Short story: we’ve been on chicken and rice for a month and need to get back on a kibble.
You can skip to near the bottom about what kibble to go with or you can read…the long story.
My dog Wilson is about 7 and 1/2. We have had him for about 19 months. He came to us on Purina lamb and rice. I first switched him to Fromm’s Duck and Sweet Potato and then later to Fromm’s grain free Salmon Tunalini. He also with every meal got a tbsp of yogurt, usually Fage Greek Plain but sometimes other brands. He was on the Salmon Tunalini for about 7 or 8 months.
In late April, he started eating a lot more grass than usual. Prior, he ate grass maybe once every 2 or 3 months. But he started going out in the a.m. (mostly a.m.) to eat grass about 4 times a week. But no other symptoms really presented. At first.
By mid to late May he was still grass eating but poo had started changing and not for the better. But we would have days were it was fine and then days where it was bad and then days when it was fine again. He still ate his food and still loved his walks, etc. But we also did have a few days where his interest in his food in the morning was not present. Then finally, after seeing some blood in his poo, we went to the vet.
Fecal test #1 was negative for parasites/giardia. Fecal test #2 showed a bacterial overgrowth of the bad, rod shaped bacteria. So vet put us on a 5 day course of amoxicillin, metronidazole, and pro-pectalin. We stayed on his kibble during this course. Finished the 5 days and on day 6, we had not only very liquid, essentially water, diarrhea, we also had vomiting. Called the vet…another 5 days of amox, metro, pro-pec. This time, went to chicken and rice.
The chicken and rice was meant to be short term!
After the 2nd 5 days, we kept on the chicken and rice and waited to see what would happen. It initially seemed like his poo started to improve. So I started mixing in a little kibble. Like less than 1/2 of 1/4 cup.
And things got worse again. So called the vet again.
The vet suggested that in spite of the parasite fecal being negative that we do a dose of panacur. And that if no improvement, our next step would be to take blood and fecal samples and send them to the vet school at Texas A&M to be evaluated. So we did the Panacur.
At first, didn’t see much improvement. But then about 4-5 days after his last dose his poo started to improve. Still on the soft side. And worryingly, a bit orange even though he wasn’t getting pumpkin. But firmer than we had seen in a while.
So, I went by a local boutique pet store who gave me a sample of Orijen Adult and I started mixing in some. Just a little.
And the poo got even better.
Nearly normal! Using the Purina fecal scoring model, we’re up to a 3 where 2 is ideal. We had been averaging a 4.5-5 at one point with some individual poos even worse!
So, I want to slowly increase the amount of kibble. And at some point, I plan to re-introduce probiotics (maybe powder instead of yogurt) and maybe add enzymes.
(I also bought the $3 book about supplementing kibble with fresh stuff…and would like to do that…eventually. First things first.)
Anyway, props to anyone who made it thru all that.
The main question:
Which kibble to go with for now?
A friend of mine who has a dog with severe IBD suggested that maybe a food intolerance started the whole cycle to start with, but I don’t know that I buy that. She suggested a novel protein. But, he’s been on chicken and rice, and the Orijen Adult is chicken based and his poo is improving right now. Is it possible he has a food intolerance of some kind? Sure. Allergies? Yes. In fact, he seems to have a grass allergy. Since I know he has had chicken and duck and lamb and fish, if we start looking at a novel protein, I’d be looking at pork or venison or rabbit. But I don’t know what else he might have had before we adopted him. And in terms of amount paw-licking, etc. I don’t think it is much different than any other time. He can get itchy ears too, but the vet attributes that to mostly seasonal allergies.
The qualm I have about the Orijen Adult is mainly due to the high fat content. 18%. We are mostly inactive. He is a lap dog most of the day except for our daily 1.1 to 1.2 mile walks. And a little bit of fetch with a tennis ball. But otherwise he loves nothing more than snuggling in my lap in the recliner. And he is 65lbs! And, as mentioned he is 7 and 1/2. Should I start watching the fat %? Though his weight last time we were at the vet was within 3 lbs of what they called ideal. So we are doing pretty good so far.
Then there is the matter of grain free vs. grain inclusive. In the best scenario, I prefer grain free. But I’m not sure I’m crazy about all of them going to lentils for fill. Though, the Orijen Adult has lentils and I have not seen a problem so far. But it has only been about 4-5 days and he is getting a limited amount.
I do like that the Orijen Adult is a higher protein level. His previous food was only 31% protein and the Orijen Adult is 42%. Maybe it was the fact that he has been on chicken and rice for a month that made the higher protein level an easier switch? It’s been proven now that a higher protein percent for senior dogs is OK, right?
Orijen Senior is similar to Adult except uses pea fiber also. The fat is 15% instead of 18%. And fiber is 8% instead of 5%.
Some other mostly chicken or at least poultry based foods I was considering are:
Taste of the Wild Wetlands
Wellness CORE Original
Wellness CORE Reduced Fat (37% protein, 11% fat)
Acana Adult Large Breed (37% protein, 14% fat)
Acana Light & Fit (39% protein, 10% fat)
Acana Senior (37% protein, 14% fat)
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast
Merrick Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato
Anyway, I’m really at a loss here. Novel protein or not? Fat %? Protein %? Lentils? Other food suggestions?
If you aren’t in Canada, all those Acanas won’t be available to you-none of the Acana Classics, just Singles and Regionals.
With over a mile a day and some fetch, I wouldn’t be super concerned with fat unless you are seeing a lot of weight gain. Not only has high protein % been proven, it’s recommended for senior dogs. So if he is fine on the high protein, keep it up.
I would try out a novel protein, and I would try rotating through proteins that he works just fine on, it will help keep him healthy. Of the things you listed, the acana you may not be able to find, and in my opinion, Taste of the Wild and Merrick have too many company issues to bother with, especially with a dog you are trying to pinpoint some stomach issues, it may throw off your findings unnecessarily. Wellness is nice, Acana and Orijen are Nice, Earthborn is nice-and they have the primitive naturals that is poultry based and over 40% protein as well
Thanks for the reply…and the reminder about Acana. I really wish the Classics were available. I liked the look of the Light & Fit and Senior products. And I guess I just wasted some time reading ingredients lists for those.
And no, I haven’t really seen any weight gain so I will ignore fat % for now I suppose.
As for novel…I know there are some out there, but finding novel and limited is tougher than I thought it would be. I picked up one brand’s “rabbit” kibble and the 2nd ingredient was salmon meal! And several beef or venison foods also contain lamb.
So, for novel I need to look for: beef, venison, rabbit, pork.
He has had: chicken, lamb, duck, fish. I’m also presuming turkey is close enough to chicken and duck that it would not be novel. His Fromm’s Salmon Tunalini also had sardine meal in addition to the salmon and tuna, so basically, most fish is out.
The new flavor Acana Singles Pork & Butternut Squash is a possibility…but only 31% protein.
The Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Rabbit is a possibility also.
I may go ahead and stick with poultry for a full bag…well, like a 15lb bag…which should last 3-4 weeks and then rotate through some others even if they are not novel to see how he reacts. A 3-4 week supply will give me a good idea of whether something works for him or not.
I have endured some frustrating digestive disorders with my dogs as well due to parasites and many doses of antibiotics and dewormers. I don’t know if they ended up with leaky guts, IBS, IBD, or what, but it was down right frustrating! I read every article I could find on the above conditions. Some of the best information, I found on dogaware.com.
The best results that I have had so far is when I feed them Victor grain free food with a few Northwest Naturals frozen raw nuggets. I also have tried several supplements that are helpful. I use probiotics and/or digestive enzymes that contain slippery elm, l-glutamine and NAG. The Victor contains a clay that helps with loose stools as well. Another kibble that has the clay is Nature’s Variety Prairie and Instinct. Interestingly, sauerkraut and shredded carrots are also helpful for some reason. LOL! I wish you a lot of luck!
If the Orijent is working stay with it for now. No sense tipping the apple cart.
Hi Texas, Wilson is very lucky man to have u as his caring mum, Just take it soooo slow remember he was a very sick boy, I’d start on lower fat around 12% then when things are still going great, then maybe increase the protein & fat%, dont forget he’s just been digesting Chicken & Rice, so pick a kibble similar for another 2 months let the bowel heal, I’d say ur boy has SIBO…make sure he’s on a really good dog probiotic so the good bacteria wont let the bad bacteria over take again. Good-Luck
Thank you all for the replies so far. I had seen most of them when I stopped by the pet store on my way home. I ended up essentially taking Melissa’s view. We have done OK for the last 4 days with the sample of Orijen, so I bought the 15lb bag to continue. Still working slowly in. We are at about 1/4 cup now so I will begin increasing that and see how it goes.
Depending on how things continue to go with the poultry based Orijen, my next bag may be a novel protein just to see if there is a noticeable difference or not.
In future, I will rotate between other foods…once I identify some! I do have a feed store that carries Victor so Victor, Nature’s Variety, Acana, Orijen and Wellness and Fromm’s could all be in the mix.
I do want/need to add some probiotics. My feed store carried one called probios? The woman there said she gives it to both her cattle and her kids! However, if I remember right, one of the first listed ingredients was sugar! So not sure about that.
Well…time for an update…not a great one…
Since my last post, we continued with the Orijen Adult. By last Sunday, I had Wilson on all kibble, no chicken and rice. And we seemed to be doing well. Pretty good poo, etc. Now, let me clarify, no supplements of any kind at this point. No probiotics. Just kibble…Orijen Adult.
Let me also make sure I clarify that I had been feeding him on a 3x a day schedule, so 3 smaller meals.
Anyway, we seemed to be doing pretty good. Some variation in poo softness but overall good.
However, the last 2 nights (Saturday & Sunday) we have gone downhill a bit. Late at night, just before his last meal (aka midnight snack) he has gone outside to eat grass…which he had not been doing in about a month or so now. And his poo is destabilizing. The first stuff out will look OK and then becomes much softer. Not watery as far as I’ve seen, but very very soft. And he moves around quite a bit and ends up poo-ing in 3 to 4 spots.
Now, with his midnight snack tonight, I’ll add some pumpkin in. Is it time to try something like The Perfect Form? Next, I need to get some probiotics I guess. Any suggestions for ones that are available locally in stores? Or something that ships quick? Like I said above, my feed store sells Probios but I wondered about the sugar content. I do have some Kefir in the fridge…should I try to start him on that?
I guess the other question is, instead of adding supplements, do I give up on the Orijen and move him to something else?
And I suppose I could take a poo sample back to my vet and ask them to look at the bacteria again?
Hi Texasnite owl, Im just wondering have you ever tried a lower fat % & lower Protein kibble….My Patch was eating grass everday, early hours & around 10am-11am after his breakfast… after 1 year I finally found that he needed a lower fat & lower protein diet, this has made things better now, I had to stop his boiled chicken breast with pumkin for breakfast as it gave him his pain & eating grass, so now I do tuna in spring water drained & mix the pumkin his pain has stopped, so the tuna must have less fat then the boiled chicken breast & 3-4 weeks ago I started him on the Wellness Simple Duck & Oatmeal mixed with his other kibble his poos are better & his whinging has stopped, the Wellness Simple is a limited ingredient kibble & it breaks up easy, so easier to digest..I would look at changing his kibble to a lower protein & lower fat & see how things go & a good dog probiotic……some dogs just cant handle high fats & high protein foods especially when they start to get older…
For us, lentils and chickpeas are a no go. I really hate the way all these pet food companies are creating such legume heavy foods.
I’ve dealt with food intolerances with my Golden since he was a tiny pup and he’s just over two now; and I’ve finally found a food, specifically Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Duck, that he’s doing well on. It’s far from perfect, but he’s doing great on it so I’m keeping him on it for a bit in order to get him stabilized. It has just a few ingredients, and that’s what I’d recommend you try, a limited ingredient diet; ie: NVI LID or Wellness LID are both great brands to try. Orijen has so many ingredients, it would be anybody’s guess what the problem ingredient was. I know my dog has a problem with fish, fish oil, chickpeas, lentils, possibly garlic and possible flax. So, the problem ingredients aren’t always just the meat proteins.
So, a couple of thoughts, Firm Up is great – so much easier than canned pumpkin. I also added Swanson’s BioCore digestive enzymes to his meals and the difference was amazing. Try a quality LID diet and while it doesn’t have to be a totally novel protein, it just needs to be something different than what your dog has eaten in the past.
Thank you Betsy for replying. I too wonder about all the foods going to chickpeas and lentils. I don’t know at the moment if it is an issue for Wilson or not. The Orijen Adult does contain them, but fairly far down the list. I’ll post the ingredients below. It is primarily poultry and fish based.
Thanks for mentioning the NVI LID. I had considered trying them though I wished the protein was a little bit higher. He has had both duck and lamb before so even though they wouldn’t be novel, I could try them. And at 32% dry matter protein they are worth trying. Other than that, I have more ingredient checking to do. His most recent kibble before the Orijen was fish based (Fromm’s Salmon Tunalini) and of course, he had a month of chicken and rice.
Firm Up? Who makes that? I assume it is similar to THK’s Perfect Form?
I will check out the Swanson BioCore enzymes and I know Swanson probiotics have been recommended on these boards a lot too.
Orijen Adult Ingredients
Boneless chicken*, chicken meal, chicken liver*, whole herring*, boneless turkey*, turkey meal, turkey liver*, whole eggs*, boneless walleye*, whole salmon*, chicken heart*, chicken cartilage*, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, yams*, pea fiber, chickpeas, pumpkin*, butternut squash*, spinach greens*, carrots*, Red Delicious apples*, Bartlett pears*, cranberries*, blueberries*, kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, Enterococcus faecium.
Sue, thank you for your response too. I did wonder when I started the Orijen Adult if maybe it would be too high in protein and/or fat for him. It clocks in at 42% dry matter protein and 18% fat. Although it seems that higher protein is typically recommended more often now.
His previous kibbles were:
Fromm’s Grain Free Salmon Tunalini which was 31% dry matter protein and 16% fat. Before that was a grain inclusive Fromm’s 4 Star Duck and Sweet Potato which was only 27% dry matter protein and 15% fat.
I suppose I could try the Wellness CORE Reduced Fat…it is still higher protein (37%) but only 11% fat and then also try something that is both lower protein and lower fat. Back to my dog food excel spreadsheet!
Do you have a particular probiotic suggestion?
Hi Texas, Im in Australia & use Protexin dog probiotic powder but if I lived in America I’d try Karen Beckers probiotics, here’s a link to watch about dog Probiotics hers have 14 strains.
I tried the Wellness Core, the Original but the kibble was to hard for Patch to digest & the fat % was too high 16%… I didnt know back then that Patch couldnt handle too much fat% or Protein, The Core reduced fat is high in fiber its 8.5% & has potatos, Ive found when a kibble has potatos its a very hard kibble, harder to digest, that’s why Im trying the Wellness Simple Duck & Oatmeal, it has limited ingredients & has no potatos & when I put in water it softens straight away..I know it doesnt get many stars on this site but that’s cause its a low protein kibble but if it works & doesnt upset the dogs stomach I dont care about stars, I give Patch his Tuna & boiled pumkin for breakfast for extra protein.. I use to add a boiled egg but he started whinging again & eating grass, so I stopped the boiled egg…
I thought I would come back with a brief update since it has been a while!
After the Orijen we went to Acana Singles…the Lamb and Apple and he did very well on that. We finished the 13lb medium bag. Now we are still on Acana but trying the Duck flavor and we are still doing well. We did a cold turkey switch from Lamb to Duck with no problem.
I am still not giving him a powder supplement, but he is getting “active culture” greek yogurt. His poo overall has been good…mostly normal…except for the day after obedience class usually when he gets a few more treats than normal!
I want to identify 1 or 2 more foods that he does OK with so that I have a 3-4 food rotation. We may try a bag of Nature’s Variety Instinct LID next as an option. Then not sure on a 4th. I may try the Orijen Adult again just to confirm whether it was the food or just the timing that caused him to not do really great on it. But we may just stick with foods in the 30-35% protein range.
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