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Chaz has been having a lot of tummy trouble for the last few weeks. At first we thought it was the stress of selling our house, all the people coming in and out, and the general level of our stress that was throwing his tummy off. But after having to put him on a boiled chicken and rice diet, I had to start paying more attention.
Chaz is a picky eater. He’ll more often than not walk away from food than eat. I’ve never owned a dog that didn’t inhale anything even remotely resembling food as soon as their nose caught a sniff of it. So when the vet suggested a boiled chicken and rice diet until his tummy settled down, I doubted he’d eat it.
As is normal when I think I’ve finally figured this dog out, he proved me wrong and ate with gusto.
Yet, when everything seemed to be settling down and I started adding in his canned food again it all went sideways, again.
After several sleepless nights of cleaning up sick puppy poo, I called the vet and set up a consultation. I know the signs of food allergy and it would appear that my dog is allergic to something in his dog food.
Through the sleepless nights, I decided to put Chaz on probiotics. He had been on them before, after an incident where he had eaten some detergent, and I really liked how his tummy reacted while on them. So when I found some at the health food store, I decided to give it a try.
The Vets Conclusion
Chaz is allergic to something, but it didn’t appear to be food. He had signs of allergy but not the typical food allergy. Go figure, he is my dog after all.
I had wondered if he was allergic to an additive. I know I am, and when I react to his food it does cause one to wonder what is going on with him. However, dogs apparently aren’t as susceptible to the same food allergies as humans are. Apparently they typically are allergic to pork. Who knew? So while I was reacting to the additives and soy in his food, apparently he was just reacting to the additives.
The Vet thought it was an additive allergy, not a food allergy, that the dog was reactive to. She said that while we had done well keeping him hydrated, we needed to find him a different food. Since there is no test for additive allergies, the Vet suggested I put him on probiotics (check) and the Vet had another suggestion.
Our Vet suggested I take the dog through the store, armed with a list of brands she recommended, and let Chaz choose his own food and treats.
Basically I was to let him smell the bags of kibble and the one he showed the most interest in was the one I was to get.
While we had talked about a local brand of dog food I had found for our previous dog when he developed health issues, and she didn’t have a problem with Chaz eating it, she still recommended I try one of her suggested brands first. Chaz, however, had other plans.
I walked through the pet store with Chaz comfortably tucked into my jacket, and we found every brand the Vet listed. At each brand I found the appropriate bag for his size and set it in the basket in front of him and watched to see what he would do. At each brand he gave the cursory sniff, then turned his head in disinterest.
How do I know it was disinterest? Because I left the bag in his sniffing zone while I read the ingredients. All of them contained things I react to, and each one was passed over by himself (aka Chaz).
What To Do Next
Chaz is not a service animal. While I do consider him to be a member of the family, to be taken care of to the best of my abilities, I know that he can’t simply be taken everywhere with me. It isn’t right to the people who rely on their service dogs for me to take my pet to a store that isn’t advertised as being a pet friendly store.
However, I was desperate to find something my dog would gladly eat.
So I walked into a local health food store with Chaz securely zipped into my jacket, and headed straight for the pet food isle. Not stopping near any other isle that contained food or products.
I pulled several of the more expensive bags into the cart for him to sniff, all received the same reaction…a sniff or two and he lost interest.
Finally, after several bags were dismissed I found the bag. The same brand as the canned food I had found that he liked is the brand of dry food he went nuts over.
I placed the bag of kibble in front of him and he went nuts trying to get into the bag.
Here we were feeding him a plant protein diet, low in fat, and he chooses a high (meat) protein and fat diet, and not only that, he’s keeping it down and wanting to eat.
Now he’s still not a voracious eater, I put his food out in the morning and sometimes it sits there till evening, but he is eating most of it every day and we aren’t having any of the nasty side effects we were having.
While I am not the hover pet mom I often feel like (the Vet told me so). I am very thankful for Veterinarians who are willing to think outside the box when it comes to taking care of my dog.
While I very much consider my pet a member of the family, I also do not loose sight that it is still just a pet.
With that in mind, finding a dog food that he would eat was a priority, and I’m very thankful for stores who understand where I was in my attempt to care for my pet.
What I took away from this is that much as a mother would with her children, I have to trust my instincts where Chaz is concerned. I had a feeling it was his food that was making him sick, but at the same time I felt hopeless to do something about it. When in reality I could have saved him a lot of agony if I had of acted on my instincts to change his food sooner.
It amazes me how similar a dog and human are in medical terms. From food allergies, to seasonal allergies they often need the same types of medications and care that we humans do.