.

Also, you can try hand-feeding your dog, but it’s impawtant not to get him or her too used to it. You want your dog to get back to a normal life as quickly as possible. And if your dog isn’t used to home cooking but has taken a liking to it, consider making it a regular part of his or her diet, at least a few times a week. After all, you dog is a real dog; shouldn’t he eat “real food” too?

For further reading, check out this other Tripawds Nutrition Blog post: “Get Dogs Eating With Honest Kitchen Foods” and see these Discussion Forum Topics tagged with “Appetite” and these tagged with “Recipes

Please be aware that we are not veterinarians. The information presented here is not meant to be construed as medical advice or guidance, nor should it be substituted for professional veterinary assistance. Always discuss any remedies and treatments you wish to pursue with your veterinarian.

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5 Responses to “Get Your Dog Eating After Amputation Surgery”

  1. The non eating phase is a very difficult time for both owners and the pets. The less the dog eats the more stressed the parent gets which then stresses the pet more. Through multiple episodes of experience we have had to learn that sometimes the dog has a change in taste or are just flat out not hungry. We used Pedialite in the water for a bit, would set down three or four different types of food to see which ones she might have the taste for but most important was that we had to be patient and not get frustrated. If after three days she still wasnt eating, we then got appetite stimulants from the vet.
    At the time we also used Natural Balance treat logs which usually worked but now I would not reccommend that if your dog has cancer. Natural Balance Dog Food log now has SUGAR listed as the third ingredient in these logs. I was very disappointed when I found this out, especially since it has been reported that cancer “feeds” off of sugar. For a dog food that used to be of high quality, to have sugar listed as the third ingredient is not of the best quality for some of our three legged friends with cancer.
    Also helpful was our Animal Communicator and Reiki specialist who was able to communicate with Riley to let us know what types of food she was craving, if any.

  2. Hi Doreen, thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback.

    We didn’t know that about Natural Balance having sugar. Must be new?

    When a dog’s appetite is really poor, I know that most of us would feed them just about anything to get them to eat. Many of us have resorted to cat food or even Mickey D’s to perk up their taste buds. Natural Balance rolls were one of the few treats we always knew for certain that Jerry would eat, even when the cancer got bad.

    On a long term basis these foods would be destructive, but serving them tiny amounts for the sake of the greater good seems like it wouldn’t pose to much of a risk? Of course, everyone should do what they’re comfortable with, and for some, not even a speck of sugar will do. For us, we’re OK with it.

  3. Doreen, check out this discussion on Facebook about this post and the ways pawrents get their pups to eat when they don’t want to.

  4. My poor little 1 year old mixed bread “BONGO” got hit by a car a week ago today, his injury to his leg was so bad, they called it degloving, so we all agreed it had to be amputated. this scared me so much, but i am not getting arround the fear for my baby,
    the reason I am posting is because it is seven days and he still doent want to eat, i scrammble eggs, boiled chicken and rice, even turkey and canned pumpkin. he eats about two bites and then walks away. is they something else i can do. and is this normal,
    BONGO’S MOMMA

  5. So sorry to hear about Bongo. Appetite loss can indicate many things from pain to side effects of pain meds. Most people see vast improvement once of the medication and/or at about 12-14 days. Please consult with your vet about any serious concern, and post in the discussion forums for much more advice from others. The best advice we have is to remain strong for Bongo. He will sense your fear and distress, and that too can cause a lack of appetite.

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