Dog diarrhoea, gastritis and IBD

Many of our dogs at some point in their lives develop digestive issues unfortunately. Some vets report seeing 4-5 cases of diarrhoea daily! Some also develop gastritis or IBD (irritable bowel disorder). Chilli used to be able to eat anything ranging from dried dog kibble to eggs to various meats and pasta. But in the last two years this has changed. Due to a substitute vet giving him the wrong antibiotics for a suspected urinary infection, Chilli’s gut never recovered. Every few weeks he would get an upset tummy, vomit stomach acid and have bad diarrhoea. My lovely vet treated this with probiotics and homeopathic remedies which helped a lot. However there were no available tests at the time to investigate this further.

How do I know what my dog is allergic to?

The most common allergens are proteins from dairy, beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, soy or wheat gluten. Dogs react with hypersensitivity depending on the level of reaction to a given food. Proteins are not the only food that dogs can react badly to. Grains can be challenging for a dog’s digestion as well as pretty much anything. The easiest way to figure out what your dog may be allergic to is to put your dog on a hypoallergenic diet for maybe 2 months and then individually reintroduce each food type and observe the reaction. The hypoallergenic diet is a sort of “reset button”, giving your dog’s system a change to calm down and stop reacting. When you reintroduce any food do it one thing at a time and make notes of the reaction. This process of elimination will show you what is ok for your dog’s digestive system and what pushes it over the edge.

Dysbiosis profile

Things have changed in the last few months – there is an experimental test available to analyse the complete dog gut flora, testing for any imbalance in the bacterias. So we did this test for Chilli and discovered he has a few imbalances in his intestines. Chilli’s vet has done his research and discovered that the available supplements to help with this do not contain some of the most important probiotics a dog would need to balance the bacteria. So until this is resolved I have been advised to put Chilli on a hypoallergenic diet.

Chilli’s hypoallergenic diet

Apparently chicken and beef are two meats with the highest allergens, causing bad reactions in many dogs. Grains can also be a bit tricky. So a hypoallergenic diet is one which has the fewest factors of possible irritants.

Here’s what Chilli has on his daily menu! And how he reacted!

Venison – I dice it into tiny cubes and feed it raw! He literally inhales them.

Duck – he is not a fan of it raw (perhaps it’s too fatty) but loves it grilled in the oven

Pheasant – I also grilled it and his tummy had a bad reaction to it. Could be because it’s hung.

Tripe – I bought it canned and Chilli was not impressed 

Organs – Liver and heart is extremely nutritional but as a mainly vegetarian person I find it impossible to touch or handle these meats sorry Chilli!

Fish – raw or cooked, if your dog goes for it, it’s extremely good for them

Oat biscuits with veg – I have a little production line going in my kitchen 🙂 Recipe at the end!

Omega 3 supplements – help as an anti inflammatory and reduce shedding of fur. Also makes the coat very shiny!

Treats – I have tried and tested various as many irritate his gut. So far J&R Pet Products Duck Pate and Waitrose Chewy & delicious deli sausages (tripe and venison) are doing well.

Another tip to help ease digestion is to feed protein and carbohydrates separately. The gut uses different enzymes and acids to digest different food types in different ways. Proteins are made of a more complex molecule so the body takes longer to break them down in digestion. So if you mix the two food sources some say neither gets digested properly or it takes the body a lot more energy and strain to digest them equally.

What’s the hypoallergenic verdict?

The above changes have made a massive change to Chilli’s gut health! Since I started feeding him the hypoallergenic diet, he’s had one or two little tummy growls but that settled within a couple of hours and no diarrhea. The only bad reaction was to the pheasant so I won’t be feeding that again. We will be doing another test to discover how the gut flora is doing now. I’ll report on the findings!

Homemade hypoallergenic dog biscuits

Ingredients:

2 duck breast fillets

Oats (the original Quaker I use)

Oat bran

Water

2 courgettes

4 carrots

Instructions:

  • Remove the fat from the duck 
  • Place the duck breasts, courgettes, carrots with a tiny bit of water into a food processor and blend
  • Pour the mix into a bowl and add the oats until the mixture is spreadable. I also add some oat bran (don’t put too much because it could spoil the taste)
  • Have a few baking trays ready and spread the mixture very thinly onto the trays
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC and bake for approximately 25mins (depending on number of trays)
  • The biscuits are ready when they’re sightly golden and not soggy inside
  • Let them cool down and chop into desired size
  • I pack them in ziplock containers and freeze
  • Enjoy!