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Old 09-17-2010, 12:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why would raw dog food cause diarrhea?

Under what conditions would this happen? I can't figure it out.

We adopted our now-9-month old GSD 3 months ago. At the time of adoption, the breeder treated him orally for parasites/worms as a precaution before sending him home with us. I transitioned him slowly from his grain kibble onto Orijen large breed puppy kibble. He did fine with this transition and then the Orijen food exclusively.

Shortly after getting him onto the grain-free kibble, I began to introduce some raw meat (a ratio of about 1 cup raw meat mixed in with 2 cups of kibble). I've used different kinds from different sources, and to me that would prove that the issue is with him and not the meats.

However, he seems to frequently have diarrhea.

He has had solid stools regularly as well, they're just interspersed with bouts of diarrhea. From his patterns, it seems that only the raw meats could be contributing to this issue. I have wondered if maybe the fat content is too high in the raw meats or something, but then again the breeder recommended a 38% fat content for his diet while still a puppy and the raw meats he's eating are all around 30-32% at the most (some are less than that).

Also, there are times when I give him a larger amount of food at once, too (because he tends to self-regulate very well). He'll eat some or most of it and leave the rest for later. I am wondering if perhaps he's not self-regulating as well as I'm assuming and maybe it's a quantity issue that's causing the diarrhea. I don't know.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Im not an expert as im having my own food issues here with feeding Orijen but I do know that some say its not good to mix dry with raw. I have no idea how true that is. Some dogs cannot tolerate a raw diet. Every dog is different. I wish there were cut and dry answers to all these questions. I am paying more attention and fretting over what my dog is eating and how hes pooping... its crazy
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Feeding too much can definitely cause diarrhea. I would add an extra meal rather than add extra food and leave it down for him. Dogs do better eating meals rather than free feeding, especially the gsds with their notorious digestive issues!

You might try supplementing with something like chicken backs or turkey necks to supplement instead of ground meats. Those are great for the teeth too.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
Shortly after getting him onto the grain-free kibble, I began to introduce some raw meat (a ratio of about 1 cup raw meat mixed in with 2 cups of kibble). I've used different kinds from different sources, and to me that would prove that the issue is with him and not the meats.

From what I understand, one should not feed kibble and raw at the same time. I believe you can feed both types of foods but they should be fed at different timeís i.e. feed one type in the morning and the other type at the evening meal, but never together.
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sufficient quantities of raw meat have a tendency to cause diarrhea. IIRC I think the experts of raw feeding often had other things like sweet potatoes to reduce the amount of diarrhea. German shepherds are notorious for getting diarrhea very easily. With some of them it can be a chronic and serious health issue; even with dry dog food. German shepherds are prone to a genetic disease that can cause chronic diarrhea.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here is an article that address loose still and raw:

What to Do if Your Dog “Doesn’t Do Well” on Raw

"Diarrhea

Diarrhea is defined as Ďabnormally frequent intestinal evacuations with more or less fluid stoolsí.

Sometimes diarrhea follows the introduction of and is associated with raw food. Maybe a dogís enzyme systems need time to adjust or maybe itís to do with the population of bowel bacteria that need time to change. Sometimes the diarrhea derives from the pet being exposed to new bacteria for the first time. Usually, diarrhea following introduction of raw food is short lived and resolves itself. Your role is to keep an eye on things to make sure your dog does not look or act unwell and to clean up the mess.

Dietary sensitivity or allergy may be a trigger for diarrhea. Some dogs, allergic to cooked meats in processed food, eat the same meat raw without ill effect.

If a dog occasionally passes soft or loose stools itís seldom a cause for concern. However, if your pet appears unwell, or if stool abnormalities persist, then best to consult your vet."
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is all very helpful feedback, thank you. I did not know that German shepherds are prone to digestive issues.

I will begin feeding smaller amounts at once and either all-kibble or all-raw for each feeding and see if those changes help. I sure hope he doesn't have any genetic issues related to his digestion. His breeding was extremely meticulous and I would like to hope that things like genetically-weak digestive predispositions were intentionally prevented.
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Also, remember that if you were to feed an all raw diet, you wouldn't feed just meat, part of the problem is a lack of bone in the diet. Also 32% is very high fat and might also be causing your problems. While I agree that fat and protein are very important, I would say even 20 would be a bit high. IMO
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Remember that the raw food gets digested at a faster rate than kibble does. That is why they dont recommend feeding them in the same meal. Also, he could be allergic to a certain meat in the raw. If you are feeding a mix of meats, try switching to just one meat source for a week, perhaps start with chicken first. Chicken seems to be easier on the stomach and digestive tract. You dont say exactly what meats, organs, bone you are feeding. Could be one of the meat sources is too rich. Since the diarrhea is intermittent, that leads me to believe he was having an issue with what was feed prior to the diarrhea. Keep in mind too, that anything that passes into the stomach could cause it. Too much hot dog, cheese, or what ever from a training session. Or maybe 'dropsies' on the kitchen floor. My dog loves her 'dropsies'.
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think the other poster (GSDSunshine) may have had a good point about fat content. Part of the reason for the diarrhea may be their relatively higher fat content. Generally when we cook food the fat content is lower, because usually before we cook the food we are more careful about cutting out the fat and during the cooking process and after cooking we usually pour off excess fat. So usually when we cook meat we reduce the amount of fat.

So it may not be the fact that the food is raw in itself that is making the diarrhea worse, it might be just the relative higher fat content of the particular food you are feeding it.
 
High concentrations of fat can cause diarrhea.
 
Also sudden changes in diet can cause diarrhea.
 
That’s why a lot of times during the holidays there is a lot of emergency vet visits and many of the dogs end up very sick and some even die. During holidays especially like Christmas or Thanksgiving we tend to live very high on the hog, we often give the dog a lot of excess fat and/or the scrap/leftovers and; the sudden change of diet and large amounts of high level fat food can sometimes make a dog very sick or even kill it.
Dogs, Holiday Foods, and Pancreatitis: Thanksgiving and Christmas Treats Can Make Your Dog Sick
 
I usually save the leftovers from the holidays and give them to the dog spread over a couple weeks of time rather than let it gorge itself on the same amount of leftovers in one or two meals. I think it’s safer to spread it out in smaller quantities over a long period of time.
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