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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 10-month-old Lab/Australian Shepherd. When I adopted him 3.5 months ago, he weighed 50 lbs. He's probably about 60 now.

I tried Nature's Variety Instinct for a month, but it never sat well with him, and his stool constantly ranged from soft-serve ice cream to a vile spray, so I switched him to a food that contains grains (Nature's Variety Prairie). It helped a lot. His stool is usually formed and hard now, especially the first round -- I get soft-serve only if he tries grinding out a second poop during the walk. So I think the food is fine.

I feed him twice a day, at 8am and 8pm. I was feeding 2 cups of Prairie per meal, but he was almost always leaving about a half cup in his bowl. I switched to 1.5 cups, and he still left some (but less than 1/2 cup). Is he telling me this is too much food, or is that just the way he eats? Should I go down to 1 cup, twice daily, or is that too little? As for exercise, I take him to the dog park every morning for 60-90 minutes, where he runs and wrestles with the other dogs, and I walk him for an hour when I get home from work.
 

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I'd base your analysis of how much and how well he's doing more on ... a. his weight. You should be able to feel his ribs but not see them. and b. his stools(firm and small)....

I wouldn't base any conclusion on how much he leaves in his bowl. My guys devour their food. Some Dogs graze more.

I would say this...if you really see him not eating --and-- losing weight, I'd get him into the Vet. Doesn't sound like the case though from what you said.

I might also start trying some new foods just to see if your boy might be a little happier on another brand/formula. Lots of good options on par with NV.

Just my opinion. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Stools have been firm for the most part (only mushy when he tries to go twice in one trip outside). They're definitely not always small though -- but that said, he poops only twice a day.

I hear you on trying other foods -- he *never* goes right for the kibble when I put it down; he usually waits 10 minutes or so. but if I make him boiled chicken and rice (which I did quite often when he was having problems on Instinct), he goes to town on it. I bought three bags of Prairie, each a different flavor, to try to spice things up a bit. Honestly I was kind of relieved when I saw that his stools were getting harder on Prairie, so I just bought a bunch of it. Switching to Instinct and then again to Prairie was kind of exhausting.

As for his weight, I always thought he looked a bit thin, but my dad and people at the dog park say he's fine. Here's a short video of what he looks like now: YouTube - Yogi and Teddy
 

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Jack,

I'm at work now and can't get on Youtube. Most indications from what you've said is that you might just have a picky boy.

I would try to get his stools firmed up though.

What used to work for me was to get on a very simple food like Cal Natural...limited ingredients....and work from there. I'm not a fan of the P & G takeover but still appears to be a decent food. And they are now offerring a Grain Free line. Just a thought.

I never like to see my guys w/ soft stools for a long period of time. Something isn't working right if that is going on, especially for an extended period of time. You shouldn't be seeing soft stools for weeks on end.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Kevin -- thanks for your replies. I hate the idea of switching food yet again, but I might have to. Switching to Prairie seemed to harden everything up, but I still get the softer stool some of the time.

Can overfeeding cause soft stool on its own? Maybe I should give it a week of 1 cup twice/day before making another food switch. I'm not necessarily wed to the Nature's Variety brand, but I do have a decent amount of it on hand now.
 

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Kevin -- thanks for your replies. I hate the idea of switching food yet again, but I might have to. Switching to Prairie seemed to harden everything up, but I still get the softer stool some of the time.

Can overfeeding cause soft stool on its own? Maybe I should give it a week of 1 cup twice/day before making another food switch. I'm not necessarily wed to the Nature's Variety brand, but I do have a decent amount of it on hand now.


Overfeeding is one of the primary causes of loose stools. I should have said that in my earlier replies. I'd say next is something in the formula that probably doesn't agree w/ his system. You can certainly control amount fed.
 

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I watched your video..he is adorable!! :biggrin: I don't think he is too thin, at all. He would even still look perfect if he lost a pound or three. If he is still leaving food in his dish (and not going back to eat it) I wouldn't worry about feeding even less. If he is regularly leaving 1/4 cup in his dish, then give him 1/4 less and see what happens. Or if you want him to maintain his weight where it is, you could try adding some warm water to the food and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Sometimes, this can entice a dog to eat more. I wouldn't switch brands, it looks like Prairie is working well for your dog.
 

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I agree that he a little too heavy. He is DEFINITELY not too thin. His loose stools are probably from over feeding. Cut him back and see if they don't firm up.

You should be able to feel his ribs easily. He looks pretty roly poly in the video. No offense! He is cute as can be. Just a little heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Haha -- "roly poly"! No offense taken; thanks for the comments. I'm cutting back to 1 heaping/overflowing cup twice daily and seeing where that takes me.
 

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Jack,

2 1/2-3 cups/day is ALOT of premium food for a 60lb. Dog.

I have 2 guys both around 55 lbs and they get 1 1/2 cups/day and hold weight no issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, now that I think about it, I'm wondering if his problems with Instinct were just due to my overfeeding him. I wish I'd known then how wrong the suggested amounts on the bag were. I realize those are meant to be only guidelines, but for my dog's age and weight, it recommends up to 6 cups per day of Prairie!

I fed him only 2 cups yesterday, and this morning he was much more eager to eat (1 cup) and finished it all in one go.
 

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Jack,

2 1/2-3 cups/day is ALOT of premium food for a 60lb. Dog.

I have 2 guys both around 55 lbs and they get 1 1/2 cups/day and hold weight no issue.
It really depends on the activity level of the dog. My GSP who currently weighs ~ 58lbs would be skin & bones if all he got was 1 1/2 cups of his Innova EVO. He's currently getting ~ 2 1/2 cups per day. But he is a high energy dog in a breed that is well known for being very active. If he were a couch potato, he'd certainly be scaled down.

As for when he eats, he is definitely self-regulating. We put it down after he's had enough time to cool down after his run, and he may or may not touch it until 8 o'clock at night. And if there's anything left over the next day we simply top it up to the usual 2 1/2 cups. He may get 2-4 "Mother Hubbard" mini-biscuits during the day, but it doesn't always happen.

However, on days when he is field trialing/training/hunting & putting out tons of energy we'll supplement his dry food with some fresh-cooked protein like chicken or hamburger.
 
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