Okie, I’m sorry this is so long, but want to give as much background as possible for the best choice in foods.
I have an older dog — 14 years old, lab/plott hound mix, currently approximately 60 lbs and looks a little on the lean side to my liking.
We’ve been feeding him Taste of the Wild (can never remember the exact one as I just grab it based on color — it has ducks on the bag?) dry since adopting him 5 years ago, and he has thrived pretty good on that. When we first got him from the shelter he had bald patches all over (almost completely bald on the bottom half) caused by a severe allergy to fleas, and was also rather overweight. Within a few weeks he was lean and shiny with a much higher energy level, etc.
Well over the last year he has begun to show his age. He’s been developing benign tumors all over (each is kept checked by the vet), and his hair has again been falling out. He also constantly has a flea problem despite lots of flea treatments and keeping both inside and outside as flea free as possible (we have no carpet in the house and his bed is switched and washed weekly). In spite of this, he still has a very high energy level and good weight though he’d been starting to look a little TOO lean despite upping the amount of food.
But last week I thought sure I was about to lose him. Long story short, he was diagnosed with vestibular disease and sent home, told it usually improves on its own and the cause is usually never figured out unless it’s tumors on the nerves or an obvious ear infection, but if he improves it’s likely not tumors. He did improve, but the next day his appetite was gone and later started squirting diarrhea that was more blood than stool (hours prior it was normal stool)… so straight back to the vet where he was additionally found to have a GI infection, and put on antibiotics and a wet canned food (Hills I/D). Additionally, the vet suggested I put him on a combo flea/worm pill since topical stuff doesn’t seem to be helping him anymore. His stool sample didn’t show worms or larvae/eggs. I said no to the pill as I wanted to research it first (which I’m pretty sure will be a ‘no’ after reading the side effects! Even just the common side effects were terrible)
It’s been a week now, and he’s slooooowly gained back an appetite as well as near normal mobility (slight head-tilt as I was told would probably happen as well as random missteps or falling over if he tries to take off at a run too quickly)… and now will not *touch* his dry food beyond a couple bites. He doesn’t seem to be being picky about it (and really isn’t a picky dog at all as a rule) — he seems to have trouble actually eating it — after a few bites his head starts to tilt worse and he seems to lose focus and get dizzy, then lose interest. I do have to put his bowl somewhere off the floor as keeping his head down for the amount of time it takes to eat seems to make him dizzy again. His stools are almost normal again though he still seems very raw and sore while trying to ‘go’. I was considering getting more of the I/D from the vet as I thought surely they gave it to us based on it being something easy on his stomach… but reading the ingredients here I’m kind of surprised he didn’t get *worse* on it.
So now my actual point! He is out of the ‘food’ from the vet so this afternoon’s meal will have to be something different (don’t worry; he’ll eat *something* if I don’t get an answer for a while!). I have the looong list of ‘best wet foods’ and was thinking of just switching to taste of the wild wet formula, but I wanted to make sure that is the ‘best’ choice as far as cost-effectiveness as well as with an older dog with the background he has (fleas, skin condition, benign tumors, etc).
I will say I have tried some freeze-dried ‘raw’ diets in the past and my dogs just never seemed to do well with it, and the extra cost, mess, amount needed to feed our large dogs etc just didn’t seem worth it. I will also say I am now somewhat leery of taste of the wild in general, as I may be taking the other dog to the vet as she’s been having very loose stools the last few days too (no blood or pure liquid like his were, but we’re keeping an eye on her) and she just started being fed from the same freshly-opened bag he’d been eating from last week (she had been eating from the older bag while he’d been eating from the freshly opened bag. Trust me it makes sense — they get different amounts that are separated by meal so sometime one ends up eating from a different bag than the other for a couple days)
Okay, I think I’ve given as much info as possible, lol. Thanks for any help!
Could this whole problem have started with the new bag of food? Diamond, who makes TOTW, doesn’t have a stellar reputation, quite the opposite.
Thanks for the quick reply Patty 🙂
I can very well imagine the dry food could have caused the infection, but I doubt it on the vesibular disease — only because he had the first of the fresh bag after the first signs of the later (the bloody problems started about 24 hours after his first meal from the fresh bag, about 36 hours after he fell the first time — the other dog started having loose stools about 48 hours after her first meal from the fresh bag, but it hasn’t gotten worse than that)
I’ve actually been considering switching away from TOTW since the big scare a while back, but my other dog does *not* react well to any other food we’ve tried. We ended up using it originally because it was the only thing she would keep down after an emergency trip to the vet (neighbors – who are no longer neighbors thankfully – poisoned her — she’d had to get her stomach pumped, went blind for a while, etc). Prior to that we were feeding California Natural (which as I understand it is now less good than it was before, while also having gone up a LOT in price?). She doesn’t even react well to switching *flavors* — only the one with the duck will do XD
If you could feed her mostly canned food or canned/kibble combo at her age that would be great. They are less processed than extruded kibble and are high in moisture (of course) which is a good thing for all dogs any age. Be sure to get a product that is ‘complete and balanced’ versus ‘for intermittent or supplemental feeding only’ to be sure she is getting vitamins/minerals. A green/superfood supplement is beneficial as well. I’ve used Dr. Harvey’s supplements or similar. My 14 yr old is eating 1/2 cup of kibble with 1 cup of wet food/home made food with supplements (probiotics, green supplement, joint supp) or just wet food. Some sort of fiber of your choice (I use psyllium) will help bulk up her stools. She can have 1 teaspoon of psyllium. Or you can use canned pumpkin or even chia seed for fiber.
Oh, my female (the one with the problems with any other food than she currently gets) is much younger than my old boy I’m talking about in this thread. She has her food issues too (mostly that even though we only give her about half of what the bag says to give, she is still FAT) but it’s the old boy I’m trying to get to eat. He won’t touch the kibble now, even mixed with lots of wet food.
I went shopping last night armed with the 4-star-or-better list, and after starring in horror at prices (not to mention noting he’d have to eat at least three cans a day and he has trouble finishing *one* can), I ended up going with something that only has 3.5 stars but I thought he’d eat: Sojos ‘raw’ food. I realize it’s not the *best* (and I’d love to be able to make my own but that’s not really an option), but figure it’s better than him just not eating. I also know it wasn’t good to just go cold-turkey like that but since he won’t touch his kibble and has only been eating the wet food from the vet the last week, it was again better than nothing.
Anyway, as soon as I unsealed the bag he perked up and walked over to me, doing his ‘I’m not actually begging but OMG what is that?!’ thing. I mixed it up and set it on the counter and walked away, and he sat in front of the counter starring for the whole hour until feeding time. He gobbled up half right away, wandered off for a while, then came and ate the other half and licked the mess (which there was quite a lot of — it soaked for way longer than the bag said to and I think it should have gone even longer) off the floor. This whole time the other dog – who is separated off from him during food time as she steals food – was barking like crazy wanting to try it too (usually she just stands and watches) XD
Reading the review on this site, it looks like it might actually be a good option for *both* dogs with a bit of supplementation added? It’s only a little more expensive per serving than TOTW, and might help with the girl’s weight problem and more fat could be added for the old boy.
Did you get Sojo’s Complete or the Mix?
The Complete (Turkey — he’s never been too good with beef). I figure adding a bit more stuff should make up for the lacking protein and calories
My other dog seems to exist on air (even after the poisoning incident, when she’d had her stomach pumped, and then spent the next several months puking constantly as we tried to figure out what wouldn’t make her puke, she stayed quite chubby) so this might be a solution if it agrees with her stomach XD
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