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Alright I have two boxers, marley and buster. Buster is a year and a half and marley is five months. Buster is the highest energy dog I have ever met but he cant digest any rich foods. When he was a puppy he ate royal canin large breed puppy food and at 14 months i switched him to royal canin boxer food. On royal canin he never really had firm poops and he never really bulked up like he was supposed to. So a month ago I switched him to blue buffalo wilderness and he absolutely loves it. The problem is that his poops have become way softer and the vet is saying he seems to be low on certain enzymes to digest richer foods. He is a very high energy dog though and I really want to keep him on a high protien and high fat diet because he burns up regular food really fast a loses lots of weight. He is on a prescrition diet now. I think its hills something and he is losing weight like crazy. He is looking kind of sickly because he is still just as active but he isnt getting the fat and protein he needs. Anyone have any recommendation for me to switch him to a gentle food that still works well for a high energy dog?
 

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Take him off the prescription diet. All that stuff is junk!! If you want a high fat, high protein food, try looking at Innova Evo. It has 42% protein and 22% fat. They are a grain free kibble, so you are going to feed a lot less. Because this food is so rich, some dogs don't do well on it and some do fabulous. I guess you could try it...?
 

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The Hills food is junk. Vets have no business giving recommendations on nutrition, I wish they'd leave it to people who have actually studied the topic. gurr.

I recommend looking at a limited ingredient food to help pinpoint the issue. California Natural is a great one, and has a lot of good reviews. To pack on the weight you can add some fatty meat, cooked or raw, whichever you're more comfortable with, as well. 80/20 beef comes to mind.
Grain Free foods work wonders if grains are the issue. Otherwise, a lot of dogs with sensitive tummies can't tolerate it, but it can be worth a try. They are incredibly rich though, so be careful with the introduction.
A lot of dogs have trouble digesting kibble because they have a lot of ingredients that are species-innapropriate and therefore very hard to digest, so thankfully there are other ways of feeding if you can't seem to find one that agrees with your boxers. I raw feed my Boxer and she does fantastic.
I'm sure by now you know not all kibbles are created equal. There are some good ones out there, but more not-so-good ones.
 

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I would also recommend getting off of the prescription garbage asap! There are many other grain free foods out there, such as Wellness Core, Orijen, Evo, TOTW, Nature's Variety Instinct, and Horizon Legacy. Also keep in mind that it takes about 4 - 8 weeks for the food to get fully integrated into the dog's system, so it may take a little while for the stools to firm up. As CorgiPaws recommended, try adding real meat to the diet as that should help with the weight gain, at least. Also, if you are going to add meat, you could try the more limited ingredient diets like Natural Balance and California Natural to try to figure out what it is that is causing your dog's tummy so many problems! Either way, add meat!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I know the Hills stuff is junk but it has firmed his stool to how its supposed to be. He has never had firm stools until now and I am starting to get a little worried that he will have to be on a cheaper food and less healthy food to keep him healthy. My other boxer marley can eat absolutely anything and he is just fine but I dont know what else to do for buster. Im guessing all of the foods you guys have recommended are really rich and I think that is the problem with his runny stools.

The reason I took him to the vet in the first place is because I thought he had gotten giardia again because his stool was so runny and also a little bit of blood in it and this was after he had been on the blue buff wilderness food for over a month. He had giardia two months ago and that was a huge mess. It turns out it was bacteria and not giardia this time but it is really strange. They also said that he was low on some digestive enzymes and he was having problems digesting this really rich food. Do you think that if I keep switching from rich food to rich food that it will get better or should I just buy the junk food and give him meat and supplements, or is there a really good food out there that is more gentle?
 

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I know the Hills stuff is junk but it has firmed his stool to how its supposed to be.
this is because RX diets include ingredients to mask whatever they are claiming to cure.

Im guessing all of the foods you guys have recommended are really rich and I think that is the problem with his runny stools.
Nope. I personally warned against a gran free food at this point in time, as they tend to be incredibl rich. If you're not open to a home prepared diet, then I recommend giving California Natural. It's a decent quality, very limited ingredient list, and not rich at all. I've seen wonderful results with it for many people I have recommended it to working at my last job.


Do you think that if I keep switching from rich food to rich food that it will get better
Probably not, UNLESS it is the grains themselves causing the problems. In which case a grain free diet would be ideal. I think it is a safer route to try a bland, limited ingredient diet like the california natural than to jump straight to something like Evo. While I consider Evo to be a great food, I've seen a lot of dogs who are already sensitive to rich foods just get worse on evo.

or should I just buy the junk food and give him meat and supplements
Junk food is the easy way out, but never the right answer.

and give him meat and supplements
Meat, yes. supplements, no, not for the time being. While you are still pinpointing the issue, you want to add as little to the diet as possible.

or is there a really good food out there that is more gentle?
Here's what I suggest.
Buy some California Natural Chicken and Rice formula. Start phasing the dog onto that, and supplement it with Chicken. Do this for 8-12 weeks, (yeah, figuring out digestive problems is a long process. took us 7 months) If you don't see a lot of improvement, try a different formula, with a diferent protien source. That's what's great about cali nat. It only has one protien source in each formula, and one grain, so it makes it much easier to figure out what does and doesn't trigger the digestive upset.
If you are satisfied with these results, start supplementing with other protien sources. If ll goes well, your troubled days will be over. If you hit a bump in the road, you'll know what caused it and know what ingredient to avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Alright that sounds perfect i need to find somewhere in montana that has california natural and we will see how it works. Thank you very much for the help.
 

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Alright found a place that has california natural but looking at it I see that it has relatively low protein. Im guessing you are recomending the chicken because of the low protein in the dry food. Also should i just feed him raw chicken breast or what would be best?
 

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how long did you take to transition him from royal canin to BB? Too sudden of a change usually results in digestive issues, add an enzyme supplement to his food, which helps the transition, I always reccomend Prozyme because it really works, I usually mix it in with 4 tbsp's of plain yogirt since its a powder which helps to coat the kibble and then mix it.
there are several other brands on the market, Orijen and Horizon Legacy are excellent for high energy breeds.
 

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how long did you take to transition him from royal canin to BB? Too sudden of a change usually results in digestive issues, add an enzyme supplement to his food, which helps the transition, I always reccomend Prozyme because it really works, I usually mix it in with 4 tbsp's of plain yogirt since its a powder which helps to coat the kibble and then mix it.
there are several other brands on the market, Orijen and Horizon Legacy are excellent for high energy breeds.
I took two weeks slowly adding more and more blue buff to his food, the thing is that his poops were never solid even with the royal canin and I think that going to a food even richer that royal canin made it much worse. He is either allergic to something in both of the foods or they are both too rich for him.
 

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The Hills food is junk. Vets have no business giving recommendations on nutrition, I wish they'd leave it to people who have actually studied the topic. gurr.

I recommend looking at a limited ingredient food to help pinpoint the issue. California Natural is a great one, and has a lot of good reviews. To pack on the weight you can add some fatty meat, cooked or raw, whichever you're more comfortable with, as well. 80/20 beef comes to mind.
Grain Free foods work wonders if grains are the issue. Otherwise, a lot of dogs with sensitive tummies can't tolerate it, but it can be worth a try. They are incredibly rich though, so be careful with the introduction.
A lot of dogs have trouble digesting kibble because they have a lot of ingredients that are species-innapropriate and therefore very hard to digest, so thankfully there are other ways of feeding if you can't seem to find one that agrees with your boxers. I raw feed my Boxer and she does fantastic.
I'm sure by now you know not all kibbles are created equal. There are some good ones out there, but more not-so-good ones.
yes i agree. california natural would be your best bet. it has simple ingredients, made for dogs with allergies and sensitive systems. you may also want to try some baked chicken and brown rice. raw may upset his system.
 

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Todd, I think your way off base in your last statement, that would be the best thing for this dog in my opinion.
 

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you're right. i should have elaborated a bit more there. i have known some, generally small, dogs who have had very loose stools with raw meat. i would try raw though. i've heard that it digests faster than cooked meat, therefore could help with stomach issues. just be aware that it may not be for him. give it a shot and see what happens.

i recently watched a show where a man claimed that he had stomach cancer, among other issues, and his pain was releived when he decided to start eating raw meat, which he originally intended to kill himself with. wild isn't it?

yea, i'd try raw first, and if can't handle it, try cooking the meat with some brown rice to bind him up. good luck!
 

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Its very possible, maybe something with moderate protein, around 34-35%? I've heard that people who feed Orijen have had stomach issues, switched to Acana Provincial and the problems have dissapeared. Its made by the same company, same ingridients, just lowe protein:
Champion Petfoods | ACANA | Products - Puppy Small Breed

While I think CN is an ok brand, I would be concerned with protein levels for such high energy dog and possible drastic weight loss, muscle wasting. I would try something grain-free, slightly lower protein like acana before completely dismissing it.
 

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I also think Acana is a great grainfree food, my rawfed dogs when switched for housesitting reasons did excellent on it.
 

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Alright found a place that has california natural but looking at it I see that it has relatively low protein. Im guessing you are recomending the chicken because of the low protein in the dry food. Also should i just feed him raw chicken breast or what would be best?
I recommended the chicken formula because all of them have lower protien content than what I think is acceptable, which is why I recommended supplementing with fresh meat. They have a lamb formula, a herring one, and a chicken one. I recommend sticking with ONE source so you can figure out what the problem is, and of the three, chicken is the most affordable and readily avaliable. By all means if you can get your hands on lamd or herring at a price you're willing to pay, go for it. That is why the chicken formula, supplemented with fresh chicken to add protien content seems like the best option for right now.

If you want to dive into grain free, go for it, but the ONLY way that would help is if grains are the problem. FOr a dog that has sensitive tummy issues, I feel they are far too rich.

I also agree that a whole raw diet would be the absolute best for this dog, but we are in the kibble section, so that is why I am giving kibble recommendations. :rolleyes:
 

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i've heard that it digests more slowly than cooked meat, therefore could help with stomach issues.
Raw meat digests faster than anything else for a dog because they are carnivores and therefore designed to eat it. Cooked meat digests slower than raw, and kibble digests slower than cooked meat. With tummy issues, you'd want to have a food that digests quickly, and has high digestibility, with limited plat matter included. The longer it takes to digest, the more likely it is to cause stomach upset.

just be aware that it may not be for him. give it a shot and see what happens.
if it's a dog, it's for him.
 

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Raw meat digests faster than anything else for a dog because they are carnivores and therefore designed to eat it. Cooked meat digests slower than raw, and kibble digests slower than cooked meat. With tummy issues, you'd want to have a food that digests quickly, and has high digestibility, with limited plat matter included. The longer it takes to digest, the more likely it is to cause stomach upset.


if it's a dog, it's for him.
oooops! major brain fart. lol i meant to say that raw meat digests faster than cooked meat. i meant to saw cooked meat digests slower, rather than raw. sry if i created any confusion. ill edit my previous comment.
 

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yea, overall i'd try raw first, and if for some reason he cant handle it, try cooking the meat. id also add some canned pumpkin to his diet, which helps firm up stool. The key here is trial and error, to see what works best for your individual dog. hope this helps!:smile:
 

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oooops! major brain fart. lol i meant to say that raw meat digests faster than cooked meat. i meant to saw cooked meat digests slower, rather than raw. sry if i created any confusion. ill edit my previous comment.
lol, makes much more sense now.
I was begining to wonder where the heck you got your info. lol:tongue:
 
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