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Discussion Starter #1
Brae had one of the worst diarrhea incident of his life around July 7. I think it was so bad and explosive that he didn't even know he couldn't hold it. His poop literally 12 hours before all hell broke loose was the definition of perfect poop. But then again, if Brae's bowels let loose it usually goes from perfect to the-worst overnight (and back again), so that in itself is not unusual. Stool sample came back negative and he was normal in every other way, as usual. No idea what caused it, but it took a week to resolve. Between day 1-2 I tried fasting (usually clears him right up) but it didn't work. That's when I did the stool sample. From day 2-4 (waiting for sample) I did Tylan to hold him over, which helped. Days 5-7 he was off Tylan and prescribed a Proviable paste (kaolin based) and probiotics, and he was 'fine' by the end of the week.

However, ever since then his stool has been not-good. There have been many changes happening, and perhaps I moved too fast. But the most significant ones are:
-Around mid-June to July 16 I've been transitioning from Go! dog food to Farmina. I don't think either food is the cause of the diarrhea.
-I started Proviable probiotics during the course of the treatment and plan on keeping him on probiotics for the long run.

But from July 16 till today, his stool has been ploppy. Soft, barely formed or unformed. The timing of his bowel movements are normal... He goes twice a day. It's a normal amount. It just doesn't seem to firm up. So I tried rotating in a bit of non-pea Farmina (ND prime - same protein) and it's the same. I thought it was the food, then I remembered that in the past, even with food rotations his stool wasn't quite THIS loose for this long.

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SHORT VERSION:

So I did some research online and I called my local pet nutrition center... Some internet sources and the nutrition person said that probiotics can cause loose stool for a while as the 'good bacteria help clear out the bad'. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

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I found that giving them some pure pumpkin (not the stuff for pies) really helps. I give my 50 lb. dog about a tablespoon and they usually eat it right up. Sometimes if you can get their stool to tighten up for a while, it stays that way.
 

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I have been feeding my pup Farmina for almost 2 month now. For several weeks his stool was on the softer side. I also added probiotics recently and it seems to have firmed up a bit. I recall reading that someone else said it took a while before his dog's poop was normal after switching to Farmina.
 

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Farmina formulas seem quit high in fat (18%), ok for a healthy gut but perhaps not ideal for a gut in recovery? Fat loosens bowels.
 

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I believe I've mentioned this before, but I finally gave up on Farmina because when on it my dogs had chronically soft stools. Two different proteins (lamb & fish) both grain free & grain inclusive, it made no difference. I did add daily probiotics for the dog that seemed the 'worst', and that didn't help either. Note - other than avoiding poultry (which makes one of them itchy) my dogs rotate & switch foods both by brand & protein all the time & this is the only time I've finally given up on a brand for simply not agreeing with them.
 

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I rotate between giving my dogs kefir and raw goats milk for probiotic purposes. I also ferment my own vegetables from the garden, the process is really easy. I also given them bone broth, which is really easy to make yourself, and which is supposed to be really healing for the gut and good for easing upset stomachs, among other benefits. And, as others have said, if one of them eats something in the yard, gets too much food, or for whatever other reason has an upset stomach and loose stool, I will add pumpkin. One of my dogs gets pumpkin every day as she needs a higher fiber diet and I'd rather add it that way than switch to a lower quality but higher fiber kibble.

I know that's not what you asked for, sorry, but I've been meaning to suggest those things whenever I see your posts about Brae's stomach troubles. I put all of those probiotic/stomach aids into silicone molds (inidivudally), freeze them, and now I have baggies with hundreds of them in the freezer that I distribute out with their dinners which makes it convenient and easy.

As far as your question goes, no, I've never heard of probiotics making loose poops worse before it gets better, but I supposed it could happen. I'm not sure if the line of logic that the good bacteria building up and clearing out the bad would make it worse makes sense to me, but I'm not a nutritionist nor super well read ont he subject. I would maybe ask how long you should give them before you conclude they aren't working or are making it worse, so you can set a date and make a decision about whether to continue them or not.

Hoping you guys get this solved soon and Brae's tummy feels better!
 

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it causes a lot of inflammation in the digestive track/intestines as well. that will also play a part in how quickly they recover. as long as the lining is inflamed and easily irritated the body will protect its self and continue to flush the food straight out and yes it can be continues cycle until it calms down and not caused by the food your feeding..

that is why they often recommend bland easy to digest food, small amounts.. even the dogs refusing to eat.. to give the body system a break to calm down..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the input everyone! I am currently adding some pumpkin and it seems to help firm things up a bit. I am very used to resorted to pumpkin ;)
The answer I was given regarding how long it takes a dog's body to normalize on probiotics was 'a few days to a few weeks', so very vague. I've done probiotics in the past but I kind of stopped doing it once his stool was good, thinking his system could take it from there. And truly there has been major improvements in his digestive system (ex. being able to go from liquid to perfect-solid with just 24 hours of fasting). But I think I just need to accept that his gut is not the strongest and that probiotics will likely benefit him in the long run. We'll see!

I mean, I am not in a place where any of this is urgent. I just feel bad for the neighborhood areas where I leave all that poop residue after picking up!
 

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Poor guy :( , hope it clears up soon. Diarrhea is the worst! The only probiotic I have used on my dogs is Purina Fortiflora. I know Purina seems a bit hated on here lol but I give that to my dog when she has diarrhea/stomach bubbling and she's just standing there all hunched over... stuff usually makes her comfortable and stop hunching within 30 minutes to an hour. Usually by the end of the day she passes a solid stool. I always make sure I have it on hand for those moments.

I have had great success with goat milk too but I know some dogs do not handle dairy well.
 

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Get some fresh ground bone. Add two rounded teaspoons to his food 1X a day. Usually in 12 hours you have firm stools.

Some dogs are heat sensitive and will develop diarrhea in hot weather. Others.. it can be nerve coupled with drive. If Metronidazol helps.. a 7 day course repeated 14 days apart might also be a good idea as that should clear up any possible coccidiosis or Giardia (which do not always show up in stool samples).
 

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So I did some research online and I called my local pet nutrition center... Some internet sources and the nutrition person said that probiotics can cause loose stool for a while as the 'good bacteria help clear out the bad'. Does anyone have any experience with this?
Yes this is true of the probiotics we take as humans too. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter, but sometimes it does. It just depends on the dog/person.

However, the loose stools could be caused by the food. Our dogs just could not form normal stools on certain foods, like TOTW or Orijen.
 

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Yes. As you've described my dog goes from the "perfect-to-nightmare" diareah situation. And lasts a long time. Like who wants to wash a long-haired dog in the middle of the night (I have)! Working backwards, such serious loose stools mean the dog's intestines are inflamed, so any remedy doesn't seem to be working. My dog had to eat the most bland diet possible. At least 3 weeks. Only two ingredients (a fat-free beef and a steamed sweet potato carb-binder). This was whole food (no kibble). Imagine you have the worst case of flu in your life, and somebody starts cramming down bowl after bowl of "Grape Nuts."

For probiotics they need to be balanced with prebiotics. For more information, check with "Dogs Naturally." Their customer service is helpful (no I don't sell any pet supplies) and they will explain why. Plus offer you other suggestions.

Next, after my Vet did all the same checks that you went through, she prescribed "FortiFlora" a Probiotic made by Purina. Not my favorite manufacturer, but it worked. In my area this product can be purchased for way less than a prescription, because PetSmart carries it on the shelf. Assuming that "Chewy.com" must it as well. For my 16 lb dog I used half an envelope with each meal. For a week or two. Is not meant to be a long term product.

BioSponge is also another "magic remedy" and tightens up the dog's stool usually by the end of the 2nd day. In fact you "have" to stop, so the condition doesn't turn into constipation. I get it as a prescription, but the remedy can be purchased from "Valley Vet" (catalogue) or any livestock feed & supply store. The breeders use it too, and taught me this trick. They avoid paying high Vet fees, but learning how to administer home remedies.

I do have a prescription for "Tylan" (it is the ultimate fix) but for good reason. It's very potent, and should be used as a last resort, because it has a down-side to it. In fact I think it was meant for livestock. But you can research it on the internet.

Finally, and nobody likes hearing this, but a dog will react to diet, recipe and brand changes. (And yes, I know, that you already know this). But be aware that even a trusted brand, can go through a recipe/ingredient sourcing change, that will affect your dog's reaction. As an example, I went through this with Champion (Origin) when I was feeding my dogs kibble. And both my dogs (different breeding, vastly different ages, and sensitivity to different ingredients) reacted simultaneously to both the Fish and the Poultry recipes that were being fed respectively. The worst ever diareah I've have ever seen for a non-medical reason. Tried feeding that food for about 3 days. And when I stopped problem stopped.

I asked that company what had changed. They lied and said "nothing." I researched a much older bag's ingredient label, against the newer one. And figured out where it had changed in 2 places.

Point being, PF can make a dog sick. Nobody wants to believe it, but it's true. "Truth About Pet Food" (is a free, non-profit website). PF ingredients are not 1st (retail) quality, they use 4D meat, not always refrigerated, plus the heavy use pesticides to fumigate rail cars and warehouses. Assembly line mistakes are made. And no, they (obviously) don't quality check every shipment. Even selected pallets among a large delivery of product, of what seems to be a stable brand, can have an issue. So at least throw out the current fair, and start with something new, really fresh, or use a "limited ingredient" recipe (much less complicated, with a lot less things to be going wrong). A single protein source (avoid lamb, be careful with chicken) and a single carb. Avoid Pea, grain-free. That is a hype marketing ploy.

If you can ever get your dog to eat a raw food diet, will make a big difference in metabolizing the food. Or at least done in rotation with other PF formats. But that discussion is for another day. And do not try it while you dog is having any issues at all.


(I know, I know ... more than you needed to read. I'm anything but your "favorite" person on this forum. However I hope your dog is getting to feel better, quickly. I have been through it ALL! A super nightmare!! AND very expensive to correct!).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the additional input everyone! Stool seems to be improving slightly (I am doing pumpkin AM and PM, probiotic in the AM). Very formed, but still very soft. I am open to the idea that Farmina is not the right food. I just have ~40# of it so I'm giving it a fair shot!

Pacificsun, thanks for your anecdotes and product suggestions. And a belated apology for my snarky 'medal' response a while back. It was not appropriate regardless what you wrote.
 

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Change Diet was your dog eating Grain Free before?? go back, I have a IBD dog I changed him to grain formula's & he went down hill his vet told me put him back on his potato grain free Kibble he ate, "Wellness Core Large Breed Adult" & "Canidae Pure Meadow Senior" he been eating G/F since 2015 doing really well until all this DCM came out, the thing is its only happen in America, I live Australia & we have not 1 known case of food related DCM it was even on our news, America is the only country in the world this is happen makes me wonder has this DCM been blown up made more bad than it is???
 

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Trust me when I say America is not the only country with poor quality pet food. I'm in China. Here they have trouble with the normal Human foods. Just dig into the baby formula or the yogurt problems.

Shadow was on Royal Canin.....yes made in China. He began having extreme poo issues. I tracked it down to his food. Pitched that bag of food, got a new bag. Fed him a mix of steamed Chicken breast and rice while he settled and firmed up. Started the Royal Canin again.......back into extreme mess.

Anyhow, long story with many ups/downs, wins/loss........ Now, I feed a raw diet to my MiniS. He hasn't had any issues for a long long time. A nice side bonus is his food cost are down by near 45% from bag food. His mix is 75% raw chicken breast (no skin), 25% steamed veggie mix. Each week he gets a whole raw chicken leg (no skin). He crushes the bone without any issue and digests without troubles. The veggie mix is a small bit of oatmeal (cooked), broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, snow peas, green beans......all steamed and chopped. I tried the probiotic stuff.....didn't have an impact that was discernable. My Vet is always pushing the bag kibble, I always refuse. The Vet has a difficult time believing Shadow's health, strength, vigor, disposition, weight knowing what I feed him. My cost for the chicken is $30 USD for 22 pounds ($1.35/lb). The veggies I get at a local Farmer Market......spend about $2/week. The meat is enough for 30 days. So, my monthly food cost for Shadow is less than $40 USD. Kibble was $35 USD for 6.5 lb as a 2 week supply.

My point to all this is Raw Food you have control of all the ingredients.

Dogs are direct descendants from wolves. Their digestive system is not evolved to handle grains. When you discover what goes into pet food.......4D meat, road kill, restaurant waste, grain discards, chemicals.....then the processing. GAAAAACCCCKKKKK!!! Commercial pet food has only been around since about 1900. Dogs have been domestic for about 30,000 some odd years. What did they eat before 1900?????
 

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Dogs are direct descendants from wolves. Their digestive system is not evolved to handle grains.
I agree that a balanced homemade diet is superior to kibble, but dogs actually have evolved to digest and derive nutrients from grain - a result of thousands of years of living off human leftovers. Both humans and dogs have experienced changes to our digestive processes in response to the development of agronomy. For reference:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/01/diet-shaped-dog-domestication
Dogs had four to 30 copies of the gene for amylase, a protein that starts the breakdown of starch in the intestine. Wolves have only two copies, one on each chromosome. As a result, that gene was 28-fold more active in dogs, the researchers found. More copies means more protein, and test-tube studies indicate that dogs should be fivefold better than wolves at digesting starch, the chief nutrient in agricultural grains such as wheat and rice. [...] Dogs and wolves have the same number of copies of another gene, MGAM, which codes for maltase, another enzyme important in starch digestion. But there are four key differences between the sequence in dogs and wolves. One difference causes dogs to produce longer versions of maltase. That longer protein is also seen in herbivores, such as cows and rabbits, and omnivores, such as mouse lemurs and rats, but not in other mammals, suggesting length is important to plant-eaters. These differences make the dog maltase more efficient, the researchers report.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks all! I can't feed raw at this time but I'm a fan of it, and have done so in the past.

Things have improved somewhat. Brae's still on Farmina and his stool is more solid, but still softer than what I know it can be. I've ordered a bag of Dr. Tim's Glacier and will try him on that. I strongly believe moving away from peas will firm up his stool, but we'll see.
 

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Parus, I agree with and have seen the findings in the ScienceMag link. But there remains a fundamental problem with the digestion of grains. These need time to ferment in the intestines. Canine digestive tract is too short to fully process the grains.

Typically, a canine will "pass" the meal in 8 hours or so. Humans process in about 24.

I'm not a fan of feeding any grains to my dog. I'm on the fence about steamed veggies. But Shadow does like his veggies.....crazy dog. I can only equate the steamed veggies as partially digested stomach contents of a herbivore prey animal. I know, there is much debate surrounding what is eaten from a prey animal......

Shadow gets a small amount of cooked oatmeal mostly for a bit of fiber. He creates 1-2 thumb size land mines each day. These have no aroma, which indicates the food is fully digested. His land mines are well formed and firm which makes them easy to police up and dispose of in a trash can. This way unwary people don't discover a sidewalk present smeared on their shoe.
 
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