We just returned from 21 days on the road in our motor home with three of our dogs, Izzy, Rosie and Swagger. It was both an educational journey along the canals of the northeast and a fitness journey along the bike trails. If you’d like to read where we went and see a few pictures, the blog is posted at PACK EM UP.
Our three smallest travel well and don’t take much space. We did start out the trip with Swagger not feeling so well. He has struggled off and on lately with stomach issues and I am doing trial and error to determine the trigger that is playing havoc with his digestion. I am slowly adding and deleting from his menu to determine the culprit of what seems to be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, either brought on by stress or what he eats or both. When I had his last bloodwork done, his liver enzymes were a bit elevated and the vet recommended putting him on Denosyl, a supplement which helps the liver to do its work properly. By the way, we ruled out all the parasitic causes of diarrhea first.
My old standby for dogs with diarrhea is boiled chicken and rice for a few days but in Swagger’s case, that seemed to make him worse so I changed to lean hamburger (rinsed and drained) and rice. When I made that change and he improved overnight, a light bulb went off and I started to consider that he might not be tolerating chicken or chicken dog food well. Surprisingly, many dogs are “allergic” to chicken. Over the course of a few days, when I would add in a tad bit of chicken or a rich dog treat, he would start to have symptoms again. As always, I carry a variety of food with me when traveling, so along with the burger/rice mixture, I also gave him some canned lamb dog food (Solid Gold) which he tolerated well. I slowly moved on to Solid Gold Bison kibble and he was as good as new. A couple of weeks into a red meat only diet, he is feeling spunky and eating like a little Trojan, something he hasn’t done for awhile.
I am continuing the Denosyl as recommended by the vet because as a supplement, it is a plus for dogs with or recovering from IBS. I also read on Dog Aware that probiotics are best given in the evening to help stomach flora replenish themselves overnight and prevent empty stomach nausea. I had always given them in the am, so I also made that change. For several years, I have used Dogzymes Digestive Enzymes from Nature’s Farmacy with my dogs and also with pet sit client dogs that had stress diarrhea when their owners were traveling.
It is certainly too early to make a definitive diagnosis of intolerance of chicken or chicken products and may just be circumstantial, but for now, I’m playing it safe and letting him put on some needed weight with alternative protein sources. I’ll keep you posted on the long term outcome.