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Changing food for an old dog
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Changing food for an old dog

Hi, my 9 year old beagle dog has been on prescription c/d science diet pretty much his whole life. The doctor recommended it because his PH levels in his urine were high. He's never actually developed crystals or bladder stones, perhaps the prescription diet prevented this, not sure.

Anyway, throughout his life, he has always had soft stool. It was either diahrea or soft stool, but never hard. It's likely why he has chronic anal gland infections. We have been treating with antibiotics for the past few weeks and he's still not better.

He also had a tooth abscess, some rotten teeth and now needs it removed.

I told my vet about the site dogfoodanalysis.com , that rates science diet at 1 star. She said that's because the dog food companies sponsor the sites and give them money. I told her I heard Science Diet sponsors Vets. She said yes, but also it's a balanced diet, with the exact vitamins and minerals, that the other foods are either over or under because they haven't done the research.

I've tried changing his food several times, but he is very sensative. Even adding little by little into his original dog food, he throws up, gets sick and we resort back to science diet. I've tried adding fiber by canned pumpkin or carrots, but anything new to his diet doesn't suit him well.

I went to the pet store and ended up getting a sample of wellness core, reduced fat. My dog absolutely loves it, and we fed it to him as snacks. The site rates is 6 stars, and I know you guys will say it's good. But it's so frustrating to know who is right. I mean my vet says don't switch foods, and I sort of believe her that science diet at least has the research behind their dosage of each product. Wellness core seems great because it doesn't have grain, but I also feel that it doesn't have vitamins/minerals and other things, while having things like potatos and carrots which fed normally get my dog sick.

So my long question is, should I change his food or just leave him?? I want his stool to be harder so that his glands can express themselves, but like I said, adding pumpkin or carrots whole, makes him sick.


My second question is, when I take my dog for a walk, he always ends up sniffing a dirty chicken bone and swallows it. I mean like just the bone, he eats anything he sees. When I try to take it out of his mouth he growls and he actually bit my sister when she tried taking out a bone. It makes me feel very sad that after 9 years of nurturing my dog, he would still bite me. Did I do something wrong, should I have instilled a sense of fear in him about me? I never scolded or hit him or anything, what can I do to stop this behavior.

Lastly, I generally want to know, how long to beagles live? My dog has minor health problems here and there, but he still plays and acts like a puppy.  I obviously want him to live forever lol, but I think I should at least be aware of a possible time.

Thanks so much if you actually read all this!!!
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675347_tn?1365464245
My advice....
There are two people who I hope drop in very soon...one is Misfits4Me (what she doesn't know about dog food isn't worth knowing!) Another is dominosarah, who had a well-loved Beagle who lived to a very good age.

I don't know anything like these two do about your specific issues, and can only talk generally. To my way of thinking, all dogs are different and some have sensitive tummies. My dog can't tolerate some foods my other dog could have done.
I would stick with a high quality food that he likes, that appears to do him good, and that is a food that has a lot of "stars" never mind what the vet says. As far as I know, Science Diet isn't that wonderful, (but I do stand to be corrected by anyone who knows better!)

The thing about him growling and biting when you try to take food away from him is quite natural. I wouldn't be very happy with anyone who tried to take some tasty morsel out of my mouth when I was eating it! But he is a dog, and you are his leader, so he must learn to drop, on request, whether he wants to or not. He's not afraid of you, he is just being possessive about what's in his mouth! He wants that chicken bone, and you don't want him to have it. Simple.
I am not the dog behaviour specialist either. (I sound like I shouldn't be here don't I?) But the only way I can think of to get him to obey your will is to try and train him to drop what is in his mouth, whether that be a toy or whatever. When he does this, immediately reward him with a tiny treat.
Then progress to his food. Put the food down, and teach him to stay and sit, until you give the order for him to eat. So he gets the message that you are in control of his food. You are his provider.
It might be hard, but don't give up. Then progress to giving him some other thing -maybe a dog treat stick or large biscuit, and command him to "drop" when he has it in his mouth (this may take some time to perfect) Say it very firmly, and very quickly so he pays attention. Of course, as soon as he does drop, reward him instantly with a food treat.
No dog is too old to learn new tricks, believe me.
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462827_tn?1333172552
Hi Amber....All dogfoods are fortified w/Vitamins & Minerals...Including Wellness!   IMO, Science Diet is over fortified because there is no other nutrition in the bag....Your Vet makes money by selling you this diet....That's why she/he pushes it...

Dr. Cheng just posted on the expert forum this exert about nutrition: I've copied it for you to read....

by Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.A, Jul 03, 2011 12:42PM
The new thinking behind what to feed dog's these days is that dog's should eat what their ancestors ate, or close to it.   That is of course easier said than done.  Secondly, you get what you pay for, and that goes for dog food too.

Therefore, try to find a dog food that is as little processed as possible, that contains no rice, wheat, corn or soy, and DOES contain whole meats, fish or fowl.  Stay away from "hot or warm foods" in the case of seizures.  From an Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medical Stand point: Hot or warm foods can cause increased internal heat in seizures patients.  Commonly used hot foods in commercial diets include: venison, duck, beef, bison, kangaroo, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.

Dog Food Brands that I suggest are: Instinct, Taste of the Wild, Halo, Merrick's, Evo/Innova, Wellness, and Nature's Variety to name a few. There are many more good ones out there.  Please read the label carefully as all brands of dog food also have versions with  foods that may not be suitable.  Please purchase what you can afford while trying to observe the guidelines.   Try to use only canned versions since dry food must contain some carbohydrate to hold the kibble shapes.  Or, try to feed as much canned as possible if you must feed kibble.  

There is also a growing trend toward raw diets.  If you are interested please check the following link:  http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/raw-dog-food/
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Your dog's stools are soft because of all the grains in his diet! That's a well know fact!

Your bone issue is A Natural response......However, cooked bones are dangerous to dogs! They can splinter and cause serious problems as they digest...Raw Bones are OK, but if you have a gulper, you must be careful....My dogs get Raw, Dehydrated, whole Chicken Feet for Snacks! And they won't share, either....Yes, one would bite me if I tried to take it away....I realize this fact, and give him his space till he's finished.....

Here's an ingredient list (First 10 ingredients in order) of what was in the food my dogs had for dinner last night...
Venison Meat, Venison Liver, Venison Tripe, Venison Heart & Kidneys, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lecithin, Chicory, Fish Oil, Kelp......
Now, go read the ingredients list from your Science Diet Bag and see if it even comes close to comparing....

I will add that Wellness Core is an excellent food, but you need to incorporate some canned food, also....Your dog (All dogs) need the extra moisture for hydration....Yours especially because of Urine PH problems.....Extra moisture will help keep the Kidneys & Bladder flushed out.....Make Sense?   Take care & I hope this answers some of your questions....The decision is up to you.......Karla




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hi Karla and Ginger, thank you so much for your excellent advice. The other day I went to Walmart and saw a bunch of people purchasing 'Old Roy' because it was on sale, and it made me feel very bad for the dogs.

Anyway, we are slowly switching my dog to Wellness core reduced fat, while still mixing with the Science Diet. His poop seems to be getting a little firmer which makes me very happy because it has never been like that. We tried adding the canned version, but he vomitted and had diahreah. We added a very small amount. So now, I just started adding water to his dry dog food. Is this a good idea? He seems to love it for some reason. He absolutely loves Wellness too, but here's the issue.

He seems to be getting tired a lot more quicker. When we take him for walks he sits down or wants to go back home. Is this just due to aging? He did this last summer too, but he seems to be getting way more tired and panting this year.

Lastly, he was on the science diet for his high ph levels, but they weren't that high. The Vet just assumed the c/d food would help the real problem, which was blood coming out of his penis. Not in his urine, but just at home when he's laying around.

I've told my vet several times and she said it may be just some sort of injury or nothing major because his blood check was fine and if it was cancer than he would drastically show symptoms. But now, again, there is ALOT of blood coming out of there. Like droppings all over the house and a puddle where he sits.

I'm going back to the vet tomorrow because his anal glands are still infected despite a full course of antibiotics, and I have to get this blood problem figured out. Could it be because he is not nutured? It's been happening since he was 6/7 years old, like once a year. Now he is 9 and it's happening every month for a few days each time.
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675347_tn?1365464245
This blood from his penis definitely needs checking thoroughly. It may not be cancer, but he could have either a rather bad recurrent balanitis, which is localized, and not showing any elevated white blood cells (as infection markers) in his blood sample....or it could possibly be prostatitis. It could even be crystals in his bladder causing irritation in there.
Either way, he needs this issue addressed.
The reason he's panting and hanging back on walks could be as a result of mild discomfort or pain. Dogs are immensely stoical, and usually, a pain has to be a number 9 or 10 before it floors them. Also, with dogs who are generally "good eaters" it doesn't necessarily put them off their food either, so it can be hard to gauge how bad they feel. That doesn't mean he's not in some pain. Panting can be a sign either of being overheated, (or obviously during or after strenuous exercise) but it also can be a sign of slight fever or pain.

Did you say he's had a urinalysis? (thinking about possible bladder crystals)
If nothing doing there, get his prostate checked. Just like humans, "entire" male dogs can and often do get prostate problems as they grow older.
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Okay so yup today was an expensive trip to the vet. You're right, he has an enlarged prostate leading to the bleeding. The vet gave me medication for it.

My dog also got more antibiotics for his anal glands, poor thing was yelping when the doctor was squeezing the pus out.

Finally, the vet said my dog has a hernia next to his anus. This is causing his straining to poop because the poop is going into the hernia. He said it might require surgery but not necessarily. He said the tissue might tear on it's own, as long as my dog's food isn't too hard.

Now I'm confused. I'm slowly changing his food to wellness core, and it's suiting him well, his poop is starting to firm up, which ofcourse helps the anal glands. But my vet says it should be soft, so what should I do. Just add water to his wellness core? Or add canned food. I'm going to try the can but he usually gets sick off it.

The last thing is, now I want to switch him to blue wilderness salmon I think it is. It has lots of fibre, a little less protein and cranberries. Yes, my dog's urine was checked, no crystals just high PH levels. So there's a possibility they will deveop.

The other option I was thinking is keeping his transition to welllness core and adding a cranberry supplement.

Sorry for the constant questioning, it's all so confusing.

Lastly the bump on his check did turn out to be an abcess (abscess) from a swollen tooth. The vet said to just brush his teeth. So I bought dog toothpaste and I got pediagree dentastixs. Are these denta stixs actually helpful in reducing tar and plaque?

Thank you that's all!!!

PS: I was also thinking, I  now have him on medication for enlarged prostate,, the hernia could also possibly have to do with that. I know my dog is old, but should I get him nutured? I feel like it's the cause of most of these problems and my vet wont give me a straight answer.
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