This blog includes photos of poo, you have been warned. I've been waiting to write this blog for a long time but in order to get the before and after photos I needed, one of my dogs to get an upset tummy. It didn't take long after Gavin the Dane missed his Gut Dust for a week due to my slackness of making a new batch over Christmas. Gut Dust is a gut health product we make and sell which has 9 strains of pro-biotics and resistant starch. Upset tummies can happen to any dog or human on any diet even when they take pro-biotics, just like us, for whatever reason that we usually never discover, we get an upset tummy, mind you, I don't call KFC "Bowel Cleanse" for no reason! Great Danes have particularly sensitive tummies, they're such a pest of a breed when it comes to digestion. Gavin was raised until 1 year of age on dry food and *bangs head* it was awful, we spent the first 12 months of his life hosing sloppy poos into the grass. At 12 months, my commitment to his breeder of feeding him their recommended dry food whilst he was growing was done and I transferred him to a raw diet and we haven't looked back! Large dogs in general can have more challenges for the following reasons: 1. The weight of the intestines in large dogs (>25 kilos) is only 3 percent of their body weight compared to 7 percent in smaller breeds. This means there is less intestinal area for digestion and absorption of the nutrients in the diet. The bigger the dog, the bigger the problem. 2. The time that food spends in the colon is longer for large breed dogs. That means that the colon bacteria have longer to ferment food products. This increases by-products that promote more water in the colon, causing more watery, frequent stools(1).
The most common recommendation to pet parents who have dogs with upset tummies is to give the dog a diet of 3 parts white rice and 1 part boiled chicken. Some more savvy Vets have abandoned the white rice in favour for alternatives such as high fibre cooked pumpkin and some have even ditched the Chicken in favour for cooked low fat Turkey mince that is much easier on an upset tummy(2). Fresh food feeding Vet, Dr. Karen Becker states "Pumpkin is very rich in soluble fiber (the type that dissolves in water to form a viscous gel) that coats and soothes irritated bowels. Soluble fiber also delays gastric emptying, slowing down GI transit times, and therefore the number of episodes of diarrhea.(2)"
Up until recently we had used Oats instead of Rice for bland diets but now we're using the cooked pumpkin and get much better results and the dogs seem much more open to it as well. Dr. Karen Becker recommends that if your dog doesn't eat Pumpkin you can try cooked sweet potato and if they can't have Turkey then try Chicken or Cod but both have higher fat contents than Turkey.
Now, most pet parents will know when their dog has an upset tummy, the poo could be watery or simply lacks form or it could be like this and contain excess mucus ewwwwwww.
Mucus poo is typically some type of bowel inflammation which can come from a variety of causes from constipation, toxin overload, parasites, eating things they shouldn't and some more serious illnesses. Gavin is quite partial to eating wild life poo at the park, Gavin crack I call it.
When Gavin started having these mucus poos, he was fasted for 12 hours to rest his digestive system and then I popped him on a bland diet of cooked turkey mince + cooked pumpkin. The ratio of meat to pumpkin is 50:50 and you feed them 2-3 smaller meals per day. If you ask a dog with an upset tummy to eat 1 big meal per day then it's not going to be pretty.
For the purpose of this experiment, the only thing I did was change his diet, I did not give him his Gut Dust. After 3 days we were still not seeing any improvements, in-fact one day it was worse. At Day 3, his Gut Dust was reintroduced at 1 teaspoon per 10 kilos of body weight, he got 4 teaspoons in the morning mixed in with his food and 4 teaspoons in the evening. His first poo post this approx. 16 hours later was mostly formed and his 2nd poo (as shown) was formed. You'll see grass in this as well, this is him self selecting to try and heal himself. At this rate we expect to see some more normal looking poos in the next 24 hours but massive improvement from adding the pro-biotic.
My recommendation to pet parents dealing with upset tummies is not just to change the diet but also get a pro-biotic into the dog, a human one is fine if that is all you can get your hands on. You can also double dose them during these periods of gastric upset.
Our usual course of action is to also add slippery elm bark powder but in this instance I was running a little experiment so I didn't add it. You can get this at Greenpet every dog parent should have a bag - follow the instructions on the packaging but if you need a dosage rate, you can give 1/2 a teaspoon per 5 kilos of body weight, I would typically make this into a paste with water and then mix into their food twice per day. Continue to use until your dog has normal stools for at least 1 week.
If your dog hasn't come right at about day 3-4, it's time to see your Vet and if you can, take in poo sample. If you see any blood in your dogs stool or they don't seem well in themselves, see your Vet right away. ---- References 1. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/june/why-large-breed-dogs-have-poorer-food-digestion-32839 2. https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/07/26/pets-bland-diet.aspx