Puppy food help!

I am after some advice.
We have a 10 wk old cockapoo who has had a rough run… I’ll start at the beginning .
We got our pup at 8wks, he was having Gusto puppy. After lots of research we started to move him on to Acana puppy.
We started this gradually, and got to 75/25 mix.
After a few days his stools became looser, I wouldn’t say it was diarroea, as he was able to go out to the toilet, and he always does two poos in close succession, he seemed fine so we decided to wait and watch.
Then he started getting mucous and blood in his stools, so we took him to the vet.
Vet gave him a course of Panacur, probiotics and easily digestible wet food and a diagnosis of colitis, this was on the Saturday, come the Monday there was no improvement, so we went back to the vet.
We were advised to starve him for 24 hours, giving only water and to put him back on the Gusto, however we didn’t have much of the Gusto left and thought having it delivered might mean running out before it arrived, so we put him on a bland diet of sweet potato and cod for a few days and started to add in Wainwright’s grain free puppy food, the vet said that most dogs don’t cope with brands like Acana due to the high meat content, so we went for the Wainwright’s at 26%.
He still seems happy etc but his stools are still very soft and last night I noticed some mucous again.
I am so confused about food, I honestly thought we were doing our best by him with the Acana, so do I keep going with the Wainwright’s and hope for improvement in the coming weeks or look at changing food again?

Any advice welcome

Thanks Roo

Hi. Having 3 dogs I feed both Acana and Orijen. My dogs go a bit softer when they have Acana, this I put down to the food containing more carbs/ less meat. IMHO I don’t think dogs can have too much meat protein… and problems arise with plant proteins and excess carbs.

Hello and welcome to the forum. It does seem to be that lots of dogs find a higher meat/protein diet too rich. Sometimes this can be solved by reducing the portion size. You did the right thing by gradually introducing the new food but sometimes certain foods just do not suit every dog. Were his stools okay on the Gusto? Although it doesn’t score highly in the ratings, the list of ingredients is reasonably small which would reduce the risk of allergic reaction but I think you are right to want to feed something with clearer labelling so you know what your dog is eating. Often it is just trial and error. Perhaps going back to a basic bland chicken or fish and rice diet until it settles and then try a food with a small but nutritious ingredient list. The one that instantly springs to mind is Forthglade wet complete. They also do a cold pressed dry food now but that has a bigger range of ingredients. Others may be able to recommend some foods with limited ingredients.
As always with this type of problem, do keep going back to the vet if it persists.

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Hello & welcome,

Sorry to learn that your dog has been unwell.

I see this as 2 issues which may or may not be related, (clinical presentation & diet).

I am mindful that your vet advised you to go back to the original lower protein food. In hindsight I would have wanted to starve then place the dog on bland home cooked before very gradually feeding lower amounts of the higher protein food brand. That would have possibly allowed you to have better idea as to whether the presentation was likely linked to the higher protein product or not.

Your vet has alleged there can be issues with higher meat & protein content foods, however, you have not disclosed any facts which convince me of a definite link between the specifically named food & confirmed colitis in your dog. There are various causes of colitis in dogs & various tests & work can be performed to try to narrow down the cause. Diet is just one of a number of potential causes of colitis.

Indication is that your dog was placed on antibiotics & advice given to later revert to the original lower protein food…a pretty standard quick fix. It is unclear why you were advised to revert to the original food…It may be vet was guessing re a link to diet or trying to ascertain whether the issue was linked to diet change.

If it were my dog I would reluctantly, (but decisively), switch back to the original (lower protein) food with a view to trying to eliminate possible cause(s). I would monitor stool output & overall presentation of the dog & work with my vet. I would be keen to find out the most likely cause if able.

I would need significant convincing before avoiding relatively higher meat & protein content foods. Ironically my vet only sells a handful of foods, all of which are within the higher protein category & including the one that you have since chosen to be avoid.

Colitis link CLICK here . I do not know the source & cannot comment re accuracy.

I have prior switched from a specific kibble to firm up stools, however, loose stools are frequently lnked to (often sneaky), scavenging &/or overfeeding…(the later often sorted by minor adjustments to feed amounts).

Bottom line…I would want dog checked properly &/or stabilised before experimenting with or changing foods.

Hello, and welcome to the forum!
It is definitely true that high protein food is not suitable for every dog; on the other hand, from the timeline you provided it may be that you didn’t give enough time to your puppy to adapt to the new food. I understand the worries, I get very apprehensive with my dog too at the minimum signal of distress, but sometimes it takes weeks for the stools to settle.
On the other hand, Acana and Orijen are fairly extreme in their protein content: even my Japanese Akita didn’t cope very well on them (Orijen 6 fish it was the food the breeder gave her initially).
My recommendation is to stick to one food for 3-4 of weeks, unless you see something VERY wrong of course, and adjust the doses if the stools are still soft after that time. Also, bear in mind that the amounts on the label are purely indicative and every dog is different so it wouldn’t be uncommon for you dog to need even 20% less than the recommended amount for his weight.
I’m sure you’ll get this sorted very soon, so far you have done all the right things.

Just to clarify…I agree that higher protein foods can sometimes cause issues but I would be reluctant to lifetime avoid feeding same in appropriate amounts unless convinced they were causing health issues. Often a change protein source can resolve issues, (this can often be done without changing brand).

The fact that there is mucous in the poo indicates that there is still some intestinal inflammation. This might be due to any one of a number of things but is most commonly caused by an infection or maybe something that they have eaten. Because your vet has given Panacur I wonder if he or she suspects Giardiasis. If so, it might be useful to have a stool test because it sometimes needs additional treatment. I would be inclined to go back to the vet and ask if a course of antibiotics is indicated. I’ve usually found Metronidazole to be useful in such cases. ProKolin or similar is also useful to improve gut health and firm up the poo. I usually keep a syringe in stock as a standby.

Changing food when a dog is ill is never a good idea so that is why the vet suggested going back to the food that your pup was doing ok on. When pup is recovered you can then do some research into finding a product that will suit him. We can help you to source something using the Dog Food Directory. As the vet says, it might be better to avoid high protein food, at least in the short term. As a general rule of thumb, puppy food formulas are circa 30% dry weight so that could be something to base your search on.

Please would you provide feedback on your thread? I hope that your pup is soon recovered.

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Hello Roo and welcome to the forum!

How these little’uns worry us…at his young age I am wondering if his reactions may have been, or are being, influenced by his worming schedule?

I’d be inclined to continue with the food he was eating before he began reacting, and this would be for some time after his puppy wormer course and his puppy vaccination course are complete.

When his tummy settles again I’d want to continue on that same food whilst he begins to explore outside and with other dogs, as these are such exciting and reactive periods in his life that I’d want to limit any possibility of further upset to his tummy.

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