I have two dogs, both German Shorthair mixes… one is an older male (11 years old), the other a younger (5 years) female. I love them both very much, both were shelter/rescue dogs. When we adopted the younger dog, we switched from feeding her Hill’s Science Diet (which is what we were sent home with from the shelter) to some sort of Purina Dry Kibble, since she wouldn’t eat the Hill’s. Since then and after finding this website (my knowledge about dog food and their ingredients greatly increased), her menu evolved from the low quality kibble to a mixture of Honest Kitchens dehydrated raw food (a company that I love) mixed with Blue Buffalo Freedom. I consider both of these foods to have above average to excellent ingredients and I feel good when I buy it for my two dogs. The problem is is that they both have very sensitive stomachs… when we started with the HK and BB it seemed to FINALLY fix the problem with terrible diarrhea that they both were experiencing with all the foods we tried (Castor and Pollux, Nature’s Recipe, and so on). Their bowl movements (I feel strange talking about this) were FINALLY healthy… fluffy yet firm, regular, didn’t stink. It was a miracle. Unfortunately, after about two years of eating various styles/flavors of HK mixed with BB, the younger dog “Jessie” decided that she absolutely didn’t want to eat it anymore. I got tired of preparing it only to have to dump it out (it’s very expensive) and then wash her dish (as I did after every meal since it’s a part raw diet). So, we tried some different brands thinking that it would add a bit of diversity to what they were eating. We went with Wellness Complete Health kibble and canned but soon found out that the diarrhea had returned (we introduced these foods slowly). We tried going back to the old food but she couldn’t shake the diarrhea (the older fella was having some problems as well, but not nearly extreme). We finally took her into the vet, which I dread doing because I know exactly what’s coming… a fecal exam (which is always negative), a bill for $100, and a lecture about how the food I feed them isn’t quality/adequate because it wasn’t “formulated” by veterinarians and pet nutritionists (in their words) as Hill’s Science Diet is. I don’t have a problem with giving the HSD Prescription i/d gastrointestinal a try… my problem is that the ingredient list is full of low quality foods and chemicals, yet they charge more per can/bag than the food with (what I consider to be) high quality ingredients that I was feeding my dogs. I’m sick of being treated as though I’m being insolent because I actually question what it is specifically about Hill’s that is supposed to calm my dog’s stomach. Is it the corn? The iodized salt? The food coloring? I know it sounds as though I’m being snippy right now, but this has been an ongoing problem as I’ve brought the dogs to the same vet in the past few years every now and then with small bouts of stomach problems and am told the same thing every time and mad to feel as though I’m an ignorant and irresponsible pet owner for not switching to Hill’s and I’m sick of it. I don’t have any other options to switch to a different vet, so that won’t solve anything. It has been three days and there hasn’t been any improvement so far on the HSD and, sorry it has taken me so loooonnnnngggg to get to the point, here is my question: Does anyone have an alternative to HSD i/d that actually has quality ingredients? Or, does anyone have any useful advice about what our next course of action should be? I thought I read something in one of the comment sections a long time ago about how German Shorthair Pointers are sensitive to a certain ingredient that is fairly common in most dog foods… does anyone know anything about that subject? And, is it just me, or do veterinarians actually know anything about dog nutrition, or do they just espouse what they are told by the salespeople from Hill’s? I don’t doubt that Hill’s probably does make some important prescription foods that certain dogs need, but the i/d just looks like crap to me. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.
Your first recourse should be to try adding a spoonful of pure canned pumpkin to each meal. The added fiber will help firm things up. Second, you might want to start adding digestive enzymes to their kibble. Processing kills all the enzymes and some dogs don’t make enough of their own and/or their body doesn’t adjust enzyme production easily when they change foods. Third, no matter what you decide to do add some probiotics back into their system. Anytime you feed the same thing for a long time, their population of probiotics in the gut adjusts to the food supplied. If you change the food, the necessary probiotics to deal with the new food are not there, and may take some time to get re-established. Once you get your dogs settled on the new food, you should consider the next food you are going to switch them to, so they keep that healthy balance of probiotics in their gut. After a few switched, it becomes easy for a healthy dog to switch to any food at any time.
Thank you for your response Patty. We had already tried pumpkin, boiled chicken, and rice for a day or two… but she still had diarrhea and wouldn’t eat the pumpkin on its own when offered. That is a good point about the probiotics. We actually asked for some while at the vet and are currently given her some made by Purina. I just ordered more off of Amazon (for $20/w shipping vs. the $48 my vet charged me… go figure) after reading your post. I bet that it will help quite a bit as I believe what you said makes a lot of sense. We’ll give it a shot… thank you!
Opps, didn’t catch what you said at first… we’ll also try just a spoonful of the pumpkin with her food like you said… to add a bit more fiber. Thanks again.
The Purina probiotic is extremely limited in number of different strains. I like Dr Langer’s from Swansons. Or their Soil Based Organisms.daveParticipant
If you can get Canine Caviar, I think this would be very helpful it has for quite a few of my clients.
As of last night, it looks like she has finally gotten over it. After I use up the type of probiotics I received from my vet and what I ordered on-online, I will switch to one of the two brands you both mentioned. Is this the type of thing that I ought to be giving to them as a daily supplement? Or, just when they are ill? Or, once a week or so on a continuing basis? And, how soon should I (if you recommend it) stop feeding them the HSD i/d food and switch to a brand with higher quality ingredients? The idea that I’m paying $2.75/can for corn and pork liver “flavor” vs. a brand with actual meat and whole veggies in it is killing me. Even if it was “formulated” to be bland, they are making a killing off of charging a premium price for selling subsidized GMO corn and what ever other table scraps are in it. While it might be useful when a pet is sick… it doesn’t seem like a product that they could subsist on in a healthy way an thrive. Or, am I being too hard on HSD?
I don’t think you are being too hard on Hill’s. Let her stomach settle for 2 weeks. If your dog has trouble switching foods, I would continue with the supplements for 2 weeks after the switch, then I would give the probiotics a couple times a week forever, every day when switching foods. If your dog has trouble switching foods, give about 10% new food, 90% old for a couple days. If the stools look fine, proceed, if not keep feeding 10% until they look fine. If the stools never got loose then go right to feeding 25% new, 75% old, if they got loose only go to 20% new, 80% old. Again feed that way for a couple days watching the stool. Increase by 25% if the stools are fine, increase by 10% if the stools get soft and you have to wait for the stools to firm up again. Keep doing this until you are 100% on the new food. I cured my sensitive stomach girl by starting the switch to a new food as soon as we got her settled on a food. After about 6 switches she no longer requires any transition at all.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 6 months ago by theBCnut.
Chip, hello, I am Dixie’s mom. She died May 8 of this year. Her vet also push that crap also. There must be something wrong with it or complaints because they now offer a new and improved SD.! I fed her boiled organic chicken, brown rice, sweet potato’s. If you can find a holistic vet, I would use them. I spent over 8000.00 on my baby in a year trying to save her life. I am disgusted with the way her vet treated her some times, broken tail ( about a year ago) , a hole in her eye( this was 2 days before she died and he said he need her to stay in the hospital , I wanted her home but he promised me he had all the computer stuff to watch her all through the night, then how did she get the hole in the eye ? That was on a Monday night she stayed, I brought her home on Tuesday and took her back on Wednesday and showed them her eye. NO comment they said. She died that afternoon. Go with your gut, Chip. Its your family member even though its a dog. You do what you feel is best, and do the research. Dr. Mike and everyone here will not guide you wrong. We all are in love with our fur babies!
I’m sorry for the way that you lost Dixie. I’m going to keep on keeping on and hope that my little one improves. Thank you all for you input and posts.
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