My dog refuses to eat or drink. What could be the problem?

I have a male 11 year old golden retriever and he is not doing well. He is normally a very happy guy, eats his entire bowl of dry dog food in minutes and drinks his water often.

Since yesterday he has refused to drink anything, and all he has taken to eat was a slice of cheese. I tried putting a bullion cube in his water, he showed no interest. I tried giving him a bowl of chicken noodle soup, no interest either. I was able to pry his mouth open and dump some water down, which he did swallow, but not willingly.

His gums are very sticky and his breath is awful. He's a bit sleepier and much less enthusiastic than usual, but I wouldn't say he's lethargic yet. We do not have $ for a vet visit.

*Side note: We just moved into a new home and there are 2 huge cottonwood trees just off of our property that shedded cotton all over our yard. The first time he was out in it he got a bunch stuck to his mouth and had very stringy & sticky drool. But he still drank his water when he came in.

Asked by Member 989087 on May 26th 2010 Tagged goldenretriever, sick, stickydrool, wonteat, wontdrink, wontplay in Emergencies & First Aid
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Best Answer


You were right to post this under Emergencies/First Aid. While I don't know what your boy has swallowed or been bitten by, I know that he needs to see a vet immediately. Don't sit on it. It's not his fault you cannot afford the vet costs. Are you writing from your home computer? I encourage you to take him directly to your vet and be upfront and honest with them. Tell them what you can afford. If you really can't afford to help him there, I'm sure they will find a way to make helping him happen. You can't just watch him give up. I would not force feed or water him, but take him straight in to be looked at. Good luck. I hope he is okay. Don't let him suffer.

Ivey answered on May 27th.

Other Answers



It could be anything... he REALLY needs to see a vet, especially if he's not drinking... he could dehydrate very easily despite being force-fed a little water... find some cash, charge it, set up a payment plan, something... it could be minor or it could be very serious. He really needs to be seen.

Kolbe answered on 5/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I would find him a way to see the vet no matter what.
He could of ingested alot of the sharp cones that develop on the cotton wood trees and is sick from that.
You can make him sick by force feeding him. Dogs can develop pnemonia from forcing water and stuff down the throat. Air can be trapped and he could also choke.
I would take this dog to the vet asap, just make payments or sell something of value, pawn some jewerly, gold is up right now. Or borrow money and say it is for home improvements. good luck.

Dieta answered on 5/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer