Let's talk about poop 💩
The pet food aisle can be overwhelming.
Have you ever gone to the supermarket or pet store and stare at amazement at all the options? Mom isn't a vet or nutritionist and I'm just a dog, so what works for us may not work for everyone, but we figured, hey, maybe this will help with some of the trial and error.
Talking about trial and error...man oh man...we've tried A LOT.
Part of it is because Huskies are notorious for being picky eaters and grazers. The upside of that is that we tend to only eat when we're really hungry so weight management is a bit easier. There were days when I would only eat about 1.5 cups of food - and I'm 70 lbs! The downside is well, it's scary if a dog doesn't eat much, and if the treats aren't good enough then you can throw food motivation out the window.
When Mom and Dad took me on my first off leash outing they brought McDonald's chicken nuggets, just in case! Yum! I listen really well when there are chicken nuggets involved 😄
We stick to kibble for regular meals
Because I don't have any teeth problems; I drink a lot of water and I have a normal appetite. Mom generally saves canned food for special occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthday.
So what does all this have to do with my poop?
I get walked 3 - 4x/day and my first year home I would poop almost every time I went out, and each time it was a lot. That's a lot of poop! It was also during this time my fur parents started feeding me Blue Buffalo Freedom, which is the grain-free line.
I must not have thought it was that great tasting because I would graze at it and barely finish 1 cup worth of food. Bathroom-wise, sometimes I had diarrhea, most of the time, though, my poo was soft; formed, but soft and rarely firm. Soft poo means a dirty tushy here and there, and picking up after me can get messy too, so every now and then mom had to wipe my behind to remove unsightly remnants. 😒 I also farted a lot. 💨
Eventually I stopped eating Blue Buffalo completely so then my parents tried a higher end brand that was well reviewed; locally sourced, high in animal protein, no grain, no animal by-product or other generic animal meal - Acana Heritage Meats and Acana Regional line, which we could only buy on Amazon or at Petfood Express, where a 4.5lb costs $25 and a 13lb bag costs $50.
My poo became much darker and on some days a tad bit firmer but I still poo-ed a lot and because it was still generally soft, I still had some messy days. Mom likes the brand because of the high quality but I didn't last long on it because I stopped eating that too, even though many reviews mention how much dogs love the taste of the food. If your pup isn't too fussy, and you're okay with the price (and it's probably worth it) this is really high quality dry kibble to try.
Then my fur parents tried to find a more economical option that would be easier to find - both online and at Petco and so they tried Merrick Backcountry, which is also a grain-free, animal by-product/generic animal meal free, and high animal protein line. A 4 lb. bag costs about $13 - $14 at Petco and they usually have promotional deals with this line too, especially is you're a PALS member.
I love Merrick. It's the one of the few brands of food where I'll finish a complete meal in one sitting consistently; it's economical, accessible, and higher quality than most options from big box stores. When mom buys canned food she usually sticks to this brand, because believe it or not, I'm even picky with canned food.
But then late last year all of a sudden I had oily, smelly discharge around my tushy. Turned out I had an abscessed anal gland and my other one was impacted. For those who don't know what that means, you can read about it here. You may notice that when us doggies poop we always do one last squeeze, and sometimes you may even notice a few drops of clear liquid come out, this is basically us expressing our anal glands naturally, which is healthy, but sometimes it can get blocked, or some doggies just don't do it by themselves - but when it gets blocked, and stays blocked, that's when it gets bad - it can cause a rupture, which is what happened to me. That meant they had to flush my glands which requires sedation, antibiotics and a cone - and a pretty hefty vet bill.
Needless to say I was not a happy pup. You may have seen some of my posts on IG.
Now, it's likely this wasn't due to any one particular brand of food and was something that accumulated over time, and who knows what I ate before I went to Family Dog Rescue, but because it was such a bad experience my fur parents decided to do more research into my diet.
After that they switched me to Nature's Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein. It's also available at Petco where mom typically finds deals at the store and online. It's high in animal protein, no animal meal ingredients, and grain free. What's more incredible is that I love the taste of this stuff! I can't wait for breakfast and dinner - my fur parents are amazed and I'm not sick of it yet!
What's interesting about the ingredients is that it doesn't even include any type of meal, even identified ones.
Even more amazing is the change in my poo! It's firm. I mean, seriously solid. My fur parents were a little scared when they first noticed the difference because it was so drastic. Soon after switching to Nature's Variety I actually yelped once when trying to poo - I had to push so hard! Now months after switching, nothing falls apart when they have to pick up after me, and the humans can actually pick up my poop with one hand! I don't poo every time I go for a walk now and mom doesn't have to clean my tushy. I also fart a lot less.
It turns out that if a doggie has firm poo that actually helps express the anal glands so now my fur parents are curious to see how I do at my next wellness exam.
We may mix in other brands here and there to keep things interesting, but I think my fur parents are going to stick to Nature's Variety until I stop eating it.
Happy chow time!