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shibaboy August 6th, 2009 03:49 PM

Changing Dog Food
Hi, I am new here but have read your threads and am impressed with your knowledge. Now I need help.

On the advice of my Vet I was feeding my dog Hills Prescription dry dog food. He is overweight and cannot lose weight, itches all of the time, need I say more. I found out that I really needed to make a change, researched, researched, and ended up with Natural Balance LID Duck and Potato. After about two weeks he had loose potty & I decided it was too rich for my guy and he really didnt want to eat it so I decided I needed a reduced calories diet for his weight anyway. Back to the board, I went with Natural Balance Original Ultra Reduced Calorie diet. It has a combination of meats, fruit, veggies, salmon oil, oatmeal, vitamins, etc. I did think the protein percentage was low but I put grilled chicken cut up on top of his food each day. No seasoning at all. Now after two weeks for giving him this food, his potty is still very soft, and often he tries to go again and it is so runny (sorry) that we cannot pick it up. I so wanted this change to be good for him, make him feel better, hopefully stop the itching, but nothing. Has it been long enough for the original Hills food to completely be eliminated from his system, and has it been long enough on this new food. If I start on another new food, I am concerned he will have the same problem, so I dont know what to do and would appreciate your input. He has blown both knee ligaments, he is a little overweight but we walk him three times a day, and he has arthritis in both rear joints and one front ankle. I give him adequain injections, cosamine ds, and rimadyl pills. He is a little stiff but not real bad in his rear legs, his front ankle is worse and I need to get his weight down because he limps a little after trying to run. Thank you for any help.

bendyfoot August 6th, 2009 04:39 PM

Have you thought of a grain-free, even raw diet? High protein, low can work wonders for overweight pups (personally I hate low-cal diets, they're usually full of grain fillers like corn, all they do is contribute to the problem...I'd much rather feed smaller amounts of high-quality food).

There is the possibility that seasonal allergies are contributing to the itchies, too, our GSD is scratching like a loon these days...:rolleyes:

shibaboy August 6th, 2009 05:48 PM

Changing Dpg Food, Grain Free
The Duck and Potato was grain free. The Low Calorie food I am feeding now doesnt have any of the allergy causing gluten grains in it, it has oatmeal.

I wanted to put him on a higer protein diet but many sites are mis-informed on giving senior dogs high protein diets and I did not know that until I had started him on the low calorie food. But, I do add chicken every night so that must help with the higher protein.

bendyfoot August 6th, 2009 05:57 PM

If I were you I'd probably try a raw diet at this point. Raw meat, bones and organs, and that's it. No oatmeal, potatoes nothing. Portion controlled (of course) so you can monitor and manage the body weight. It will encourage fat loss and encourage lean muscle mass. Supplement with fish oil (omegas) for healthy skin/coat.

rainbow August 6th, 2009 07:33 PM

I agree raw is the best but if that is not an option for you then a grain free kibble is a must. It can take several months for his system to adjust to a premium grain free kibble after eating a brand like Hills. I don't think you gave him long enough but I also don't think a meat protein like duck was the best for him either as it is quite rich.

Do you have Orijen or Acana Provincial where you live? They are both made by the same manufacturer ( [url][/url] ) and are the best grain free brands imo ....alot of the members here feed it as well. Check out their store locator if you are interested as they also have online distributors.

Another brand is Innova EVO ( [url][/url] ) if you can't find Orijen/Acana Provincial. He is probably still going to have loose poop for awhile but you can add some digestive enzymes or prebiotics to help him adjust. But his itchies should go away sooner.

shibaboy August 7th, 2009 02:56 PM

Dog Food Changes
I do have those brands available to purchase near by. I have no idea on how to go about a raw diet and he cannot eat bones easily without me holding them for him. He has arthritis in one of his front ankles and cannot hold bones very well. I try to help him and hold it, but I dont turn it like he wants it to be, etc.

Is there several food types of Orijen, like chicken, liver, fish, etc., if so which one would you suggest?

I am so sick about putting my baby through this. I have no idea why I put my trust in the Vet regarding his diet, I usually am not like that. Especially with him, he is my baby.

I have always grilled chicken breasts (no seasoning added) and put about 1/4 chopped up on top of his dry kibble. He loves it and sits patiently while I cut it up, and is very happy the day we grill a new batch, but do you think I should continue doing this? Also, when I change to Orijen, should I add the Natural Balance in and change slowly? Or, because it is not agreeing with him, change it over immediately. I dont want to make him sicker than he is already. Thank you for your help.

rainbow August 7th, 2009 07:41 PM

Orijen has a chicken formula, a fish formula and a red meat formula. You can read about them here ......


Since you are adding extra meat protein to his kibble, he may very well still expect that, so you might want to consider the Acana Provincial brand which is made by the same manufacturer as Orijen but has a little less protein content. They have a chicken formula, a fish formula and a lamb formula and you can read about them here ......


Acana Provincial is also a little cheaper than Orijen since it has less meat content.

Since the Natural Balance isn't agreeing with him, I would stop feeding it and put him on boiled chicken and rice for a couple of days and then start giving the Orijen or Acana Provincial. Try adding a bit of plain organic yogurt (only has milk ingredients and active bacterial cultures) to his meals or else you can use prebiotics/probiotics.

shibaboy August 8th, 2009 07:28 PM

Change Dog Food
rainbow, thank you very much for the links and advice on new dog food for my baby. I want to get his stomach and the rest of his body healthy as soon as I can. My heart just breaks everytime I see he still isn't normal and still itching.

Can I ask you one more question? I have read that omega 6 in dog foods can actually make allergies worse for your pets. Then I have read that omega 6 is good for your pets. Which is the truth? If it can make your pets allergies worse I wonder why they would put it in your pets food?

I know omega 3 is good for their skin and coat, but is that true for omega 6. I am asking because it is in the Natural Balance food I am currently giving him. And, if it is in any other dog food I select for him, I want to know for sure if it is good or not, and if it will make his allergies worse.

Thank you again for your time and knowledge. I really appreciate it.

aslan August 8th, 2009 08:01 PM

Rainbow is one of our more knowledgeable food people so she gave great advice. Only thing other than the rice and chicken that i would suggest would be add a little canned raw pumpkin to the food to firm up the poop a little.

MyBirdIsEvil August 8th, 2009 09:23 PM

Have you thought about your dog maybe being allergic to chicken? My dog is allergic to chicken and gets really red and itchy if she has it and gets stomach upset. She's not allergic to duck and has done well on the DVP duck formula before, but you were adding chicken to the food to try and add protein.
It's really not necessary to add meat on top of the food. DVP Natural Balance is low in protein but it's not low enough to be a health issue.
I would just give the kibble for now because adding meat on top of that could be making the stomach upset worse.
If you want to add meat maybe try an a meat other than chicken. Venison and buffalo are good because they're not very rich and are low in fat.

Maybe you could actually have an allergy test done. Some vets don't like them and swear they're not accurate but other vets have had very good luck with them, so it's worth a try:shrug:

shibaboy August 9th, 2009 05:52 PM

Changing Dog Foods
I did think about him being allergic to chicken but I didn't just start giving him chicken. I have given it to him for years. So, I thought before I start trying to figure any allergic reaction out by taking things away, I want to find a food he can eat where he will have normal poopies. Because he was normal before I started making the dog food changes, and he was eating chicken.
His last two potties have been better and not watery, just soft, so maybe he is getting a little better but I still don't want to leave him on Natural Balance. I was looking for a "very good" food for him and I don't think this is it. I had read on so many sites that it was a good food but when I went back and saw brewers yeast and omega 6, and it not agreeing with him, I need to find something better for him.

When he scratches his itches they are always in the same places. Under his front legs, the side of his rib cage, and the newest place is behind his penis in the fur area they have there. He licks there and he didnt really do that before. But, his nose runs too, and it seems he is more itchy when he comes inside from laying in the dirt outside. Not always but sometimes he scratches his ears, but the Vet said he has so much fur he is sure he gets loose hair in his ears which tickles him.

Once I get his stomach settled if he is still itchy I am going to try eliminating items one at a time. But, if I go to a grain free dog food, I want to see if eliminating grains makes a difference first before I eliminate chicken.

Does anyone know an answer to my question about Omega 6 in dog food make allergies worse than they already are? I have read one article that said it is good, the other article said it is worse for their allergies.

The same with Brewers Yeast. I read it is not a good ingrediant to put in dog food, but when I google Brewers Yeast, it said it is good for dogs. Does anyone know about Brewers Yeast? All of this gets so confusing because one doesnt know who is really acurate! Thank you all for your help.

kandy August 10th, 2009 04:32 PM

Omega 6 itself isn't bad for your dog. It's the imbalance of omega 6 to omega 3's that are bad - and the process of manufacturing kibble creates that imbalance. Omega 6's are an essential fatty acid, just like omega 3 but when the dog is getting way more omega 6 and not enough omega 3, it can cause problems. Brewer's yeast is considered to be a form of probiotic, but considering that the manufacturing process would destroy any good bacteria anyway, there are better sources out there.

What I do on dog food is to research what the ingredients really are - not whether someone says they are bad or not, just what they are exactly. Then I decide if this ingredient is something I want my dog to have. I make a list of the things that I do want them to have, the things that I can live with, and the things that I absolutely do not want in their food at all, ever. Then I find a food that meets my requirements.

Oh, and I forgot to add that your dog might be having runny stools because he's getting too much of the new food. With a higher quality food, you don't have to feed as much because the dog is actually absorbing the nutrients in the food rather than ingesting huge amounts of low quality food to get the nutrients they need and letting the rest continue out the other end. Also, IMO the suggested feeding amounts on the higher quality foods are high. I think my food suggests feeding like 5-6 cups a day for my newfie girl, but in fact she only gets 2 cups of dry and 1/2 can of Evanger's 'Hunk of Beef' per day - and she's doing wonderfully.

MadeleineI August 10th, 2009 07:15 PM

The best expert on dog food is nature. I always look back to a wild dog's diet for any problems I incur. So a variety of quality raw meat and bones is always best, but can create a clearing effect initially - vomiting, loose stool, bad skin. If this is short lived, it was beneficial. The services of a holistic vet, especially one who practices homeopathy may give you the support you may need. Allergies are more likely to occur if the food contains preservatives - most do despite the claims on the label. Or can be from factory farmed meat which is full of growth hormones, antibiotics and junk food.
Dogs are omnivores so can eat lots of fresh, raw fruit and veggies too. Grate it up for them and let them choose. One of my dogs will eat any fruit or veggie under the sun. The other will only eat grated carrot.

shibaboy August 13th, 2009 12:30 PM

Changing Dog Foods, Boiled Chicken and Rice
Thank you for answering my last questions. I was wondering about the boiled chicken and rice. Can I steam the chicken over water in a steamer basket? I've never done it but wondered if possible? Also, I was reading that Cottage Cheese can be used to calm the dogs stomach. Have you used this instead of yogurt? I am more convinced that a raw diet is the way to go but with the little knowledge I have at this point I want to get his stomach calm, then I can start learning about a raw diet and ease him into that. I was reading about the lack of moisture in kibble and how terrible it is on the dog. I am thinking about adding a little canned food on top once he is good with the change, do any of you think this is a good idea? So many questions come up I am sorry to be so needy. I cannot believe all the information that I dont know! Thanks again.

kandy August 13th, 2009 01:50 PM

Steaming the chicken is fine. Yes, I give cottage cheese occassionaly. Cottage cheese can calm the stomach, as long as your dog isn't lactose intolerant. If he doesn't have a reaction to yogurt, then he's probably fine in that dept. Pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pie filling) can also soothe the digestive tract. And I add canned food to almost every meal my dogs get.

The lack of moisture in kibble isn't as critical for a dog as it is for a cat. Dogs will drink water, whereas cats were designed to get all the moisture they need from their prey. However, if your dog is a deep chested breed, and drinks a ton of water after he eats - then his risk of bloat goes up. There is alot of conflicting information on what actually causes bloat - but it seems to happen to dogs who eat their kibble quickly and then drink lots of water right after. Or if your dog for some reason doesn't drink enough water, then the low level chronic dehydration would create it's own health problems. If you are concerned that your dog isn't getting enough water, you can soak the kibble in a bit of water before feeding. I have seen a thread here that talked about not wetting down kibble that had citric acid in it - but I haven't been able to find any other information on that.

rainbow August 13th, 2009 02:02 PM

Are you still feeding him boiled chicken and rice or have you switched to Orijen? :confused:

shibaboy August 14th, 2009 02:00 PM

Boiled Chicken or Orijen
I thought I had access to both of the food brands you recommended but I do not. I only have access to EVO, so I bought a small bag of it. First, my dogs potty was starting to get a little firm so instead of completely stopping the Natural Balance, I mixed the natural balance with the EVO. 3/4 natural balance to 1/4 EVO. He ate this for two days, his poop was still soft but not watery. But the second night after having this for dinner he came in after his after dinner walk and threw his dinner up. It has been very hot here so I thought maybe we walked him too soon after eating his dinner in the heat. He cooled down, seemed fine, so I fed him again, of course he was hungry.

The next night he seemed fine, then at dinner time I gave him his food, he started eating slowly which was my first clue, then he didn't finish it, BIG second clue something was wrong. I had fed him earlier this night so there was more time between eating and his nightly walk. Later on that night he did finish his dinner but I noticed he was panting harder than usual, this was Wednesday night. I got on the internet and found this to be a sign of stomach problem or at the least a bad signal.

I cooked rice, already had cottage cheese and I started him on that first thing Thursday morning. I defrosted chicken I had and boiled it and he had that along with rice and cottage cheese last night, (Thursday night). He seemed a little better last night the panting was less but not spry at all.

This morning(Friday) I gave him rice, little bits of chicken, and cottage cheese, he will not eat yogurt. He still seems very down and not feeling well. Does an upset system last this long? I am so worried that I have really made him very sick. The internet said to feed him this diet for a couple of days then slowly introduce his regular diet. If he isn't any better by the morning should I take him to the Vet or is this time frame normal when a dogs system gets upset when one changes foods too soon? I am watching him like a hawk for any other signs. He didnt want to go on his morning walk, so we made it short for just relief. Is there anything else I can do for him. He does drink water, I can see him every minute and I watch for his water intake. Thank you for any help or advice you can give me.

shibaboy August 14th, 2009 06:38 PM

Boiled Chicken, YEAH!!
I fed my baby tonight, he ate his dinner, sat around for a little bit, then he got up and started running around the room like he does when he is well and full of the little devil. I am so happy he is feeling better.

What I would like to ask you is tomorrow night, do I still stick with the plain rice, chicken, cottage cheese? And, when I do start feeding him dog food again, how do I ease him back into dog food? Do I fix 1/2 rice, boiled chicken,cottage cheese, half dog food? Or, 3/4 rice, chicken, cottage cheese, 1/4 dog food?

Thank you again for your help. Shibaboy

SnowDancer August 15th, 2009 09:11 AM

My Eskimo has been on Fromm's Four Star - Salmon A La Veg and Duck and Sweet Potato since 9 months - he is now 5 and 1/2. Prior to that we were all thinking digestive enzyme - but the Fromms made all the difference to him. I don't give him the Chicken version - the Whitefish and Potato is fine but stinks - BUT the new Pork and Applesauce is a no-no for him - I think it is the applesauce. Maybe worth getting a sample to try. They also make a grain free Surf and Turf but it is high in fat - 30% so no way is my guy about to get that. For emergency purposes I keep 2 cans of Hills i/d on hand - and as expiry date approaches I donate and get 2 new ones. Have done this for 4years and finally used them 2 weeks ago - not for a tummy upset - he had dental work done - he loves the stuff. We did put him on the Hill's low calorie diet when he gained six excess pounds thanks to size of husband's treats to him - but that did not help him at all - actually just made him "go" more. Hope you find something that works. Since you are in U.S. finding Fromms should be easy - in Canada it was tough going - my groomer sells it and since it wasn't on the recall list it became a big seller and is now more readily available.

shibaboy August 15th, 2009 04:56 PM

Change Dog Food
My guy was still not up to speed this morning so I called my Vet to see if there was something he would give me to help my doggies stomach. I talked to a technician and told her what happened and that I was changing dog foods. She said unless the Vet saw the dog there was nothing he would give me. I asked for an over the counter suggestion, she said there was nothing.

Then she asked why I had changed his food. I said because the food was bad, and asked if she ever looked at the ingredients. She became very quiet and asked, did the old food upset your dogs stomach like the new food is doing? I said no. She said well perhaps you should put your dog back on the food he was eating instead of giving him food that makes him sick. I saw RED and told her it made him itch all of the time and it made him fat and he couldnt lose any weight. She didn't offer any other suggestions, and she did not even tell me to ease him back on the old food, just go back to the old food period. I did not want to get into a fight or heated discussion with her but I certainly will tell the Vet about her attitude in two weeks when I take my dog in for blood tests he needs.

I am keeping him on the chicken w/rice & cottage cheese another night because he is still lacking any energy. He also hasn't pooped since Thursday night but hopefully he will when I walk him after dinner tonight. I would think with his current diet there really isn't a lot for him to get rid of. I hope I am right about that.

kandy August 17th, 2009 04:09 PM

When you switch a dog food back and forth, it will cause some upset. Any food change should be done gradually, over the course of at least a week to 10 days. It normally takes at least a few months to get a true picture of how a dog will do on a new food.

The vet tech doesn't have any nutritional training, she only knows what the big dog food rep's tell her or what her boss tells her (which is likely the same thing). Most vets do not have any nutritional training outside of the basic course required to get their degree, and these courses are most often taught by representatives from Hill's & Medi-cal.

Although you may not be able to purchase Orijen or Acana locally, you can order it online. I live in a rural area and the only pet store that carries decent food also sells puppies, so I don't shop there. I order both my kibble and my canned food online. It takes a bit more planning to make sure I don't run out - but it's worth it. There are lots of places that offer free shipping over a certain dollar amount.

You said in an earlier post that you didn't want to start taking things away but rather wanted to find a food that would calm his stomach first. Sometimes, the only way to identify allergies or intolerances (without doing allergy testing at the vets) is to do an elimination diet. You can also compare the ingredient listing of each food you've tried and make a list of the ingredients that are present in all of the brands - then look for a food that doesn't have those ingredients. However, if you switch your dogs food every 2 weeks, he will continue to have digestion/stomach issues. You need to pick a food, and stick with it for a little while. Not to say that if your dog experiences explosive diarrhea with a food that you should continue to give it to him, but just to give the food a chance.

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