Hi all-

Looking for some advice here to calm my crazy mind!

We have 2 Doodles- Bella, she is just under 8.5 years and Gracie, just under 7.5 years.  Bella is 65ish pounds and Gracie is 15ish.

Bella has ALWAYS had a sensitive tummy- give her too many of a new treat? Loose stool. Swithced her food on acident from chicken to turkey Loose stool.  Never been an incontence issues- really just I notice it in the yard.  Maybe 2-3 times over the 8 years we have had her I can remember her having an "accident".

On 11/8, she got into a bag of Dasuqin (literally yoinked it out from under the pantry door!).  There were maybe 10-12 chews left, and NutraMax lady almost giggled a little when I asked about toxicity- not in a mean way, in a "you have nothing to worry about" and told me toxico for her size would be like 300 chews and to possibly expect some extra urination and possible vomiting or diarreha.  Later that week, she had some looser stools, firmed up, looser again- and finally totally back to normal as of Saturday.  To be fair, once they loosened up, I added rice and pumpkin (2 TSP- first time I think I gave too much) and then was weaning her off- so I wasn't too nervous about the on and off and it was only liquid the one time. So she is now back 100% on her kibble- she did steal some of Gracie's wet food yesterday afternoon- Gracie has a lot of missing teeth so she gets more wet food than Bella, who maybe gets a tiny scoop to stop the jealousy, LOL!

This morning around 5:30 AM- totally normal, 100% perfect stool from Bella.  We have an auto feeder as she throws up bile if she goes too long between her feedings, and we have gone back to work 3 days in the office and 2 remote.  Accidentally hit her auto feeder from my phone at 10am, so she got a little bit of extra food.  Sometime between when we left around 7:30 and 2pm- one of them had a loose stool on the stairs.  It's hard to tell which one- I was told that it was smaller but a little loose/runny, but normal color.  Bella had her lunch as usual at noon.  Gracie does not eat unless she is hungry- Bella is a HOG!  So, it is possible it COULD have been Gracie, but my gut says otherwise.  Gracie is our more accidnet porone dog- but usually pee. 

I did forget to give her pumpkin and blueberries with her dinner last night- we usually give 2 TSP pumpkin and 5 frozen berries to her with her last meal.  Doubtful that is the issue since I don't think she would have had a normal stool this AM if it was.  She gets 4 meals a day, 1/2 cup each- 5:30 AM, 12PM, 5PM, and 9:30PM.  She is on Royal Canin Hepatic- had some higher ALT liver enzymes- did all kinds of testing with the answer of protien or copper sensitive.  323 calories per cup of food, for refrence.  She had ZERO symptoms and her bloodwork has been 100% normal since the switch. 

Am I overfeeding her while we are gone?  I feel like that has to be some of it- since I was home with them yesterday and she didn't poop until around 5PM, and then not again until this morning. She is acting totally, 100% normal, and I am feeling like a health issue would have contant issues vs improvement to nroaml and then a slightly looser stool.  I gave her a mini exam (OCD, I know)- eyes/ears/lymph nodes all normal, CRT and resps normal...

Any thoughts on what else I can do?  Or am I just going to have to really watch her meal timing?  Also, if anyone has any low copper/low protien diet altneratives- I would appreciate it! Like I said- might not be Bella, but my paranoid pregnancy brain is telling me otherwise ;)  We did know she had an accident last week- but that was my fault for giving her too many Plaque Off chews- like I said sensitive stomach, plus my pregnancy brain- and I had JUST started reintroducing them and totally forgot I had already given them to her... 

TIA and thanks for reading :)

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  • Well, there is a lot to unpack here, lol, and it will take me some time to sort through it, but here are a couple of takeaways for now.

    Free feeding, even when you only have one dog, is always a problem. If you can possibly switch your dogs to two meals a day at scheduled times, 10 minutes to eat, under supervision, it would probably solve the issues you are grappling with. No matter what kind of schedule you may have, it is doable, and I know because I have been doing it for 45 years with multiple dogs, under all kinds of conditions; working full time, working part-time, working two jobs, retired, whatever. I've also had a dog with inflammatory bowel disease who required smaller more frequent meals, and even that can still be done on schedule. 
    Regarding the low copper diet alternatives, that is something nobody other than a veterinary nutrition specialist can help you with, because mineral content is not included on any pet food labels, and even if it were, anyone other than a specialist would not know the recommended levels and nutrient percentages for your dog.

    • Thanks- we actually have her on an auto feeder vs free feed- so it goes off at certain times a day. So she doesn't have unlimited access, unless it is supposed to go off or I push the button on it (waiting for her to learn to push the button, LOL!).  The food is pretty calorically dense- so between 2 cups alone she is at almost 700 cals and she is probably still at least 5 pounds overweight. 

      I think the key here is going to be balancing feeding her often enough to avoid the hungry pukes, and not too often that she is getting overfed.  Any tips on that?  My husband thinks the issues is that she normally doesn't get fed when we aren't home, as we have worked remote the past 2 years and this hybrid thing is newer for us- so I am going to start by pushing her lunch back and see if that helps!  Also could be a little behavioral, as even if I keep her potty schedule the same when we are home, she never goes inside. To be fair, this could be an ongoing issue and I was paying attention more so since she ate all the Dasuqin!

      Wsn't sure if anyone had experience with copper storage disease- it is a tough thing to manage, since the only answer seems to be the perscription food- which I personally don't have any issues with- but I know a lot of people do.  Always open to suggestions :)

      • A 60 lb dog (I'm using her ideal weight, since you said she is 5 lbs overweight) requires 1200 calories per day to maintain a weight of 60 lbs. Bella is getting 646 calories in her two cups of food per day. Not much more than half that. So either your auto-feeder isn't working correctly, or she is getting food from somewhere else. Stealing Gracie's food still wouldn't account for that many extra calories, even if Bella is eating all of it, lol. But something is off somewhere, and that's just plain math and physiology. 
        The other issue with auto-feeders is that most of them are made of plastic, which harbors bacteria. 
        Regarding the bringing up bile on an empty stomach, many of us have solved that problem by giving a small snack about 30-60 minutes before bed. It generally only happens in the morning with most dogs, and that helps. it can be a small portion of her dinner set aside, a healthy dog biscuit, etc. 
        The alternative to prescription diets is to have a veterinary nutrition specialist create a homemade food diet plan for you, where you would be preparing the food yourself from fresh ingredients and supplements. That's pretty tough for most of us, but it's really the only choice other than the Rx stuff for liver and kidney issues. 

        • Treats-- I have her treats worked into her calories :)  The vet said 1000 cals a day - and her dental chew is 100, plus various other snacks and treats- maybe we need to stop some of the treats and up the kibble amounts!  Her bile vomiting is usually around lunchtime for whatever reason.  I am guessing since we always just did 3 meals a day, that is what her body is used to.  I am thinking upping the kibble, but try to gradually space the meals out and maybe that will help things. 

          We were doing green beans for awhile there and she was getting 100-200 cals a day of those- but the gas- YIKES!  That was a suggestion to help with both the weight and the bile.  

          Thanks again- your opinions help ease my mind ;)  I don't know what it is but she always makes me so anxious! 

          • 100 calories worth of green beans would be more than 3 cups, lol. If she was really getting 3 to 6 cups a day, I am not surprised she was gassy! :)
            The treats and chews can really add up the calories fast. 
            Some low calorie treats from recommended brands (source in USA, no harmful ingredients) are Wellness CORE Power Packed jerky Treats (5 cal. per treat) and Cloudstar Bark Less Wag More treats (7 to 9 calories each depending on variety). Both widely available and also on chewy.com. 

            • Yep- 1 whole bag of frozen green beans a day-- I remeber being like this is easy math- just over 100 cals in the bag! Between that and the probiotics in the dental chews- watch out! HA!

      • Our dogs absolutely cannot have each other's food - Riley gets very sick if she gets Toby's high fat kibble and Toby is sensitive to certain animal proteins and can't have Riley's kibble.  Feeding the dogs separately on a schedule only under our supervision is super important for us.  

        Our bigger dog Riley (75 lbs) has chronic pancreatitis and eats 4x a day (total 3.5 cups a day).  If she goes too long between meals she gets an upset stomach.  Especially important that she eats right before bed (around 8 PM) and first thing in the morning (6-7 AM), other meals are around 11 AM and 4 PM.  Riley gets basically NO treats due to her health issues but she knows exactly when her meal times are and will come "remind" one of us if we are home.  If the dogs have to skip having lunch because we are away at work they are ok, generally one of us is home "close" enough to lunch time within an hour or two of their usual time but otherwise they just get fed as soon as we get home.  We keep our dogs crated while we are away too so that they can't get into any trouble and for some reason Riley never seems to throw up when she is crated while we are away.  Maybe because it's her "safe spot" and she just sleeps and doesn't think about the time I don't know.

         

         

  • I had a Dasaquin incident with one of my dogs and the company also told us it wouldn't be a problem for his weight. It wasn't.  Just a reaffirmation for you.

    I'm no help with any specifics other than to say one of my dogs gets stress diarrhea- his idea of stress not what I'd consider stress. Maybe your work changes ?? That's happened less and less over the years. We give  him Proviable probiotic or if it's really severe, a human probiotic called Visbiome during his stressful times. 
    My dogs can't have too many treats, bully sticks, too much change in diet, etc.  They have no need for a special diet so what I do may not be at all helpful. 

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