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Hello all,

Dan and I just got back from our wedding in Rhodes - thanks to all of you for our well wishes.

Ollie has been with his home boarders for the last ten days and before he left we had been feeding him rice and mince because the biscuits we had been feeding him had been upsetting him and making him vomit.  We followed this diet for a week and immediately he was 100% better.

The boarders said he has been good as gold, been eating normally, happy, playful - but he's had a very runny tummy.  She said she was feeding him what we said and then sought advice of other owners and someone who owned an English Setter told her to feed him on scrambled egg and rice.  She said he has been a little better on it but obviously we are a little concerned that his tummy has not been right.

Because of the issues we were having with his shop bought food before we left we decided to go with what others told us and feed him a natural cooked diet which he was absolutely fine on, so we are a bit bewildered as to why he is getting the runs.  She said it could just be stress of the change of environment - he has no signs of illness at all, no vomiting, no sickness, lethargy, anything else that would indicate being ill.

Just wondered if anyone else has experience of the same, and also what do you guys all feed your setters who have sensitive tums?  He was a nightmare as a pup to get something which he could eat but eventually he settled and it seems to be he's going through one of those stages again.



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Well, considering the nutritionist at Queens Vet School in Cambridge thinks my dogs raw diet is perfectly balanced, and that I couldn't do any better for them than I already am, I take that as good evidence, which is not anecdotal. Also there is lots of hard evidence out there on how the GI tract works and utilizes food.  However, a lot of people do try raw feeding and get it totally wrong, by using poor quality ingredients, which are still rendered, and can be as damaging as the as the worst dry food imaginable. There are quite a few companies out there now selling raw food which are quite frankly appalling in quality. A good quality raw diet is the key. However, with digestive upsets, a full blood profile needs to be carried out, the profile should reveal NO abnormal peaks or troughs in the reference ranges, which can be pointers towards known health conditions but which are often dismissed by (what I consider lazy medicine) vets, who don't probe further.  Also I would want to eliminate parasites.  Daisy recently started having some problems, which cleared up immediately after a dose of Millbemax.  

Oh by the way, according to an allergy specialist at Cambridge Vet School, there are very very few true food allergies. There are however food intolerances which are very different. Contrary to popular believe gluten 'allergy' is not an allergyl, it is an intolerance.

When our boys have been loose Nicky we have used a probiotic powder designed for animals and slippery elm powder. This has worked with Kerry very well. Murphy has psyllium husks. Both his loose stools and anal glands have improved. Boys love raw chicken wings but are not happy to eat just a bowl of raw food. They like their meat cooked. Like each of us we try things but in the end find what suits us and our dogs. Hope it settles down now you are home and on the case.

Hi all -

First of all I never wished to create a row.  Please don't fall out on Ollie's behalf.  It makes me feel very sad as I value all of your opinions and I will ultimately do whatever works for our boy.

Tracy - we initially did that before we went away (not stop feeding him for a whole day, but didn't give him breakfast) and as soon as we put him back on the mince or fish with rice his tummy settled and he stopped vomiting.

I am inclined to think it could be stress related but ultimately we want to feed ollie what is a) right for him but also b) fits in with our lifestyle and c) isn't going to bankrupt us.  I know we have to get him a balanced diet and if we end up going the cooked route what else can we include to make sure he gets that?  

Finn If we went the raw route do you supplement anything else?

I've had other dogs in the past and I know setters are notorious for having sensitive tums.  We will of course keep the vets as an option.  Rhonda - where do you get this probiotic powder from?  Do you mix it in with their food?

Thanks for all advice so far and please do not fall out on our behalf.  That was never the intention and we respect all of your opinions on here.  I've got four cats and each cat eats differently and we resolve their upset tummies on the rare occasions they do get them in different ways.  Ollie will be the same no doubt and that's why we looked here to get as many different opinions as possible.

Hi Nicky. The multi strain probiotic is called Protexin and it comes from a stock food suppliers (horses, birds, dogs etc.) www.iahp.com.au 1/4 teaspoon with 1/4 teaspoon slippery elm powder, moisten and mix into paste ball. Place on back of tongue and down it goes. 20 mins before his meal everyday. Kerry used to go off his food regularly and was a fussy eater. He has improved very well with this and seems a lot happier to approach his food and just eat.  I hope you have something similar over there. He still gets sick of some things but no where near what we were going through before.  The teaspoon of  psyllium for Munching Murhpy gets mixed with his food. Litter brothers but chalk and cheese with regards to food. Good luck.

Sounds to me like he's got an inflammatory condition as its gone on for a while, and its now a vicious circle.  I doubt it'll change with diet at present. A visit to the vet should help. They, can prescribe something to settle him, (and also check its not something more nasty) along with the bland diet first. Or we use Canicur-pro if ours are a bit loose for several days. you can get that online.

Once the inflammation dies down you can try again to find what suits him best... I've done loads of research lately into raw vs kibble vs. home cooked and honestly there are pros and cons for all.

Some of mine are fed kibble, 2 have naturediet which helped with one who had recurrent digestive problems for years, and the 2 youngest are on raw (mainly natural instinct which is supposed to be balanced)...I'll feed whatever works for the dog and over 40 years have done most things! If they look good, maintain weight,have plenty of energy, and what comes out is of firm consistency they stay on that diet and no messing around.

I wish you luck and hope Ollie is soon feeling right as rain. By the way dogs don't read the same book as us, and have their own ideas about what they will and won't eat Ha ha!!!

NB hope your wedding trip was super.

So true, you can do all the reading but when they turn their nose up at it you may as well talk to the wall. If Kerry eats it, it is good. We aim for healthy but if he needs a little fancy feast topper to start him off, so be it. Then I can sit back and smile.

If a dog is ,say, allergic to chicken,if it is a real allergy it will cause an upset tummy whether raw or cooked,so I agree with Tracy.

Fred is allergic to chicken and the tiniest bit will give him the 'runs'.

It seems that everybody has different ideas.We feed Fred Beta Sensitive fish dried food (it has a natural probiotic)with a little Pedigree Chum original meat loaf.He also has charcoal 'bonios' later in the day and his stomach has been a lot better since this diet.

Nicky, looking back to the 'olden days' when we had a houseful of Setters and Westies, I had tried all the commercial dog foods there were without much success - upset tummies and more food left than eaten.

One of the ways of dealing with 'runniness' - which was often the result of the dog eating something SILLY! - was to withold food for a day (yes, I know that's hard for us) But I did administer a spoonful of Kaolin & Morphine which settled the tum (also good for settling the rumbling, gurgling ones too)  You had to be quick because the dogs were not keen on the smell, but once they'd tasted it they licked the spoon clean ;o]))


After years of worry about dogs and their food, I (gradually) changed to raw tripe and good quality wholemeal biscuit - livened up with people-leftovers - not much of that with 4 hungry kids. The dogs never had problems again (unless they found something SILLY to eat when out) This was in the days before RawMeatyBones and you had to buy and process your own tripes - a job only for the truly dedicated! Now you can buy minced tripe packaged and frozen - much more convenient!

I sometimes think we fret too much about dog diet - Carnivore? Herbivore? Omnivore? - dogs are scavengers.... and some of the things included in the ingredients of Dog Food are mysterious and frightening!!!! (think of all the recalls!!!!

As for supplements.... you can spend a fortune on them - I did once - you could see no difference between having them and not having them.

This is just my experience ;o])) Read what everyone has to say and make up your own mind, eh?


Nicky Hi,


I have got 2 ten month old boys who have had runny stools off and on for some months now. At first the vet believed they were having problems because they kept eating the decorative bark chipping in the garden and I think he was right. Then they got giardia, passing back and forth to each other over about 6 weeks. From bringing them home it has always been difficult to find a food that suited and didnt give runny stools. They drank for england on dry food and so we settled eventually on Nature Harvest tray food Turkey and Rice. But they will eat anything edible or not!

I have asked the vet about raw (as their litter brother is on a raw diet and doing well) but he poo poos it (commenting on cases he has seen of ecoli, stuck bones etc) and so I worry that I dont have his support. I know that general feeling is that vets are in it (commercial food that is) for the money but unfortunately I feel I still need him on board and so feel I have to take his advice.

Anyway after treating the giardia we were still having runny issues and no weight gain. After meals they were now having excessive gas and needed patting hard to get the wind up. (we have had a setter with gastric dilation before and the signs here were worrying) Another trip to the vet where he said they will almost certainly have damaged their gut/bowel lining with prolonged runny stools and it needs time to recover via a bland diet. 

So for a week we gave them boiled rice and steamed fish - 6 small meals a day. They have enzyme powder on the meals to aid its digestion. Gradually we have introduced fish4dogs dried whereby we rehydrate it overnight- replacing the rice and still 6 small meals.

Thank goodness It seems to be working and they like it. We still give the steamed fish on top - we buy the basics frozen white fish fillets from Tesco (its boneless/skinless pollack £2 520kg). If you want to rehydrate as we do this is best done with small kibble otherwise it can turn to a pulp which is not good. I know dried helps clean the teeth but If we dont rehydrate we find they drink excessive water and this again makes them runny.

Hopefully after time we can introduce a more varied diet but after at last it is good to have found something we have been constantly worried about this. We did try james wellbeloved fish but this didnt suit them as well.

Good luck


Julie perhaps ask him about slippery elm bark powder. It has demulcent (soothing) actions on all mucous membranes, including those of the digestive tract, urinary tract. It also has astringent effects, tightening the surfaces on which it contacts, providing an effective barrier to bacterial infection and alleviating diarrhoea. It has helped Kerry and was suggested by a naturopath (human) but my vet has also been supportive.

Thanks Rhonda. Could I just buy this from a health food shop myself? How much do you give and do you use as a preventative (daily) or just as needed.




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