To Switch or Not to Switch? Digestive issues.

  • My 3 year old basenji, Tom, is currently eating Taste of the Wild High Prairie, to which we add a bit of canned pumpkin.

    We adopted Tom about 9 months ago. Prior to us he had 2 homes, the last of which was feeding him Purina Beneful & claimed he was a picky eater. I switched him to TotW which he immediately loved (tried to do the process of switching slowly but he picked out the Beneful kibbles and only ate TotW!).

    Health wise is doing very well (coat, energy, etc), except for two digestive issues: when he passes stool normally he is very strained and seems to have difficulty, the stool isn't hard, but he strains and strains and takes a long time ? it just seems to be his process as we've never seen anything different? With the exception of: he gets diarrhea quite frequently. It usually only lasts a day or so, but in the past few months it's occurred every 2-3 weeks.

    To some degree, it seems to align with our absence or any other disruption to routine (a friend took care of him while we were out of town for 3 days: diarrhea as soon as we got back; we moved apartments: increase in frequency, etc), though not always ? sometimes there's no discernible cause.

    I was at the Vet today for shots, but I mentioned that he was having tummy issues so they held off and she prescribed a probiotic and antimicrobial, and then said while TotW is good, it's probably too rich and I should really consider switching and told me I should have him on Royal Canin Gastro.

    But tbqh, it's more than double the price of TotW and that seems steep when I'm not 100% sold that his stool issues are stemming from food. I grew up with a basenji who also had a very sensitive stomach that reacted to stress or excitement. And Tom is the first basenji she's treated so I'm not sure she's familiar with many of their peculiarities.

    Wondering if you all have had any similar experiences, either with tummy troubles, Taste of the Wild, etc. I welcome any suggestions you can give me! Thank you for reading!

  • I feed my guy (almost 2) Taste of the Wild Prairie w/Bison. And while I have had some issues with diarrhea in the past he's good with the food now. The vet suggested a different food at one point but my dog hated it, so we went back to TotW.

    Eventually, I tracked it down to acorns (they're toxic to dogs), squirrels were dropping them on our lawn from a neighbor's tree. So. any acorns by you?

  • Personally I wouldn't feed my dog anything made by Royal Canin. I am not impressed by their ingredients. Vets also have a financial interest in selling you this stuff. Diarrhea can certainly be caused by emotional issues. If the dog is upset by a change in routine, there can be a corresponding digestive change. I had one boy who would get so excited by walking in the woods that by the end of the walk he was pooping liquid. Take him home, everything is normal. (I had a horse that reacted the same way!) That said, I would try to determine if there is a pattern to the appearance of diarrhea, i.e. any particular event that precedes it.

    I have no experience with Taste of the Wild. I feed NRG dehydrated, and have never had any issues with it. I also use Acana Senior in his treat roller ball. And he gets table scraps…....vegetables, because I don't eat meat. I've had five Basenjis, and none has been a picky eater except when ill or in extreme old age. If a dog isn't eager to eat I take that as a sign that something is wrong, and it could well be the food. (I am instantly suspicious of any tummy troubles that follow opening a new bag of food, even if it's the same food the dog always eats)

  • Thank you both for your replies!

    Darn squirrels! We live in a pretty dense city, but even in the parks/wooded areas there don't seem to be any oaks or other plant/tree goodies he could get a hold of.

    And I agree, not overly impressed with Royal Canin ingredient list and a bit suspicious of the vet $ motives.

    The diarrhea has since resolved (for now), and the only pattern I can identify is when we are out of town (once) or going to my parents house with him (they live 30 min away with a great backyard - a luxury we don't have). My guess is the back and forth and new experiences, though to some degree these visits are becoming routine and it hasn't happened every time.

    I guess I was more concerned about the strained nature of his regular stool and whether the food was responsible for that, but everything seems to suggest that's just how he digests. He does get plenty of fiber (regular pumpkin and he is also a fan of veggie scraps, always under my feet when the cutting board is out).

    I will keep an eye out for if he gets picky at any point. For now I think I'll stick with TotW which he seems to really enjoy, and I've added the probiotic the vet gave me.

  • Stress and new stuff can make a B get diarrhea; I have seen it a few times. So keep on the lookout for a correlation.
    That said, we switched from a good quality kibble to 100% raw meat, bones and some vegetables and their stool is much less, and much better (firmer). While on kibble they would have very thin stool at least once a week, now almost never.
    The change makes sense to me, as kibble is processed food and raw is fresh and closer to what they would get in nature. Fresh is better, I believe, than processed, not only for dogs but for us too.
    All the best!

  • The only thing I can add, with the straining to pass stool you describe, is to ask whether he always has water readily available? But you say the stool isn't hard, just that he has trouble passing it. I wonder if he could be partially obstructed in some way?

  • I also used to believe >>If a dog isn't eager to eat I take that as a sign that something is wrong, and it could well be the food.<< But have learned from my own basenji and others that disinterest in food is not uncommon, not from making a dog a picky eater but simply how they are. If all else fails, there are appetite supplements.

    As for the diarrhea, food, stress, lots of things. Hope he does better.

  • Chance had tummy issues for many years with long bouts of diarreah, and we have tried many foods, probiotics, home cooked meals etc..until we found Acana grasslands. He has been on it for a few years with good results. Occasionally he gets loose stools, but it's probably because he ate something on the street.


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