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 Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed

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Frances Mirren
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PostSubject: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:09 pm

Hello everyone,

My bf and I adopted 3 dogs last year from a local rescue. The one I'm concerned about is our 3-ish year old husky. We rent a nice cottage in the mountains, but don't have the money to fence in our yard. Our husky seems to always want to be outside. I take them all on hour to 90-minute walks each morning; my bf takes them at night for about half an hour.  On sunny days, I sit out on the porch and the three dogs are all on long leashes hanging out in the yard. Well, that only started last week because the snow is starting to melt and the temps are tolerable! On cloudy/cold days I can't sit outside and our husky stays inside with the other pets and us. On those days, she won't even eat. She won't get up when we wake up to greet her (unless the first words out of our mouths are "do you want to go for a walk?"), she seems depressed. It seems obvious to me she always wants to be outdoors. But it's not feasible. In the summer it's different, we spend a lot of time outside and by the river...but the winters are long for her.  Her health is fine, no medical issues and she gets lots of playtime with us, the cats and the other 2 dogs. Sometimes she's not even interested in her raw hide bone.

Our other husky/Golden mix seems okay. She wants to be outside too but it's not affecting her appetite or her mood.

I'm thinking this is a normal things for huskies? We have no idea what her life was like before last summer, maybe she was an outdoor dog? I had pugs for 19 years, this is my first husky. Pugs love the outdoors too, but mine were more interested in a/c in the summer and sitting by the fireplace all winter. Our little gal is so sweet and I want to help her out, but I can't leave her loose, or even outside on her own on a leash because she's an escape artist and it would kill us if she ran away and got lost. I try to spend as much time outside as possible but it doesn't seem to be enough for her. My bf even screened off our upstairs balcony into a veranda so she could sit out there all day if she wants, but she seems to need to be out in the yard, though when she's out there with me and the other two dogs, she simply sits on the snow and observes what's around her, very content...I don't know what to do really.

EDIT: She's not fixed, we found out around Xmas time when she went into heat, wondering if that might have something to do with anything...I just wanted to give all the info I could!

Any advice or tips? PS...can't afford to build a fenced in yard or dog run right now.

Thanks,
Fran

Here she is with one of our rescue cats:

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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:27 pm

Welcome to the forum Fran! Not being fixed may be a factor. My girl had a bad spay, can't have puppies and does go into heat and false pregnancies, when she does her appetite is lacking and she does appear depressed. Also huskies, well at least many huskies, self regulate in the food department, so that may be why she isn't eating much. Playing games inside to stimulate her mind may help, how well trained is she?
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:28 pm

She's very pretty. Does she get any one on one time with you away from the other dogs? How much mental stimulation does she get with training and such? Huskies need physical and mental stimulation to be fulfilled, and lots of it. Not all are okay with the one long walk a day and then basic group time from then on out. Obviously with the way she reacts the walks are the highlight of her day. Maybe stepping up to a long walk at night to go with the morning walk? There are also puzzle toys on the market that help work dog's brains as they search for treats.

As for a fence, I have a stay-n-play system. No wires, no building. Just plug in and go. It works well for rentals, that's when I used it. A little pricey but less so than a legit fence. Something to think about if you feel a fence would benefit you but don't have time and money or can't with a rental.

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Frances Mirren
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:57 pm

Hi MiyasMomma and TwisterII,

Thanks for the replies! I have read that huskies self-regulate in the food department as well. It just was so sudden that she stopped eating. But I don't think it's a physical problem because when I was eating toast, suddenly she was at my chair staring at me for a bite...she's always been fussy but I don't want the poor girl to starve either. We tried giving her my hound's kibble this morning and she ate it all up. Now, that could be that she was happy for a different food or maybe so hungry after a few days of simply nibbling that she'd eat anything!

As for the training, she went through an 8-week basic training course that the rescue offered as part of the deal to adopt her. She gets her training every day too, as do the others, one on one. They all work for their food, snacks, walks etc...

She's more of a "daddy's girl" and spends lots of one on one time with my bf who really tests her with tricks and games. We thought about the puzzle toys but she's not motivated at all by food. The Kong doesn't interest her even when we put yummy food inside.

The stay n play system interests me TwisterII, I'll have to look that up, thanks for that info! I'd LOVE to put up a fence, but we just don't know how long we'll be renting here. It's year by year so we don't think it's worth the cost. Mind you, we'd bring it all with us the next place we go.

The night walks will get longer once all the snow melts. That's our biggest hurdle in the winter, I'm in the mountains of northern Quebec, Canada. Right now it's sheets of ice as the snow slowly melts, so we're kind of limited where we can walk them. Once spring is here, they'll be in the woods for hours a day.

Just curious MayasMomma, I'm new to this, how often does your husky go into heat? The rescue told us she was fixed when we got her last July, but just after Xmas, she went into heat for a good 4 weeks from start to finish. I always had fixed male dogs, I didn't really know what to do. My bf read up as much info as he could find, we just wiped up after her and waited it out. Is there anything particular that can be done to help her? We don't know her age, the vet said based on her teeth, 3-5 years, we're thinking of having her fixed in the next year or so if we can pull together the funds. But we're wondering is that worth it if she might now be going on 6 years old?
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:18 pm

Fran, quite often they go into heat twice a year, some once. I would be concerned that a male dog could get to her and then you have puppies to worry about, also the age factor plays a role in a dogs pregnancy, so on the safe side, I think it is best to spay. ask your vet, down here it is $65 if the dog is under 65 pounds. Also, I can't remember what y'all have in Canada, but I do know here many rescues, Humane Society and occasionally SPCA will offer vouchers to reduce the cost of a spay. Lastly are you sure she didn't get spayed? Miya's symptoms are as if she didn't get spayed, but as far as bleeding it is not very much at all, almost nonexistent, if you know where she got spayed I would call them and verify, same goes with the rescue call them and ask and tell them she was in heat. From what I have read, bad spays do happen, typically it is low cost places, and places that do a number of spays per day, what happens in most cases, is that a piece of ovary gets left behind, reattaches itself, then symptoms appear. She wouldn't be able to have puppies, but all the symptoms can show up. The 4 weeks of heat sounds about right (think it is 3-4 weeks is normal)...but I also get the honor of having a dog who also will go into a false pregnancy shortly after her heat. Dogs typically are pregnant for 63 days, so yup we have gone half a year per year with her being in heat and then false pregnancy, she is 3.5 years old, and for the most part symptoms have lessen some as she is aging. Last fall when she did this, she went 21 days with eating a minimal amount of food, that I had to pretty much hand feed her. So...........you really need to know if she was or wasn't spayed.

Also on the not food motivated, Miya is not as well, as far as training is concerned, and I decided mind game toys as Jenn mentioned wouldn't work for her, Miya did invent a game, it's a variation of tugs, except used with any toy, and we play push. She made this up as a pup who mouthed way too much. She holds the toy (I am on the floor with her) and I push her around trying to take the toy. If she drops the toy I give her a command (like sit, laydown, leave it, etc.) before we play again, the playing is the reward. On days where we can't get out, this game not only works her physically but also mentally.
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Frances Mirren
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:56 pm

Hi Renee Smile

I've been away from the internet, thanks for your reply! The problem with our husky is that we have no clue where she came from. The rescue is non-profit and we got her through a foster care program and paid what we wanted to adopt her. They don't offer any vouchers to help with the spaying. And here, I've called around including my own trusted vet, we're talking $400.00. No, not a typo. She was picked up as a runaway so they don't know where she came from. She responded to English right away and I live in Quebec, so it's possible she came from pretty far away where English is spoken more liberally. The vet who volunteers for the rescue took a look at her, she has a small scar on her abdomen but it's faint and she told the rescue that it's a 90% chance she's been fixed. That vet also said that she was 1 year old. OUR vet said she can only confirm that she's fixed if they do an ultra-sound and/or x-ray - very pricey for right now. Also our vet said based on her teeth, probably 3-5 years old. Who to believe?

Anyway, as per life, times are tough and we can't afford to fix her maybe until next year. Nor can we afford to get a firm answer as to her reproductive status!

We keep her always on a leash and I carry a "corrector" spray in the case that any stray dog comes near, but I really don't want any puppies from an unknown pop. We thought about finding a male husky for breeding because once our debt is paid, our financial situation will be so much better, we're buying a farm and we'd love to have it filled with dogs. But that's a few years away so we don't know if we should just wait or save and have her fixed. Tough decision.

As for her eating, she's still being picky. She's eating once a day, about half her daily portion. The lady who works at the pet store has a husky too. She told me she has the same problem particularly during the spring when they have a little wanderlust. When we first got her, I was making a homemade diet, but with 3 dogs it got really expensive, plus our husky/Golden mix needs to be on a special urinary formula so we went to kibble slowly and she loved it for months. We're thinking of trying the home cooked diet for her again to see if she'll eat more that way.

She's damn smart though, I told my bf that she needed more mental stimulation and he taught her to give the paw, but not just any paw, she knows now the difference between the right paw and the left paw! Smile We're trying to keep her occupied and now that the weather is getting better, I've been out every day in the yard with all the dogs for hours, she seems a little happier, but still not eating enough!
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:29 pm

I did a little digging in the Quebec area and came up with this article. It is a list of events and places that host low cost spay and vetting throughout canada.

http://www.save.ca/community/low-cost-spay-neuter-clinics/

This one is an article about spaying and breeding.

https://www.qcawc.org/edu-spaying-and-neutering.html

Having her x-rayed will not guarantee that you will find out if she is fixed or not. I have had my girl x-rayed and unless something is wrong or they are in full blown heat you may or may not see anything in the x-rays. All those parts are soft tissue that don't always show up whether they are there or not.

As for whether to have her fixed or not, since you have no clue if she is fixed to even have puppies and no idea where she is from or what kind of genetic history she has, you are better off confirming that she is fixed and if she isn't then going ahead and getting her fixed. Canada is in a really tight spot with their out of control unwanted animal issues, much probably due to the insane prices for spaying that you have already encountered, and you do not want to be responsible for producing pups that you can't get rid of or will develop health issues as they age that could cause them to become abandoned because people can't afford to care for genetic ailments. I currently have a dog with hip dysplasia, a genetic disease preventable through breeding thoroughly pedigreed and tested animals, and it is very expensive to care for him. Huskies are notorious for having seizures and cataracts also that are genetic issues that both dogs need to be tested for prior to breeding so it isn't passed on. If you want to have a whole farm full of dogs, why not give a ton of wonderful dogs currently in shelters or on a kill list a great home? They will appreciate it and the dogs needing those spots in the shelter will appreciate it too.

If she is as smart as you say, and I have no doubt, she is going to need some real challenges to work her mind. Step up your trick game, she can handle it and it will make her happier. If she isn't losing weight then I wouldn't be too alarmed about her eating. If she starts losing weight then some deeper investigation will be needed, but if her weight is holding then there's nothing too paramount going on and she will probably snap out of it with stimulation and exercise as the weather starts to cooperate.

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Frances Mirren
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:32 pm

Hi Jenn Smile

Thanks for your reply. I also found that link for inexpensive sterilization across Canada. That's not possible in our situation, we're a good 3 hour drive from Montreal where they hold these clinics. But more importantly, I know where they do them, it's at a veterinary school, the students do them. My bf brought one of his cats there to be fixed way back when and they botched it, poor cat has some deformation down there. Also back in the 90's, I brought my pug there to be treated for an eye problem and they were quite rough with him and I was very p*ssed off about that; so we made a couples decision that we will stick to our vet who we've trusted for 6 years now. What you said is true about the high cost of sterilization here. Most of the dogs at the rescues are unfixed females. It's so sad. If I could take them all, I would!

Oh, believe me, our farm will be full of foster and rescue dogs that is certain! In our area, there are no shelters/rescues that do euthanasia. That's a big problem in Montreal, the number of animals killed in that city is astronomical, but in the rural areas, the dogs and cats are kept until they find them an owner. Our husky was at the shelter for many months before we fostered her. My bf and I thought about breeding her over Christmas when we realized she was in heat. But finding a suitable mate will be a challenge for us. When we took her for her exam/blood tests/check up last fall, it was all immaculate, except she had worms which we treated. But we have no idea how old she is, by the time we buy our property, she could be 5 years old (according to the shelter) or pushing 8-10 years old (according to the vet), the decision to fix her is more of a likely situation. Thanks for the info about the x-ray.

Since I posted my last reply, she's been eating twice a day now, go figure. I don't mind at all that she's picky, as long as, as you said, she doesn't lose weight.
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:51 am

There is a good chance that she is fixed and experiences false pregnancies. What you described is very common with that sort of thing. My girl also has whining sessions when she is in false pregnancy and will just whine and squeak for several days and carry around her toys. Melatonin has helped me with this.

University vets are usually very good. Strange that one in such a large city would have such a bad track record. You may check a more local university for vet schools. Being an odd case that comes with unknown spays or improperly done spays some vet schools will help on costs. Around here your top of the line work is done at the universities. All the latest and greatest technology is there.

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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:33 am

Frances, I have to second Jenn's comment.  Down here in the great state of Texas THE place to go when the local vet isn't sure / can't help is Texas A&M.  The students there seem to work with everything from guinea pigs to elephants (with horses and cows tossed into the mix as well, this is Texas!)  I'm sorry and surprised that your uni vet school isn't a well thought of.

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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:43 am

I’m a little surprised the university is terrible in handling pets. In America, those are usually the best places to go because they have the most up to date information on veterinary procedures as well as all the latest equipment. The students become veterinarians because they love animals, so they’re usually not rough. The surgeries are done well. My go-to place would be a university if I had one nearby that did it. I suppose this goes to show how different one country can be from another.

In regards to the feeding issue you were experiencing, it’s not at all unusual for a Siberian to stop eating for a time or to reduce the amount they’re eating. As was mentioned, they’re self regulating, and as long as their weight stays the same, there’s little to worry about. Siberians also have a tendency to get bored with the same kibble every day. This is probably why she got so excited to eat your other dog’s food that one day.

I’m a fan of changing a dog’s kibble regularly. Every time I buy a new bag, it’s usually a different brand than the last one. I’ve done this for the past 15 years, and I used to feel guilty about it. The advice everyone heard was to keep your dog on the same food for its entire life, if possible. Here I was changing their food on a monthly basis just because I felt like trying something new! But my dogs were fine with it, and I honestly felt like they were healthier for it. Then in the last decade, things changed. The latest advice is to change your dog’s kibble regularly. It’s said to keep the dog’s digestive system healthy, and it’ll help balance out any mineral and vitamin deficiencies that are in a particular kibble. While a month or two of a low vitamin isn’t going to hurt the dog, after a year or more, problems from that low vitamin are going to start showing up. Swapping the kibble once in awhile will prevent that. So now I don’t feel bad about changing my dogs’ food all the time, and it prevents my Siberian from ever getting bored with it! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:59 pm

I was young too once way back when Wink and I know everyone needs to learn, but the bedside manner of those vet students is quite rough and tough, it could very well be the French culture. I took my pug there once because I found out later his palette often dislodges, causing him to have a hard time breathing. By luck it happened while I was there and the students were poking and prodding so much it really upset me.  My little guy peed because he was so scared and that didn't seem to phase them one bit. When I asked one of them to be more gentle when handling my little pug, I was told "he'll forget it in a minute and usually these dogs are "too stupid" to realize that it's just a matter of them breathing through their nose." That one experience is what my own opinion is based on.

I'm very glad that others have good experiences but mine turned me off those schools completely. Oh, and the clinic I was referring to was at a CEGEP, not the University. CEGEP is a mandatory grades 12-13 before a student can enter University, it's unique to Quebec. I'm sure the two(?) universities that offer veterinary medicine are fine, but I've never been to their hospitals.

Jenn: I'll have to look up more about false pregnancies... I guess the concept is above my head at the moment.

Hi Jessie, so far we've had more success giving her a mix of my hound's and our other husky's kibble. I also make them homemade pumpkin cookies that she loves to eat. She has a sensitive stomach so I was afraid that switching up the kibble might give her the big "D", but so far her poops are good Smile

It's so good "speaking" to others who have huskies, the information from all of your experience is so valuable, so thank you Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Husky Won't Eat, Seems Depressed   Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:31 pm

Fran.....jenn and I are the lucky ones of the group with spayed females that had bad spays. The false pregnancy is rough to say the least. Miya will pick up her toys and walk around crying, then she fluffs up her bed so she can lay with her "puppy". her appetite sinks to almost nothing, doesn't want to play much, and mopes and looks sad. I am totally leaning towards this with your girl. I personally only change flavors and stay within the same brand of food for Miya, because she is ultra sensitive to changes. When she is not in heat and false pregnancy she eats her kibble plain and no issues. When she is in her false heat/pregnancy I top off her food so she will eat, she wants mainly meat during this time so I do normally cook up a couple of ounces of turkey burger or hamburger and cook it in water and mix it in with about 1/2 her normal ration. She will then eat. I do feed a partial raw diet and when she is in this state of mind does not want raw, cooked meat she then prefers. It's a trial and error thing, finding what will work best for her.
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