We have had some trouble with our almost 2 year old male chocolate lab. He has had severe diarrhea in the last two months, which was also bloody at one point. We have been to our vet, an emergency clinic, have had blood work, poop test and general examinations done. Everything came out fine and he is as healthy as he can be. As soon as we changed him to home cooked diet food such as chicken and potato the diarrhea was gone. we would change him to his kibble food gradually again and after a couple of weeks we would have the same issue again. the vets were always telling us that he might have picked something up while hiking but I am pretty sure he din't because I always have an eye on him and he always stays close.
I did a lot of research on diet and nutrition for dogs and decided that we will change his food to a dehydrated food called the honest kitchen as I was suspecting that the kibble we gave him might be responsible for triggering the diarrhea, because he was fine on home cooked food. Everything has been fine since we gave him his food. No more diarrhea and he really likes it. The reason I am posting is that I am still concerned that there is something we are missing. I suspect that he even has a deficiency in the enzyme Trypsin. The background to why I suspect this: We are from Germany and our dog is from a certified breeder, we have his whole pedigree, certificate and his parents have had genetic test for hip and elbow dysplasia. When we got him he was the smallest of his litter. Normally nothing to worry about, but he started eating his feces. We then taught him not to. It is common in some puppies and that is why we did not worry all too much about this until now. He also grew very slowly which is basically not bad for a big dog but he seems to not be able to put on the weight he should. No matter how much food we give him he does not really put on much weight. He is still very skinny. Do not get me wrong he has gained weight during his development but normally rather the opposite is the issue with labs. I think he is underweight besides his ravenous appetite. If we increase food he just poops a lot. I was thinking about adding a supplement which contains Trypsin to see how that would effect his weight. It really breaks my heart because I want him to be in the best health he can be.
And what also concerned me a little was that he vomited last night and the night before. During the day everything was fine and I know that he sometimes had that when he was a puppy when the periods between his last meals were too long and his stomach was too empty. We feed him 3 times a day his last meal is at around 9-9.30 pm. He is also acting normal: playing, running around, drinking and also has an appetite. He is in fact reminding me right now that it is dinner time;). I hope I might find some help here, because I just don't know where to start and what to research and change anymore.
I didn't understand what kibble you are feeding, but I recommend in general a "grain free"... and I also recommend adding canned dog food to his diet, best It think if it is the same. In the USA it is always good to see "limited ingredients" claimed on the package, meaning no artificial color/flavor/junk...
We have a Westie with some allergies we haven't figured out yet, so I do not post a someone who has had great success, but I keep trying.
You mention Germany, are you now in the USA? If yes, Tractor Supply Offers highly rated dog food, both kibble and canned in their brand name "4Health". It is moderate in cost.
We are now using "Taste of the Wild" Salmon and Sweet Potato Kibble and 4Health Salmon and Sweet Potato canned food. We feed about 50/50... and are still battling some feet licking/chewing/hair-gone problems but I think the restricted diet in Grain Free (4Health doesn't claim grain free, but notes no corn, wheat... ).
Good luck, let us know what you learn, many of us are here to learn more than to advise.
Hi. The switch to dehydrated is not something I would recommend. These dog foods were designed for human convenience, not for the health or well-being of dogs. Current research suggests long-term use of dry foods with dogs produces kidney problems, because all dogs fed on dry food for most of their lives become chronically and sometimes fatally dehydrated. I would agree with Jerry, switch to high quality tinned or even better natural frozen blocks of meat and white fish, cooked at home. Both these types of foods contain water as part of the make-up of the food, thus the dog gets water, even if they don't naturally drink it on a regular basis (some dogs are poor drinkers of water).
And if you do switch diet, do it slowly, increasing a little more of the switch each day until your dog is fully on the new food. Immediate changes will cause digestive problems such as vomiting and/or diarrhea. Also, three times a day is good, but I'm hoping the amounts are very small (making up one meal the weight and size as recommended for your dog's size and breed).
You can buy Trypsin supplements on the internet (beware buying outside the US), which may help digestive and bloat problems, but I would suggest getting advice about this from your vet first.
We fed Acana. It is a high quality dy dog food. Yes, We are residing in the US right know. When we came over we had to switch him to an American/Canadian brand. I did a lot of research compared every single ingredient on each brand and I decided we will try Acana. Worked well until about two months ago when all this mess ( diarhhea) started.
I am not a fan of canned dog food because of all the junk that is still in there and then we would have the same problem again: processed. I might not have explained the food we are feeding him well enough: it is basically human grade and organic, very gently dehydrated raw food. They suck the moisture out of it and grind it. You can really see the ingredients. Then you add water to it and it becomes an oatmeal consistency.
I have researched a brand with a good supplement that contains Trypsin.
The thing with the vet is that they always tell me that he is a lab and he might have picked something up and we could try an allergy food and we should incdease the food. Basically, that's all they ever say. I thought somebody here might have had this issue in the past. We also feed him cooked chicken and a couple of veggies and fruits ,everything he is allowed to eat and he gets probiotics once a day. I am also tryiing to find a pet store that sells raw chicken necks.Not too easy:). I will keep you posted how everything turns out. Thank you for the quick comments!
Hi. Sorry to disagree with you, but after everything I have learned about dry foods, there isn't any such thing as a high quality dry food ... it just isn't possible. All dry foods are designed for the convenience of humans - and the evidence suggests some serious drawbacks long-term, including a high incidence of kidney failure. High quality tinned foods are fine (the problem is, most dog foods are designed to attract owners, and are usually too rich for canine digestive tracts, so you really do have to do your homework). In the UK, we use Chappy, which is basically chicken, rice and fish. We also use frozen meats (beef, chicken, white fish, green tripe, lamb and rabbit) and mix this with pasta or rice. These are great for dogs as it is exactly what a dog should be eating (despite not being fed raw). Dogs are basically scavengers and should eat a huge variety of meats and veg, etc., which is what their digestive tracts have evolved to deal with.
I realise your lab has specific issues, but a change of diet is certainly recommended here, even if he hadn't got other issues. Cooked chicken is excellent, high in protein and easily digested. Vegetables are good, but in very small amounts as they take much longer to digest. White fish is something worth trying. Green tripe would work well, as it's rich in nutrients and all dogs love it.
If you want a good general guide to checking manufactured dog food and analyzing what you are currently feeding your lab, read this: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_10/features/Best-Canned-Dog-Food-Ingredients_20627-1.html
Cheers and do keep us informed how things work out. Tony
I checked "Acana" on the dogfoodadvisor website and it has 5 stars for both the dry and the grain free dry (I'd go grain free), which is the highest rating and higher than any food I have purchased. I figure anything with 4 stars "good enough".
I don't understand you concern about canned (tinned) food. In general it has nutrients which are all baked out of dry foods, that alone is worth adding in into the mix. We also add Probiotics which I buy both as treats and as a powder which I mix in the wet (canned) dog food. Our Westie is a real drinker, so he isn't at risk of dehydration (plus he gets water in his food). Still, I firmly believe a straight dry dog food program isn't the best one can do in feeding their pet. I fully accept the idea of cooking you own at home, that isn't in my program because of lack of time, skill, and interest. I'm one who would feed just dry and water, or dry and chicken broth or similar, but that approach with our Westie ended up with allergy problems. We're still trying to find what he is allergic to, I'm beginning to suspect it is me : (
Tough to get a handle on some of these issues other then restarting at square 1.
Have a complete blood panel done and check liver enzymes, recheck enzyme levels again in 5-7 days.
Whether a fecal shows worms or not, worm again with a broad spectrum dewormer, maybe Panacur.
Put on a low fat diet, with preferably one new protein and one new carbohydrate source not fed before. Try to feed this only.
One course of antibiotic treatment.
Elimination diet that you have to stick to and keep a journal. You may not notice a difference fir a few weeks.
Not sure if it will help your situation, but I used to give my dogs Prozyme supplement daily.
Would not hurt to try. It may be a GI issue that would take further testing.
I am not familiar with Trypsin and would have to read up on it.
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