Confused about which dog food to feed.

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Confused about which dog food to feed.

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  • #82905 Report Abuse
    Louis G

    Hello everyone,

    I have a 3 year old Lab Mix named Tina. Since I got Tina at 7 months we’ve fed her a home cooked diet. Although she has a sensitive stomach, she has always been healthy until last week she had an episode of diarrhea. I noticed a few drops of blood at the end of the poop, a day later her stool was firm but had a generous amount of blood in it. We took her to the vet and had a full check up done including blood and stool tests. The results came back all clear, in fact the Vet said she was a very healthy dog, she continued to eat and drink during this time. (our thought is that she ate something while staying over at a friends house) Our vet recommended the Hill Prescription Digestive Chicken stew to try out. At first she would not eat it, but after topping it with a small amount of cooked white meat chicken she has been eating it and the results have been instantaneous. Her stools are good and firm and the diarrhea and blood went away. I would like to put her on a dry and wet dog food diet but am confused by all the contradicting information on dog food. Some praise Hills, some condemn it. Some praise Blue buffalo but they just paid millions in lawsuit for false advertising the ingredients in their kibble. I would just like a straight answer as to what dry and wet food I should feed my dog going forward. Vet recommended Hills Science Dry and Hills Balance Wet. I love my dog and if could continue to cook for her I would but I work longer hours now and my vet felt there was a possibility that she wasn’t getting the proper nutrition from the cooked food. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    #82906 Report Abuse
    Check out the SkeptVet’s blogs.
    I have heard good things about this book

    I like to use a quality kibble as a base and add a spoonful of cooked chicken, scrambled egg or something. No free feeding. I have had good luck with Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea, check

    And regarding the episode you described, these things happen …I am waiting for lab work results myself for a dog that had poor appetite and some other vague symptoms X 2 days.
    So far it does not appear to be related to his diet…

    #82907 Report Abuse

    You may find some tips here. However, I lean toward science-based veterinary medicine, I appreciate some of the things homeopathic vets have to say….but find many of their views a little too extreme, for my comfort.

    #82913 Report Abuse

    Hi Louis- I second what anonymously said. Also wanted to add that consumer reviews are terrible way to select a food for your dog. It’s far too overwhelming to sift through the good and bad reviews and even at the end of it all you still aren’t sure if the food is good or not.

    Looking to what professionals in the field of nutrition have to say about what criteria to use when selecting a dog food and company to use is a much more direct and simple way of choosing a food.

    Here is Dr. Susan Wynn DVM (also a nutritionist) guideline for how to choose a food:

    1. Does the company employ a veterinary nutritionist? If they simply use consultants as needed, I question their dedication to keeping up with new knowledge in animal nutrition.
    2. Has the company a decent track record or are they only a few years old?
    3. Do the ads or company representatives make absurd claims about extending lives or preventing cancer and kidney disease, unsubstantiated by clinical trials?
    4. Does the company provide clear contact information on the bag or can so that you can easily call them if there is a potential problem?
    5. Does the company add to our knowledge of nutrition by conducting ethical research in veterinary nutrition?
    6. Is this food appropriate to my pet’s flavor preferences, life stage, lifestyle and environment?
    7. Can I provide this food consistently (i.e. am I grossed out by the odor, or is the product consistently available, or is it too much trouble to open cans, etc)?

    There are other nutritionists out there with similar, but varied guidelines. I know one of the regulars, Aimee, has a couple other examples so hopefully she’ll post that.

    • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Pitlove.
    #82924 Report Abuse

    My dog’s lab work results are back. Looks like a virus (WBC low)
    Absolutely nothing to do with the diet. White rice and hamburger for now, for loose stools, will call the vet in a couple of days if she is not back to her usual self.

    PS: No vomiting, that would be a different scenario.
    Check the feces for blood, a little bit may not be a big deal, but if you see mucous also, that could indicate colitis, that is what my vet said regarding my pet’s condition.

    #82975 Report Abuse

    Hi My Patch was pooing red blood in his poos not everyday maybe once a fortnight when I first rescued him, vet said Colitis & he was put on Metronidazole (Flagly) he has food sensitivities to certain foods & irritating his bowel also fat, I had to watch the fat content in some foods…. he’s been good now I know what no to feed….
    Start her diet again 1 protein & 1 carb then slowly re introduce ingredients again over 1 to 2 weeks adding 1 new ingredient & make sure you check her poos…..

    My other dog a boxer pooed a heap of blood just after I rescued her she had worms & needed to be wormed again the RSPCA only wormed her the once & mustn’t of gotten rid of all her worms..

    If she wasn’t getting the proper nutrition like your vet said her coat would be dull, no shine, itchy dry skin is one sign of low omega 3 & I’m pretty sure they don’t start pooing blood cause the diet isn’t balanced properly…other things start to happen……have a look at “Balance IT” you add to your cooked meals there also would be other supplements that balance the diet…. I live Australia I use Natural Animal Solutions DigestaVite Plus & the Omega 3,6 & 9 oil….

    #82981 Report Abuse

    Update: My dog is back to normal….just a bug. Boiled rice and hamburger for a day or two did the trick. No supplements or change in diet indicated.

    PS: Of course all dogs are different, that is why it is important to have your dog examined by a vet first, when they have symptoms. So much can be ruled out by lab work.

    #82982 Report Abuse

    Good news!

    #82983 Report Abuse

    Thanks, c4c, They worry us with these things, don’t they. Took my 7 year old poodle mix in for routine heartworm check and went along with the senior labs (results pending).
    Big old rotten molar tooth popped out the other day while I was brushing her teeth.
    Vet couldn’t believe how good her teeth looked, she has never had a professional cleaning. I do brush every day.
    Anyway, he thinks the tooth was way in the back and where it fell out is healing nicely.
    She does not need a cleaning. Yay!

    PS: This is what income tax return checks are for 🙂

    #84230 Report Abuse
    melissa p

    Need some guidance.

    Short version of my issues.

    Since my dog was about 6 months he has had problems where he would randomly have mushy stool. *side note* he did have surgery on his stomach ay that age though to remove a Frisby he ate. Not sure if that plays any part with issues now. My dog Bandit is now 3 ans I have changed foods multiple times. He has been to the vet for infections whete he was puking and pooping blood once the vet had no idea why but antibiotics cleared it up. Most recently he had a staph infection on his belly from licking from food allergies and has got spots between his toes ocaasionally. My issue is now after this last round of meds the vet said not to change his good until he was done with them. He was on probiotics and kangaroo and lentil Cali. Natural. He was doing well his poop wad firm but almost seemed a little dry but was solid for the full 4 weeks while on probittics. I ran out after his meds and 2 days after he was pooping small amounts of blood but is lethargic.

    To recap my vet claims he has food allergies and colitis. My issue is he refuses to recommend a good beside D/D hills. But Bandit for some reason does fine on his calif. Natural ans I was mixing I/d (he’s allergic to) only less than a teaspoon and he goes randomly well on that but I take away the i.d and he has mushy poop. But if I give to much he had hot spots. Then this recent he did amazing! With probiotics that I just added.

    How is this possible? ?? My vet won’t help just push the food they sell

    What’s a good hypoallergenic dog food for ibd/collitis dogs??

    Also what do you feed a sick dog that doesn’t tolerate rice, i/d. Hills, beef, chicken, corn.. I bought a can of venison hills d.d just to try because I don’t want to make his bloody stool worse by giving his normal food right away

    *sorry for my clusterf*ck long post I’m very scattered and need some help and can’t seem to get it. Bandit has a weird stomach and allergies and can’t seem to get any real help


    #84233 Report Abuse

    Hi Melissa-

    Hypoallergenic dog foods do not exist. Not even the prescription diets are allowed to make the claim of being hypoallergenic because it is individual to the dog. It sounds like your dog needs to have a food trial done to diagnois the food allergies and then you and your vet need to work together to come up with a food that will work for the allergies and the colitis.

    I think it is important to take things said over the internet about vet’s with a grain of salt. Your vet is actually trying to help you believe it or not. And there is a much better reason for them recommending the presciption diets for such severe symptoms than money. It’s because these diets do in fact work.

    #84235 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    You definitely want to find out exactly what his allergens are.
    Until then (and even after if needed) continue the probiotic/enzymes if that helped.
    For long term probiotic use I switch the brands every once in a while.

    If you have such little faith in the vet get a copy of all records and look for a 2nd opinion or see a specialist.

    #84237 Report Abuse
    melissa p

    Thanks for the info and Put love. I have done hours of dog food research as well as colitis amd allergens . I try and educate myself as much as possible. I know thete is no hypoallergenic dog good persay I should have rephrase that to l.i.d dog food that’s high quality with no controversial ingredients or more so things like Ethoxyquin which I have found on the label of both Vet brand foods i.e. Hills and Royal Canin. My issue is my vets only reasoning to my suggestion of other brands is ” he doesn’t know them”. I have called around to other vets to see who had dog nutrition experience and I’ve gotten. Shot down. To me is insane a vet in school really doesn’t get any training in nutrition so I an lost I guess because the only reasoning I hey as to why he should be on it is because it’s “easy ” to digest but I read endless research and articles saying majority of its ingredients aren’t good for ibd/colitis dogs plus allergies.

    I appreciate the input both of you and to answer the other question I’m told by multiple vets/ my dog food store owner (had severe colitis dog that is so bad she’s debated putting to sleep it’s that horrific) but they all say allergy testa are a waste because they aren’t that accurate. Example I’ve gotten an allergy test and the suppose allergens I don’t react to its more of a broad possibility. He definitely is allergic to chicken as I’ve tried chicken California natural. As well as lamb and rice 2 different brands. Salmon and pea. And now kangaroo and red lentil which he does well on nixed with an i.d. food but he’s allergic to it ( realized whwn fed just that when had a flare up, became tomato red and itching also hot spots ) then tried hamburger a nd rice mixes. Diarreah when on both separated and mixed after 3 weeks. Tried oatmeal still upset tummy. . Also I’ve read hydrogolized diets can actually hurt your dog because it just tricks rhere body ans masks the issue so I figured that’s why he pooped normal but was still breaking out in staph infection from licking hot spots on hills I.d

    Biggest current issue idk what to feed him right now after his bloody poop the other day and lethargy all today and still mucus off colored poop today but it was firm atleast. I caved and got the potato and venison canned but he’s never had it so I’m worries will thay make his flare up worse???

    My vet tech who knows nothing said feed it straight but I’m afraid to ..let me.say tho I like my vet I don’t dislike him..I don’t appreciate having to feel like my vet is going against me is my issue..he should listen to my concerns and not force feed me thete dog food they sell is all.

    Thanks:) just very overwhelmed my dogs mu baby I wan t him to not just survive nut thrive and live a healthy long life

    #84241 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    Completely understandable that you would be overwhelmed by all the info and the situation.
    Try telling your vet how you feel about his approach. Remind him that you tried his food and didn’t feel they helped enough.
    If he still won’t help you find a solution perhaps threaten to go elsewhere. He is still running a business and should care about keeping yours.
    Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes and a vet with different experience can make a huge difference. Even if you only have 1 visit.
    I love my vets, but after almost a yr of dealing w/ stomach issues I had to try someone else. My family has gone to this place since they opened about 30 yrs ago. I’m glad I did. They had different ideas and were willing to try a different approach. She is sooo much better.
    Both vets have kept each other in the loop (which is great for me) and I think the original vet got a new perspective they hadn’t considered.
    Every once in a while they still try selling me Hill’s. I just yes them to death and leave w/o buying it.
    Luckily the owner is on the board of Hills now so I hope he’ll be able to make them improve things.
    As long as your dog is willing to fight you should too. Keep looking until you find your answer.

    #84248 Report Abuse
    melissa p

    Thanks Jenn H. I know I should look for another vet but my options where I live are very limited , which is sad because I would think I could find somebody who had atleast a different approach. My best bet as of now Is to do some calling around again I’ve tried 2 other vets only very briefly, my real hopes were to find a nutritionist or holistic vet but I have neither anywhere close. My dog food lady is going through one via email but costs way to much for me to afford in a weekly basis. I will keep searching I guess. I am hoping I can find somebody or maybe get my vet to actually listen and agree more on trying new things atleast . I really just want the professional opinion but with my dogs true best interest verse it being there job.

    But anybody know still if I should do what the vet tech said as to feeding the brand new canned venison to “settle” the current bout of colitis?

    All my research says switching with no transition isn’t a good idea and so far his poop is still not any better but no other option but to do that at the moment.

    Thanks again though hoping I can find somebody put of.the 6 vets total I havw in my city. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed

    #84257 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    I know I’m very spoiled living in an area where I do have a lot of options. Being near Boston I can go right to Tufts (one of the best vet schools) in an emergency.
    There’s so many different vets and emergency animal hospitals. I guess I assume it’s common.

    Believe me I know phone consults can be very expensive. As if vet care isn’t expensive enough already.

    Personally I wouldn’t change foods w/o slow transition, but you know your dog better than anyone. Even the vet. Follow your own instinct.
    Remember you are your dog’s advocate. He needs you to be his voice. Make it heard. I’m not a confrontational person, but eventually I ran out of patience. I told them that I was done seeing my girl sick and they needed to stop blaming everything on Lyme and find the solution. Doctors don’t like to think they are wrong. Sometimes they need to be humbled.
    While I still ended up with an umbrella diagnosis at least I got them to successfully treat the symptoms without pushing their agenda.

    #84301 Report Abuse
    melissa p

    Yes it’s very difficult where I live very little options so have tried reaching out to friends to maybe see if anybody knew of a vet that’s very knowledgeable with all brands of dog foods. I will be moving to a bigger city end of summer so that’s a little encouraging but doesn’t help now.

    I did however cave into what the vet sais about feeding just the canned food. I felt bad not feeding him much from fear of upsetting his tummy more. He did have normal bowl movements from my feeding him his normal food and adding a tablespoon of the canned until I figured oh its helping so gave him full meals of it and boom. Explosive diarreah. Pfft I knew in my gut “this isn’t right: not transitioning him to the canned. Went back to small amount and feeding his regular food and back to normal except I’m still lost his poop is like green:S.. I honestly give up with the bet though only because I’ve went multiple timea for the same thing and they tell me always to give him the Hills D/D. I’m going to wing it on my own for a week and see if he goes back to normal also its very very very stressful taking him so I prefer not to unless I have to. He doesn’t do well always has to be muzzled and growls cowering in the corner the whole time won’t even let the vet touch him. I usually have to take his temp and such for them he will not let anybody there near him . Thanks for the insight though I will have to keep trying and find a different vet I hope with my slim pickings available

    #84306 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    Here’s what I might do…
    If the d/d is agreeing with him, then keep him on it until you find a new vet and/or food you think might work for him. Should you find a food that seems OK, transition veeeerrrryyyy slowly.
    Some of his bout with diarrhea can be stress related. That can last a day or 2. Since he is such a mess at the vet I wouldn’t be surprised if that at least exasterbates his symptoms.
    One of my girls has been having GI issues off & on for a yr. I’m only now trying to offer something different. Until now she’s been getting Wysong Anergen and i/d cans.
    Wysong is a good food. Not terribly expensive and they have a couple options for GI problems. Angeren and Synergon.
    I’ve been introducing her to Zignature turkey formula canned for a few days. I think she is doing OK. I’d like to get her off all prescription food and find other options for her to be able to rotate again. When I know for sure she isn’t going to get sick again after trying that I will probably try her on Wysong Anergen canned. I probably should’ve done it the other way around, but whatever.
    Hang in there. The summer will be here & gone in no time. While you wait to move start looking into vets around that area.

    #84310 Report Abuse

    Melissa P: I want to point out that unless you find a vet who is a holistic or nutritionist, you probably won’t find one who will help with food. They don’t get very much for nutrition education in veterinary school. Sometimes, we have to adjust our schedules if need by & drive farther for a consultation.

    #84381 Report Abuse
    melissa p

    Jenn h. Ya he is going back and forth. Morning randomly will have normal poop then at nite literally mush snd alot of it. I’m feeding his California natural with a tablespoon of the D/d. So not sure and not really getting anywhere. But I know giving the dd all right away set his.tummy off again so now I’m afraid to give more. Seems like his regular food isn’t helping nor the dd but I have to feed him something. Going to try giving more of the dd gradually to see if that will help or if the potato is upsetting his stomach.

    Trying to figure out what the deal is…so confusing wirh the normal then not normal poop. Ugh. Thanks though!

    And reply to the other comment

    I agree completely. Just none at all available anywhere close. So would have to do it via email. And it’s way to expensive u can’t afford 200+$ every few weeks. I know a lady who is doing it that way and I can’t afford it sadly. So stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment.

    Sad you can’t get any credited info about nutrition anywhere without paying an arm and a leg basically

    #84382 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    Other things that have helped all my dogs transition or ease GI flare ups:
    *pure pumpkin NOT pie filling
    *probiotics with FOS and bifidobacterium (sp?)
    *WHITE rice including the water it’s boiled in

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