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Old 03-28-2012, 10:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can grain free food cause diarrhea?

I switched Stella to grain free food about 2 weeks ago. She got major diarrhea. I thought I may have switched her too fast. She was on rice/chicken/pumpkin for a bit and finally got back to normal. So I started adding the kibble and transitioning her back to the grain free. Well....back to diarrhea. So its the chicken/rice/pumpkin diet again. I think I may have read somewhere that grain free food has more protein due to higher meat content. Could Stella just not be able to handle that much protein?
The reason for the grain free is because she was constantly scratching herself and the vet is thinking she might have food allergies.
So now I don't know quite what to do....live with scratching or diarrhea????
Any suggestions?
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What brand?
Grain free is kind of deceptive. It doesn't mean "higher meat content", it merely means there's other starches than grains in it. For instance, they switch out rice for potatoes, or sweet potatoes. If not that, then peas. Sometimes they add peas to make a higher protein content without adding more meat.

You can have a ton of protein that comes from plant sources without having meat at all, btw.

Grain free isn't the be-all and end-all of "good" dog foods

PS. Food allergies are usually allergies to proteins. Get Natural Balance in a unique type such as bison or fish, or venison, and keep the dog on that for 6-8 weeks to see if the scratching gets better.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by katdog5911 View Post
I switched Stella to grain free food about 2 weeks ago. She got major diarrhea. I thought I may have switched her too fast. She was on rice/chicken/pumpkin for a bit and finally got back to normal. So I started adding the kibble and transitioning her back to the grain free. Well....back to diarrhea. So its the chicken/rice/pumpkin diet again. I think I may have read somewhere that grain free food has more protein due to higher meat content. Could Stella just not be able to handle that much protein?
The reason for the grain free is because she was constantly scratching herself and the vet is thinking she might have food allergies.
So now I don't know quite what to do....live with scratching or diarrhea????
Any suggestions?
Yes, what brand of kibble is it and what did you feed before this one?
Any chance you could do a raw food like Bravo??? Less ingredients in it to rule things out.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd use California Natural before I used Natural Balance. Natural Balance is ridiculously expensive and has next to no meat in it. California Natural is at least a little more affordable.

What were you feeding before and what are you attempting to feed now?
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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NB is the only true allergy diet...with unique proteins and only one protein source.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The types of protein can make a difference as well. Switching from a "white meat protein" to a "red meat protein" can affect dogs.
Alice doesn't do as well on chicken as she does on lamb/beef. Zoey, is a garbage gut, will eat anything with little or no effect.
Switching too fast is never a good thing, I've taken two weeks or more to switch a food. (hence I don't do it very often and really think about it before I do)
Sometimes the fish based protein foods help with the skin problems and sometimes yogurt does too. (yogurt is a maintainence issue though, once you start you keep doing it as it takes awhile to start noticing effects, like good ears, skin etc.)

*there was one time where Zoey stole the loaf of bread from Alice that Alice stole off the counter......they are both on grain free and .....well, bread is one big grain.
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Zoey ended up on boiled chicken and rice with a little pumpkin for a few days Let me tell you how fun it was to wake up to a dog that "exploded" in the bathroom.....well at least it wasn't on the carpet.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ChancetheGSD View Post
I'd use California Natural before I used Natural Balance. Natural Balance is ridiculously expensive and has next to no meat in it. California Natural is at least a little more affordable.

What were you feeding before and what are you attempting to feed now?

Couldn't pay me to feed California Naturals now that Proctor & Gamble owns Natura.

Natural Balance isn't that expensive for the benefits of their LID diets. NB is what I feed all my foster dogs and I have seen awesome results with it.

Nature's Variety Instinct is grain-free and their formulas have good meat content.
Instinct | Nature's Variety

I pay $55+ tax for a 29 lb bag of Acana Wild Prarie(grain-free). My GSD only eats 2 cups a day and my Dobe is on 3, husky is on 1 and a half cups a day. The benefits for quality food outweighs the cost to me.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When we got Bear the breeder was feeding him Innova Evo...he's 14 weeks now and FINALLY recovering from constant diarrhea after we switched to Royal Canin. The ingredients aren't as good...but the poor boy had diarrhea his entire life up until the switch. So glad we found out what was wrong!
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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When we got Bear the breeder was feeding him Innova Evo...he's 14 weeks now and FINALLY recovering from constant diarrhea after we switched to Royal Canin. The ingredients aren't as good...but the poor boy had diarrhea his entire life up until the switch. So glad we found out what was wrong!

Which Royal Canin formula, and how many cups a day of EVO were you feeding him?
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The Evo was the chicken and turkey small bites 1.75 cups twice per day, I give him the same amount in Royal Canin GSD puppy now with extra kibble as treats across the day. His vet recommended the change to help. He definitely liked the evo more, he would always finish it and doesn't really wolf down the RC, especially in the morning he tends to leave a bit in the bowl. I would like to switch him back eventually (I've been told the calcium levels are a bit too much for a pup anyway) but it did help the diarrhea.
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