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7 month old G/R -food advice needed please

(20 Posts)
Dharmalovesdraco Wed 19-Feb-14 17:38:52

Hi all,

Hope someone can help, we have a 7 month old golden retriever who we have a few issues with, which I think are all related to diet and just would like some general advice.

He used to be ok food wise (is still very treat motivated) and would eat kibble (Royal Canin) quite happily, but then he started to turn his nose up at it and would go a day or so without eating (this was when he was on 4, then 3 feeds a day) so we would add tasty bits to it, ie a bit of ham/chicken/cheese or naturediet to tempt him. This has continued and he's now on two meals a day yet he's becoming increasingly fussy about breakfast and won't eat it at all some days, he also doesn't eat all of his dinner. I'm getting more and more concerned as he's obviously till growing and needs a certain amount of food.

Added to this he has had a constant dodgy tummy for a week now, constant runs (controlled though, isn't desparate to go whilst at home but will pass liquid slop 3/4 times whilst on a walk). Other than the food above he has homemade liver treats or training treats and the odd bonio, he also has access to fresh water but will insist on drinking from muddy puddles when out and about.

I guess my issues are two fold, how can we get him less fussy, and what's causing these tummy issues (not a week goes by when he doesn't have a sloppy poo)

Can anyone advise?

Isthatwhatdemonsdo Wed 19-Feb-14 18:23:44

My dog was very fussy on our own brand food and James Wellbeloved so we switched to Burns. Which for now he seems happy with. I'm going to stick with it as I'm not changing brands again.
I would maybe cut out all other treats for now and possibly try him on another dry food. He won't starve.
Beware the muddy puddles though my boy got a tummy upset from drinking from a manky puddle cost a fortune at the vets.

CMOTDibbler Wed 19-Feb-14 18:28:23

I'd try him on a grain free food to see if it helps his tum - mine can only have grain free and no turkey either. And they do get bored of a particular food. I'd just bought a big bag of one when ddog decided he'd had enough of it. But fortunatly he adores tinned sardines, so we are slowly using that one up mixed with sardines in tomato sauce. For other meals he has Burns pork and potato

tabulahrasa Wed 19-Feb-14 19:09:02

Mines fussy, won't eat certain things at all and would sometimes just skip meals - and had loose stools randomly for ages, talking to a vet about something else, she asked a load of questions about it and basically said that he has food intolerances and is avoiding foods that upset his stomach.

The only way to tell for sure exactly what he's intolerant to would be to do a proper exclusion diet and as he's doing fine on the grain free food he's currently on we're not going to bother just now.

So I'd second trying a grain free food and seeing if it improves or not.

Goldencity1 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:36:56

Wow, I thought we had the only fussy golden! Our 9 month Goldie birch is just the same. Won't eat Arden grange (food breeder used) won't eat collards, James wellbeloved, or any similar plain Brown type kibble. Sniffs it and walks away, despite competition from oldie Goldie greedily waiting to polish any leftovers off. She can pick out the offending kibble even when it is coated in something tasty. Her poo (tmi I know) can also be sloppy.
She is now on Skinners ruff and ready, which is a mixture of textures and shapes coated with something sticky. She eats this and her poo is much better, though still not exactly firm, you can at least "scoop" it now without having to use a spoon
I wonder if they are related?

moosemama Wed 19-Feb-14 20:40:48

Another one agreeing with trying grain free food. Also avoid any treats containing grains and cereals and limit liver treats, as too much offal can cause diarrhoea.

I would take him off the kibble he's on and try an exclusion diet as tabulahrasa suggested. My boy is 8 months old but spent two months on just fresh cooked chicken when he was younger due to contracting campylobacter while he was in rescue.

The only other suggestion I can think of is to ask your vet to do a stool sample, especially as you say he's been drinking puddle water. It's costly (I think ours cost around £150.00) but without it my boy wouldn't have been diagnosed and probably wouldn't still be with us today. (Before he came to us he'd already seen two vets who completely missed it and just advised adding pasta and potato to his meals to bulk him up. angry) By the time we adopted him he was severely undernourished and it took weeks of antibiotics and a diet of fresh cooked chicken and probiotic paste to turn him around.

Having a very restricted diet for a couple of months hasn't done him any harm at all and he's now a super healthy, great lanky giraffe-legged dog (he's a Lurcher) who is just heading past 26" to the shoulder and has grown 4 inches since mid-November! shock He is on Canagan grain-free food and it really suits him, but you could have a look at the Which Dog Food site to compare brands and find one that will suit your boy best.

daisydotandgertie Wed 19-Feb-14 22:15:21

How much does he weigh and how much are you feeding?

It does all sound food based tbh. Royal Canin is pretty crappy with lots of filler type stuff in it. Have you tried any other kibbles or are you just supplementing?

Whoknowswhocares Thu 20-Feb-14 13:55:25

My Goldie finds kibble much more interesting if mixed with a spoonful of wet (I use wainwrights trays) and a little warm water to make a gravy.
They do get less bothered with food at around his age though, as their growth rate slows. Plus runny poo can easily be caused by over feeding. Might be worth cutting back a bit and seeing how he responds

Dharmalovesdraco Thu 20-Feb-14 14:43:59

Thanks all! I am changing the Royal Cannin, I didn't realise just how crap it was until I looked at the which food website linked by Moose, he was on it when he came to us so just continued. According to the website Eden food is what comes out on top for my budget that is cereal free. I've looked at the raw food, such as Natural Instinct and Natures Menu (I'm not confident enough to go 'properly' raw) but they come in at £140-£160 a month which is astronomical.

Moose interesting about the liver, he's had it everyday recently as it massively improves his recall wink it's his favourite. I think I'm going to change where we walk, or at least where I let him off because he will insist on drinking yucky water, when he's off.

Thanks again everyone, I'm very grateful x

Dharmalovesdraco Thu 20-Feb-14 14:45:30

Whoknows, we use naturaldiet as a bit of wet to make it more appealing but hadn't thought to make it a bit more gravy like - will try it smile

nuttymutty1 Thu 20-Feb-14 18:26:19

Before doing anything drastic I would definitely stop the liver treats, one they are filling and two liver will give the runs to nearly all dogs.

How much kibble are you giving him?

WeAllHaveWings Thu 20-Feb-14 20:17:09

Be careful with Eden, its very high protein and some dogs struggle with it, we tried to get our lab onto it for months before giving up due to masses of huge sloppy poos and smelly wind. He loved it but we didn't!

If eden doesnt work out for you, we switched to millies wolfheart and it cleared up his problems within days. It's got more realistic protein levels, and different recipes, but still good quality and grain free. They also have a very friendly Facebook group you can join and ask any food, treat or poo related questions!

Dharmalovesdraco Thu 20-Feb-14 22:45:11

I've ordered Simpson 80/20 after looking for hours! That's what put us off the Eden WeAllHaveWings so many reviews said the same thing, this isn't so high in protein. If it doesn't help/improve things I'll look at Millie's.

We feed him as per the guidelines nutty which I can't remember off the top of my head (I think it's about 550g a day), but I will definitely knock the liver on the head for the time being, see how he goes.

Thanks so much smile

daisydotandgertie Fri 21-Feb-14 07:41:25

Please think about how much you're feeding. Bag guidelines are famous for being massively over generous. Think about it - they make money selling food; so the more they get you to feed, the more money they make. Particularly applicable to vet and supermarket supplied foods IME.

How much does he weigh? And how much are you feeding? I asked upthread and I wonder if you missed it.

Overfeeding produces the exact symptoms you are describing. Treats, feeding to packet guidelines, not to eye, cheese and things added to his meals - all of this makes it sound as though he is being offered more food than his system can cope with - or needs - and will result in frequent sloppy poo everytime.

Dharmalovesdraco Fri 21-Feb-14 08:05:16

Sorry Daisy we are feeding to guidelines but he doesn't eat it all, he isn't overweight, nor underweight tbf , and last time he was weighed was at 28kgs but he was only 5 months. Treat wise we give them when training (but not every time he does something right) but I will take what you've said on board ands look at exactly how much he's eating in a day. But, and mass thicko alert, how do you know what is the right about of food? His expected adult weight is 44kgs?

Thanks again

daisydotandgertie Fri 21-Feb-14 10:45:27

Rather than feeding to an estimated adult weight, feed for his current weight. Some manufacturers are buggers for misleading you about how much food a dog actually needs.

I would have a 7 month old puppy on adult kibble (I change at 6 months to promote steady growth at this stage) and be feeding maybe 350g split between two meals a day at the moment. Try that for a week - and treat out of that allowance too - give no top up treats with his meals, just a splash of hot water and see how he goes.

I expect he will firm up and become far hungrier - more as he should be. 550g ish of food plus treats is a massive amount for a 28/30kg dog and really could account for his runny bum, excessive pooing and disinterest.

Simpsons is good food - it's what I feed mine on and have been for some years. I feed the big standard chicken and rice and am very pleased with the results.

I'd also warn against pandering to a fussy dog - in the long run it'll do you no favours. Kibble is a complete food - and I always treat it as such. Mine don't get tempting top layers on their meals mostly because it doesn't take very much food at all to over feed a dog and with larger breeds like my Labs and your Golden, it is important not to - especially when they're at the very delicate age your boy is with regard to growth, joints and muscle strength.

moosemama Fri 21-Feb-14 12:54:30

I agree with daisy. 550g sounds like a lot. Some foods have inflated intake guidance to compensate for the fact that they are full of fillers so the dog needs more to get basic nutrition. It's common for it to be the fillers and cereals etc that cause the loose stools as well.

I do understand that your boy isn't eating it all, which might just mean he's self-regulating his intake, but if he constantly has loose stools as well, then the food isn't suiting him anyway.

My boy is on Canagan, complete adult food - which suits him and has an intake of 400g a day, which is on the high side, but right for him, as he's a high energy sighthound and is naturally very lean. We worked out the right intake level for him by adjusting it and assessing his body weight an condition in conjunction with the recommended guidelines. At 400g he is lean and fit, but not skinny and has the appropriate amount of 'cover' over his ribs. He still has 3 feeds a day, as I'm concerned about the potential for bloat with his breeding and with his digestive history, I don't want to overload his system by feeding too much all in one go.

Some of his allowance is used for training, although I do use other things for jackpot treats etc and if we're going out part of it gets put into a kong or treat dispensing ball.

Whoknowswhocares Fri 21-Feb-14 13:19:42

You sound like you are massively over feeding to me too, sorry.

My Goldie is 13 months and 28kg. She gets 350g a day.

Dharmalovesdraco Fri 21-Feb-14 16:36:39

Honestly thank you all so much, we followed the guidelines purely because we thought they would be right <naive> I'm taking it all on board I promise. Hopefully we will also sort the fussiness problem out too.
On the guide you posted Moose our food was shown to have a high cereal content (and was generally rubbish) so was handy to see and compare foods, I feel much happier knowing we are changing his diet.

daisydotandgertie Fri 21-Feb-14 18:22:48

Changing the food is not a bad thing for sure, but I think that cutting down quantity will have a huge impact too.

I wouldn't bother easing him onto either - just change. I feel sure that he has a runny bum because his body can't process the amount of food rather than him having a problem IYSWIM.

Don't fret about it though - you have done what you thought was best and it will be put right with no trouble. It's a learning curve, the dog thing, and some of us have had many of them and have learned a lot!

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