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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

Anybody having issues with their GSD gaining weight? My pup has been between 55-60 lbs for almost 4 months now and he just turned one. His brother is a good 76 pounds. He consistently has loose/mushy stools (now with mucus in them) and eats around 5 cups a day in two feedings. We have started stretching the 5 cups and feeding 3-4 times a day to see if that helps. He is on pedigree large dog kibble, because that is what his Breeder had him one. We have tried at least two times to transition foods, but his stools just get looser. This seems to be the kibble that sits the best with him, although his stools are never nice and firm. I?m thinking this has something to do with him not gaining weight. We just found a little bit of blood in his stool as well...

Called Vet and they are going to conduct a stool test and a blood test for pancreatic needs. Anybody know how much these two tests cost or has anybody gone through this process?

Any help is appreciated!
 

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First, when was his last fecal test? Many pups need a round of deworming after leaving their breeder. Your vet can run a fecal test for you -- some vets don't even require an exam and will accept a fresh "sample" in a zipped baggie. Mucous in the poop can even be a sign of giardia or coccidia (blood is also fairly common with both coccida and also hook or whipworms). I think it's very likely that your pup is infected with something (and possible more than one thing) -- this sort of thing won't clear up on its own, and it only gets worse. (FWIW, we just had some puppies dumped in rescue by their breeder who couldn't get solid poop out of them: they had worms, giardia, plus several bacterial infections -- it wasn't the food that was the problem, it was all the parasites and infections they had!)

Second, I think it's very important to get him on a better food. I would love to see you transition him to a large breed puppy formula as it helps with slow, steady growth that may prevent Panosteitis and other problems in this breed. Feed the best food that you can afford!

Pedigree is bottom of the barrel IMHO -- mostly corn, by-products, artificial food coloring, and very little quality meat. Check this out:
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/pedigree-dog-food-dry/

In rescue, I know a foster family that fed Pedigree because it was cheap, and after the rescue started buying her better food, she was amazed at the difference in how the dogs did. I've often seen many dogs get far better muscle mass and coat quality within about a month of getting on better food -- it's like night and day when you see the difference in their coats!

What's your monthly food budget? Can you swing $40-50/mo. to get him on better food? Since you're feeding a very cheap food currently, if you don't mind spending more, I think we can help you find something that will get you a lot more bang for your buck (a little more money for A LOT more quality).

Even Purina One (sold at WM or Target, often with coupons that can be matched to sale prices) would be a significant step up in quality -- they have a large breed puppy food. It's not a great food, but it's better than Pedigree:
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/purina-one-smartblend/
I mention it because our local government-run animal shelter transitioned to Purina One last year after running a trial for a few months. They dramatically cut the amount of diarrhea in the shelter by switching to Purina One. No one is quite sure why, but the results are undeniable. If you want to feed a lower-end food, this is the one I'd go with. My dad's dog eats it too because he's on a fixed income, and she's doing fine on it (almost anything else upsets her stomach -- it's the one food that seems to agree with her).

If you can spend more to get into decent mid-grade food, Diamond Large Breed puppy runs about $40 per 40 pounds on Chewy.com or Tractor Supply Co., and it feeds out very well (you'll probably need to feed LESS than you will of Pedigree because it's more caloric).
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/diamond-naturals-dog-food/

TSC's housebrand 4Health is a dupe for Diamond Naturals. Costco's Kirkland is also a dupe for Diamond Naturals. Diamond Naturals, TSC 4Health, and Costco Kirkland are all basically interchangeable (same factory, almost identical ingredients). FWIW, we feed lots and lots of this stuff in our rescue because so many dogs do well on it, and it's the best price-to-quality value proposition we've found for the rescue. We can't afford top-tier foods in the rescue, but this family of foods is a very economical compromise that produces good results for many dogs.

If you can go up another step, then I'd look at Victor, which is sold at both Chewy.com and many feed stores. It's made in Texas, in a plant that's known for producing a quality product.
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/victor-select-dog-food/

Beyond that, Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy (sold at Petflow.com or some higher-end independent shops) would be ideal, but it's a good bit more. I think it runs around $55 for 33 pounds, but it's an outstanding company that operates with integrity (no Chinese ingredients, transparency in sourcing, great customer service if you call them with questions). It's family owned, and they've been making dog food since the early 20th Century. This is definitely where I'd go if the cost is acceptable to your food budget!
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/fromm-dog-food-gold-nutritionals-dry/

After you deal with whatever parasites or infection is going on, the key with diarrhea is to transition slowly. All pups have loose poop on new food, but go with the 10% rule (replacing 10% with the new food, over 10 days) to ensure a very slow transition.
 

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Mucous in the stool can be anything regarding intestinal upset. IBD, EPI, infection, parasite. The blood, probably bright red??, is just from his system being inflamed. Run the tests before you make any changes. I would put him on a prescription diet designed to soothe his system before I switched food.

Personally, we feed Victor to two of our dogs. They do very well on it. High quality at a good price. I'm not a believer in grain free (replacing a grain with peas does not accomplish anything) and at 1 yr old, he does not need a large breed puppy food.
 

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Isn't he four months old? I think I missed seeing a year old dog...Oops...just re-read. Yeah, at a year old, what's done is done. He'll either get pano or he won't. Just get him on a good adult food. That will save money -- Diamond Naturals adult is around $30 per 40 pounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the information and help. Just a little update: Beaux went to the vet to get the GI Panel of tests done and the results showed nothing abnormal in any of them! Good and bad news... now we start the food experiment. My vet prefers that he eat Royal Canin, however, I have heard that it is very expensive. This teacher budget couldn't hold up for very long! I appreciate the food advice above...

Anyone else have a food that has helped their puppy? Loose stools and now 57 pounds is what we are working with...

Thank you all!
 

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Hello!

We decided to go with Taste of the Wild and his stools have become more firm and have changed to a darker brown. Progress!! Everyday his stools get a little firmer.


Anybody have any suggestions about possible high protein treats? A friend told me that Milkbone should be fine, however, I'm a little nervous about that since I just got his stools to firm up on TOTW. I wish TOTW had a treat brand, but I don't think they do unless I am wrong!

What treats do y'all recommend?
 

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Why high protein? Treats for what? Training? Or just treats?



I would only feed Milkbone to a duck. I think they like corn. I like Mother Hubbard treats. I feed raw, frozen, tracheas. Lamb horns for chews.
 

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My guy has EPI, so I have to be careful what kind of treats I give him. I like the dehydrated organ treats, heart and tripe. Really stinky, enough that I can get a somersault from him, if I asked ;) and absolutely no upset with his stools. You could also just use his kibble as treats, if he really likes his food, then you'll know he won't suffer a setback.
 

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High Protein just because I didnt want junk and fillers. Not really caring about Protein just low fat content. We just bought some treats at Costo, Top Chews in a large bag. Protein 22%, Fat 12%. He doesnt really do well on high fat content. Of course he gets loose stools. He continues to do well on TOTW and his coat looks great and he is slowly gaining weight. He does have lots of energy and is very athletic. Things are going great.
 

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My St. Bernard eats like a horse and I noticed she was putting on weight and was having loose stools. Her test for Lyme disease came back positive. After some rounds of antibiotics she started to come around but still wasn’t 100%. I then switched her food to blue Buffalo and was giving her the large breed puppy one and that seemed to do the trick. She started to pack the pounds back on and is now doing great for her age. The Lyme disease really beat her up and I don’t think she was getting enough nutrients as well from her other food. If the stool don’t look right and dietary changes don’t help it I’d suspect a bacterial or parasitic infection and it never hurts to see the vet if your not sure. Hope all is well.
 

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The last post was just an update on things getting better. We had $450 worth of test done at the Vet for them to say, everything is OK. I should have tried the good food first. Things are looking up and so is his weight.
 

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The last post was just an update on things getting better. We had $450 worth of test done at the Vet for them to say, everything is OK. I should have tried the good food first. Things are looking up and so is his weight.
Good to hear. Have you got some pics of your boy? We'd love to see how he looks like.
 

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Hello!

We decided to go with Taste of the Wild and his stools have become more firm and have changed to a darker brown. Progress!! Everyday his stools get a little firmer.


Anybody have any suggestions about possible high protein treats? A friend told me that Milkbone should be fine, however, I'm a little nervous about that since I just got his stools to firm up on TOTW. I wish TOTW had a treat brand, but I don't think they do unless I am wrong!

What treats do y'all recommend?
If your dog gets soft stools again, give him anywhere from 1 heaping teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of canned pure pumpkin. (not pumpkin mix.) check the ingredients, it should just say pumpkin. Canned pumpkin firms up poop. Keep a can of it in your "first aid" kit for your dog.
 
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