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Raivotar April 2nd, 2010 04:22 AM

Golden retriever pup with stomach problems
Hello all,

I've been doing some research on this issue for a few days and I see a lot of conflicting stuff. Here's the rundown:

I have a 15 week old golden retriever pup who is having a lot of loose stools during the night/early morning. During the day, his stools seem to be fine. This has been happening for almost a week now. I haven't changed his food or given him anything out of the ordinary. Two days ago, I didn't give him any treats and just fed him his regular meals and he was fine. Yesterday, I gave him a few treats throughout the day and he had problems again at night. Tonight, I just fed him his regular meals with no treats and it happened again. I thought maybe the treats were the problem, but I guess not.

He's not vomiting and he doesn't seem to be fatigued or acting any differently. I took him to the vet just a few weeks ago and the vet said he was healthy and growing just fine. I'm going to drop off a stool sample to the vet later today for testing. My question is this; why would it be happening only at night and not every day? Could his food be the problem or how many times a day he is fed? He's been having the same food since he was 7 weeks old (Iams puppy, which I'd like to change and give him better quality food), but could this just happen after a while even if he is used to the food?

He is crated at night and has been since I got him. He has adapted very well to his crate, but could this be some sort of developing anxiety? I would imagine that if he were sick, this would be happening all of the time and not just at night, but I don't know. I'm really, really stumped on this and any kind of information or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I don't know if it's worth mentioning, but when my pup eats his meals, he eats really fast. I know personally, when I eat fast, I don't feel so great afterward, but I see dogs eat fast all of the time so I didn't think anything of it...

Sib.HuskyMom April 2nd, 2010 08:02 AM

Hi Raivotar,
Welcome to the forum! I'm sorry to hear that your little pup is having some poop issues. Good call on taking a stool sample into the vet - that would be my first thought too. Pups can pick up all sorts of parasites and whatnot, so hopefully you'll get the results to that soon.

Switching to a better food would definitely be a good idea. When my pups were young, they also had problems with loose stools intermittenly. I tried about 3 or 4 different foods before I found one that worked. Eventually I learned that a completely grain free diet works best for my dogs. That includes food and treats (which I make myself - cheaper, and no preservatives). THe brand I ended up with was Orijen, which several people on this board recommend as well.
If switching food is your next step, be sure to do it very slowly - like over the course of 3-4 weeks. Therefore, it'll end up taking probably 6 weeks at least before he's fully used to it and you know if it's going to help.
For days when the stool seems really loose, I would suggest keeping a can of pure pumpkin (not the pie filling) on hand, that you can mix in with his food for some extra fibre.

If he seems to have adjusted well to his crate, than I doubt that's the problem.

If he's gulping up his food to fast, he may be inhalling extra air, which is bound to give him some gas, and maybe an upset stomach.
For an immediate way to slow him down, many people have found it successful to put a kong (or tennis ball or somthing) in the middle of his bowl. That way he has to eat around it and it slows him down.

But if he's a bit of bugger like my two were (are ;)) then I would just have to watch them closely as they ate. 3 or 4 times throughout their meal, I would make them stop and sit for a moment, and then they could continue. It was a long process, but eventually I had to do it less and less, and now, they don't eat too fast at all.

Best of luck with your little one. I hope you find a solution for him soon.
P.S. Any pics that you'd like to share :rolleyes:
We loooooove puppy pics! :cloud9:

Sib.HuskyMom April 2nd, 2010 08:07 AM

Another thing worth mentioning is the amount of food that you're feeding. The guidelines on the bag tend to be overstated.
You certainly don't want a skinny little pup, but overfeeding can definitely be a cause of loose stool.
I know it's hard when they're so young, because they often don't know enough to stop eating when they're full, so you usually can't rely on them to monitor their own intake levels.

LavenderRott April 2nd, 2010 08:45 AM

A change in food certainly wouldn't hurt but look at the treats you are feeding and how frequently you are feeding them. If you feed quality kibble but really bad treats you could have a problem.

Three meals a day at this point. Ideally breakfast should be fed about an hour before you go to work or, if you don't work, half an hour or an hour after you are up and moving in the morning. (My pup gets breakfast around 9:00, 9:30.) Lunch should be around lunchtime - between 12 and 1 or so. Dinner usually around 5:00 or 6:00. Don't get yourself stuck in a routine where you feed at exactly the same time every day. And don't worry if something comes up and you miss a meal. I know it sounds bad - but life happens and will continue to happen for the next 10 to 15 years. You do not want to be that person who has to leave Christmas dinner with family because your dog will get sick or tear up the house if his food bowl doesn't hit the floor at 5:10.

mummummum April 2nd, 2010 12:40 PM

Are you adding anything to his kibble like omega oils?

It could well be his diet (kibble or treats). His digestive system may not be processing everything within 8 ~12 hours. So, the food he ate yesterday morning may in fact be the cause of cannonbutt the following evening. Going grain-free may be well worth a look.

Also, parasites are bedevilling little creatures. My oul' boy (:candle:) had a wicked case of liver flukes which were not only difficult to diagnose but like, your guy, one day he'd be sicker than all get-out and the next he'd have normal BM's and no :yuck:

Marcha April 2nd, 2010 04:29 PM

What is the pup's activity level after her meals? Do you give the pup time to crash/digest after a meal, or is he getting activity after the meal?

Raivotar April 3rd, 2010 02:46 AM

Well, I took a stool sample in to the vet today. They did the tests and they all came back fine. He doesn't have any parasites. The vet echoed the pumpkin suggestion, so I put pumpkin in his dinner tonight. About an hour after he ate, he had to go to the bathroom (as usual) and his stool was still somewhat loose. I kept on an eye him to see if it had any effect. It was firm at first and then towards the end it was loose. Then he went out about 15 minutes after that and went to the bathroom again and it was loose. And I let him out a few minutes ago and it was the same. But, I imagine that could be from what he ate earlier in the day, which didn't have pumpkin in it. I assume that it'll take more than just one meal with pumpkin to see improvement?

His activity level after eating is very minimal as I feed him in his crate and keep him in for a little bit afterward to digest. I was told that this is a good way to handle it as it will help him digest better and also further his liking for the crate if he associates it with good things like eating.

I talked to one of the vet's assistants and she suggested the pumpkin as well and said that if it doesn't help to then try a bland diet of chicken and rice. Later on, I got another call from a different assistant who was just calling to make sure I got the message about the testing and she said that the pumpkin is a good idea to try, but that the bland diet isn't a good idea at his age and that it would be a better idea to try a supplement that can be put in his food to help him digest better.


Raivotar April 3rd, 2010 06:21 AM

Just a follow-up...

I've been up all night because he's having the same problem. I'm really starting to think that it's his food. I noticed tonight especially that before it started he had really bad gas. Would that point towards the food or would that just come along with any other digestive problem he could be having?

hazelrunpack April 3rd, 2010 10:35 AM

It might take the pumpkin a little time to do its work. How much did you give him?

He may be developing an intolerance for one of the ingredients in the food--maybe a grain or even one of the protein sources. And yes, those intolerances can develop even after a dog has been on a food for a long time.

You might want to talk to your vet about a probiotic appropriate for puppies, too--we noticed a vase improvement in our dogs' stools when we started regularly adding a probiotic.

Poor little guy! I hope you and your pup get some sleep soon! :goodvibes:

mummummum April 3rd, 2010 10:41 AM

As Hazel suggested you can try a tsp/ tbsp(depending on his size) of plain organic yoghurt 2x a day to balance all that flora and fauna in his gut. You can also buy digestive supplements at a health food / drug store. The one I used was a pineapple based chewable tablet. I found more joy (and still do) with yoghurt.

Goldfields April 3rd, 2010 11:25 AM

We always use a probiotic ahead of anything else for diarrhoea, namely Protexin, safe to use in day old chicks, neonatal calves, pigs, foals, lambs and kids, puppies and kittens. Never known it to fail yet. It's better than yoghurt we've found. Also give it to animals that are stressed in any way. Been worth its weight in gold where orphaned lambs are concerned.

mummummum April 3rd, 2010 11:40 AM

I like to know what's in things. Can't find that on their website. Any idea what their version of "beneficial microorganisms" is Goldfields?

Also, I should have noted in my post that Lactobacillus Acidopholuus is great as well. You can pick it up in the dairy section of your grocery store or a health food store.

rainbow April 3rd, 2010 03:32 PM

As already suggested, I would change his food to a grain free brand like Orijen or Acana Provincial ([url][/url]) as grains are hard for a dog to digest. And, [B]plain[/B] yogurt which only contain milk ingredients and bacterial cultures is great to add to help digestion.

Also, make sure you are not overfeeding him have to take into consideration the number of treats he gets per day too. As SibHuskyMom mentioned, the guidelines on the bags tend to be overstated.

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