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Please can you help our dog? (diet related)

(33 Posts)
BettySuarez Wed 16-Jan-13 15:54:16

We have a 6 year old pointer cross.

He is a lovely lovely dog, beautiful temperament, lots of energy etc

But he really seems to struggle with his digestion. Over the years he seems to have gone through this cyclical pattern of loud rumbling tummy/excess salivation/off food/pacing/vomiting/diahorrea and then for no apparent reason he seems to settle down again.

Sometimes, we have to starve him for 24 hours (if its really bad) and then gradually introduce boiled rice and chicken, gradually building up to his normal dry food again.

We have consulted 3 different vets over the past few years. Stool tests have been inconclusive but all agree that he needs a 'sensitive' diet which consists of whichever brand they are promoting in their surgery at the time.

We have tried the Hills Diet and also Chappy (as this was reccomended), plus all of the other sensitive brands that we could find.

He seems to do really well to begin with, but after a few months we notice that the same problems are returning.

I am getting so sick of the smell (very windy both ends) and the constant trips to the loo. It's not his fault but its getting pretty hard to love with.

I have done a bit of research and it seems that the two main allergens for dogs are wheat and/or additives (we have never ever given him Bakers but I am sure that most brands contain these things anyway)

Is there anything else I am missing? What else could it be and can anyone reccomend a dry dog food that is totally natural?

Would it be worth just scraping the dry biscuits and cooking for him myself? (rice/meat/veg) or is this a crazy idea?

Any thoughts or advice would be gratefully received sad

MimsyBorogroves Wed 16-Jan-13 16:01:04

Have you tried Burns? Our dog who had similar gastric problems did really well on it. Obviously, that's based only on my experience though.

I believe it's got less crap in it than a lot of other foods and it's really easily digestible - with the other added bonus that it meant there was less crap in the garden!

Scuttlebutter Wed 16-Jan-13 16:27:55

There are loads of us on here who have dogs with sensitive tums. Burns is well worth a try and they have a free nutritionist service you can call to discuss and they will even send you a free sample to try. Fish4Dogs is also v popular.

What many of us have done is to move over to raw feeding - if you look it up on here you will masses and masses of threads. There are many ways of doing it, and it really doesn't have to be difficult. For instance we get regular bulk deliveries for our freezer, so all i have to do is defrost blocks, place in dog's bowls and watch them enjoying it! Or you can make your own recipes/variations with various broths, rice etc - it really depends on you/your preferences.

Good luck, and hopefully you and your dog will soon be enjoying a new phase of firm small poos, much reduced farting and all round happiness! smile

Cuebill Wed 16-Jan-13 16:42:10

You really do need to go back and see your vet. There are a lot of reasons for your dogs symptoms and diet will need to be managed with care.

I raw feed all my dogs and all the dogs in the rescue. However I have one of my own that has IBD and he has to be fed on Hydrolyzed protein source which can only come from processed food.

Dogs with very bad IBD do need very careful management if introducing raw food as they do not have the bacteria to help digest it and need to go very very slowly. So if you are inexperienced you would need vet backing on this (unikely) I cannot believe I am not promoting raw feeding!!!!!!!

My experience is that all dogs are very different and you other people will have advice but you will need to go carefully and slowly.

One thing that I would recommend is either slippery elm or dorwest tree bark powder - that really can help a dog with a sensitive stomach.

To be honest all kibble pretty much has the same rubbish in it so if your dog is finding kibble hard to eat it may be that you need to move onto Hydrolyzed protein source eg Purina HA, Hills ZD but I would go back to your vets.

A dog food with human grade food would be natural instinct but again many dogs with IBD find this hard to tolerate.

MrsJohnDeere Wed 16-Jan-13 16:43:06

Another vote for Burns. I have a springer with a very sensitive digestive system and it is the only food he seems to tolerate.

BettySuarez Wed 16-Jan-13 16:43:22

mimsy - will look at Burns - thank you smile

scuttlebutter - even a 50% reduction in the fart levels would be stupendous!

I will search for the raw feeding threads. Thankyou!!

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 17:19:36

mine has a very sensitive stomach (and the one previous) and neither coped well with dry mix food but I don't know whether that was just us. They both have wet chappie (previous dog and older dog and now new dog confused) I am just not organised enough to do raw feeding nor do I have a big enough freezer

daisydotandgertie Wed 16-Jan-13 17:29:35

Could you give u a bit more info on which foods (including flavours) you've already tried?

threestepsforward Wed 16-Jan-13 17:40:42

Hi Betty,

My sympathies. My staffie has had an ultra-sensitive digestive system for the 10 years I've had him. (It led to bleeding in November for the 2nd time and I nearly lost him, he had to have a transfusion - but that's another thread and he's slowly getting better!)

The bleeding had a direct cause, but up until then we successfully managed his sensitivity with Hills DD and bizarrely, 2 x oxycare (anti-bis) with each meal. This has kept him on the right track for years. It might be worth asking the vet about them? (although I'm almost sure this isn't what they're generally used for...)

On my recent thread on here about my dog's problems, the AMAZING Behindlock recommended Tree Barks Powder from Dorwest. It's for dogs with tummy problems, diarrhorea etc., and helps to firm them up. This has made a real difference with Fred, no more diarrhorea and for the last few days, no more bleeding.

Might be worth a look at? Hope you can improve the situation, it's miserable for you and them when they are off colour in this way.
Best of luck

threestepsforward Wed 16-Jan-13 17:43:16

oops, just saw you already mentioned tree bark powder cuebill, sorry!

BettySuarez Wed 16-Jan-13 18:10:28

daisy we tried Hills - recommended by vet. I think it was Hills ZD or something similar?

Also wet Chappie and currently Purina Beta Sensitive

I will look at the bark and slippery elm stuff and consider raw food too but don't want to overwhelm him too much wink

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 18:12:32

you have to really fade in and out food as well. You are not just swapping from one to the next are you? (I am not judging you if you are, sometimes vets are not very clear about what you have to do)

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 18:12:47

and I am not judging vets either smile

BehindLockNumberNine Wed 16-Jan-13 18:20:25

Yy to tree barks powder, I use it whenever Whippety boy has a colitis flare up. (He has been left with an extremely sensitive gut following a nasty bout of gastroenteritis which caused liver failure and sceptecemia and left him needing blood platelet transfusions at the vets)

We went down the route of sensitive foods as sold by the vets. Then we changed vets. This one is independed and does not sell any food in his surgery. None whatsoever. It took me a while to work out why it was so bare, then I realised that it was a waiting room, not a dog food sales centre! grin
This vet recommends (and feeds his own dogs) on this raw food:

Whippety has been on this food since August and I can hand on heart say it is doing him good. Poos are consistently solid and pick-up-able. He is bright, alert and full of energy.
Only once did he have a bit of a 'relapse' (he had gotten hold of too many sausages at a charity dog show) and we needed to resort to tree barks powder which saw him right within hours.

Try the raw food, it is brilliant smile

BehindLockNumberNine Wed 16-Jan-13 18:22:09

Sorry, that was meant to say " we went down the route of sensitive foods as sold by the vets but none of them made any significant improvement "

BettySuarez Wed 16-Jan-13 19:24:17

owllady I must admit that I have sometimes panicked and not phased the food in or out slowly enough as have just felt desperate that he is unwell again. But will definitely try to take things slower.

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions, it's good to know that it's not just us and that there are possible solutions. I feel as if we have been singlehandedly supporting the scented candle industry these past few years grin

daisydotandgertie Wed 16-Jan-13 20:24:13

To exclude common allergens I'd try either Burns or Wainwrights (pets at home) salmon and potato kibble. They're often tolerated really well by dogs with sensitive digestive systems. So is Wainwright's rabbit and rice kibble.

I'm not a fan of raw feeding for one reason or another so can't help much with that.

Aquelven Wed 16-Jan-13 20:25:18

I have the same problem with a couple of mine.
Try a feed that consists of fish & potato, there are several.
Mine do well on Wainwrights or Fishmongers, though one does better on James Wellbeloved but only the Duck variety. You can get all three from Pets at Home.

And try giving Canikur Pro paste when his tummy is upset, you can buy it online cheaper than from the vet. There's Promax too but it doesn't seem as good as it used to be.
None of mine will touch Slippery Elm.

spudballoo Wed 16-Jan-13 20:46:36

I can't personally recommend as I don't have a dog with a sensitive tummy, but a friend with a rescue greyhound with a dreadful tummy has switched him to Eden (no grain or wheat). Might be worth a look. Just throwing it in as it's not well known and you can't get it from pet shops.

spudballoo Wed 16-Jan-13 20:47:02


lougle Wed 16-Jan-13 20:52:16

Patch is a likely staffy/pointy cross. His bowels were terrible on most foods. Burns Potato and Pork got rid of his wind completely.

BettySuarez Wed 16-Jan-13 21:12:01

Have tried Wainwrights and JW - didn't mention it in earlier posts as cant remember all the brands off the top of my fart addled head grin

But thanks for the other ideas too

daisydotandgertie Wed 16-Jan-13 21:28:01

Have you tried the fish/potato combo? Did it make any difference?

twojues Wed 16-Jan-13 21:45:12

My lab cross has tummy problems which sound just like yours.
He starts salivating and licking his lips. Pacing, doesn't settle. When he goes outside he eats lots of grass to make himself sick. It always starts at night about 12.30 oddly. I am then up all night as he keeps barking. He will settle a little bit if I am downstairs with him, but not much.

He can go month's in between bouts so there is no logic for it happening.

By the next morning he has calmed down and wants to eat. I feed him Chappie wet food with a bit of kibble twice a day.

When these bouts happen I now give him 10ml of Gaviscon or anti-indigestion tablets. These work and he calms down within about an hour.
The next day his stools are loose, but the day after that they are fine.

The vets can't find anything wrong, because by the time I've got him to the surgery he is fine again.

I also put slippery elm bark powder on his food for about 3 days after a bout which helps him too

BettySuarez Thu 17-Jan-13 07:55:25

Hi daisy not tried that combo. (not that I can recall), so will give it a try.

I need to pop up to Pets At Home to get some more dead mice for sons pet snake hmm so will take a look. I usually go for lamb or chicken. Is there a difference?

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