This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about helping a dog with digestive issues and selecting an adult food for a 1 year old puppy.
Q: We own a Biewer Terrier that weighs 3 lb. 11 oz. and is 2 1/2 yrs. old. She has a very touchy digestive system and gets gastroenteritis on a regular basis. We feed Wellness Super5Mix for Small Breeds in the morning, and canned (Venison & Sweet Potato or Duck & Sweet Potato) in the evening. She gets a treat in the evening (Wellness Pure Rewards Chicken & Lamb Jerky). Nothing else is fed to her, no table scraps, etc. Still she gets terribly growling stomach which leads to diarrhea. Her stool has been checked for parasites. Due to her small size, we are always concerned about dehydration when this flairs up. Any suggestions?
A: Some dogs develop allergies, sensitivities or intolerances to commonly used dietary proteins and food additives which can result in gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea. I recommend a dietary elimination trial using a canned Wellness Simple Food Solutions diet for about 8 weeks.
Wellness Simple Food Solutions is designed to aid in the nutritional management of this issue with a one protein: one carbohydrate diet plan. (Compare the simplicity of the ingredient panel with any other dog food– including Wellness Super5Mix). This special natural recipe drastically limits the number of ingredients your dog is exposed to daily.
Since your dog has been exposed to duck and lamb ingredients in the past year, I would recommend Simple Food Solutions Salmon and Rice Formula canned canine diet for the elimination trial as the sole source of nutrition. Nothing else is to be fed. Eliminate the use of the dry diet, and the evening treat.
Feed small frequent meals –at least two to three times per day. Monitor dietary response by recordings in a journal; note days your pet experiences digestive upset as well as days with stool that is not normally well formed.
A 3.11 pound Biewer Terrier dog requires about 200 kcal of energy per day to maintain body weight. The Simple Food Solutions Salmon and Rice Formula canned canine diet contains about 471 kcal of energy per 12.5 ounce can. In a day you should offer about 40-45% of the can. Don’t overfeed.
Remember to weigh the dog – feed less if it is gaining unwanted weight and more if losing weight.
Q: My one year old border collie/husky mix is on Wellness puppy formula. When should I feed him adult wellness and what would be good for him?
A: Now is a good time to switch from a Wellness puppy diet to a Wellness diet directed at the maintenance of an adult dog. Most veterinarians recommend switching when the puppy reaches about 80% of anticipated adult body weight or at 1 year of age.
Within the Wellness line of natural canine foods you have choices; Complete Health Super5Mix, CORE Grain Free, and Simple Food Solutions. Canned and dry foods are available for all of these recommended Wellness dry dog food recipes. Remember each dog is an individual and response to diet will vary from dog to dog. Try different products and monitor the response; coat and skin softness and sheen, activity level, the presence of a small amount of firm stool, etc.
Score your dog on weight and body condition monthly to evaluate the amount of food you are offering. If the dog is too thin—feed more; too fat—feed less. In addition overfeeding can result in soft stools. Remember– when a dog is neutered, there is a decrease in the daily energy needs of individuals by as much as 25%–you will need to feed less.
Feed adults at least two meals per day—don’t free choice feed.
A great diet to try on your dog would be Wellness CORE Grain Free Ocean Dog Food Recipe. It has enhanced levels of protein from fish (34%), moderate (14%) fat that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and increased crude fiber (7%). A cup of this food has 430 kcal of energy; two cups is usually sufficient to maintain body weight in a 35 pound dog. As a point of comparison: your current food, Wellness Just for Puppy dry dog food, contains about 450 kcal of energy per cup.