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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
we have newly adopted (5 weeks ago) 2-3yo GSP and I've been feeding the same food that the foster had for her so not to mess up her stomach. Purina Pro Plan Sport 30/20.

When we got her, the vet said we needed her to gain some weight and suggested adding wet food as she wasn't that great of an eater initially. So I added a few scoops of Purina's Pro Plan Focus (Beef/Rice).

All was well until about 2.5 weeks ago when husband bought her Beggin' Strips. She had big time diarrhea within a day. I suspected the strips and tossed them out. She was back to normal within 36h.

Then, about 10-12 days ago we came home one day and found diarrhea in the house. Since then, I have been unable to break the cycle when we're going back to her dry food.
I cook her chicken and rice for two days until she's back to normal, then go back to her dry food and boom, back to diarrhea. We've done this 3 times now and this week I then cut out all of her treats to eliminate potential other causes (she only gets cooked chicken treats now).

This time I tried adding her old food slowly in but she still had diarrhea again today all over the house. I can't be 100% sure she didn't get too much dry food as my husband made her meals yesterday while I was out, but it was still the combination of rice, chicken and the dry food.

I'm kind of dumbfounded as to what to do next? Do I have to abandon that dry food and try something else? Again, she was fine on that food for months apparently.
 

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Chicken is a common food allergy in dogs and it sounds like she's eating a lot of that. Might be worth trying eliminating it. I would also switch dry foods - It's possible your bag has gone off, or that they've switched formulations. That the dog does better getting rice makes me think she might benefit from a higher fiber and/or carb proportion diet - something with more bulk. But ongoing digestive upset in the absence of a clear cause makes me think it's time for a vet visit. Worms are an obvious and comparatively routine possible explanation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think it's chicken since her stool is fine when she gets just chicken and rice, it just goes back to liquid when we go back to normal dry food.

Am I just doing the switch too fast? I started adding a handful of dry food to her chicken and rice and I think the next meal, my husband out about a half cup in it.

She just recently got her Interceptor and was dewormed when she was initially picked up by Animal Control a few months ago before we adopted her.

The vet tech keeps talking about having to do all of these allergy tests and whatnot, and I have a feeling they're just trying to sell me on a bunch of procedures when it could really be just my method of reintroducing the food. So I'm pretty reluctant to go there again when the dog is otherwise perfectly fine.
 

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I'd be incline to try a different food - maybe buy a 5lb bag of something and slowly add that in to the chicken and rice, just to see if she has the same adverse reaction. Your method of reintroducing the food sounds fine to me - I'd consider fasting her for a day and then straight back onto 1/2 of her regular portion of dry food for the first day, then back to normal the next, as the only other option for reintroduction of the dry, since you are already trying to wean her off of the cooked food and it isn't working. Otherwise like I said, I'd be trying a new food. Just because it isn't the chicken doesn't mean it isn't something else in/about the food.

Also, pumpkin. Pumpkin is your best friend when your dog gets the splats. 1-2 tablespoons in her food might help her (you) out through all of this.

There is merit to allergy testing, but you can also do your own feeding trials before going to the blood/skin test. For some dogs (like mine) the things they are allergic to are so obscure you really need the test unless you are going to home cook/go raw forever. Others it's 'allergic to beef' or 'allergic to peas' etc which is easy to figure out with a feeding trial and then avoid those things.
 

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I would suggest fasting your dog for 12-24hrs, just to give his digestive system a rest, then get him onto something bland and boiled before adding in small amounts of kibble. Canned pumpkin (100%) after the fast might not hurt, either.

On that note, thought I might add that my dogs could never stomach Pro Plan. I've seen it produce gorgeous coats, BUT, it always caused softer or not well digested stools with my dogs (GSDs, Beagles). One of my dogs once had explosive diarrhea on the salmon formula, which was the last nail in the coffin for us with with PP. For good stools I've always been partial to Eukanuba. I fed it for years in the late 90's up until 2001, and remember it producing the firmest stools, even in dogs with severe digestive issues. When we cooked for our older dogs, we never could tell the difference between the stools of the ones eating Euk as opposed to those being fed a homemade diet. Their coats/teeth were just as nice, too.

I recently started feeding the lamb & rice version to a 14 week old pup, who had some pretty bad digestive issues from worms when I got him. His stool was grey, mucousy and a bit of blood in there, too, and his bowels were further irritated by the de-wormer. I gave him boiled chicken/rice, but even that didn't clear it up entirely, and for the first few days here, he lost a dramatic amount of weight. But within 24 hrs of starting on the Euk puppy formula, stools were visibly firmer, and he's now going VERY firm, and only once daily. Even though he still needs another worming, he's a perfect weight and bowels are normal.

Obviously, I'd recommend Eukanuba, especially for bowel problems, if you do decide to switch brands :yo:
 

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Two of the three dogs I've had suffered from chronic diarrhea so I know it's no fun and can be very frustrating. Both of them suffered from intestinal inflammation rather than "allergies" and we did try elimination diet's and Hill's z/d. My newest dog has been eating Pro Plan 30/20 along with Purina canned for the past year and her stools are consistently tight and tiny. However I tend to "underfeed" her, which my vet is fine with. I have found that feeding even the smallest amount too much of the "better" foods such as Orijen results in diarrhea but it does sound like you have something else going on here. It's a shame that Pro Plan hasn't worked well for you.

I have had no experience testing for allergies (my vet never recommended them) and tend to think they might be inconclusive but if your vet suggests an endoscopy to check for Inflammatory Bowel Disease I would go ahead and do it even though they can be somewhat expensive. IBD is just as challenging to treat as allergies and usually requires steroids to control but having put it off with one of my dogs I now wish I had done it sooner.

Apart from chicken and rice and pumpkin you might consider a test for giardia, which is sometimes successfully treated with metronidazole or Safeguard. Giardia is killed by the ingredients in Interceptor, etc.

Metronidazole is something I keep around for bouts of diarrhea that don't have an underlying chronic condition. It's relatively cheap from a vet and even cheaper if you buy "Fishzole," which is a generic over the counter non-prescription version you can buy from anywhere that has aquarium supplies. A ten day course often clears things up but I have had occasions where, like you, as soon as I went back to kibble the diarrhea came back.

Also, although I have never fed Eukanuba, I concur with a previous poster that it might be worth a try. Having run the gamut of super holistic food and "alternative" treatments with my previous dogs I've come around to thinking the big brands are safe choices, particularly if they are recommended by your vet. Nothing says you have to feed them indefinitely but they have worked better for me than the highly "rated" "boutique" brands. Just my two cents.
 

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For right now, give her canned pumpkin (not the pie filling, just plain pumpkin) and some plain rice with maybe some boiled chicken or something else bland. That should at least get the diarrhea to stop. Then you can SLOWLY start adding in some regular food to see how she does. You may have to try a different kibble. Maybe a limited ingredient one?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For right now, give her canned pumpkin (not the pie filling, just plain pumpkin) and some plain rice with maybe some boiled chicken or something else bland. That should at least get the diarrhea to stop. Then you can SLOWLY start adding in some regular food to see how she does. You may have to try a different kibble. Maybe a limited ingredient one?
That's exactly what I've already been doing, per my post above. But I'm not entirely sure what how "slow" is defined. I started with adding a handful of kibble into the rice and chicken last week, but then my husband may have added a bit more than that for the next two feedings while I was out, since the diarrhea returned the next morning.
So when you're saying slow, do you mean, like 5 kibble, next day 10 kibble or more like a handful etc.?

I've ordered a 5lbs bag of some expensive boutique grain free salmon/sweet potato food to try, which should arrive in a day or two. Her stool was solid today so we'll keep up the chicken/rice/pumpkin diet until the food arrives and then try to do it as slowly as possible.
The thought of having to test several foods and having to go through this whole chicken and rice routine all over again is making me quite anxious. I'm soooo over having to spend my nights in the kitchen cooking rice, pumpkin and chicken on top of spending an hour ever evening cooking dinner for us humans. I can't stand the smell of boiled chicken to be honest.
 

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How long have you been waiting before adding the kibble back in? How much does your dog weigh?

I know it's a pain having to boil chicken and rice for your dogs; I had to do it for both of mine as puppies too. You can make enough for a couple of days at a time so it's not every day at least. When I made the rice I would add extra water and give that to the dog too (apparently the rice water helps for diarrhea too).

If you just can't get it to stop, you should take her to the vet. If you call, they may just have you bring in a stool sample for testing first.
 

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Opposite with me. I wanted chicken soup all the time after cooking for Sassy! I even started buying liver sausage because I got used to the smell of liver brownies.

Sassy got something like 2/3 cup kibble per meal. When she had a serious upset and didn't even stabilize on chicken and rice but needed pumpkin as well I switched her back to kibble something like 5 kibbles at a time. Change things that slowly for a week and double it for the following week. Yes it is tedious but better to see something like mucousy stool if this doesn't work than come home to a blowout.

If there's a tummy upset very often the gut cannot deal with fat for quite a while after. The Pro Plan is very rich at 20% fat. Perhaps that's why it didn't work well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Opposite with me. I wanted chicken soup all the time after cooking for Sassy! I even started buying liver sausage because I got used to the smell of liver brownies.

Sassy got something like 2/3 cup kibble per meal. When she had a serious upset and didn't even stabilize on chicken and rice but needed pumpkin as well I switched her back to kibble something like 5 kibbles at a time. Change things that slowly for a week and double it for the following week. Yes it is tedious but better to see something like mucousy stool if this doesn't work than come home to a blowout.

If there's a tummy upset very often the gut cannot deal with fat for quite a while after. The Pro Plan is very rich at 20% fat. Perhaps that's why it didn't work well.
That's good to know. So, the new food I ordered (5 lbs only) has 15-17% fat according to two different reviews. So I guess I'm wondering - what should I instead consider for fat ratio? Is that still too much?

How long have you been waiting before adding the kibble back in? How much does your dog weigh?
She's only 36.5 lbs, tiny for the breed. She probably should be around 40 ideally. I typically started adding in the kibble the last two times back in about a day or 36h after she produced solid poop. I'm trying to keep the special diet going for longer this time.

She's obviously on the higher fat diet because that's what the foster introduced to get her to gain some weight. I'm not sure who specifically recommended ProPlan Sport to her but I'm assuming it was either others in the rescue organization or the vet.

I'm really not a nutritional wizard, so is there a way to keep the dog's weight up and make her gain weight without such a high-fat food?
 

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Question - when you are adding back in the kibble, are you reducing the amount of chicken/rice she gets to account for the kibble? Also, a handful isn't really a great way to measure how much she is getting. I'd get a scoop so you can be more consistent and know how much she is actually getting, not just an estimate - and that can help clear up any miscommunication between you and hubby. 1 scoop is easier to remember and perform than 'a handful but our hands are different sizes so just guess basically' lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Question - when you are adding back in the kibble, are you reducing the amount of chicken/rice she gets to account for the kibble? Also, a handful isn't really a great way to measure how much she is getting. I'd get a scoop so you can be more consistent and know how much she is actually getting, not just an estimate - and that can help clear up any miscommunication between you and hubby. 1 scoop is easier to remember and perform than 'a handful but our hands are different sizes so just guess basically' lol.
I know what you mean but we only have a big 1 cup scoop right now. I should probably buy a better suited one where we can mark it.

Since i'm not really measuring the chicken/rice/pumpkin amounts she's getting but just mixing a bit of each into her usual bowl, coming up to about the same amount that she would get with regular food. I also didn't really reduce much when I added the kibble, a little bit maybe, not sure. We're not really measuring her food in general, other than at the very beginning when we needed to get a sense of how much she should eat per day and how much she will actually eat. She was not a good eater at all when we first got her because she was so overstimulated by the new situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am happy to report that after 3 weeks of back and forth we are diarrhea free and she loves her new food. We ended up switching to Victor Yukon River Grainfree Salmon/Sweet Potatoe and she had zero issues transitioning onto the food. We slowly introduced it from chicken/rice/pumpkin on Weds and have been increasing food content steadliy. She'll be completely on the food by Tuesday most likely.
And it definitely was the Purina Pro Plan Sport that was causing it, even thought she'd been on it for months. I think it got triggered by something else but then she couldn't adjust back to the ProPlan once I had her on chicken/rice.
The reason we knew it was definitely the food is that my husband, the genius that he is, accidently fed her old food instead of the new food on Friday night when I wasn't home. She had diarrhea Saturday morning but it thankfully cleared immediately once we got her back on the new food again.

Thanks for all the advice here.
 
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