Changing from Hills ID prescription food

Hi, we have a 4 year old lab who has recently had some stomach issues. After a few vet trips and a short course of meds the vets prescribed him the wet hills I/d food. He’s been doing well on it and really seems to like the food (previously on Canagan grain free chicken kibble) but I’m aware it’s not a great quality food and it’s working out quite pricey too. Has anyone been in a similar situation and switched to a better quality food that seems to have the same properties? Id prefer a wet or cold pressed food that’s easier for him to digest but when you start to look there’s so much choice and varying reviews it’s puzzling. Any help greatly appreciated.

Hello and welcome to the forum, There is some information about prescription foods here
There seems to be lots of anecdotal evidence around to suggest that cold pressed foods may be helpful in terms of settling digestive issues but it will be down to trial and error which one may be best for your dog. Your budget may be a deciding factor as some of the cold pressed foods are expensive.
I haven’t had much experience with wet foods but if you use the dogfooddirectory you can look for foods that have high digestibility and that are hypoallergenic, low in fat and high in fibre. Good luck.

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Thanks. I had looked at tribal which is a cold pressed food but I’m so scared of unsettling his stomach I wanted to do more research before I made an attempt to change him. I don’t mind paying for good quality food but the Id is coming in at almost £8 a day and I know it’s not good quality so it sticks in my throat a bit. If it was good food I’d keep him on it but reading the ingredients it looks full of rubbish. If only I paid so much attention to what I ate

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I haven’t looked at Tribal before but it looks pretty good. It scores similar to lukkulus which is higher in fibre but isn’t grain free. However it contains brown rice which, can often be tolerated well. seehere
It is really difficult to know what will work for your dog so trial and error is really the only way to find out. I know this can be a worry especially when things have settled down. There are many dog owners who have found a solution to their dog’s health issues other than prescription diets .

You could also look into the possibility of allergy testing to give you an idea of what to avoid or try a strict elimination diet where you start with very limited ingredients and reintroduce other things one at a time to see if your dog reacts badly to anything.

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You mention that your dog has a sensitive stomach but have not said how this manifests itself. Does your dog refuse food, vomit, have diarrhoea or both? Also, have you been able to identify any trigger factors? Is there an ingredient that you know for sure he cannot tolerate? IIRC Canagan has chicken in it - is it possible that your dog has a chicken intolerance? This is not an uncommon one. It would maybe make sense to avoid chicken for now. You can always try a small amount at a later date when you have him settled on a suitable product.

Broadly speaking, with dogs like this it is sometimes useful to start with food consisting of a very simple ingredient list. Wet food is a good choice because they often meet this criteria. Fish is usually highly digestible and a good choice for dogs with digestive issues. If you know your dog tolerates fish and you choose to go down this route, there are a number of decent quality wet foods based on salmon or white fish and potato. Pets at Home sell their own wet foods based on fish - IIRC there is Wainwright’s and Fishmongers. However, you could use the Dog Food Directory to source more if you wish.

Another wet food that is useful for dogs with digestive issues is Naturediet and if you check out their website, there are some information sheets about this very issue. Again, it might be prudent, for the time being to avoid chicken.

Cold pressed food is a good choice. I am not fully au fait with Tribal so cannot comment at this time. In your case Gentle Fish would be worth looking at or if you want grain free, Guru Full on Feast. AFAIK neither contain chicken. The latter has duck and fish as the protein source. As Tinyplanets has said, brown rice is known to have good nutritional value and from my own experience I find it excellent for promoting good health in the bowel. If you decide to try cold pressed food, please be sure to weigh the food out accurately because it is very easy to overfeed due to the denseness of the product. Do not use cups, mugs or any other receptacle to measure the food. Overfeeding can cause diarrhoea. The RDA is 1% to 1.2% of the dog’s ideal body weight. There is a good transition guide on the Guru website. They recommend that it can take up to two weeks to transition although some dogs might not require this length of time to adjust to the food. It can be softened with warm water (never boiling) to make the consistency of your choice.

It would be very helpful if you could update your thread from time to time so that we can follow progress. It might be useful for other people who are facing similar problems.

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Thanks for the replies. I’ll have a look at the brands mentioned. In terms of his stomach issues he had a bout of colitis about 6 months ago which cleared up with a pro biotic paste and he was fine until about 6 weeks ago when he started vomiting. We thought it was a bug at first as he vomited up undigested food and kept vomiting even after having nothing to eat. We tried chicken and rice and he seemed ok until we tried to reintroduce kibble and again he vomited. He also had a couple of incidences of early morning vomiting when his stomach was empty. We had him at the vets who ran bloods etc & said to keep him on chicken and rice and gave him omneprazole. He seemed to settle on that and we’ve had no more vomiting and after a follow up about 4 weeks ago the vet gave us hills wet id and he seems to be doing well on it. He also seems much happier and absolutely starving whereas before he had been a bit withdrawn and wasn’t that interested in food. I’ve bought him a pre/pro biotic which I’m yet to try but just want to find some new food options for him as I feel like I’m feeding him rubbish with the id. I’ve also changed his feeding schedule so his food is now split over 5 sittings.

Thank you for explaining about your dog’s problems. I think you are right to split food into frequent, small meals so that his stomach is not empty for long periods of time. Sounds like chicken is not a problem for your dog. There is a video here about cold pressed food that you might find is of use.

Fibre is recommended for dogs who suffer with colitis. Cold pressed food based on brown rice might be helpful in providing this. It is also easy to digest. We have a thread on cold pressed food here. If you need further advice on this, contact Gentle or Guru as they are both UK companies who specialise in this type of dog food. Forthglade has fairly recently begun to sell this type of product and currently have two flavours on sale.

All of the cold pressed foods have modest fat content which might be helpful. There is an interesting article about colitis here.