I have an 8 year old male, retired racing greyhound with a very sensitive stomach and allergies. He’s had severe ear infections, nasal congestion, compulsive licking and digestive problems. He is also hyper allergic to flea bites, with them even turning in to mini staph infections at each bite. Over the past 3 1/2 years I have tried nearly every brand on the market from Purina on up to Orijen. If it’s sold anywhere between the specialty boutique shops and PetsMart, I have probably tried it. I’ve tried grain-in, grain-free, corn-free, soy-free, gluten-free, chicken-free… etc. etc. I have tried chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, beef, bison, and I think one even had ostrich or something. Basically I’ve tried everything. I have even tried the high-end frozen raw diet food, he just simply won’t touch it. He does not appear to be allergic to chicken specifically, I’ve tried poultry based foods and foods with absolutely no poultry of any kind and the result is the same.
Every single grain-free food causes, horrendous breath, loose stool and severe gas. No amount of pumpkin, yogurt, supplement pro-biotics or pre-biotics seems to fix it, sometimes those relieve things for a day or two but never permanently. It seems directly linked to the percent of protein, above a certain point and these issues start. He seems ok around 22% but usually anything in that range is not grain-free.
The grain-in foods (and treats) increase his nasal congestion (like a kid sucking the snot in vs. blowing his nose, not the same as a reverse sneeze) and the obsessive licking, and they also exacerbates the ear infections. He has had the ear infections recurring, or perhaps even continually but low level, since I got him. He was on a grain-in food when I got him and I immediately switched to grain-free but the ear never fully cleared up even on grain-free. The ear is finally cleared up (for now) after lots of meds though I’m worried his diet will bring it back.
I have tried some raw foods and veggies but they seem to pass through him without even being digested at all.
Any kind of food with potato as a major ingredient seems to act as an immediate diuretic, causing him to be constantly thirsty, panting and drinking and therefore needing to go out 7+ per day every few hours and even having accidents in the house which otherwise he has never had before. This includes all those limited ingredient foods because they all seems to be potato based.
The only time I have had any luck with a food is with Iams Sensitive Naturals Ocean Fish. Yes, I know it doesn’t rank highly and many people here are against it, but it was literally the only food that stopped the breath/stool/gas problems in their tracks, nearly overnight. I’ve heard others say they had similar good luck with Iams and attribute it to the beet pulp, not sure if that’s really true but I can say it worked for my dog. He went about eating it with no digestive issues for 9 months or so but the silent ear infection got worse and worse and the nasal issues got worse. Then we tried Eukanuba Wild Salmon/Rice and the ear/nasal continued to get worse and the licking started. The only benefit to the Eukanuba was his coat was suddenly full, fluffy and soft and the traditional greyhound bald spots were even filling in. I was bothered by the increase in allergies so I’ve gone back to looking for something else.
So I’ve since re-tried several other grain-free foods and the Biljac Sensitive formula, all produce the same old problems. Re-tried a limited potato food, same problem.
I’d like to note he has been tested repeatedly for worms, giardia, heartworms, etc. and all negative. He has had bloodwork taken regularly and it is all absolutely perfect, including thyroid. His teeth have been cleaned by the vet recently and are good. He has absolutely no medical issues outside of the allergies and stomach sensitivities. Also, several vets and others suggested giving him claritan or benedryl to relieve the nasal and skin related reactions but it seems to do nothing for him.
I’m sorry this post is so long, thanks for reading all of it, I was trying to give the full background so folks know what I’ve already tried on this great food adventure. I’m looking for any suggestions, advice, testimonials, whatever on food and treats. I’m willing to try any food to get him to be comfortable, as long as it doesn’t require a second mortgage to pay for it. Thanks in advance!
A lot of dogs don’t produce the digestive enzymes they need to digest everything in kibble, because in the wild their prey would have enzymes in it, but the process of making kibble kills all the enzymes. If I were you, I would switch to NutriSource Grain Free, for a grain free, they are a lower protein, and they seem to be easy to switch to for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Then I would add digestive enzymes, probiotics, and a spoonful of pumpkin to every meal. You may be able to cut back on those after a while because dogs do usually adjust after a while, but some dogs have more trouble adjusting than others. If you aren’t opposed to ordering online, Swanson’s has a great probiotic cheap, Dr Stephen Langer’s. They also have digestive enzymes at a good price. I would just give an adult human dose of both until he is doing fine, then slowly see if you can decrease the amount you give.
I completely agree with Patty, about the supplement & food. Good luck, stick around!
So I tried NutriSource grain free and the soft stuff turned to liquid and never stopped, even with added Geneflora at each meal.
Then I tried another limited ingredient Chicken/Potato Grain Free and I chose it because any forms of potato were well down the list of ingredients, behind peas and pea starch and several other things. They should have just called it Chicken and Pea. Anyway… it also contained beet pulp and only 21% protein. Things solidified within two days! Yay! However, he then proceeded to poop about 6-8 times a day. That seems like a lot for a dog that typically has 3, even when it’s bad quality it’s usually only 3, and in the past when he’s had no digestion related food issues it’s only been 3 times a day. Six to 8 is too much right?
I’m increasingly more convinced on the beet pulp theory. So far the only foods that eliminated the terrible gas/gurgling and soft/liquid stool have contained beet pulp along with <25% protein. I just can’t find any other commonality between foods that work and the foods that do not. Nutro has a Venison and Potato around 21% protein plus beet pulp. Hills also has two that are similar with either Chicken or Salmon.
I’m really hesitant to put him back on the grain food that seemed to work so well for his stomach before because the itching, hacking, licking and yeast ear infections were so severe… by severe I mean that over the course of the past year he lost his ability to walk in a straight line, balance, chew food, walk up stairs and hear out of one ear and all the while his ear was not exhibiting any outward signs of infection other than a small amount of wax buildup and he was not indicating he had any pain or specific problem with his ear like head shaking or pawing at it and so, despite the fact that I continually asked about the discharge, three different Vets said it was nothing and mis-diagnosed the infection for a combination of brain tumor and a stroke, for which they prescribed him Prozac for “anxiety related to the pressure in his brain” and told me to put him down. A fourth Vet finally actually looked inside his ear when I asked and realized the severity and took action, within just a few days of proper meds he was like a brand new dog. I don’t want to feed him any food that causes that kind of allergy/yeast issue again.
Thoughts? Are any of the grain AND potato free foods out there recommended for food intolerance and digestion issues?
What is the main benefit of the enzymes vs. probiotics? The Geneflora seems to do little to nothing to help him.
I have an irish setter with reoccurring stomach issues and I have found that adding Mercola Digestive Enzymes to every meal with Total Biotics (both from Amazon) have helped him very much. He never gurgles anymore. He does still have flares but rebounds quicker with the help of these easy to use powders. He has been on Merrick Lamb and Brown Rice for a year now and loves it along with canned meats but I am transitioning him over to Earthborne Lamb Grain Free as we speak.
Can he do sweet potatoes? IF so, Honest Kitchen Zeal might work—you can amend it with some beet pulp and other steamed vegetables. http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/zeal
I think the trade off for low protein diet is lots-o-poop! It’s what I am dealing with at the moment with my pup, albeit only temporarily.
I have a greyhound mix who seems to have the same things your dog has but not as bad. Leo had very bad hot spots though. A friend told me chicken allergies are super common in dogs. Seemed ridiculous but apparently since many dog foods contain beaks feet and feathers aka “chicken by products” or “fillers” well dogs who’ve eaten these dog foods even once can develop a chicken allergy. When I had Leo on a grain free chicken free formula he had loose stools and a runny nose still but less itching and no swelling around tick or flea bites. He got so much better that I let him have chicken treats. This seemed ok so I bought the grain free blue buffalo wilderness chicken formula and now he’s sliding back again. He even got some hot spots again and hadn’t had any for years. So we’re going back to no eggs no chicken no duck no turkey, no poultry of any kind. Try that and let me know. Also dairy products even yoghurt can cause a runny nose and “runny rear.”
Leo gets a homemade dog food meal separate from his kibble meal. He gets a pound of ground beef freshly cooked and drained of fat plus a quarter can of “tripette” green tripe and “Solid Gold Seameal.” He’ll take a bit of ground up frozen peas with this meal but if I put too many peas in it he won’t eat. I’m concerned he’s getting too much protein. He won’t eat pumpkin. I’ll try the beet fiber. I know the tripette is making his coat soft because that’s what it did for my friends dog and before eating tripette Leo had a rough coat. Tripette is amazing stuff. I don’t really know what good the Solid Gold Seameal is doing but its filled with vitamins and minerals.
The pound of ground beef needs calcium added to it to balance the phosphorus in the meat, otherwise, protein is good.
He sounds really yeasty (systemic).
How about something like California Natural Lamb/Rice or Precise Naturals Lamb/Rice?
Feed along with a probiotic (I’d start with liquid and then maybe try kefir) and a digestive enzyme (I like powdered) over top his food with a splash of warm water. Keep it really, really simple. Also be sure you do not over feed. I’d under feed for a short while until his stool firms up and then go from there.
Good luck! It’s tiring dealing with touchy tummies, and you feel so sorry for these guys!
Have you looked into Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth, Google S.I.B.O, in dogs then put him on the SIBO diets, if you feel he has most of the symtoms…My boy is on the Vet Prescription diet Eukanuba “Intestinal” Protein 23% Fat-10% crude fiber 1.75% Beet Pulp-3.3% it’s the only kibble that seems to work for him, His Sloppy poos are excellent now, his skin cleared up, ears also cleared up but come back sometimes after been on alot of bush walking, so I’d say he has allergies to pollen or grasses something in the enviorment..
- This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Susan.
We have a foster named Twinky and she is a mix of dachshund and chihuhua and about 6 years old. She has an extremely sensitive stomach and she has a bloody diarrhea which is on/off at times. She is also a nervous little girl. We currently have her on a grain-free (gluten free) canned fish dog food. We also put plain yogurt in with her food. We also have been working with a nutritionist and she does not want her on a rice diet. Otherwise she is a very healthy little girl. Could you possibly recommend a soft dog food that we could try her on? She also gets constipation with dry food.
Thank you so much.
Has she had a complete physical exam? Sometimes pain can manifest itself as anxiety. Dachshunds are notorious for back problems. If the dog has tweaked it’s back, they are reluctant to squat in order to defecate because it is painful to do so….so it may present as constipation.
I would rule out back/spinal issues, medical issues first. A good veterinarian will know what to look for.
Regarding soft food, all you have to do is presoak the kibble overnight in the fridg and it becomes soft food.
PS: I would stop adding supplements and yogurt, etc. Maybe your vet can recommend a prescription diet.
Thank you for responding. Yes, she has had a physical exam when she became a foster and no back issues. She does fine for a few days and then back to the bad diarrhea. No upsets in the house either. Speaking with her first foster mom and the write-up from her mom (before she was surrendered), she has always had this issue. We are going to have her stool sample taken to the vet to make sure there are no parasites and such. I feel she needs a gentle digesting food. We think she might have irritable bowel syndrome. We just want what is best for her.
Sometimes it takes another opinion to find the problem, I took my little dog to the emergency vet for pain issues on a Sunday and they all thought it had to do with her stomach , GI issues.
I declined the extensive testing they wanted to do (she had labs and a physical a few months prior) and took her to my regular vet the following day. He thinks she hurt her back jumping in and out of the car, pain meds and rest for a few days. She’s back to normal.
She has always had a sensitive stomach and does well on Nutrisca salmon and chickpea dry with a topper and water added.
Also, her issues could be stress related.
PS: Those shelter exams for dogs even though they are done by a veterinarian are minimal, they simply don’t have the budget to do an extensive exam and testing.
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