Dog has gone off Raw food

Hi! I am after some advice please! My dog had some digestion problems so I switched her to a raw diet (natures menu nuggets) which she initially really liked and was getting on very well with - nice solid stools etc… She did seem to get very thin though and one day ate a big mouthful of dog poop on her walk (which she hadn’t done before). I guess this was as she was hungry and perhaps not getting enough food (although I was feeding her over the guidelines to try to get her to put a bit more weight on). When she got home she went to have a mouthful of food and then threw up - a lot! I put this down to the massive poop she had decided to eat beforehand but it seems she now associates the raw meat with the vomiting as she won’t touch it any more. (My guess anyway)I have tried her on different proteins and have a freezer full of food she is refusing to eat! I tried the tough love approach and took her food away until the next meal time a couple of times but I was reluctant to carry on with this too long as she is tiny (jack russell x chihuahua - 4kg) and I am concerned about blood sugar levels dropping too low if she doesn’t eat often enough. She is super active and athletic and burns a lot of calories and always seems hungry. I have switched her onto a high quality canned meat (canagan) which she loves but some of her old tummy problems seem to be resurfacing. I basically would like her to be back on the raw food as this seemed to be the best for her digestion but I cannot get her interested again. I have tried mixing bits in with her canned food which worked to start with but she wised up and picked around it! I have tried to lightly cook it, mix in raw veg which she loves…I also thought that the dog poo eating episode might have been to do with her missing probiotics so she has green tripe mixed in with her food. Any advice on how to proceed? Should I try the tough love approach again and stick to it for longer? Am I missing something that may be causing her problems? She went to the vet before I switched her initially and got some antibiotics and prokolin which cleared her up. They weren’t really sure the cause of her problems - she is only 1 1/2 years old so underlying health problems seem unlikely - they thought maybe something in her diet which is why I switched (she was previously on canagan dried food) She was doing well on her new raw diet until the poo eating episode! Sorry it is a bit of a rant but I tried to get as much info in as possible! Please let me know if you have any advice :slight_smile:

Hello and welcome to the forum. It sounds like the poo eating episode could have triggered colitis - it is not unusual for this to happen. If your dog is not lactose intolerant a small amount of natural organic yoghurt each day might help - I use Yeo Valley for my dog - they have a spoonful in the evening before bed. Otherwise, there are supplements specifically for improvin intestinal flora but best to discuss that with your vet.

Tinyplanets and myself have fed the nuggets that you speak of and we too found that our dogs lost weight. This is a good thing for overweight dogs but not for underweight ones. As you say, the solution is to feed more as some raw fed dogs need 3% of body weight and sometimes more. Have you tried other complete products such as Nutriment and Natural Instinct? If not, that might be worth looking at.

I would take the pragmatic approach and if the dog didn’t want to eat raw I would not push it. Not saying this is right but that is just my view. Raw is fine for a lot of dogs but not all. Because of your liking for the raw diet and your dog’s digestive issues it might be worth trying cold pressed food which works well with it. It may be that in time you can wean your dog back onto raw if that is what you want. There are two companies here in the UK that sell it and I am sure that they will give you advice should you make contact with them. These are Gentle and Guru Pet Foods. You can buy other cold pressed foods but as you need support, these are the two that would be most useful. Both have Facebook pages and if you look for our thread on cold pressed foods you will find lots of information on there.

Hello Dottie. Thanks a lot for the advice. Yes I suspect it is colitis and I think that is what she has had before. I will try some natural yoghurt as I’m not aware of a lactose intolerancy. I have not tried other brands of raw (yet), but I am reluctant to buy any more currently as I don’t want it to go to waste and my tiny freezer is pretty full! But I may try again in the future. As you say, I am not keen on pushing her into a diet that she does not want to eat, it was just that she seemed to be working well for her digestive issues (apart from the weight loss). I was just looking into cold pressed food and it certainly looks like it might be worth a go for her. Thanks again.

There are other good quality wet foods that can be bought in the local pet store if you would prefer to try those. Wainwright’s is easy to get hold of (Pets at Home), Burns Penlan Farm and I am sure there are plenty more (check out the Directory). You don’t want to buy a lot of food in case it doesn’t suit. If you decide to try cold pressed, ask for a sample first. Remember that you can add warm water to make it more like wet food although your little one might like to crunch the nuggets. The appearance is quite different so don’t be put off by it. Cold pressed food smells lovely - a bit like gravy and I suspect that this is why some dogs tend to like it so much.
Please let us know what you decide to go for and how you get on. Wishing your pup a speedy recovery.

Thanks again Dottie. Yes, good plan, I have just asked for a sample pack of Guru for her - a 5kg bag would be a waste if it didn’t work out well! Failing that I will try different canned foods I guess until I find something right for her. Cold pressed does seem appealling though - it works out a lot cheaper than a good quality canned food so if I can feed her something as good for her for less then we are both winners. I will let you know how we get on.

What breed is she and how much has she been eating?
Also, did you test for giardia? Even if it is negative, it may still be it as the tests are quite unreliable.

My guy lost a bunch of weight in autumn even though he did not have any diarrhea but he was also eating poo – it turned out to be giardia.

I needed to feed 1000g a day for him to put weight on, when according to the feeding guidelines he needs 400g.
So you may need to feed A LOT to put weight on.

If it doesn’t resolve I would also test for food intolerances, they are actually quite common.

Hello and welcome to the forum Ben123,

As Dottie says, my dog lost weight on the nuggets too. She also started eating weird stuff likes clods of earth. She used to poo a lot and quite large stools so I assume she wasn’t digesting much. I did notice lots of peas in her stools. She didn’t have any vomiting or loose bowels though. I switched to nutriment and she has been fine on that. No signs of hunger and her weight is stable.

I would be inclined to agree with Dottie and not push raw if your dog is not enjoying it or having problems. I hope the stomach issues settle but if not, as KatrinH says, I would seek advice from your vet and possibly have some tests done.

Hi KatrinH and Tiny Planets

Thanks for the advice. She is a jack russell x chihuahua. I haven’t tested for giardia and/or food intolerances (yet) … I will certainly look to if problems persist.

If you mean how much poo she was eating(?!), then not a lot and she hasn’t for the last few days. The poo eating started after she had lost weight on the raw food so I put it down to her being hungry as she suddendly gulped a big lump down one day and then seemed to get a taste for it (yum!). I have taught her to leave it on the walks now (although she sometimes nibbles a bit of rabbit poo but I am less concerned about that) and she is back to a better weight on canned food - it is just she has started to get a bit of mucusy/soft poo - not diarrhea currently. She also has had loud rumbling tummy this morning. It is nothing serious at the moment but she started with the same symptoms a few months back and it got worse and turned to diarrhea and blood in the stools. Apart from the weight loss she was doing well on the raw and that was the only reason I was keen on getting her back on it, but I certainly won’t push it, especially as she did lose the weight.

If you mean how much food is she eating I have generally given her about 10-20% over the recommended amounts of whatever she has been on as she gets lots of exercise and has never looked like getting fat at all.

Hopefully it is not going to escalate into anything worse again and I will take her to the vets to be tested in the next couple of days if it persists.

It sounds very similar to what I had when mine had giardia - so I’d collect her poo over at least three days and let the vet check it.

If she is an active dog (like mine) you may want to add more carbs to her diet, or if she tolerates fat like lard or butter. You can add slowly and then more and more as she tolerates. I know people who feed raw who feed up to 25% of the diet fat.

Carbs will be good to gain weight, but if she has giardia it may worsen the problem.

And simply increase the total intake. 15-20% over recommendation is not a lot. Many recommendations are quite low and set for “average” dogs – with your breeds and the activity level she is probably already over 15-20% over recommendation. If you want her to gain weight you will have to add much more.

So e.g. the 2 - 2,5% of body weight rule for mine would result that he would need about 400g of food a day. While he needed to gain weight I fed him 1000-1200g. That is 3x as much as the recommendation – about 200-400g of that was carbs (as he does not tolerate fats well).
He is now ideal weight and I lowered it to 600g, but still testing if that is enough or if I need to up it to keep his weight.

This does not inlcude his daily pig ear and loads of treats (dried meats) he gets.

Just like with humans there are some dogs that are difficult to feed. I would test giardia for sure, if clear, test for intolerances, and then change diet and up the rations.

I just looked at the nuggets ingredients and noted that there are no carbs in it at all. If your dog had kibble with carbs before it is no wonder she lost weight. There are also dogs that need carbs, I think mine would starve if I wouldn’t give him any carbs.

Thanks a lot for having a good look at this for me. I guess I assumed as it was a “complete food” that it was balanced for her but maybe she does require more carbs. I will investigate about the giardia with the vets. Have just looked at the nutritional values though and the carb level is similar to the kibble she was on according to the dial system thing on this website and they are both about average (she was eating nature’s menu country hunter nuggets and previously canagan country game dry extruded). But I probably did need to up the quantity a lot more than I did as you say due to her breeds and activity levels - although she won’t eat that food any more and seems a good weight on the new tinned food - it has just seems to have resurfaced some other problems but perhaps there is another factor contributing to this, i.e. giardia.

The mucus and blood does indicate inflammation but swallowing poo can cause a dog to get giardia if it was infected so it is well worth having a talk with your vet about this. The diarrhoea can be intermittent with this parasite. I find that with inflammatory bowel disease metronidazole works well, as does a low dose of steroids for a few days. My old dog had colitis a month or so ago and once I had her on this treatment it cleared up quickly. My vets don’t seem to prescribe metronidazole these days so I have to ask them for it.

Hi guys.

Thanks for the advice again. Have just taken her to the vets and they suspect it may be a parasite. Am collecting poo for the next few days and then they will send to lab on Monday. Giardia would make sense as it cleared up after her last treatment a month ago and then has resurfaced over the last few days - she wasn’t eating poo before but she could have easily drank some water that was soiled on her walk… She has lost some weight too so I reckon there is something nasty in her gut somewhere. Hopefully it is something they can pick up and treat quickly!

And thanks for the advice on the metronidazole - I will see what the results of her tests are next week and go from there.

If it is giardia, ask for Panacur – Metronidazole isn’t as effective. I did 5 days panacur, 8 days metro (vet says combo works better), then waited 2 weeks and repeated only the Panacur.

Only, if it is giardia – lots of cleaning! Get Halamid online, it is the only cleaner that will actually kill giardia, even though many will try to tell you regular cleaners will do it - they won’t. Boiling temperatures is the best - so treat with hot hot water or steam as much as possible (e.g. furniture, wash towels and blankets every day, etc.)

It really does sound like giardia to me, it’s annoying, but treatable, so that would be good.

Let us know what you find!

I understand that Panacur is the usual treatment for giardia. Metronidazole can be used for this but I was referring to the drug for use in colitis/enteritis, not for giardia.

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