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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Y'all, say a prayer.

Some of you all know of the challenge I've faced for the past...5 or 6 months now, trying to find the right food for Zeus that won't give him pudding poop. His prescription diet (Hills Prescription Z/D) has been a miracle, but he can't stay on it forever. It costs a pretty penny, and the largest bag doesn't last very long, so we're spending a lot on food and his insurance will cover up to $250 a year for prescription food ... and right now, a bag is over $80 (times two bags a month).

So he's been on this since... June of this year. The vet said to give a few months, and we've stripped out all of his treats other than the hypoallergenic treats of the same brand. Everything is good. As the months have gone by, we experimented with giving him tidbits of things to see if poops stayed the same. Tried giving him his Omega supplements (Zesty Paws brand) and poop was pudding again. I made homemade treats that just had eggs, tapioca flour, chicken, and a tiny bit of shredded cheese in them. Poops got a bit softer, but not too bad. I feel like the hypo treats are all he's going to be able to get, and they're not exactly...fun treats, you know what I mean? They look like cardboard to be honest, but Zeus likes them so I guess that's all that matters.

Now, we've bought a small bag of Hills Sensitive Stomach Chicken and Rice regular kibble to transition him to a non-prescription diet. We're going veeerrrrry slowly with transitioning to his new food. He usually gets 2 1/2 cups in the morning and at night. We're doing 2 1/4 cups of old food and 1/4 cup of new. We're on day 2 of this. Wish us luck! .. Pleeeeease!
 

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I wish you the best. I went through basically the same thing with my girl when she was young, no matter what food we tried, she had very loose or runny stools and would not gain weight. She was so thin, people thought we were starving her (no joke). Finally, our vet referred us to an internal specialist and in the end, she recommended an Rx food (Royal Canin rabbit & potato) and lo and behold, Mocha gained 20 pounds and her stools firmed up. Never perfect, but a good 4, 4 1/2 on a scale from 1-5. I recently transitioned her to Pro Plan sensitive stomach and skin salmon and rice to see if her digestive system had matured along with her and so far, she's doing well on it.
I hope you can figure out what's going on with your boy, good luck!
 

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gamermouse,

I will keep my fingers crossed but I also have to ask about the quantity of food you are feeding. 2-1/2 cups twice a day? And Zeus is almost 2 years? While I've had adolescent dogs eat this much and the fact that just plain too much food is often the answer to why your dog keeps having very soft (pudding) stools I'm gonna' ask if you've tried reducing the amount of food?

ZD is a hypoallergenic food and yes, it's expensive--I don't know how the pricing compares but Royal Canin makes a hypoallergenic food--Canine HP and so does Purina--HA. I have a cat who is allergic to all proteins and has been on hypo foods since he was 2 (he's now 16)--I couldn't use the Hills ZD for cats as it's not fully hydolized (the canine version is) and he wouldn't eat the wet ZD for cats (which is fully hydrolyzed) so I know about cost and even though it obviously doesn't cost as much to feed a prescripton diet to a cat as to a 70 or 80 pound dog it's still expensive.

I hope the Purina Focus works for you--but if it doesn't and it turns out to be an allergy and he needs to be on a hypo diet you might want to check pricing on the other two versions.

Good luck and my fingers are crossed for you and Zeus.

dobebug

PS If you want another recipe for treats to try which is limited ingredients: Oatmeal, egg, liver and any dry onion soup mix--let me know and I'll post it here or send it to you--called liver brownies and much loved by the conformation exhibitors because it's very attractive for bait and NEVER causes diarrhea (something of a problem when showing in conformation.)

dobebug
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey @dobebug! I'd love the recipe for those treats! I'd love for him to get something other than his cardboard ones, lol.

So, about the amount of food.

When he was eating the Purina Pro Plan, he was getting 4 cups a day. His weight was good. At around 82lbs I believe at the time. But then when he got switched to the prescription diet, his cuppage (is that even a word?) got upped to 4 2/3 cups, per the bag's recommendation. He started losing weight, even at the added food. So I calculated the kcal per cup....

With Purina at 4 cups, he was getting 1716 kcal a day.
Hills Z/d at 4 2/3 cups, he was getting 1663.8 kcal a day

So he was getting more food, but less calories. Granted, it wasn't a huge difference, but apparently for him it was big enough for him to drop in weight. And when I say drop, I mean I noticed not because of a scale, but because I was beginning to feel the bones of his spine on his back which had only happened once before when he was dropping weight and having loose stools with a parasite, and he had tested clear of parasites at this time.

So! We increased his Hills by adding an extra 1/3 cup to make it more equivalent to the amount of calories he was getting when on Purina. This was on July 14th.

5 cups of Hills z/d = 1779 kcal a day. Current weight is steady at 84lbs.

If and when we fully transition to his new regular food (Hills Science Diet: Sensitive Stomach, Chicken and rice) he'll get 4 1/2 cups a day (1764 kcal total).

Yeah. I did a lot of math and calculating this summer! It was said here before that too much food could cause loose stools and I did lessen his Purina intake earlier this summer (he was getting way too much before we went down to 4 cups) but his stools were still loose. Currently he does not have loose stools with his 5 cups a day on his prescription food.. They are like ... the perfect poops! Hopefully this trend will continue when fully on regular kibble. If not, well... we'll try something else. The vet did give us a prescription for Royal Canin too, just in case the Hills z/d didn't work out.

I hope all that made sense!
 

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Wishing you lots of luck!
 

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Hey @dobebug! I'd love the recipe for those treats! I'd love for him to get something other than his cardboard ones, lol.
Liver Brownies

approximately 1 pound of liver (any kind, I use chicken livers and usually a little more than a pound.
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 pkg of dry onion soup mix
2 eggs
3 cups of oatmeal (I use quick cook--and it often takes a little more than 3 cups--the consistency should be about that of brownies before baking.
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Puree liver in blender or food processer. If you are using blender make sure that you don't get any of the stringy bits of some livers (beef is the worst) wrapped around the blade as you can easily burn out the motor. Add the garlic, onion soup mix and eggs. Put in a large bowl and slowly add the oatmeal. spread in a 9" x 13" greased pan and bake for 1 hour. Cut immediately (I cut into about 24 squares) and cool and put in plastic bags and freeze all but a few--no preservatives so depending on how fast you are using them refrigeration will keep them 5 to 7 days and freezing will keep them for several months.

So, about the amount of food.
It all made perfect sense--you are using the kcalorie count to transition from one food to another and that's how to do it.

I'll only add one thing--Zeus is getting to the age that most of my males end up needing the quantity of food reduced. This is a function of age--so from two or three most of my males were eating about 2 cups per meal (fed twice a day) and somewhere along 8 to 10 years generally the 2 cups per meal worked fine in the winter but during the summer I almost always cut them back to 1-3/4 cups per meal. Last summer and this summer I had to cut my nearly 14 year old back to 1-1/2 cups. Last winter he needed it increased to almost 2 cups per meal. But if I don't cut back quantity during the summer his weight sneaks up to 90 pounds and I prefer to keep him at 85 to 86 pounds.

Good luck with the transition--it actually sounds like he might have a real food allergy--more dermatologist/allergists are using the hypo kibbles to eliminate allergens--works faster than doing it with limited ingredient diets since it deals with both vegetable and meat proteins. But you still have to go through the adding of one food at a time for several weeks to see if that is tolerated.

He'll probably love the cookies but bake them with the windows open--baking liver just isn't a wonderful smell.

dobebug
 

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AB, would that treat work for something like agility training? Or is it a little too crumbly? I like to be able to throw a treat in front of HDD to keep him heading forward out of an obstacle like weave poles...it would need to stay together for that so he can snarf it all at once and not leave some for the next dog who is running the course.

Also "If you are using blender make sure that you don't get any of the stringy bits of some livers (beef is the worst) wrapped around the blade as you can easily burn out the motor."

That sounds like experience speaking? >:)
 

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AB, would that treat work for something like agility training? Or is it a little too crumbly? I like to be able to throw a treat in front of HDD to keep him heading forward out of an obstacle like weave poles...it would need to stay together for that so he can snarf it all at once and not leave some for the next dog who is running the course.

Also "If you are using blender make sure that you don't get any of the stringy bits of some livers (beef is the worst) wrapped around the blade as you can easily burn out the motor."

That sounds like experience speaking? >:)
Mel - have you tried making "pyramid pan" dog treats? Easy, homemade treats that are tiny and not crumbly! Plus EASY EASY to make!

Get yourself one of these silicone baking mats: https://www.amazon.com/Wolecok-Sili..._2?keywords=pyramid+pan&qid=1568919570&sr=8-2

Then, all you do for the recipe is this:

to make one batch (one pan worth):
1/2 a can of pate style canned dog food
3/4 cup tapioca flour
enough water to make the "batter" pancake batter consistency

Spread it into the mat so that each little hole is filled up (the mat is basically upside down, triangles pointed down) You want to use a scraper/spatula to smooth it all out so you can see all the little ridges. There are tons of youtube videos for making "pyramid pan dog treats" you can watch to see how it works

Bake at 300 degrees for roughly 30 minutes, until the treats are cooked through and not too spongy. They'll come right out of the mat without sticking. (I like to spray my mat with a little cooking spray to help even more). Voila! A million little treats, they don't crumble, and my dogs love them! They also freeze well. I like to use a can of food like 95% salmon Wellness because it's nice and smooth and the dogs really like it.
 

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THX, guys.
I use all kinds of things (primarily hot dogs and cheese), but am always looking for something to add variety to get a little extra kick in HDD's enthusiasm level (which is actually decent, but hey....)
 

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THX, guys.
I use all kinds of things (primarily hot dogs and cheese), but am always looking for something to add variety to get a little extra kick in HDD's enthusiasm level (which is actually decent, but hey....)
Sypha almost lost her mind the other day when she got some steak for agility class....we had a decent first run through and I threw her toy (it's one of those that opens up and there's food inside, because she's not much for tug toys)....when she discovered there was steak inside I thought she might lose it. You should have seen how much faster she was the next time through! I was literally laughing as I ran :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update: ugh.

So with 1/4 cup of new food per feeding, poops were still solid. We did that for 3 and a half days. Yesterday we changed to 1/2 cup of new food, 2 cups of old per feeding. Morning poop was squishy. He just pooped again at the park (Im sitting in my car as I type this!) and it was suuuper loose. :( Should I continue with the 1/2 cups and keep monitoring with the thought/hope that his body just needs some time to adjust? Or should I take the loose stool as a sign as this isn't going to work?
 

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I wouldn't go back yet...I'd continue with the new mix for a bit to see if his system can adjust. Are the caloric contents the same for the new food and the old?
 
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Discussion Starter #20
I wouldn't go back yet...I'd continue with the new mix for a bit to see if his system can adjust. Are the caloric contents the same for the new food and the old?

New food: 392 kcal per cup
Old food: 354 kcal per cup

Not a huge difference it looks like. But with Zeus, any little thing can make a big difference! I'll be doing some calculating this afternoon and decrease his old food a bit to make up for the added calories the new food is giving him. Thanks to you and melbrod, who did mention too much food! I didnt factor in the different calorie contents with mixing food.
 
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