George our whippet is just 9 months old and in his short life he has had 3 episodes of sickness and diarrhoea. I thought you might like to know how we have dealt with George’s sensitive tummy.
He was only 5 months old when he had the first episode which started with vomiting and progressed to diarrhoea. At the time we thought it a strong possibility that he had swallowed a sock, so he had ultrasound and x rays but nothing was conclusive – the sock was found a few days later, and by then having been on a bland diet of boiled turkey and rice he had recovered – albeit he didn’t recover from having been crated at the vets for a day – but that is another story!
Slowly I returned him to his raw food diet – Natures Menu Country Hunter Venison, Duck and Rabbit flavours were going down very well for supper and a meal of Guru cold pressed food in the morning.
Tummy settled and our bouncy pup was full of life. Then in February one evening having been fine all day, he vomited his dinner up. This turned out to be an eventful night with a trip to an emergency vet – in the snow – at 2.30am after he had vomited every hour from 8pm, he was one very unhappy dog and we were worried for him. He was given an anti sickness jab, and we were sent home with orders to feed him little and often something bland like cooked turkey, and see our vet if it worsened. At this stage he had already lost weight but the vet thought he had probably eaten something that had upset him.
Well, worsen it did! Our poor George wasn’t able to keep anything down, either end, and that week spent 2 days on a drip at our vets. He lost 1.2kgs in 7 days. He was very poorly. Our vet advised a stool sample test which came back with a positive for Giardia – a very nasty parasite that can affect dogs and humans. The good news was that it is treatable with antibiotics and after one course he bounced back, put weight back on and became his normal happy self – on the second test he was clear of this pesky bug. We breathed a sigh of relief!!
Happy days! George was well again, our lawn recovered and he was able to see his dog friends for a run around.
Until last week! He had a couple of nights where he seemed unsettled – crawling under the bed and whimpering – his go to place when he isn’t right, he was sick and the diarrhoea returned so we popped him back to the vets. He wasn’t as sick as he had been, but we knew that Giardia is notoriously difficult to get rid of and can recur. We were advised to get him back on a bland diet again having just got him back onto raw, keep an eye on him and wait for the test results. He lost half a kilo in weight. After 5 days he bounced back and is now thriving and happy again. It seems that Giardia is not the culprit here.
So, what is going on with George and how are we dealing with it? We have concluded that he has a very sensitive tummy and it might be that I will never get him back onto the raw diet I was hoping to feed him. As ever my Facebook page was the place I took to for advice and I realised that it is not an uncommon issue for many of us.
I have since taken on board some of the great recommendations – the main one being the use of Dorwest Herbal Tree Barks Powder for when his is a little loose, this has worked wonders. We also used Procolin. Many have success with Lintbells YuDigest Pre and Pro Biotics and George has been on these for 4 days now, so far so good. I also love the YuMove for keeping your dogs joints healthy.
I am now cooking for him as I did for Frankie and Bruno for 14 years of their lives. There are some amazing natural foods out there for dogs now – there has been an explosion of companies offering good food in the last 5 years, and I think this is fantastic but do be aware that what works for one might not suit your dog and you might need to find the best diet by trial and error, like we have with George.
I buy lean turkey mince from the supermarket, boil it up with chopped carrots, courgettes, broccoli and celery. I boil or bake some sweet potato (kumara) and stir this in at the end. He loves it!! I sprinkle on a sachet of the YuDigest in the morning and in the evening he gets his Keepers Mix stirred in. He doesn't seem to digest rice, but you can add that or some pasta for a bit of bulk.
For treats I keep it as natural as I can, he loves dried fish from Fish 4 Dogs, and dried sweet potato chews – well to be honest, he will eat anything, on walks it is a struggle to stop him eating all manner of animal poo that he can find!! He is learning to ‘Leave it!!’ but I think the Tree Barks powder will be a very useful item in the cupboard! I have heard good things about Pooch & Mutt Bionic Biotic treats - we might need to try these, and I am a big fan of Billy & Margo's dried Venison bones.
This is how we have dealt with George’s sensitive tummy and it seems to be working. For now it seems that we don’t need to go down the elimination diet route, but I am going to start a food diary for him noting the quality of what comes out the rear to get a better picture. Our vet is not suggesting a vet prescribed diet because she knows how well we care for our dogs, and that I can be trusted to give him the right balance. I guess for some this is the only thing that works.
Cooking for your dog is not the easy or convenient option but I do it gladly to keep our little lad well and happy. I will look for some wet tray food for such times that I am not able to cook – say when we go camping and we are without a fridge! I have heard good things about Forthglade and might give that a try.
I hope this helps anyone who is going through similar issues which can arise at any time in your dog’s life, but I found home cooking worked well for Frankie and Bruno from their young to senior years and kept them healthy until the end. I am hoping the same will work for George.
If you are thinking of a complete raw food diet the brands I like and have heard good things about include, Natural Instinct, Nutriment, Benyfit and Natures Menu. Most do offer a sensitive option.
Debbie & George x