Hello all! This is going to be long, but thank you in advance if you get through this and for all your kind help!
My 10 month old 75 lb lab/bloodhound mix has a sensitive stomach and has since I got him at 8 weeks old. He poops a 2-3 times/walk, in the morning and around 5 each day (he eats directly follow those walks – 7:30 am and 6:30 pm). Not only does the frequency of his bowel movements alarm me but they’re HUGE poops! In the mornings, they start out formed but still soft and progressively get worse as the day goes on. His last poop of the day is always very runny. He doesn’t strain to go, doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, and doesn’t vomit. He is still full of energy and always happy. He has continued to grow and is a good weight for his size.
When I got him, the foster was feeding him Purina Pro Plan Puppy, so I continued on with that for quite a few months. Then, when he got a bout of diarrhea and knowing his history, the vet switched him over to prescription Purina EN. That got him back to his status quo, but I wanted to find something that could really firm him up. I started feeding him a limited ingredient diet – Zignature, and that brings us to present day. He definitely does the best on the Zignature, but I feel like there is still vast room for improvement.
I have tried pumpkin, goats milk yogurt, probiotics, prebiotics, and Perfect Form (that helped a little but he decided he didn’t like it anymore). He has been on metronidazole before but that made him constipated and when he would finally go to the bathroom, it was still very runny. He has also had multiple fecal tests, so no worms.
I plan to discuss all of this with my vet at his neuter next week, but I want to go in well informed (i.e. low/high fiber, low/high fat, etc.). She also gave me an estimate for some tests – maldigestion profile, fecal O&P plus giardia antigen-antech, canine GI profile – but it comes out to be ~$550 on top of his $450 neuter and it’s just too much for me to spend all at once. Could you kind folks suggest a way for me to prioritize different foods/supplements/tests?
Thank you again for reading through all of this. I love my boy very much, and I want to make sure he is healthy and happy.
Couple things here that could help save money for the moment. Firstly, food is usually the easiest thing to start with (and least expensive for the most part). I find that NutriSource is an excellent food for dogs who have loose stool/digestive issues. And of course, you would want to feed their Large Breed Puppy formula since your boy might be borderlining a giant breed but most certainly is already a large breed and needs a strict diet to reduce the risk of orthopedic disorders.
Secondly, if you’d like to forgo the neuter and do the testing for other parasites I think that would be a fine choice. It’s recommended not to neuter large breeds until they have fully grown so that their growth plates have a chance to fully close and he will not be fully grown at only 10 months old. This also helps reduce the risk of orthopedic disorders. Also, this could allow you to invest more in figuring out the cause of his stomach trouble, which is much more the pressing issue at this time.
Hi Rachel S-
Definitely test for giardia. Your pup’s symptoms sound like my dogs when they were young. It’s fairly common and can be tough to get rid of. Coccidia is another bug that should be tested for in my opinion. I hope you get it figured out. I know it’s worrisome.
My pups did well on Victor kibble. Also the probiotic Forti Flora was very helpful when they were having bouts of diarrhea. It’s not one I would use routinely, but great to help with loose stools and fight against giardia. Good luck!
Hi Rachel S
I’m very sorry that your pup is having digestive issues 🙁
I believe that proper nutrition is instrumental to raising a healthy and happy dog. That’s why no matter what the current issue with your pup might be, I would look for ways to improve his nutrition. Any extra money spent on improving his nutrition is like an investment that I believe will pay dividends down the line.
Those dividends are things like a longer, healthier and happier life. You could also wind up saving money by spending less on vet bills, tests, medicines, etc.
So, please don’t lower the quality of his current diet and instead look for small ways to improve it. Some of the things you could try are;
– Adding canned food to a dry (kibble) diet. Canned foods ate less processed than dry foods and they include the much needed moisture that’s missing in dry foods.
– Top off his kibble with fresh lightly cooked meats that you buy in the supermarket. Make sure these toppers are not more than 15% of his total diet or else you could unbalance his nutrients.
– Make one day a week a home cooked day where you feed him the same meats and veggies you eat. This option requires some research on your part so that the meal you make him is nutritionally balanced and fit for a king, I mean dog 😉
Whatever path you choose, I wish you and your “hounddog” the best, and if at any point you have questions about anything, please feel free to ask!
P.S Huge poops are usually from the starches and fiber in a dry food diet and things like pre and probiotics are very beneficial to the long term health of the gut and the immune system!
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