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I've had 8 cats over the past 35 years and I can't remember the last time any of them had diarrhea. I change their food all the time. Most of of them have eaten about 20% dry and 80% canned. Everything from Kal Kan to Wellness, Cat Chow to Halo. They do equally well on all of them and the only variable is whether they like the taste or not (Thank G*d for small favors!) I usually change the dry food with every bag and the canned food daily. Makes no difference.

My three dogs over the past 13 years have been the opposite. Almost any change in dry food has resulted in loose stool, even when I phased in the new food and fed less. I used to be a big advocate for rotating kibbles among the "better" brands but now I don't know why because in reality it caused nothing but problems. So with the latest dog, having found something that "works" for her, I'm just sticking to it for a while.

Any ideas about the difference between cats' and dogs' digestion or is this pattern just my karma?
 

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I think it varies a lot among dogs, and you might have just been unlucky. Our family dog, a Sheltie, had a very sensitive stomach and didn't handle changes in food well, but my current dog, Kuma, has no trouble at all changing foods. I change brands and protein sources frequently, always cold turkey, and he's never had a problem, other than my discovering that rabbit gives him the worst gas ever, lol.
 

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^^ Yeah
My dog can't handle any food besides Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Moderate Calorie, I've been trying to find a different food brand that works for her and isn't $100 a bag for the entire almost-two years of her life. Even if I switch it slowly and she's on meds to help her digest it, she'll react very badly. She CAN handle most treats though, which is good!

My cat, I've never transitioned his food. He's had diarrhea, but it's cleared up in one meal or one day on its own without intervention from me. He gets two separate brands of food a day. He's on Urinary Stress food (because I can't get a healthy animal for the life of me) and canned food. I switch the canned food every other day.

The lab at the farm has been on every grocery store brand of food in existence with no problems at all. She's also eaten all sorts of garbage, people food, things that are normally poisonous to dogs... she's had zero intolerance problems AND she's still alive at 14.
 

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My last had the most sensitive tummy in the world. Even changing foods gradually, over the course of weeks, could induce gastroenteritis. My current dog isn't bothered by switching cold turkey. It's all the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My dog can't handle any food besides Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Moderate Calorie, I've been trying to find a different food brand that works for her and isn't $100 a bag for the entire almost-two years of her life
Slightly off topic, apart from the expense and what the label looks like, is the RC working for your dog? I ask because I've never had any luck getting a dog to eat *any* Rx food and there have been times I wish they would so I could give my vet some feedback. They always just hated anything from Hill's (which I admit seems like the most unappetizing food in the world).

When my cats got Chronic Kidney Disease as elderly cats often do, I really had no problem feeding Rx food. Per AAFCO standards, a food formulated for the "maintenance of adults" cannot have a low enough phosphorus to help with the condition. i had to feed a certain amount of dry food to one of them because at 15 he was stuck on it and once again I couldn't find any wet Rx food he'd eat consistently.

Well long story short, he ended up eating quite a bit of Royal Canin's feline modified protein. He liked both flavors of the dry and tolerated the wet. I'd never thought about RC before because most vets only carry Hill's or maybe Hill's and one other brand. I was fortunate enough to live near a practice that worked with cats exclusively and they had Hills, Iams, RC and Purina on the shelf.

So I would feed RC again to a sick animal although it is *very* expensive. But for the heck of it I looked up the prices of their "normal" food on Chewy and was shocked to see they were as expensive as Orijen. I wonder if their regular foods are also "extra palatable"?
 

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Cats are obligate carnivores, so their food has to contain a certain amount of actual, real meat or they will die. Cats can't manufacture their own taurine, so they have to get it from the flesh of other animals. Dogs can manufacture taurine, they just need some type of protein to do so. It wouldn't be a good idea, but you could feed a dog nothing but plant protein and they would survive.

So, prescription food for cats still has to contain a good percentage of meat, no matter what else it does or does not contain that makes it prescriptive. Prescription foods for dogs does not, so I think it's often unpalatable in the same sense prescription food for humans is unpalatable, i.e., if you've ever eaten the hospital kidney or heart disease diet, it's just awful because it contains very little fat and no salt, so no flavor.
 

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I don't know how well Royal Canin would work for other dogs, but it's been the only thing my dog has been able to eat without constant diarrhea.
Both vet offices here sell it.
It's hard to say how well it's doing for her, in regards to coat, and teeth, because we suspect she has a problem breaking down the nutrients in her food so she's usually lacking something (even with supplements, which she can 50/50 tolerate added to her food). But it is the only food that has consistently given her solid stools.

The only reason I'd use RC is for a specific case like Sans. If I could have her on any other food with solid poop I would.
That's mostly because of price for the quality of the ingredients inside it. Rubs me the wrong way.
 

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My dog has an incredibly easy-to-upset digestive system. It's why I transitioned her to raw and partly why I am now transitioning her to kibble + raw toppers. When we got her from the shelter at nine months, they sent us home with whatever kibble they had been feeding her. She had the most explosive diarrhea I had ever seen. Tests at the vet turned up nothing. We kept trying different foods and she still had the problem. Finally transitioned her to raw and all the bone helped a LOT. However, we had to give her quite a bit of bone which became problematic when trying to balance her diet and keep her at a good weight. She kept gaining weight. I couldn't reduce the bone amount because the diarrhea would return, so I had to cut back on the other protein sources. Eventually I realized that doing this was not nutritionally sound, so 3 years later, back to kibble we went.

The transition wasn't going well as far as her stool was concerned (not that I expected any less. *sigh*), so someone told me to try FortiFlora probiotics. I picked some up and then looked up the ingredients. Hmmmm. Then it dawned on me that I make homemade milk kefir which is loaded with probiotics. I have been giving her about 2-3 tablespoons with her dinner each night and it actually worked. Her stool started firming right away and has gotten better and better. I'm so relieved!
 

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<snip>However, we had to give her quite a bit of bone which became problematic when trying to balance her diet and keep her at a good weight. She kept gaining weight. I couldn't reduce the bone amount because the diarrhea would return, so I had to cut back on the other protein sources. Eventually I realized that doing this was not nutritionally sound, so 3 years later, back to kibble we went.

The transition wasn't going well as far as her stool was concerned (not that I expected any less. *sigh*), so someone told me to try FortiFlora probiotics. I picked some up and then looked up the ingredients. Hmmmm. Then it dawned on me that I make homemade milk kefir which is loaded with probiotics. I have been giving her about 2-3 tablespoons with her dinner each night and it actually worked. Her stool started firming right away and has gotten better and better. I'm so relieved!
A very intelligent and useful explanation of why "raw meaty bones" may not be the magic bullet. A lot of people would probably not have sussed that the amount of bone necessary for firm stools was unbalancing the overall diet. It's great that kefir worked for you; I've always tried it on my sickly stomach dogs but it hasn't made any real difference. They had bigger issues than poor digestion.

Fortiflora has built a big reputation among people who work hunting dogs and show dogs as a way to mitigate "game day" stress that causes diarrhea. Because it's pre-measured it's easy to take with you. It's also kind of expensive. Show dog people often use Dogzymes digestive enhancer which is a *very* potent probiotic, much more so than yogurt products. It is very shelf stable and at a 1/2 tsp a day for a medium dog lasts forever. The problem is that the only way to get it affordably is at a dog show. The shipping from naturesfarmacy.com is very expensive and it is not sold in stores.

Not saying you should try it if kefir is working for you. Just wanted to throw it out there because there's a lot of pro-biotics on the market. Many of them are not very shelf stable or potent so Dogzymes is a good choice if you can get it easily.

I'm also giving a little just normal plain yogurt to my puppy every morning as much to add a little "sauce" to the kibble as for the cultures. The "higher end" mainstream kibble we are using with her has worked better to produce "consistent" digestion than any other product we've ever used. I am reluctant to name it for risk of bringing out the trolls. I would be curious to know what kibble you settled on but if you don't want to say in public :) maybe you could pm me. Thanks and congratulations!
 

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Fortiflora has built a big reputation among people who work hunting dogs and show dogs as a way to mitigate "game day" stress that causes diarrhea. Because it's pre-measured it's easy to take with you. It's also kind of expensive. Show dog people often use Dogzymes digestive enhancer which is a *very* potent probiotic, much more so than yogurt products. It is very shelf stable and at a 1/2 tsp a day for a medium dog lasts forever. The problem is that the only way to get it affordably is at a dog show. The shipping from naturesfarmacy.com is very expensive and it is not sold in stores.

Not saying you should try it if kefir is working for you. Just wanted to throw it out there because there's a lot of pro-biotics on the market. Many of them are not very shelf stable or potent so Dogzymes is a good choice if you can get it easily.

I'm also giving a little just normal plain yogurt to my puppy every morning as much to add a little "sauce" to the kibble as for the cultures. The "higher end" mainstream kibble we are using with her has worked better to produce "consistent" digestion than any other product we've ever used. I am reluctant to name it for risk of bringing out the trolls. I would be curious to know what kibble you settled on but if you don't want to say in public
maybe you could pm me. Thanks and congratulations!
Yes, I found the FortiFlora to be very expensive. I had not heard of Dogzymes before. Thanks for telling me about it! I'll definitely look into it. The kefir is working so far, but it's nice to know of other alternatives should the need arise.

I settled on Fromm Four Star grain-free, and so far I'm very happy with it. I'm open to suggestions, though. If you don't want to name the food you're using publicly, I'd be interested to know if you can PM me. :)
 

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I think it varies a lot among dogs, and you might have just been unlucky. Our family dog, a Sheltie, had a very sensitive stomach and didn't handle changes in food well, but my current dog, Kuma, has no trouble at all changing foods. I change brands and protein sources frequently, always cold turkey, and he's never had a problem, other than my discovering that rabbit gives him the worst gas ever, lol.
Yeah, this. I change foods all the time and neither of my dogs have had issues with it.
 
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