SPAY & NEUTER CLINIC (330) 865-6890 // RESCUE & ADOPTION (330) 865-6200

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Help! My New Dog Won’t Eat!

The title of this article could easily have been “Help! My new cat won’t stop hiding!” and be just as familiar with some adopters. When adopting a rescue cat or dog, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. You may have had visions of the snuggly dog or purring lap warmer from your youth in mind when adopting, but your reality may be very different from your expectations.

When a rescue organization rescues a dog or cat, they may be rescuing from a bad situation or pulling a dog or cat from a shelter with little or no background information. The organization may even be rescuing from a breeding situation where the dogs have no relationships with humans. These factors can impact the way that your new pet initially interacts with you and how they act in your home.

The best way to approach the idea of rescuing your next cat or dog is to expect the unexpected! And remember that your expectations of the cat or dog may need to be adjusted to fit the pet’s needs.

If your newly adopted dog goes a couple days without eating, that is completely normal. Especially if this dog was rescued from a breeding situation or if the dog is very fearful of its new home. But there are things you can try that may tempt your new dog to eat. You can try a new flavor/brand of food or try handfeeding which may also give the added bonus of a bonding experience. Boiled chicken may be tempting enough to get your dog to eat or as a last ditch effort, try some cat food!

If your dog still refuses to eat and it has been more than 3 days, contact your veterinarian. If along with not eating the dog isn’t drinking water, contact your veterinarian after 24 hours.

If your newly adopted cat is constantly hiding, there are things you can do to ascertain if this is just the cat’s “defrosting” period or if it is something you should be concerned about.

But let’s back up a little bit. If you are planning on going in search of a new cat to adopt, you will need to make sure that your home is cat safe. Make sure that all windows and doors are secure and that your screens are in place. It is also a good idea to make sure all heating ducts are properly grated. Basically, just make sure that your new cat can’t get behind the walls!

Now back to your hiding cat!

If your house is busy with kids or just a lot of traffic, don’t expect to lure your cat out until there’s a lull in activity. Once you have some quiet time, you can either try to tempt your cat out or at the very least try to allow your cat to feel safe in your presence. The one thing you should never do is forcefully remove the cat from its hiding hole.

Your first step is to sit close by the area where your cat is hiding and just sit peacefully. Even if you think the cat may not know you’re there, believe me he can smell you a mile away. He knows you’re there! As long as you are calm and quiet, he will start to relax while you are in his space. You can drop some treats close by his hiding hole or jingle a cat toy to try to lure him out. Here’s the most important part: if your new cat refuses to come out, just walk away and try again tomorrow!

While your cat is in his hiding phase, it is important to keep an eye on his food and water dish. If you notice that he’s been eating and drinking then you know that he is exploring his new home and starting to feel comfortable!

If after a month of camping outside your cat’s hiding spot, your cat still will not come out and interact with you it may be time to consult with your veterinarian.

And whether it is a hiding cat or a dog on a food strike, patience is key! Just remember that your new furry family member doesn’t know that you have expectations. Let your dog or cat get to know you and your home at his or her pace and reach out to your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

We have a few hiding cats and nervous dogs at the rescue who need some decompression time. If you would like to gift them with some tempting treats, please feel free to shop from our Chewy wish list.

Two Convenient Locations

Adoption Center

1929 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44313
(330) 865-6200
(behind Walgreen's and AutoZone)


Spay & Neuter Clinic

1700 West Exchange Street
Akron, OH 44313
(330) 865-6890

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