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Argument on Switching Dog Foods

sintaks
June 4th, 2006, 09:17 AM
Can someone please settle an intense argument that my girlfriend and I are having about my dog's food?

Background info:
I started out this journey not knowing anything about food and have researched in great detail to educate myself as to what's best for my dog. In that learning process, I've made several food changes.

8 weeks: Purina puppy chow to Blue Buffalo. Even not knowing anything, I knew that the puppy chow had to go.
3 months: Blue Buffalo to Royal Canin (Non-Large Breed.) Didn't seem to like the Blue so I switched to what his sister was on.
4 1/2 months/present: Royal Canin to Solid Gold WolfCub. Research and consulting my vet prooved that I should be feeding a large breed food. Also I wanted to get him on the WolfCub after researching their website along with recommendations from this forum. This transition is still taking place.

During all this, the food transitions were gradual but Sampson has had spells of loose stool. No doubt this is my doing because of switching his food. Now, however, I know that I will be staying on the WolfCub as it appears to be a great food.

The argument: I'm hurting the dog by changing his food too much.

Her stance: It's too much for him and you're going to "mess him up."

My stance: The dog is growing normally and is absolutely 100% healthy. The switches, although many, are justified.

I hate to bring my troubles into the forum but I need help on this one. This really has nothing to do with who's right or wrong but rather what is best for the health of Sampson. If I'm indeed hurting him by these changes, I have to know. As I value all of your opinions, I'd love to hear what you think about this topic. Thanks in advance.

Prin
June 4th, 2006, 12:06 PM
Bring on the troubles! That's what we're here for!

IMO, leaving a dog on Bil-Jac, Royal Canin, etc, is more harmful in the long term than changing him to better foods as you learn. As long as you do it super gradually (i.e. over the course of a couple of weeks), there shouldn't be a problem.

Keep in mind that ALL the other foods you have fed until now have been very similar in their basic composition, so while you were changing brands, most of the stuff in there was the same.

Now, in changing to wolf cub, it's VERY different, so you'll have to do it even more gradually. The stool will probably be soft for a bit, but once you adjust for the difference in density (you'll need to feed less wolf cub than the other foods you have fed so far) and your dog adjusts to digesting everything on his own, the stools should get smaller and more compact than you have seen them yet. If he gets diarrhea, go back to the previous day's proportions but lessen the amounts. If he continues to get diarrhea, this just might not be the right food for him either.

Once he's adjusted to the wolf cub, she'll start to see the changes pretty quickly. The coat will get better, the dog will have more energy and you'll have less small vet issues (like scratching, ear infections, etc) and she'll never doubt you again (or at least till the next argument arises).:D

rainbow
June 4th, 2006, 12:17 PM
I totally agree. :thumbs up

I also made three very gradual switches. Started off with Nutro Natural Choice then to California Natural and am now with Timberwolf Organics. :pawprint:

sintaks
June 4th, 2006, 12:49 PM
Thanks for your insight on my situation. It's glad to hear that I'm not doing anything that will hurt my boy. I never thought about the fact that the first 3 foods I fed are basically the same. I guess that makes those switches not as severe. I think I'm going to spread the switch to WolfCub out over 3 weeks. His stool is pretty bad right now, but he was swimming for the first time yesterday... so he may have swallowed a lot of chlorinated water and upset his stomach. Hoping that things will clear up as I really like what I've read about the Solid Gold products. I started feeding him the turkey jerky treats and I'm thinking about using the SeaMeal powder.

Is it a good idea to use the SeaMeal or is it a gimmick? Will I get better results, digestibility, etc. if I use it?

Prin
June 4th, 2006, 06:12 PM
It's good but be careful as some dogs get itchy with too much flax (there's flax in the food and in the Seameal), but that's only some. Better start with the small jar first to see how it goes. It definitely helps with digestion. Start with small amounts though.. If I give my dogs the recommended amount, they don't eat the food (they hate the sea meal taste), but a little bit is better than nothing, IMO. There are other supplements on the market too. Wherever you find the sea meal, it's likely they have others too.

Good luck!

sintaks
June 5th, 2006, 12:40 PM
Well, if it helps with digestion, then I need to run out and get it. This food threw him for a loop. He's got mad diarrhea. Although, he swam this weekend and it may be that he took in some water... not sure. I'm going to cut the food back to see if it helps. If not, it's either seameal or pumpkin time.

Prin
June 5th, 2006, 12:49 PM
I'd stop the switch for now and let him get back to normal first.

sintaks
June 5th, 2006, 01:26 PM
Good idea. Poor little guy. I feel so bad cuz nothing is working for him.

sintaks
June 12th, 2006, 08:13 AM
Prin, you're a genius. My Sampson is loving WolfCub. We're almost on it exclusively... about 1/4 cup is still the old food. But he is LOVING it. No more eye boogers. Coat is looking a little better (I guess that one will take a little time.) Energy levels are through the roof. Couple quick questions:

1 - His stool is great now, but it stinks pretty bad. Is this common for this food? He doesn't have gas, but wow does the poop stink. Is this anything to worry about? (I mean, afterall, it is poop)

2 - I'm worried about the quantity I'm feeding him. I hear varying things from golden owners about how much they feed. I know it depends on size, type of food, etc... and don't follow the back of the bag. But I figured our dogs are/will be comparable in size, so I could follow your feeding habits. Right now he's about 35-40 lbs and almost 5 months. He's getting 1 1/2 cups of food twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. (That is, 1 1/4 cup WC and 1/4 cup RC) He's very healthy and not chubby at all, but he does seem hungry a lot... like he could eat the whole bag if I put it down for him. How much do you feed your dogs? How do I guage if it's too much? Do I keep adding food until I see him start to put weight on? I don't want to starve him, but at the same time I don't want a little porker runnin around :)

As always, your help is most appreciated.

Prin
June 12th, 2006, 03:23 PM
1. Yes it's normal for the stool to smell undescribably bad in the beginning... They call that "detox".lol It'll get better.:)

2. My dogs are adults, so it'll be hard to judge from what I feed them (puppies tend to be more active and require more). The best way is to feed a certain amount for a week or two and see what happens. Often that's long enough to notice if their gaining or losing too quickly and you can adjust up or down depending. I prefer a thinner puppy... Studies in humans say that skinny kids make skinnier adults and my own personal belief is that it applies to dogs too. Being overweight as a pup is also terrible for the joint and bone development.

Some dogs have huge hunger drives, especially with a food they find super tasty. It's better to ignore the hunger and just judge by the body condition. Nearly every lab I've ever had has lied about being fed already at least a dozen times.:D

Here's a good body condition chart to use as a reference:
http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/clinicalnutrition/bcsdog.htm

sintaks
June 21st, 2006, 11:34 AM
Well, looks like his stool is soft again. Think I should try to cut back the WolfCub a little? I'm only feeding him 1 1/2 cups twice per day. Sure doesn't seem like a lot. Also, you ever hear of WolfCub causing really stinky breath? All of a sudden he's sportin some serious halitosis. Any thoughts? Could teething cause it? He's teething in a big way right now. Things aren't looking as happy as they were... I really want to stay on this food though.

mafiaprincess
June 21st, 2006, 12:13 PM
How old is he again? Is he still loosing puppy teeth? If he is it could be rotting blood from loosened teeth not yet fallen out. I know a bunch of people includign my pup that got that. If not, it could potentially be a problem.. Have you ever brushed his teeth or at least really looked at them if he'll allow it?

I found in the first 2 months of wolf king her poop firmed up, and then for a slight period went a little softer and back again.. Can take some time to fully adjust on a food and be perfect..

Prin
June 21st, 2006, 02:51 PM
I'd cut back 1/8 a cup first and then another 1/8th if the stool still isn't firm. 3 cups of wolf cub is a lot, IMO... It's even more dense than the wolf king and my 87lb Boo only gets 2 cups of that (but yours is a pup, so you have to factor that in)... It might also take a while with huge, loose, STINKY!! stools before he gets used to it. My doggies' stools weren't "normal" for nearly 4 months after I switched from Euk.

I'd cut bit by bit until the stool firms up a bit, but not too much, if it is just normal detoxifying that is causing the looser stool. In the meantime, just watch for scooting or excessive licking of the hiney. With softer stools for a while, the anal glands can fill up.

sintaks
June 21st, 2006, 03:52 PM
He's 5 months and yes, he's still loosing his puppy teeth. I've never brushed them, no. The vet always said they looked good, but I guess that's before the new ones started coming in. The only thing different is the WolfCub. I know his little puppy breath is pretty funky... and it happened over the span of maybe 2-3 days. He's getting fixed in a few weeks. If it's not better by then, I'll have the vet take a good look.

I'll try to cut back on the food. He's already in the 40lb range, so it's not like he's starving. He's actually perfect compared to the charts that Prin posted. And, come to think of it, we're feeding kibble as treats because he's in classes right now and I hate feeding him so many treats. So that probably puts him close to 3 1/2 cups of WC.

So another question is, what should I use as treats. My trainer is preaching "consistency" and "reward." What do you guys use for training treats?

Prin
June 22nd, 2006, 09:12 AM
You can still use the wolfcub if that's working for you, just try to keep track of how much you use and adjust the food later. Other people use some sort of liver treat (I'm not sure which one) that breaks into tiny pieces..