Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Saga of the Dog Food

We have had a terrible time finding a food that agrees with Argos.  The current batch will be the FOURTH kind that we've had him on.  Keeping in mind that we only just got him in January, that's pretty impressive.  I think that this fourth kind is the magic one, though.

First, we got him Iams brand Eukanuba, being told that it is the top of the line.  He started getting diarrhea almost immediately.  We were told that sometimes that happens when a new greyhound moves to his first home, and to give it a few days.  We did, and it didn't improve.

This got a trip to the vet, just to make sure that he didn't have parasites, or that there wasn't something horrible going on.  No parasites, and nothing horrible.  At the recommendation of just about every dog person we talked to, we cut out his kibble for a week or so, and would cook him boiled ground beef with rice, and mix in some special canned stuff that the vet sold us.  Plus a tablespoon of plain yogurt.  Plus a tablespoon of raw pumpkin.  Good grief.

But it seemed to help.  We'd decided that the Eukanuba was too rich for him by then, and decided to switch to Science Diet - that is the brand of food that we fed our cats, and friends gave us a free bag.

Same deal as with the Eukanuba.

So...  back on the boiled beef mixture.

We did some research, and found that many people that have dogs with "sensitive stomachs" fed them Iams Lamb and Rice, which is formulated specifically for dogs with digestive issues.  At first, it seemed to be working fine.  But then we started to have issues with him - he didn't WANT to finish his meals, which is strange for a dog, especially an underweight dog.  I could usually cajole him into eating by stirring the food up with my finger, but was really worried about him.  The only thing that kept him from a second vet trip was that he would devour any meat that I would give him.  There was nothing wrong with his appetite, he just didn't want the kibble!  And then he started to get diarrhea again.

We started polling friends that have greyhounds, large dogs, or, even better, large dogs with sensitive stomachs.  One, who has a rottweiler with a sensitive stomach, told us that the only thing that worked for him was Nutro.  When a co-worker with greyhounds said that they'd been feeding theirs Nutro for several years with no problems, I was sold.  There was one person from the greyhound adoption group that had good luck with Iams Mini-chunks, but I was hesitant to go with Iams a third time... so we went off to Petco to get Nutro.

We ended up with a bag of Nutro's sensitive stomach formula - Venison and brown rice.  (Sheesh, he eats better than some people do!)  It's a little more expensive, but I think I've already noticed a difference.  First and foremost, it doesn't seem to cause the gastrointestinal upset that the other stuff did.  It doesn't have corn or wheat in it, which makes me think that he may just not be able to deal with that stuff - nothing in his past would have prepared him for it, since usually they're fed meat and vegetables at the track.  Second, but just as importantly, he likes it!  I don't have to beg him to eat.  In fact he does a little dance when he sees that it's time to eat.   He has more energy.  I even think that his coat is softer, he's shedding less (though that may have more to do with the fact that there isn't as much TO shed anymore) and his breath is better.

So far, Nutro is a winner.

I'm relieved.  Of course we want our pets to be healthy and enjoy their food.  But selfishly, I'm also glad that I don't have to stand over the stove boiling beef anymore!

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