Is eating Science Diet better than not eating at all?

Hello all - just want to get the peanut gallery opinion on this. Tayda, who has to be on a low protein diet (<20% protein) because of her renal insufficiency, is a super picky eater. She also has Fanconi.

I've struggled with getting her to eat for years. I've tried all the good foods - Merricks, Innova, Blue Wilderness, Natures Variety, Solid Gold, Wellness, Blue Buffalo… etc etc etc. She goes through phases where she will eat some or all of her food, and then phases where she'll eat only about 20% of it.

Today I was at the store looking for another food to try to feed her - there's nothing else that is of good quality that has the low protein content that she needs. She is normally 16.5 - 17 lbs... and that is her on the lean side. I've been trying to get her up to 18 or so for a long time. She is a pretty small B, so 17 is a healthy weight for her. I'd just like her to have a little extra just in case she gets sick she has some reserves.

So I bought a small bag of... gasp.... Science Diet. Just to see if she'd eat it. My rationale is - she HAS to eat SOMETHING. Brought it home, and she gobbled it up.

I'm looking at the bag here on the counter here and feeling so guilty for feeding it to her, but she's down to about 15 lbs now - just TOO SKINNY. I have to get something in her. She loves pasta and rice and will eat those, but I can't give her a diet full of pasta and rice, can I?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.... I am really torn about this...

Michelle

Actually, what about this - could I feed her a 1/2 portion of the good quailty, high protein foods - but cut it with something like rice or pasta? So that overall, her diet would be low protein?

For example - if I gave her 1/2 serving of a 30% protein food and then mixed in pasta or rice - so that overall her meal would be around 15% protein….

?

If she is too skinny then get good quality food and add the satin balls to it. Its a food that will help dogs gain weight. I am happy to share it with you, or anyone who needs it.

Satin balls are high in meat content, is that right? She needs to be on very low protein diet….

Michelle, I sent you a PM about a group for canine nutrition questions and special diet requirments.

Thanks Ivoss… I have thought about cooking for her - I have no idea where to start though so I'll have to research it...

The group should be able to answer whether adding carbs to a high protein kibble will be help to cut the protein level to be more equivalent to the low protein kibbles. They will also be able to provide resources on where to get started in home prepared diets.

Home made diet I think would be the most nutritious way to go. It's real food vs processed.

I know you all get sick of me posting this, but this is a great place where it is critical.

With Fanconi, you must follow protocol to protect your dog. PLEASE ask your vet to give you cyproheptadine. It is nothing short of a miracle for boosting appetite. And write Dr Gonto, at: Outdoc@aol.com or look on that link for his phone and call.

I do agree that homemade is wonderful, but you have options, especially with cypro to help get the food you choose EATEN.

If you have followed Michelle's posts in the past, she has Tayda on the protocol and has worked closely with Dr Gonto to get her stable.

Debra, as lvoss says, Michelle has been working with Dr. Gonto for years (since Tayda starting spilling) to get her stable…. and she has always followed the protocol.
There are other appetite stimulants and exploring them could be an option. I would not recommend satin balls, as they are really a "short" term solution used by handlers and as noted, all meat...so high protein and high fat quality meat at that.

@DebraDownSouth:

I know you all get sick of me posting this, but this is a great place where it is critical.

With Fanconi, you must follow protocol to protect your dog. PLEASE ask your vet to give you cyproheptadine. It is nothing short of a miracle for boosting appetite. And write Dr Gonto, at: Outdoc@aol.com or look on that link for his phone and call.

I do agree that homemade is wonderful, but you have options, especially with cypro to help get the food you choose EATEN.

Thanks for your concern… I have been working with Dr. Gonto about Tayda's condition for years now. She has Fanconi, but she is also in a stage of renal insufficiency - she has elevated BUN and Creatitine levels which is why she now needs low protein instead of high protein. She is basically transitioning into the hybrid section of the protocol for dogs with renal failure.

I'll be looking into making homemade food for her. I know dogs can hold out for food when they decide they don't want something anymore - and I've tried the "tough love" approach where I put the food down for 15 minutes and then pick it up... but at this point I just cant stand to see her lose more weight. She still jumps in circles for pasta....though.... she loves that stuff. lol.

Tayda's mom… I don't have any advice about Tayda's diet, but you are obviously a very caring person to take the time to research and find the right course of Tayda... it must be hard making all of these decisions, hoping that each one is the "right" one.

In defense of pasta.... it is low protein, high carb.... so maybe the whole wheat stuff? Or whole grain rice.... just not oreos, potato chips, lol. 🙂

How old is your girl?

P.S. Knowing that this regime is necessitated because of Fanconi syndrome, I truly appreciate the passion behind people's posts here, where they insist on Fanconi screening for breeders. 😞

Michelle, your B is so lucky to have you as a pup parent. Thanks for setting such a positive example of true canine care.

I think there is a difference in "tough love" and treating a dog that is ill…. Tough love is for the dogs that are healthy...

Michelle, you are doing all the right things.... I know how difficult it is with a sick or elder dog and wanting them to eat... especially ones with renal failure.. as the renal failure makes them sick to their tummy, therefore they don't want to eat....

Just curious, could she be dehydrated, even just a little? Maybe SubQ fluids a couple times a week would help? I know with Maggii, when she was in renal failure, the fluids were a God sent... kept her going for almost two years....

@Tayda_Lenny:

Thanks for your concern… I have been working with Dr. Gonto about Tayda's condition for years now.

I'll be looking into making homemade food for her. I know dogs can hold out for food when they decide they don't want something anymore - and I've tried the "tough love" approach where I put the food down for 15 minutes and then pick it up... but at this point I just cant stand to see her lose more weight. She still jumps in circles for pasta....though.... she loves that stuff. lol.

Sorry I think you thought my emphasis was on Gonto/protocol. My "sick of hearing it" was about cyproheptadine. Because no matter what diet you choose, it is incredible for increasing appetite. I too tried the "tough love" and Sayblee got literally to where her ribs stood out. We ran every medical test.. she simply didn't care no matter what you fed her to eat enough not to be gaunt.

I am going to stick my neck out and say if she will eat the Sci Diet, feed it to her. As long as it is within the parameters of how much protein she should be getting, and it doesn't mess up her other levels. If you haven't already, check with Dr. Gonto…I would be interested to see what he thinks about this...whether the quality of the food is more important than getting the food in. Some dogs do absolutely great on Sci Di, or Iams, or Euk, or even Dog Chow...just like some people can live their whole, long lives on Big Macs. Her situation is unique, and I would feel exactly like you do, that I want her to have a few extra pounds.

Thanks everyone - this is hard and I just want to do what is right for Tayda. Tayda just turned 8 years old. She was diagnosed when she was 6.

Quercus - that is exactly what I thought - my husband and I were talking about this in the store and we compared feeding her SD to us eating Taco Bell everyday. Certainly not GOOD for you but if you are starving, will you turn it down because it's not top quality food? I wouldn't. I plan to look into making food for her… right now seems like it will be labor and time intensive, but I'm sure it's like anything, once you get the hang of it it's not so bad. I spend quite a while everyday trying to get her to eat the food, and to keep Lenny from eating her food (he will swoop down on it at any chance)... I suppose I could use that same amount of time making the food if it will make her eat it right away.

Debra, as for the cyproheptadine, I will ask my vet about it. I'm already having to give her about 20 pills a day, and she is not always great at takin them. She goes through phases, and right now she is resisting the pills. So, I'm hesitant to add any more. But I will ask her about it. (the vet, not Tayda, ha ha)

It is possible she could be a little dehydrated right now. For the last 10 days we've been on a cross country road trip (we moved from CA back to CT!) and they have been crated in the car while we were traveling. We of course stopped for breaks and such, and there is a bowl of water in the crate for them, but they tend to not drink much when they are crated. Now that we are here, and she is back to drinking all that she wants, maybe it will get better? I hope so.

Speaking of protein content - right on the bag of the Science Diet - it lists the "minimum" protein content as 16%. Which is great for Tayda - I've been trying to keep her under 20%. But then I look at the Science diet website and it lists the "average" protein content as 22%. UGH! So which is it?

http://www.hillspet.com/products/sd-canine-adult-healthy-mobility-dry.html

Average vs. minimum? What kind of spread do they have with these protein contents? I have an email into Science Diet about this.

Didn't know that you moved back to CT… but I would say that since you have been traveling, I would really wonder if with the stress of traveling (even when they are used to it) and with Fanconi, I would think that she might be dehydrated.... and as my Vet always told me, increase of water intact will not solve the problem. I would talk to the Vet about doing some SubQ for her and see if that helps... In the end it can't hurt...

Fortunately the cypro is a tiny pill 🙂 And hey, if it makes her HUNGRY it will make tricking her to eat other pills hidden in food easier 🙂

I hope I never am where you are, my heart goes out to you. As for Hills, I have fed their diet formula when necessary. Are they on my top 20 dog foods? No. But absolutely better than nothing and better than most general one.

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