Sunday, July 17, 2011

Food issues... again

So last I wrote, Abby was trying a new diet that consisted of Purina OM.  That had made a vast improvement in the consistency of her stools; however, other issues have emerged now that she has been on it a little over a month. 

I've never fed a canned diet to a dog.  That said, my mother feeds a mix of both to her dogs (except the older ones who are strictly on canned for their teeth) and she seems to like it.  However, prior to putting Abby on a canned diet, she ate half a cup of Merrick's Grammy's Pot Pie twice daily.  The nutritionst recommended that she should get 2 1/4 cans per day.  I won't lie - this seems like a LOT of food.  When I first put it in Abby's bowl it seemed like a lot in comparison to the volume she received on dry.  But we fed it, and honestly Abby seemed to go into a food coma.  We started noticing that Abby didn't have as much energy.  That isn't to say she was lethargic, but rather I noticed that any energy she had before dinner was quickly replaced with a firm desire to nap.  Almost like most people get after Thanksgiving.  It was as if she was in a Thanksgiving coma. 

It wasn't long before other things started to seem a little bit off.  I noticed that Abby was burping a lot.  But it wasn't just a burp.  She would actually be burping up food.  In most instances she would simply swallow whatever came up.  But sometimes she wasn't so lucky and she'd end up spitting up a good amount of food.  Additionally there were times where it was as if it either came up the wrong way, or she swallowed wrong, but she started to breathe funny for about a minute afterwards.  It almost sounded like a reverse sneeze, and if you didn't know better it was concerning.  The first few times it happened I would wonder if she was breathing OK. 

Additionally Abby has lost weight on the new food.  Now granted, I'm not very concerned about this.  But when you consider that the amount of food she was to eat was calculated based on her weight at the time that we started feeding her OM (40 pounds), it is noteworthy that she is losing weight (36.5 pounds).  I think that anything in the 35-40 pound range seems healthy for her, but if 40 were the ideal weight for her than I'd be worried about how I would correct that problem because admittedly she is getting a TON of food on the OM as it is and I don't know how much more I could give her. 

So hubby and I are thinking about switching her food and trying something else.  I'm not entirely sold on a prescription diet for her, much less one that targets weight management when she isn't an overweight dog.  Additionally I am concerned with her being on a diet that is presciption because I constantly have to worry about making sure to order her food.  And after one time where someone at her veterinarian's office did not forward a note properly for her food to be ordered, I am always worried that such a human error could happen again. 

In other news we have started to taper down her Clomicalm that she has been on for a year.  I am doing a really slow tapering with it.  Instead of doing a half tablet twice daily, I am giving her half a tablet once daily for one month, then half a tablet every other day for a month.  We'll see how that goes.  We have noticed that she is barking a bit more at sounds she hears or things she sees.  My hope is that as I try out a new food for her, I can find a kibble that works and use that to bump up the relaxation protocols. 

Abby did the funniest thing the other day, although I should say that seems to do funny things every day.  We were coming back from a walk and my husband had been running an errand.  He passed by us on our way back, and he had his window open.  Abby watched his car pass and about two seconds later stopped, sniffed the air, and bolted in the direction her Dad had just gone.  Too funny!

She also had her first agility class, and she was an absolute superstar!  It was only her and one other dog, and she did really well with jumping over the hurdles.  Inevitably Jess told us to take their leashes off, and admittedly I was worried.  Abby is NEVER off leash.  We just don't have an area that we could do that work with her.  But she did so well!  There were times where she wanted to be the social butterfly and go see Blue, but largely she stayed with us and sometimes came back when called.  The biggest thing I noticed was how willing Abby was to trust me.  She trusted that I wanted her to walk on equipment that was safe, and to me that was the best part of the class.  Throughout most of the class she looked like she was smiling - it was the cutest thing in the world! 

Next week we're going to try some rally, so I can't wait to see how she does with that! 

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