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German Shepherd with a sick stomach

August 7th, 2009, 10:07 AM
My GSD, Hunter, started vomiting last night. This is the second time where he goes for about 18 to 24 hours vomiting regardless of what goes in him - water, or anything else.

He seems to be settling now and I will introduce some light food with some yogourt later today if he's good all day.

I read that someone mentioned "shepherd stomach" in one of the posts - can someone explain what this means? I know GSD's have sensitive digestive systems but not really sure to what extent. To fill him out some, I fed him Pedigree for 3 months, and now using Iams Probiotic large breed. I struggle to get him to eat most of the time though. We have tried mixing wet canned meat, gravy, drippings, whatever we can find and some times it doesn't even work. Has anyone found a way to keep dogs really interested in their food? Perhaps another brand of food? Suggestions are welcome!

Thanks in advance.

August 7th, 2009, 10:21 AM
Hey there,

you're totally describing MY GSD, Jaida. She's got "shepherd stomach" too, whatever that is, and she's historically been a TERRIBLE eater, and it's very hard to keep weight on her. She also vomits pretty easily, and will vomit almost for sure if she goes more than half a day without food (some dogs can eat once a day, but she needs two meals or else she gets the yellow biley barfs pretty easily). I had to chuckle a bit at the "gravy drippings, canned meat etc. etc." attempts to get your guy to eat because OMG we've been there. There were days where the only way we could get her to eat ANYthing was basically to hand feed her tiny licks of food :rolleyes: That was Jaida about, oh 8 months ago.

Now when it's meal time, she's pretty much the first to her plate, she never turns up her food, she eats every last bite with gusto, and we've been able to flesh her out a bit for the first time.

Our "miracle cure"? Raw food. We switched the dogs to an entirely raw diet (raw meat, bones, organs, with occasional bits of fruit and veg mainly as treats, but pretty much 98% meat etc.) Jaida took to it IMMEDIATELY and hasn't looked back. If you've tried everything else, I seriously recommend that you look into raw. You may find that you have to feed a fair bit of food (Jaida eats about twice as much as our other large dog in order to sustain her body weight) if your pup is a "poor keeper" like ours, but I tell you it's worth it to not have to beg her to "EAT PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF PETE EAT SOMETHING" every. single. day.

August 7th, 2009, 10:34 AM
Wow - he's finicky but not that bad I think (or hope!) :) He eats - eventually when he's hungry.

I think I found what caused his tummy ache this time around - my daughter left a baggy of dog treats on the coffee table - they were used for training and such for her dog and consisted of a couple of handfuls of dried liver treats and bits of doggy biscuits. I found the remnants of the bag near his doggy bed! Might have been too much for him to take --

Do you prepare the raw food yourself or how is this done? Is there a canned dog food that would work?

Right now he is fed twice a day, 2 cups each feeding of Iams large breed. I know the breeder uses King Canine for GSD's but the ingredients were pretty close and the price was less for the Iams.

Thanks for the quick reply!

August 7th, 2009, 11:10 AM
First off, the raw thing is pretty easy actually. There's very little "preparation", just shopping, freezing, thawing, and handing over the food. If you look in the food section of this forum you find there's a section just for raw feeding, you can get an idea of how to start. But to give you an idea today Jaida will eat a whole chicken leg including bone, a chunk of pork shoulder, and a peice of beef liver or kidney. The type of protein really doesn't matter unless there's an allergy involved, and it's basically a ratio of 75-80% meat, 15% bone and 10% organ/offal. Meats we like are pork, chicken, beef, sometimes lamb or venison if I can get it. Butchers are great sources of cheap meat and organs if you buy large quantities.
You CAN buy packaged, prepared raw diets, which I do for my cats (although I supplement with whole chicken backs so they get the dental benefits of the bones, not just the nutritional benefits of the ground bone in the prepared foods), but the amount of food you have to feed a large breed would be extremely costly. Doing it yourself if much cheaper.

Second, if you decide to try a different type of prepared dog food instead, please please have a look at the food forum for ideas on healthy foods for your dog. Iams, Pedigree and pretty much any food you can buy in a grocery store is pretty much's full of corn and other nutrient-poor fillers. Consider a grain-free food like Orijen instead. It's a little more pricey, but honestly it's cheaper in the long run because you'll have a healthier pet. If you're in Ottawa, try Critter Jungle on Carling at Kirkwood or Global Foods on Bank in the Glebe...they've got great selections and knowledgable staff.

August 7th, 2009, 12:03 PM
Thanks -- all good advice. I will certainly head over to the food area and check things out. I thought Iams was decent since the first several ingredients were meat and not grains. There are some grains, but not that many. I'll read more and then decide!


August 7th, 2009, 12:12 PM
Chicken, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain barley, fish meal (source of fish oil), chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E, and citric acid), dried beet pulp (sugar removed), dried egg product, natural chicken flavor, potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, salt, flax meal, sodium hexametaphosphate, calcium carbonate, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid], choline chloride, minerals [ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate], dl-methionine, l-tryptophan, glucosamine hydrochloride, rosemary extract.

Iam's Large Breed ingredients...I bolded some stuff I don't like...that's a lot of grain/filler in the first few ingredients, although some little props for chicken as first ingredient

Here's Orijen, by comparison, I bolded what I DO really like:

Fresh boneless chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, russet potato,fresh pacific salmon (a natural source of DHA and EPA), herring meal, sweet potato, peas, fresh lake whitefish, fresh northern walleye, chicken fat (naturally preserved with vitamin E and citric acid), chicken liver, salmon meal, fresh turkey, fresh whole eggs, fresh deboned herring , sun-cured alfalfa, salmon oil, chicory root, dehydrated organic kelp, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, saskatoon berries, black currants, choline chloride, psyllium, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile flowers, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, sea salt, vitamin supplements (vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin C, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12), mineral supplements (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product.

Notice the difference in ingredients? Potato and veg are used as the non-meat, not grains.

August 7th, 2009, 12:22 PM
Bendyfoot has given you excellent advice. :thumbs up

If you can't feed raw then a grain free kibble is the best and Orijen or Acana Provincial ( ) are the top brands imo. They are both made by the same manufacturer at their own plant which is also a plus.

As mentioned, the food forum here has lots of information as well as these two websites ....

If you've got more questions, just ask ....there's always someone here to help. :thumbs up

August 7th, 2009, 01:52 PM
wow - read through the first few posts on dog food. Learn something new everyday.

Found a local vendor for Acana and Orijen so I will be checking them out and go from there.



August 7th, 2009, 02:08 PM
wow - read through the first few posts on dog food. Learn something new everyday.

Found a local vendor for Acana and Orijen so I will be checking them out and go from there.



You will probably get sticker shock....don't panic! My GSD is 65 lbs., VERY active, and does well on just 3 cups of food a day. You feed far less on grain-free foods then the other stuff that's got all the fillers. She has a very sensitive tummy as well and does great on the Orijen.

You're probably right about the treats making Hunter sick. I find Kailey's tummy prefers fresh fruits and veggies for treats, as well as grain-free treats. You can get good-quality treats at any store that sells Orijen. My dogs also like apples, banana, carrots, broccoli and frozen melon balls.

If Hunter doesn't start keeping water down soon a vet visit may be in order....maybe try giving him some rice and boiled chicken? Plain yogurt and plain canned pumpkin or butternut squash baby food are also helpful.

If you switch him to a grain-free diet expect some soft poops and passing gas. Plain yougurt with each meal will help a lot with the transition. It could take as much as a month for him to adjust to the new food, so be patient. :)

August 7th, 2009, 07:15 PM
I hope your boy is feeling better..

And I agree about the food.

Hmm.. I wonder if my yorkie has shepherd stomache:rolleyes: She's picky too, And certain treats make her puke.

August 7th, 2009, 07:16 PM
Well, bought Orijen all red meat grain free today. Got a small bag and was told by the vendor that if he has a real problem with it, or won't eat it, they will take back whatever is left so that's good to know!

The last time he vomited was some time over night. He was a bit lethargic this morning but by lunch time he was back to normal. By supper time he was hungry so he got some some boiled hamburger and rice with some plain yogourt. He was pretty rambunctious during our after dinner walk -- jumping up for his toy several times so that was good to see. I'll transition him to Orijen starting tomorrow I think.

The price was high but still acceptable I think. It's $80 for the large bag for the all red meat Orijen. I think the fish blend is $20 cheaper - might get a small bag of that too and see which one he likes best.


August 8th, 2009, 01:22 AM
I hope he likes the Orijen. :fingerscr

Hopefully it was the bag of treats that he ate that caused his vomitting. If he continues to be sick please take him to your vet asap.

The reason the Orijen Red Meat is more expensive is because it's new. The chicken formula is the least expensive one they have. Champion Pet Foods also makes Acana Provincial and it is grain free as well. They have a chicken formula, a fish formula and a lamb formula and they are all a little cheaper than Orijen as the meat protein content is lower but the ingredients are just as good. :)

August 21st, 2009, 05:35 PM

Switched Hunter to Orijen about 2 weeks ago and he's loving it. No more issues with him eating - he almost always comes to the bowl and eats it all. No more sick stomach since switching either. So far so good --

I also switched my little terrier mix to the same food and he loves it! I can definitely see a difference in his skin already! He used to have a fair bit of dry skin but that's going away.

So thanks to everyone for the advice!


August 21st, 2009, 06:11 PM
Glad to hear it! We like to hear food success stories.....happy healthy dogs with happy tummies are a good thing :)