The Poop: Dog Food Frustration Solved

I haven’t written much about it, but since we adopted Luna in March, we’ve had problems regulating her stools.  I’ll warn you now that this post is pretty heavy in “potty talk.”  I’ll try to be as tactful as I can, but really, it’s hard to tread lightly when talking about poop.

Luna was a very malnourished rescue from South Korea.  When she was found in the Changwon pound in December, 2014, she weighed just 18 kilograms (39.7 pounds). This is Luna when she was leaving the Changwon pound, on her way to a foster in S. Korea until she could be transported to Washington.

Luna Changwon pound

When we adopted her on March 7, 2015, she had gained weight and was up to 48.6 pounds, but she still had not reached her healthy weight, and we were instructed to feed her breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Luna came to us on Kirkland’s Lamb and Rice kibble.   From the get-go, we had cow-pie stools, which I initially attributed to her adjustment to her new home.  Shortly after, though, I noticed foamy cow-pie stools.  That didn’t seem right, and sure enough, a visit to the vet confirmed that she was positive for Giardia.  It didn’t help that Luna wanted to eat all of the grass in our backyard.  She was put on a course of Panacur, and a month later, her stools tested negative.  We were still having those cow-pie stools though, and Luna just seemed uncomfortable.

Another trip back to the vet, and Luna was put on Metronidazole (Flagyl) to treat any bacteria in her gut, and to reduce any inflammation that she had going on.  Despite her tummy troubles, she went from her adoption weight to 51.4 pounds.  We continued her on her current diet, but her stools remained the same.  By this time, my vet was calling me practically weekly to check on Luna, and that is where we discussed our plans for her diet going forward.

With the parasite out of the way, our next plan was to try her on a different food.  We moved her to a chicken based kibble, and she still had problems.  We tried a few, but the results were always the same.  I even transitioned her very slowly, over several weeks, but it did not seem to help.  My vet then instructed me to put her on just chicken and rice to allow her stomach to settle down, and things cleared up, and her stools were nice and firm.  After speaking with the vet, we then moved her to a novel protein diet of duck.  I opted for the PureVita duck and oatmeal. I also bought a stool guard for her muzzle to keep her from eating the grass (and other things she should not be eating while outside), and a Green feeder to slow down her eating (which I learned can also affect her stools)

With the transition to duck and oatmeal, we had hoped to see firm stools, but her stools were inconsistent.  Sometimes they were firm, other times they were mushy but formed, and other times they were cow-pie.  Mornings were usually the firm poops, but as the day went on, her stools got more loose.  Despite this, Luna continued to gain weight, and was now up to 53.4 pounds.  This was her ideal weight, as it was the five pounds that my vet recommended Luna needed to gain.  Well, that was all well and good, but I still thought we needed to deal with the stool issue.

One thing I hadn’t considered was her treats.  We had used Milkbone dog biscuits for my first grey, Ruby, and so it was natural for us to give them to Luna.  We gave her one to two a day as a treat, and she loved them.  What I hadn’t considered was that those could be the culprit.  After discussing my frustration with a group on Facebook, it was suggested that I stop giving her the Milkbones because they have wheat in them, and the thought was that Luna might be allergic to the wheat flour.

Then I remembered:  I had made pumpkin dog treats some time ago, and the recipe called for wheat flour.  After giving them to Luna, she had serious runs (even though she LOVED them).  I incorrectly attributed her tummy troubles to the pumpkin, but when I stopped giving her Milkbones and her stools improved, I knew that I had a dog that was allergic to wheat flour.  Doh!

So what about her kibble?  Was it possible that the duck and oatmeal was not agreeing with her?  Since Luna did well with chicken before, I decided to move her back to that protein.  Now, I’ve heard some positive things about Iams, and some negative things about Iams as well.  After spending about an hour and a half at Mud Bay and at PetSmart, I decided to go with Iams Naturistics.  It has a four-star rating with Dog Food Advisor.  Now, money was not the driving force in my dog food choice, but there was a certain monetary benefit to going with Iams.  with the occasional Iams coupons I see in my mailers and on Coupons.com, coupled with the occasional Petsmart sale, this did turn out to be a cheaper alternative to PureVita.  My overarching concern was that I was just sick and tired of Luna having irregular poops, and I was tired of cleaning them up.  Still, I’m not one to turn down a deal.

So, it’s been two weeks and I just finished transitioning Luna to her new kibble.  I’ve also added a teaspoon of plain pumpkin to her breakfast.  I am so happy to report that she is now cow-pie poopy free!  I’m considering adding a probiotic to her diet, but I’ll do that after I speak with my vet.

I feel so silly overlooking her biscuits, and had I stopped giving them to her sooner, we might have been okay with some of the earlier chicken kibble.  Since she’s doing well on the Iams Naturistics though, I’m not going back to revisit them.  You know, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  I’ve also cleaned out her dog treats, and have gotten rid of anything that is not gluten-free.

Why hadn’t I discussed this before?  If we’re being completely honest here, it’s because I felt dumb not knowing the answer.  I felt like I had a greyhound before, I should know this stuff.  But I didn’t.  And I was so very frustrated.  I tried to deal with it on my own with my vet, and it was only after I asked for help (on Facebook, of all places) that we actually made progress.  My own stubbornness and pride got in the way, and Luna likely went through months of needless tummy troubles because of it.   I’d like to think I’ve learned my lesson.

So now, I’m one of those greyhound parents who carries around her own gluten-free dog treats.  Please don’t be offended if, after offering Luna one of your dog treats, I prefer you give Luna one of ours.  It’s taken us a long time to get where we are.

And we’ve come a long way.

Luna my ray of sunshine

Now it’s your turn.  

Do you have a similar story?  Please share in the comments.

 

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