feeding problems?

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feeding problems?

Postby youjach » Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:55 pm

I am talking about Shafer- we rescued him in July-
when he first came home and we would feed him he gulped his food- didn't chew just swallow. We thought and so did Jen that this would pass as he became more comfy in our home and he realized that no one was going to take his food. He isn't aggressive I can put my hand in the bowl move him away and even when Maggie is eating by him he doesn't growl.

we tried feeding him away from her but that didn't work. he eats so fast that sometimes he throws up- and the food is whole.

we are feeding him 3 cups in the am and 3 in the pm plus all the treats during the day and training at night, so he isn't hungry.

any ideas on how we can get him to eat slowly- or chew his food?
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Postby Myra » Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:36 pm

A few ideas --

Put the kibble in a food-dispensing toy so he has to work to get pieces out.

Put something in his bowl that he has to eat around, like a solid rubber ball. I've heard of some people using a good-sized rock (cleaned well first, of course).

Spread his food out on a flat baking pan so he'll have to eat it one piece at a time. If you don't mind the mess, you can even spread it over your kitchen floor. I know someone who sometimes throws kibble out in the yard and lets her dog "hunt" for his meal.

Good luck!
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Postby Bernie's mom » Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:25 pm

Is there any chance that he has worms? When we got Bernie he inhaled his food also, and once we solved the worm issue the gulping went away as well. Just a thought... Bernie likes to spread his food out on the floor and then he picks up the pieces and eats it, so maybe do what Myra said, it can't hurt as long as you don't mind kibble all over!
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Postby youjach » Fri Oct 15, 2004 5:50 am

he was tested for worms before we got him. I believe-

I asked DH about his poops and he said they looked like Maggie's. he didn't see anything funny.

I will try putting something in his bowl tonight.

we just got done with the feeding frenzy now. It is histerical in our house. Both are moaning at 5:50 am in our face and by 6:10 they can no longer wait and start dancing- moaning- twirling by 6:15 they are racing eachother down the steps tripping over the other .

Then in less then a minute Shafers is done and watching Maggie for any strays that leave the bowl..
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Postby Karen_P » Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:14 am

6 cups of food a day is a tremendous amount! Courage, who is in really good shape at 52 pounds and rarely stops moving gets 2 cups a day. Zach, my fatty, gets just under 1 1/2 cups a day. The pup, who is now 16 weeks eats about 3 cups a day, but he's growing like a weed. And I have to admit, I've never fed a foster dog more than 3 cups a day, even when they needed to put on weight.

I'd definitely have him checked for intestinal worms. The test can come back negative even when positive, especially if it's a relatively new infestation. Additionally, I'd have a thyroid test done. Hyperthyroid can cause hyperactivity and weight loss. If he's not gaining weight like crazy eating 6 cups of food a day, there's got to be something going on.

The idea of spreading his food out on a cookie sheet is a really good one. You may never break him of gulping his food down, but you may be able to slow him down enough so that he doesn't throw it up.
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Postby Jen » Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:32 am

Anita,

We tried to slow him down some, but that only seemed to make the vomiting worse, he would suck in so much air while trying to gulp that we were afraid he'd get bloat. He was checked for worms, but like everything else a false negative is always a possibility. You might want to have Shafer boy checked again.

For everyone else maybe this will help - Shafer was found by a realator who was trying to sell a deceased man's house. Shafer had been chained up in the back without adequate food or water for over 3 months after his owner died. Poor Shafer only weighed 21lbs when he came to us, the vets said he should weigh around 35-40. We were hoping that his eating habits were psychological since his tests all came back fine, but things could now just be surfacing.

Shafer is a really active boy at least he was here, but then he is also a young britt so its hard to tell if its brittany activity or hyperactivity if there even is a difference :lol:
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Postby Myra » Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:15 am

I recall my vet telling me once that hyperthyroidism is almost unheard of in dogs. Dogs with thyroid issues are usually always hypothyroid, cats are usually always hyperthyroid.

Another issue here is what brand of food you're feeding? Some of the grocery store brands are so full of fillers that you have to feed a lot to get in the nutrients and calories a dog needs. The more premium foods, which have a lot less fillers, are much more nutrient and calorie dense, so you feed a lesser amount. If my Dusty were on a grocery store food, I'm sure I would be feeding him at least six cups a day (he eats between 3 and 4 cups of California Natural or similar premium food to maintain his weight at 42 pounds).

Another thing that might help with weight gain is adding a digestive enzyme supplement like Prozyme to his food. It helps dogs make better use of the nutrients they consume.
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Postby Karen_P » Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:29 am

My vet did say that hyperthyroidism is unusual, but not unheard of. Courage dropped several pounds over a very short period of time last year and we opted to do the test (it was about $30 if I remember correctly). It did come back normal so we just increased his food a little bit, but it was worth the peace of mind to have the test done.

Raising Shaffer's food up off the floor may help reduce the amount of air he gulps in and cut back on the vomiting also. Courage doesn't gulp his food, yet on the rare occasion he vomits it up, it looks pretty much whole too, so I wouldn't be too concerned about that part of it. It's probably all the air he's gulping down with it that's causing the vomiting.
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Postby Bernie's mom » Fri Oct 15, 2004 12:09 pm

So he was chained behind a house for 3 months with no food or water?!?!?! And... noone realized that the man had died and heard this poor dog day in and day out to put 2 and 2 together???? I'm very confused. I'd gulp my food too if I were that dog, not to mention I'd be totally neurotic...
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Postby youjach » Fri Oct 15, 2004 1:11 pm

shafer is pretty skinny- he was to the vet weighing in at 3olbs in August- he is a long tall Britt and very active in even his sleep he is active. then we went away a few weeks ago and they both lost 5 lbs - so we are trying to beef them up alittle-

We already have a feeder that is lifted off the ground- we feed them Wysong- Wellness- a few others we try to rotate and we also add Missing Link into their food.

I will call the vet and have him tested for worms, and I will ask about the hyperthyroidism--

I don't know about if I am feeding to much- both dogs are thin and have great muscle tone- even the 11 yr old- they are so hungry in the am and by 3pm they are sitting waiting at the cabinet for their food.
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Postby Dave » Fri Oct 15, 2004 1:31 pm

I was hoping Barb jumps in here .. Anyway I had a pup that was at large and very skinny before animal control rescued her . I would give him some hard boiled eggs and some peanut butter in between feedings .Say two eggs per day and about a tbl. spoon peanut butter . Also I would give him more frequent feedings , I fed my skinny pup 4-5 times a day , smaller portions of course :shock: Sounds like he needs another 5-10 lbs. more body weight .Do it slowly as to encourage muscle instead of fat . Good luck and keep us posted . Thank God for Rescue :) Dave
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Postby Barb Wright » Fri Oct 15, 2004 2:05 pm

Couple thoughts here....that is a lot of food at one time so how about trying this: take the amount of kibble for one meal (3 cups), soak it in hot water (dog body temp) til it won't absorb any more (this usually takes about 1/2 hour). Then divide that meal into two meals, feed half the soaked kibble and then about 1 hour later feed the other half. Same procedure for the evening meal.

My thinking behind this is: Eating an almost totally dry food (kibble) is an unnatural way for a dog to eat. If a dog were acquiring his food in normal fashion (live prey) that food contains quite a bit of moisture percentage wise. So, when we feed dry kibble the body has to produce the fluid necessary for the food to dissolve enough to begin the absorption process. So, when Shafer eats 3 cups of dry food at once, the body has to really work hard to come up with the moisture to soften the food for digestion, plus, the expansion of three cups of dry food will at the very least, double (if not triple) the volume of food in the stomach. If you want to know what this volume is just take one cup of dry food, keep adding measured amounts of water until the food will not absorb any more....the resulting information is how much the volume has increased, and also how much liquid the body had to come up with to make the food viable for digestion and absorption.

You are trying to put weight on this dog, but obviously his stomach cannot tolerate this volume of food at one time, so your only option is to give him 4 or 6 or 8 (whatever it takes) meals a day to (1) keep the food down and (2) get the calories and nutrition in him to thrive and gain weight. All his snacks should be high calorie, high protein and high fat. Stay away from carbs and stick with protein and fat.

BTW it is quite "normal" for dogs to bolt their food....they do not do any digestion in their mouths, they don't chew but rather get the food in small enough chunks to swallow....well, the kibble is small and so they "wolf" it down. If you want to slow him down, make the meal real sloppy wet so that he has to almost lap it up. I wouldn't worry too much about air, if the esophagus and stomach are working right he should just burp it up, or sometimes some of it will pass on through and come out the other end :roll:

And this leads me to something else.....there are physical problems that can cause what is happening and one is Megaesophagus. With this condition a dog usually regurgitates quite soon after eating (this sounds a bit like Shafer as you said the food is still whole). If the regurgitation takes places some time later after eating you may have stomach problems, and one possibility here is Gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is usually associated with weight loss or slow weight gain. This sounds familiar eh?

Not to get you upset and send you racing for the vet, but rather to suggest that you do a little investigation via the web, and I'll post a couple sites to visit to that end. But in the meantime, try some of these other methods that people have suggested to slow down the eating, and also to give the stomach a break on work overload.

There are quite a few web sites to visit, you can Google it, but here are a couple to get you going:

http://www.vetinfo4dogs.com/dogmega.html
http://www.vetinfo4dogs.com/dvomit.html


Hope this helps....
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Postby Bernie's mom » Fri Oct 15, 2004 2:12 pm

Barb, soaking the food makes a lot of sense when I thought about it, as it's hard to inhale "slop"! :) I sure hope he gets better, he sounds like a wonderful dog with a lot to give!
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Postby youjach » Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:22 pm

Thanks Barb- My mind was racing around w/ the worms- and the hyperthyroidism--

I will start wetting his food tomorrow-

his throwing up accurs right after he eats- within 5 minutes but it has only happened twice in the past 2 weeks.

I am trying to put weight on him -he is skinny and people we meet always tell me he is really thin,

So I will take the food suggestion and I will look on the websites you suggested.
It really makes sense now that you talked about the stomach and digestion because watching him eat I can see his stomach moving in and out and he has a weird stance so I guess that is his muscles working way to hard.

Thanks Again..
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