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Petty troubles with dog food

1046 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Canyx
I've not had great luck with food ever since I took Brae off Victor. Granted, I think the formula change in Victor wasn't the best... And if I decide to try Victor again (which I'm hoping not to) I wonder if his stool will be great again. After the Victor formula change, Brae started shedding worse than I've ever seen him. But I'm open minded to the idea that it could have been a change of the seasons, maturity, annual coat blowing, or whatever. Brae's been on these foods, in chronological order, since 8.5 weeks of age:

Orijen original
Victor Ultra Pro
Farmina Pumpkin
Farmina Ancestral Grain
Dr. Tim's Glacier

Whenever I switch foods, I do it over the period of something like a month. I feel like I am excessively cautious. 1:5 old to new the first week, 2:5 the next week, 1:1 after that, etc. I haven't had a BAD experience with any of these foods, like flat out diarrhea. But on all of these foods except Victor, Brae's stool was very formed but soft. Well within the range of normal dog stool, sometimes leaving residue and sometimes not. But on Victor, he consistently had very formed and solid stool that left no residue. I am still in the midst of transitioning from Farmina to Glacier (4 cups Glacier, 1 cup Farmina), mostly to use up the Farmina. And I think there is slightly more stool tightness with Glacier compared to Farmina. But like clockwork Brae now has horrible gas now that he's getting mostly Glacier. This has never been an issue with the other foods. He's also been on proviable probiotics for the last 2 months. I do not notice a difference but I am sticking with it in hopes to head off the once-in-a-blue-moon explosive diarrhea (ie, boost general gut strength)

SO... The next food on my list is Sport Dog Food. (I've said this before on a few threads: I can't do raw).

I feel like I am splitting hairs here. His coat and energy are great. His stool is 'good'. He can have all sorts of treats. But I am just striving to find what is the best. Not sure if I'm pushing too hard or switching too much or what.
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As I think I've mentioned to you before, I had a nearly identical experience with one of my dogs when Victor's forumla changed. I actually didn't even know they had changed it until Grace started shedding SO BAD and I thought I might need to switch foods, so I looked at the ingredients to try to find something comparable and noticed Chewy was listing both the old and new formulas. The newer one seems to be far lower quality. I mention this because there's no way it was the placebo effect in my case because I noticed the random excessive shedding before I knew about the formula change.

Anyways, I know you can't do raw, but the first thing that popped into my head to maybe try was green tripe. I know Tripett has a canned Green Tripe dog food. I was having similar problems with my old girl. She would have occasional really bad diarrhea in the middle of the night and other than that had okay poops, but it was just never...right. Always a little off. I started giving her 6oz of green tripe every night with her dinner and it really seems to have done the trick. It's loaded with good stuff for the gut. The Tripett is a little pricey, but may be worth trying.

How long is he on the foods before you switch? Maybe give each food a little longer to see if he adjusts.

The only other thing I can think of is to feed him a little less. If I recall correctly his weight has been a little bit of a concern (as in being too lean) but it might be worth trying and see if things tighten up.
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Victor switched up their formulas, what, maybe 6 months ago? You've tried 4 foods since then. Which makes it hard to say if season or activity might have an influence since (if I am loosely guessing right), neither the new Victor formula nor the foods since have been in place over multiple seasons.

I was OK with the Victor formula change but decided to try some other stuff anyways. Tried the American Journey Landmark (Chewy house brand) ultra high protein grain free stuff and Eva started to shed like crazy and itch. Shedding was insane for a short coated pitbull, enough that my Dad visited and worried if she was OK. Gave away the second bag of the BOGO offer for that and tried American Natural Premium Exhibitors Choice. Shedding went back to normal and her coat was nice once again. I'm going back to Victor (Hi Pro, not Nutra Pro this time) for the next bag of food though as it has still been the most consistent quality for digestion and coat. I like the American Natural food though and you might consider the "Endurance Plus" formula for Brae.

The other thought is that you go with the food that he digests best and try a supplement for coat.
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I'm still on Victor Country Canine Chicken (grain free) even after the switch. I did notice a bit of increased shedding, but, the new bag with the new formula also arrived a day or two after we moved. Ralphie usually sheds a bit more when he's done something exciting or stressful, such as a move, a stay at daycare, or during and shortly after agility trials. We had him at daycare while we moved, and having to get used to a new house is, I imagine, quite stressful. I was not surprised by the shedding.

Everything is back to normal now. I suspect he gets into cat food sometimes when the kitties push it down, so I think some loose stools might be because of that, but mostly they are well formed and firm. Shedding isn't more than normal, but I also give him fish oil supplement because of his allergies. Coat is soft and shiny. I haven't noticed any excessive itching, which can be a problem with his allergies. He is energetic and loving life. I have had zero problems which I can attribute to the formula switch.

We tell people all the time on this forum that the best dog food is something that is in your budget that your DOG does well on. Perhaps YOU have a problem with the formula switch, but perhaps Brae's body is telling you that Victor is the best it's going to get. Maybe first focus on finding something that he digests well, and then address the shedding with supplements such as fish oil.
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Thanks for the feedback guys!

Lillith, you are right that I shouldn't let my biases about the company overshadow the fact that Brae might do well on it. At this point it's the shedding that's keeping me from going back, but I will go back to Victor if nothing else changes with these other foods. I figure Sport Dog is the last one I will try before backtracking. I already ordered a bag, so not much to do but use it :D

Sydneynicole thanks for the tripe suggestion! I think feeding that regularly wouldn't work for my budget, but I'll invest in a few cans just to have. Brae sounds sort of similar to your dog - not a horribly weak gut, but definitely more finicky than some!

Always appreciate your insight on dog food Shell!

One thing I will try is feeding him less. I weighed him today and he is 77#, up from 75. And he's been getting 5 cups instead of 5.5 for a while. So although he doesn't seem to put on fat, maybe I've been overfeeding him in that he is eating more than he needs. He consistently poops 2x a day (3x if high activity) and he's so trim. So it's hard for me to imagine I am overfeeding. But I'll cut down to 4.5 and weigh him every week to see how that goes.
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