Usually I allow Sadie to speak for herself, which generally works out well. But, in real life, Miss Sue can’t and understanding her needs can sometimes become difficult. For instance, when the Shagbottom came into my life she had some gastro issues. The rescue group that helped me save her had recommended a Canidae product, which I never put her on once I weened her over to the same diet I had my Jack Russell on, a Blue Buffalo formula. Doggy diets matter for a number of reasons: cost, allergies, weight, over all health—to name the main ones.
Sadie will eat anything. She’s very true to her Golden heritage in that matter. I never had to worry about her turning down her cereal. Max, because he was often dehydrated from not drinking (he always had a giant bowl full of fresh water at paw twenty-four seven. He just never drank it much), I also had him on canned food. I would give her a little bit to keep her from being jealous. I don’t like wet food because it causes a lot of tartar build up on their back teeth. It’s sticky. Max had tons of issues with this.
A few weeks into her living with me she continued to have diarrhea. Of course, I took her to the vet and they put her on probiotics and antiobiotics and all sorts of things to get her tummy straightened. The poor dear suffered but swabs and other indignities to figure out what was wrong with her. She had a big build up of bad bacteria in her gut. No matter what we did, it didn’t rectify.
My response was to feed her dry food with yogurt for the cultures of good bacteria in the morning, and cottage cheese in the evening to keep her stool firm. This worked the nuts for several years until he came down with the same symptoms and nothing fixed it. I switched her food and wound up with Van Patten’s Limited ingredients, guessing that she might have an allergy, instead of a bacteria problem. That alleviated the problem for some time. Max also liked the new food. In 2013, Max passed from lymphoma and I have this horrible fear it was the Blue Buffalo food I was giving him. I have no proof to substantiate that whatsoever, just a weird feeling (gotta blame something, right). Regardless, he was gone and Sadie mourned him. I’m sure this didn’t help her system at all. As we know with humans, grieving affects one’s well-being and can exacerbate illnesses that already exist.
Yup, the symptoms returned. I wrote the dog food company about what was happening, and bless them they checked the batch and sent me vouchers for free bags. Alas, I could not keep her on the food. I had to find something else. Thanks to a local chain of pet food stores, Benson’s, I was able to find Hollistic Select. In the back of my head, I had an experience that my neighbor at the time was going through with his chocolate lab, Maggie. Maggie was itching and developing ear infections. Interesting! It wasn’t her gut, but it was infections caused by a bacteria build up due to the irritations by the allergy. He mentioned a salmon based food that was grain free. When the clerk at the pet store recommended Hollistic Select, for it’s pro and prebiotics, as well as grain free qualities, I was pretty sure that was the stuff my neighbor told me about. Maggie was a chunky girl until she got her new food, and they never gave her table scraps.
Since switching to this new food, I have not had to give Sadie yogurt or cottage cheese to maintain her balance. She just gets her cereal. I was so glad because, even though it was low and fat free stuff, it was extra calories my dog did not need. She was already chunked up quite enough on the fresh meats, fruits and vegetables I share with her (and, yes, some junk too). She hasn’t lost very much weight, but it is winter. Her stomach does look a bit trimmer, not hanging as it was. Her shoulders and rib cage are still retaining weight, but I’m hopeful that this summer will see that shed.
The point of all of this is to hopefully make someone who might be struggling with a similar issue find an alternative for their pet that works. It’s only been a year since I switched her food, but the change in her coat and stools is dramatic. I’m confident she will be all right. I also noticed that she has a spring/fall cycle where environmental allergens can cause her to exhibit these symptoms. This past fall, she had a bad patch, but pumpkin straightened her out in no time. I have also given her Benadryl and she responds with that. Her energy is always good, but it’s even better when she feels good.
If you’re dog is exhibiting these symptoms and not responding to antibiotics and probiotics, see if it might be an allergy. Your veterinarian can do a test, and switching their foods and avoiding grain-based table scraps is not a bad idea to start with. Best of luck!
Speaking of rescue dogs. Did you see this?
The ball dogs took center stage at a Brazilian tennis match.