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Discussion Starter #1
I adopted a Lab/Australian Shepherd mix 11 weeks ago. He's almost 10 months old now. The rescue had him on Purina Puppy and suggested I change him to a better food. My trainer recommended Instinct foods; she told me she feeds her Rottweiler kibble, canned, and raw. I gradually switched him to the kibble, over the course of a month, and he had really explosive diarrhea at the end of the switch for a day or two. His poops were soft for several days after that, but eventually it became somewhat hard again (but never to the point it was when I first adopted him). I tried working in the Instinct Raw over the past two days -- one medallion with his kibble at night, and this morning he had borderline diarrhea (after some hard poop).

I'm wondering if the Instinct brand just isn't for him? Or did the raw mess him up? I've also noticed his hair seems more dry, and he's scratching/itching himself a ton. Does this warrant a trip to the vet? Should I try a different brand? When I've noticed his poop getting really soft, I've incorporated boiled chicken and rice with his kibble, and that seems to do the trick.
 

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AS much as I like NV, my dog is allergic to yeast and has similar issues to yours. Besides that the instinct line is not appropriate for large breed pups (I think maybe their rabbit formula is ok cal/phos. wise).

Also, dont feed raw and kibble in the same day, they digest at different rates which would explain the issues that youre having.

You can try their prarie line(until he's 1 if you want to switch to grain free later), which is still decent. When you transition, it would help to add some plain yogurt or canned pumpkin (not mix) into the food.

If that doesent work, theres a lot of other options out there, depending whats available to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks -- didn't know that about feeding raw and kibble in the same day.

I'm not hell-bent on any brand, or even grain-free food -- I just want something that's good for him without breaking the bank. I'm going to take a trip to the closest pet store today and see what they offer. I know they had Prarie.

Question: When you said, "You can try their prarie line(until he's 1 if you want to switch to grain free later)," did you mean Prarie isn't appropriate after age 1? Or that I shouldn't attempt grain-free until he's at least 1?

I'll try the canned pumpkin and plain yogurt.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Question: When you said, "You can try their prarie line(until he's 1 if you want to switch to grain free later)," did you mean Prarie isn't appropriate after age 1? Or that I shouldn't attempt grain-free until he's at least 1?
the Ca levels in Instinct are too high for large breed pups, so the Prarie line would work til hes done with most of his skeletal growth (roughly 1 year). Prarie is most certainly fine after that, but at that point, many of the higher Ca grain free foods like Instinct could be used as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Buddy.

How slowly should I transition to Prarie? I usually give him 2 cups per meal (2 meals per day). Should I do 1/2 cup of Prarie and 1.5 cups of Instinct for a week, then do 1 cup of each, etc., until he's fully on Prarie? I guess I'm wondering how different these lines are from each other, and if it's as much of a shock as going from, say, Purina to Instinct.

EDIT: I added 1 tbsp of canned pumpkin to his food yesterday and today, and it seemed to work great! Thanks for the tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just a quick update -- I'm in the process of switching my dog to Prarie, and his poops are getting harder by the day. I've also been adding a tablespoon of pumpkin to each meal (2 meals/day). I transitioned exactly how I mentioned in my previous post, above, and he seems to be doing really well. This Monday I'll be going with 1.5 cups of Prarie and 1/2 cup of Instinct. Really bizarre to me how something like lack of grains would cause diarrhea, but switching to a kibble with grains sure seems to be working for me!
 

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Every dog is unique. I tried my Lhasa on the Prairie Venison because she had been raised on Venison food for allergies and it caused horrendous colitis in her. Turned out it was the olive oil that NV uses in their food.

My Chow had trouble with grain free foods when he was a real young pup and did really well on Innova puppy. I didn't transition him to grain free Orijen Large Breed puppy until he was over 6 months old and then I had to do it REALLY slowly and mix the two for awhile. It's never one size fits all. Right now I have my two dogs on two different kibbles because one has an allergy to the Orijen. It takes awhile to figure out what will work best for your dog. Good luck and don't hesitate to try a variety with your dog, just do it slowly.
 

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The problem with Natures Varieties products are they include Montmorillonite Clay as an ingredient and if you google this you well find it contains 2 toxic ingredients. My dog can not eat any of their products. My dogs eyes start gooing up and he has bad poo. Why put a CLAY in a dog food anyway?? Might as well be feeding corn or wheat in my book. They say it contain some nutrients, hummm....:confused:
 

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From what I have always understood about the clay, is that it absorbs poisons from the intestinal tract, and acts as a detoxifier. And does contain many minerals. And is well known in holistic healing practices. I know that it was the only thing that helped my girl, when none of the vets could figure out why she was passing blood constantly.

Jack,
I noticed that you were feeding 4 cups of the Instinct, that seems like a bit much for a Lab/Aussie mix, since it is a rich grain free food. 4 cups of the Prairie should be ok, and it sounds as if it is working. Like the others have said....Instinct has too much calcium/phosphorus for a pup, but if you want to change back to Instinct at 1 year, I would recommend only 3 cups. Hope everything works out!!!:biggrin:
 

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From what I have always understood about the clay, is that it absorbs poisons from the intestinal tract, and acts as a detoxifier. And does contain many minerals. And is well known in holistic healing practices. I know that it was the only thing that helped my girl, when none of the vets could figure out why she was passing blood constantly.

Jack,
I noticed that you were feeding 4 cups of the Instinct, that seems like a bit much for a Lab/Aussie mix, since it is a rich grain free food. 4 cups of the Prairie should be ok, and it sounds as if it is working. Like the others have said....Instinct has too much calcium/phosphorus for a pup, but if you want to change back to Instinct at 1 year, I would recommend only 3 cups. Hope everything works out!!!:biggrin:
Ditto. I know many people who feed some sort of clay mixture daily to their horses (and maybe dogs) for those reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Jack,
I noticed that you were feeding 4 cups of the Instinct, that seems like a bit much for a Lab/Aussie mix, since it is a rich grain free food. 4 cups of the Prairie should be ok, and it sounds as if it is working. Like the others have said....Instinct has too much calcium/phosphorus for a pup, but if you want to change back to Instinct at 1 year, I would recommend only 3 cups. Hope everything works out!!!:biggrin:
Really? I was just going by what it said on the back of the Instinct bag, and it was actually the low range of what it recommended for his age (10 months) and weight (55 lbs.). The back of the Prairie bag actually recommends up to 6.25 cups of the Prairie each day.
 

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The back of the Prairie bag actually recommends up to 6.25 cups of the Prairie each day.
The bags always recommend too much food. Thats a common trait of all dog food companies. I guess they feel the more you feed, the more they sell.
 

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The bags always recommend too much food. Thats a common trait of all dog food companies. I guess they feel the more you feed, the more they sell.
Yeah, I thought of that after I hit Reply. Thanks for the tip.

It reminds me of how toothpaste commercials always show a disgusting blob of toothpaste on the toothbrush, when any dentist will tell you that it should be the size of a pea.
 

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My pup also did very poorly on grain-free foods. We tried evo, orijen and instinct all with the same problems. I had to add a bit of science diet w/d for extra fiber just to get his poops normal. Not being a fan of that food, I made the cold turkey (actually it was chicken) switch to raw... Everything has been great since on 100% raw.

The grain-free food sounded like a great idea to me, but I quickly learned that a good number of dogs don't do well on it. The kind of symptoms you've described are from inflammation in the lower GI track. The fiber keeps things happier in the lower GI track where kibble spends a lot of time which is why dogs like yours and mine can't handle kibble with not enough fiber. Raw food passes through the system twice as fast, so the lack of fiber is not disruptive to the lower GI track.

-Bryan
 
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