The Dog Food Dilemma

We have had another issue to deal with at home while I’ve also been helping to care of my mom and her needs after her bad fall a few weeks ago.  And while it may sound like a minor thing, it has actually been a pretty major issue during this same time period.  We have had a dog food problem for the first time ever in our twenty-plus years as dog owners.

I will try to put this as delicately as possible on this fine Monday morning.

Little Red's Food Bowl
Little Red’s Food Bowl

Little Red was only fed premium Taste of the Wild grain-free food at the breeder’s home.  She has bred standard poodles for thirty years and swears by the grain-free food.  This was a new piece of information for us, but we were interested in pursuing it further, as it may help to prevent allergies and ear infections.

Our vet wants Little Red on a large breed puppy formula dog food for his first couple of years, and since we have used the same brand of premium food with all of our dogs over the years, we agreed to gradually switch him over to it and off of the grain-free food while he is a puppy.  Girly Girl has only ever eaten the premium dog food that also has grain in it, formulated for large breed dogs.  She is now two and has transitioned from puppy food to the regular dog food in that brand.

In the first week after my mom’s fall, we began to transition Little Red over to the premium large breed puppy food.  That was a *huge* mistake.

Within three days, he had ear infections in both ears, diarrhea and was scratching almost constantly.  I was up with him through the night for three nights, all during the week right after my mom fell and was experiencing her panic attacks for several days.  When I previously shared that it was the worst week of my life, I really wasn’t kidding.  Between the two of them, I got very little sleep for four days, and I even had to deal with a difficult out-of-town relative as well.

We took Little Red back to the vet on Saturday morning, and the vet confirmed the ear infections.  The vet, hubby and I all agreed that he needed to go back to his regular grain-free food until we could find a grain-free, large breed puppy food.  The vet gave us medication for his ears, medication for the diarrhea and a powder to add to his food for a few days to help him to hopefully return to normal a little faster.  Within a couple of days, he was doing much better.

Last week, we finally found a grain-free, large breed puppy food from Blue Buffalo.  Since my mom has finally settled down and is doing much better, I decided to go ahead and transition Little Red from the other food to this one because he is growing like a weed right now, having more than doubled his weight since we got him.  So far, the transition has gone very well, and he has had no issues.

However, I soon figured out that Girly Girl decided that his latest puppy food was quite tasty, too, and she started sneaking some of it from his bowl when no one was looking.

Not. Good.

On Saturday, Girly Girl got diarrhea very, very bad, and it didn’t take long for us to “put two and two together” as to why she was now having issues.  Even though she didn’t each much of this latest puppy food, it was enough to make her sick.  The vet told us to just give her the same pills that we had previously given Little Red and to make sure that she didn’t eat any more of his food.  Giving her the pills was easy, but keeping her out of Little Red’s food was not, as she had been sneaking some of the regular grain-free food without issue on a few occasions right after we got him.  We even used some of the first grain-free food as treats for her, too.

As of today, she is also doing much better, and I will check back with the vet tomorrow morning when Little Red goes for his next round of shots to see if she has any other words of wisdom about all of this dilemma with the dog foods.  Hopefully in a couple of years when Little Red is ready to transition away from this puppy formula, we can switch both of them to the same grain-free food, as I really am pretty much sold on it now for adult dogs.  I’ve had several friends swear by it to prevent ear infections in dogs, including one friend that said making this switch was the only thing that would prevent both of her dogs from battling constant ear infections.

It was interesting for us to learn from the breeder that her standard poodles have typically been “nibblers” like our dogs, and that they are often social eaters, sometimes preferring to eat when their humans eat.  Some dogs tend to eat an entire bowl of food all at once, but so far, that has not been our experience with any of our poodles.  Ours have always had food out during the day, and they just tend to graze on it when they are hungry, especially during our own mealtimes.  We never really had an issue with Big Ol’ Baby eating Girly Girly’s puppy food either.  Free feeding is obviously not going to work for us now, though, at least while our dogs are eating different foods for the next couple of years.

I am now babysitting both dogs to only eat their own food out of their own bowl.  I literally pull up a chair and sit with them while they eat now, and when they are done, the bowls are placed on the kitchen cabinet if there is any food left in them.  I will gladly do that to prevent the issues we have had over the past three weeks, too!  They are worth it, and so is my sanity.

D
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Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

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