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Thread: Natural dog food- help!

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    Cavy Slave banjosnotbombs's Avatar
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    Natural dog food- help!

    I need some help, and I know a lot of the people here are savvy when it comes to natural dog food and BARF and things.
    My dog has anal gland issues and the only dog food (so far) that controls it is Medical high fiber dog food. I don't like feeding her that, and even though it comes from the vet it's still full of things that concern me. I want to get her on a natural dog food, or even BARF, but I can't find anything that would have enough fiber for her. I know she needs at least 10%.
    If anyone could recommend a brand, or even a dog forum I would really appreciate it(and Stella would too!). Thanks!

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    Cavy Slave Doxie's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    I honestly don't know of any natural high fiber dogs foods out there. Most "Natural" dog foods contain less fillers so they may not have much fiber. Though some natural foods have a lot of whole grains it's never very concentrated. I understand that you don't think the vet dog food might not be the best but look at it this way, to have more fiber they have to lower the protein or meat. Lower the meat and it won't taste so well so then the vet food uses the by-products which though nasty, taste better to our doggies.

    If you want to stop the prescribed vet food, you may want to ask your vet if there is a supplement you can give your dog instead so that you can use better foods with no by-products. I would consult your vet either way. Changing food for a digestive issue, such as an anal gland, may lead to more problems.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    have you ever thought about or researched making your own?

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    Cavy Slave blackarrow's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Although my dogs do not have anal gland issues, I have never, ever heard of someone "treating" anal glands with fibrous dog food. In fact from what I've been able to tell on web sites, the problem causing anal gland issues seems to be too SOFT stools, not too firm ones, and fiber should hurt, not help with that. People I know whose dogs have an issue just manually express them, or have a groomer do it regularly.

    Any prescription-type dog food I know of is complete garbage in a bag, I'm entirely with you on that one.

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Have you ever tried feeding her raw? I know you mentioned BARF, which suggests you'd be open to considering it. You might find that once you switch her to a raw diet, some problems you're seeing now correct themselves because she's eating a diet that's more biologically appropriate.

    If the fiber is still a concern, you could always supplement with a high fiber veggie puree. Pure canned pumpkin would be excellent for that purpose also, I'd think. You might even try switching her to a higher quality commercial food (Merrick, Orijen, etc.) and supplementing with pumpkin. I think I'd be a lot more likely to go that route than to feed than anything made by Science Diet or another "prescription" diet dog food sold at a vet's office.

    Good luck!

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    Cavy Slave Doxie's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    @Blackarrow, I heard the same thing before too. Belle, my dachshund, has horrible anal gland problems and I just press around her anus and all the muck come out. I've never been told I need to change her diet because of it. From what my vet told me at the time was that most dogs naturally release the contents of the glands when they poop. Dogs like Belle contain it and need to have it removed. I found this out the hard way and she actually ended up needing her butt lacerated because of it. $500 later I make sure Belle has the cleanest anal glands in town.

    Also about the pumpkin puree I know that I've been told that any dog benefits from a small spoonful each day. I give it to Belle when she is constipated. Just try not to over do it (as in a can a day) because it pushes fluids into the bowels which can be harmful.

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    Cavy Slave blackarrow's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    I should also have mentioned my dogs are on a very LOW fiber diet - about 1/2 high quality kibble (Taste of the Wild High Prairie, which is 3% fiber MAX) and 1/2 raw (even less fiber). A large portion of the raw diet is bone, which also tends to make their stools very firm. I see there is some thinking that the mild straining and firm stools may actually be what's preventing them from having anal gland issues in the first place - the pressure of them pushing a firm stool past the glands expresses them naturally.

    I also agree that a little pumpkin is a wonderful thing, oddly enough, both for constipation AND for diarrhea.

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    Cavy Slave banjosnotbombs's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate it. I would definitely consult my vet along the way, but seeing as they advocate the food they sell I'm not sure how helpful they could be.
    Blackarrow - Fiber gives her firm stools so she's able to express her anal glands when she has a bowel movement, so it does help. From what I remember working in an animal hospital, it can be harmful in the long run to manually express a dogs anal glands. (ETA: sorry I didn't realize you responded already)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    Have you ever tried feeding her raw? I know you mentioned BARF, which suggests you'd be open to considering it. You might find that once you switch her to a raw diet, some problems you're seeing now correct themselves because she's eating a diet that's more biologically appropriate.
    I'm definitely open to giving raw a try. I've given her cooked venison before and she did fine with it( I've also given her cooked grocery store meat and she had issues). I don't know where to begin with experimenting with raw, could you help with some good resources(books or websites or forums)?
    Thanks for mentioning pumpkin, we already give it to Stella.
    Last edited by banjosnotbombs; 12-13-10 at 06:44 pm.

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Check out Dog Food Chat. It's really a wonderful resource for all things dog food.

    I was a bit reluctant to switch to raw at first, after my first dog had a horrible experience with it, but now I feed 100% raw and it is SO easy and SO much better than any commercial food I could find.

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    Cavy Slave banjosnotbombs's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    Check out Dog Food Chat. It's really a wonderful resource for all things dog food.

    I was a bit reluctant to switch to raw at first, after my first dog had a horrible experience with it, but now I feed 100% raw and it is SO easy and SO much better than any commercial food I could find.
    Thanks Paula,
    Do you mind if I ask what kind of horrible experience your dog had? I was talking to my mom about experimenting with raw and she's a little reluctant about trying it(she's scared Stella will get another infection in her glands or detox like when humans go raw), to know what could potentially happen would be helpful.
    Last edited by banjosnotbombs; 12-13-10 at 06:48 pm. Reason: typo

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Scout had a really weak constitution to begin with, and she had a number of digestive upsets throughout her life. I wouldn't take from her experience anything that might translate into what a "normal" dog might experience. She had awful, awful diarrhea and constipation every time we tried raw with her. She wasn't a good chewer, so she'd often have horrible stomach upsets that would land us at the vet or the emergency vet office. She just wasn't a dog that could handle raw, but she was predisposed to having digestive upsets in the first place, so like I said, I wouldn't take from her experience anything that might affect your decision to try it one way or another.

    I was also afraid to start Finnegan (my 13 month old boy) on raw because he was a vacuum cleaner eater that I was terrified would never learn to chew bones, but alas, he has, and is doing wonderfully on an exclusively raw diet.

    You might consider taking your girl to a homeopathic vet that can guide you in a transition to raw. A number of "regular" vets are apt to discourage raw feeding for a number of reasons.

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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Definitaly try a raw diet and you can feed her extra bone. The more bone a dog gets the firmer their stools are. Dogs need about 10% bone but you can adjust it to to your dogs needs.

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    Cavy Slave Shahbazin's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    I've heard some good things about BARF diets; don't have personal experience with them, though.

    I will say, I've tried a lot of commercial kibbles, & the overall best one I've found was Solid Gold: Solid Gold Health Products for Pets - Home I've fed one type or another of their foods for over 25 years - I've tried other brands, but always had problems, or was dissatified with the ingredients. Firmer stools seem to be a key in preventing anal gland issues, & this food has always produced small, firm stools for my dogs.

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    Cavy Slave banjosnotbombs's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    You might consider taking your girl to a homeopathic vet that can guide you in a transition to raw. A number of "regular" vets are apt to discourage raw feeding for a number of reasons.
    I talked it over with my mom and in January I'll do that, I'm not confident enough to switch her over to a diet like that on my own. I think it will also help my family transition, my mom and I are vegan so the thought of feeding Stella raw flesh totally freaks us out
    It really concerns me that she'll get sick and die young because of her diet. My mom's convinced that the reason our previous dog got leukemia was because of her dog food(I wouldn't be surprised if it was). Stella's 5 years old now, and being a large breed dog(standard poodle X) I've read they don't always live that long. She's so amazing, I want her to live a long and healthy life.

    Thank you all for your help, it's really appreciated. I've been racking my brain trying to find high fiber natural dog food, I pray BARF is the answer.
    Still, if anyone knows of any natural high fiber dog food(10% or more) I'd love to know.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    I always heard Standards were fairly long lived. But two of the better dog foods are Solid Gold and Wellness.

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    Cavy Slave banjosnotbombs's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb's4Pigs View Post
    I always heard Standards were fairly long lived. But two of the better dog foods are Solid Gold and Wellness.
    Sorry, I guess I wrote that strange. I meant I've read large and giant dog breeds don't always live very long(please correct me if I'm wrong).

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    Cavy Slave Ash-Ro060708's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    My mom has an Alaskan Malamute with digestive problems and she adds All-Bran Buds to his high fiber dog food and it has helped out a lot.

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    I second Dog Food Chat. Awesome forum with great info and people! PMR diet has done wonders for Spike. He has horrible food allergies and only raw food solved the problem. He has a shinier coat (and he was on premium canned food and homemade food before going raw), super white, shiny, clean teeth, no more itching, doesn't have a "doggy" smell about him anymore and he doesn't have horrid smelling breath. A really big thing is that before he was really not interested in his food and ate it grudgingly. Now he loves his food.

    I suggest joining the forum and asking questions to learn more.

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    Cavy Slave banjosnotbombs's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Quote Originally Posted by guineapigluver1 View Post
    I second Dog Food Chat.

    I suggest joining the forum and asking questions to learn more.
    Thanks, I already have!

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Natural dog food- help!

    Quote Originally Posted by banjosnotbombs View Post
    Thanks, I already have!

    I hope you can figure something out for your dog.

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