View Full Version : Greyhound Owners - Loose Stool, Food Rec?

forward ride
Oct. 1, 2009, 02:50 PM
For those of you with ex-racing greyhounds --

We've now had Linus since February. When he came to us from the foster home, he was on Canidae food. He had the expected "new home/excitement" loose stool and then soon decided that he didn't like Canidae anymore. I also spoke to some other Grey owners and did some online research and decided to take him off the Canidae.

He is now on a combination of Innova and Evo Red Meat food. He would prefer all Evo, but that is pretty pricey, so we compromise.

Anyway, he's been checked out by the vet & is up to date on all his vaccines. I asked the vet about his loose stools (which have been on & off, but have never really gone away completely); she suggested rice and/or pumpkin. He likes the rice and that helps a little bit, but again, not completely. He hates pumpkin. I also had him on probiotics for some time & those didn't help much either. Though he really really likes the SmartPak probiotic treats. He is totally healthy otherwise, good skin and coat condition (he also gets Missing Link in his nighttime food), not dehydrated, good activity levels and a clean stool slide at the vet's. He does have thyroid issues and takes a .7 mg thyroid pill 2x a day (has since before we got him).

This isn't excessive diarrhea or anything. He doesn't have accidents by any means, it's just loose stools and not even 100% of the time. May be he is just a overly nervous greyhound?

So the question is:

I am thinking of switching him to a still premium, but perhaps slightly less premium food. I'm thinking the protein is too high in the Innova and Evo? And, if he's still having poop problems, then why am I spending an arm and a leg on super premium food, when I could spend an arm only on still premium but perhaps "less premium" food?

Any food suggestions?

Any other thoughts?

Thanks :)

Auventera Two
Oct. 1, 2009, 03:30 PM
Before I'd switch him to a cheaper food, I'd change the protein source. Use a novel protein like duck, rabbit, venison, bison, etc. Sometimes a novel protein source clears up a lot of issues.

My dogs eat Fromm, and Taste of the Wild and ocassionally I notice a bit of runny poop from somebody. I don't stress over it, because a dog's nature is to be a scavenger. They make it their business to eat bits of this or that from around the farm. As long as it's minor and ocassional, and everybody is healthy, happy, shiny, and in good condition, it doesn't bother me.

Oct. 1, 2009, 03:30 PM
You are a much more caring greyhound owner than I am. I feed mine "Summit" - a locally made middle of the road food - but it was one of the few brands that did not have the melamine added to it from China, even premium brands were caught out with that stuff.

They do have slightly loose stools - but since they go to the back forty to do their biz, their coats and attitudes are good, I just let it be.

They are not thrilled with the food, but do eat it. My husband claims that whenever I mess with the food, like adding dinner leftovers to make it more yummy, they get even more gassy.

I am also a meanie - absolutely never give them treats by hand and they are the nicest dogs to have around since they do not know how to beg. They only get fed once a day so I really am a meanie. Our foxhounds only get one meal, and none the day before hunting!

Oct. 1, 2009, 03:33 PM
How old is Linus?

I would be concerned that it's just too much protein. If he's a little older especially...I know that lots of people think that grains are the devil, but adding fiber is sometimes necessary.

forward ride
Oct. 1, 2009, 03:44 PM
Linus turned 2 in August. He came from the Tucson track (not from Mexico), although I don't know that makes a difference.

Auventera Two -- Thanks for the tip on novel protein sources, I'll check it out. I also read that greys tend to do well on Lamb & Rice meals, so maybe I'll look into that too.

I should clarify, when i say I'm thinking of switching him to a less expensive premium food, that is only because he is currently on the most expensive one possible. And, at 80 lbs (he is a big grey), he goes through those big bags pretty fast!

Oh, I also read that red colored dog foods have red dye in them & can cause problems. His Innova is light brownish red, I wonder if that had dye in it (although I can't imagine it would).

Oct. 1, 2009, 03:50 PM
For those of you with ex-racing greyhounds --

Auventera2, you need to clarify your experience with greyhounds when you pop into a thread that is breed-specific. What works for your Weimers and your pit mix may be very, very bad for a greyhound.

To the OP - I don't have one but my son has a gorgeous massive red he got through the Colorado prison system. Dog is in fabulous condition. I've emailed him to ask what he feeds him as it is one of the "premium" brands but one I can not for the life of me remember. I'll let you know what I find out.

Also, you might read through this website (http://forum.greytalk.com/). Looks very helpful.

Oct. 1, 2009, 04:05 PM
We were involved with greyhound rescue for many years, and fostered lots of dogs fresh off the track. Our dear greyhound lived until the ripe old age of 15! We had much luck with the canned pumpkin - both for our own greyhound and the fosters. The seemed to like it, and it usually stopped (or at least greatly reduced) the loose stools after a couple of feedings. I don't remember how much we fed - I suppose it would depend on the size and weight of the dog. Good luck to you and Linus!

Oct. 1, 2009, 04:07 PM
I really love California Natural for sensitive dogs. Love it. It's also made Natura Pet, and would be an excellent option for you to try.

Oct. 1, 2009, 04:10 PM
While there are certainly some variations between breeds, nutritional requirements and the physiological process of digestion is not exactly breed specific. These "breed specific" diets are merely marketing tools.

That does NOT mean that some dogs are more sensitive to things than others....and it also does NOT mean that due to poor breeding practices, some breeds of dogs have a propensity for GI issues. But generally speaking, there is not a lot of basis for different diets based on breed for an adult dog.

If it were me, I'd try something you haven't tried before--fiber. Quite a lot of it. "Light" foods typically have more fiber. I would consider finding a higher end brand of light food to introduce.

Oct. 1, 2009, 04:10 PM
My son feeds his grey Avoderm Lamb and Brown Rice (http://www.breeders-choice.com/dog_products/avodermdog_ob_lr.htm). Dog is doing very well on it.

Oct. 1, 2009, 05:22 PM
My borzoi also did not do well on the higher protein/higher priced foods. He does best on Eukanuba, but I work for a vet school, so we get Science Diet for REALLY inexpensive. And since he is in a growth phase and is eating about 6 cups and 1 can a day, I'm very interested in not paying 60 bucks for a 40 pound bag. He is doing really well on SD large breed puppy (he's 8 months), and I only have to pay $13 for a 40 pound bag!

But I do agree, that novel proteins tend to help with sensitive GIs, and I find sighthounds don't do well with the no grain formulas. I love the Nature's Balance LID Duck and Potato. Unfortunately can't afford to feed a growing puppy on it!! :)

Oct. 1, 2009, 06:26 PM
Try Blue Buffalo. Pretty good quality food. Its the only thing that my super sensitive little guy seems to tolerate without getting runny stools or vomiting. I feed the small breed mix, but I'm pretty sure they they have a lamb and rice mix as well.

Oct. 1, 2009, 06:57 PM
More from the sighthound crowd; my basenjis do well on CA Natural. The girl dog has always had loose stools. My male had a severe allergic reaction to Evo (ER at 3am type of reaction) so we steer very clear of that.

Oct. 1, 2009, 08:12 PM
forwardride...lamb does seem to work well for most greyhounds. They tend to have a much more sensitive and difficult digestive system and tend towards runny stools and gas more easily. (as do many sight hounds)
I haven't had sight hounds in years...but I did have borzoi for a while years back. I had to keep them on mid-protein food...not too low and definitely not too high in protein. (can make sight hounds gassy, gassy can = bloat in a big chested and small waisted sight hound) They seem to do better with grains in their diets too.
Try looking for a good greyhound or sight hound BB and asking about feeding programs on there. Those with years of experience in sight hounds will have the most information and an entire BB of them can help come up with a bunch of different *safe* suggestions to try.
Fizzy, any Borzoi photos?

Oct. 1, 2009, 11:03 PM
Linus turned 2 in August. He came from the Tucson track (not from Mexico), although I don't know that makes a difference.

Auventera Two -- Thanks for the tip on novel protein sources, I'll check it out. I also read that greys tend to do well on Lamb & Rice meals, so maybe I'll look into that too.

I should clarify, when i say I'm thinking of switching him to a less expensive premium food, that is only because he is currently on the most expensive one possible. And, at 80 lbs (he is a big grey), he goes through those big bags pretty fast!

Oh, I also read that red colored dog foods have red dye in them & can cause problems. His Innova is light brownish red, I wonder if that had dye in it (although I can't imagine it would).

I think the color of the Innova food is natural, I don't believe they dye the food. You can try mixing some metamucil with water, till it becomes a gel, and then put a tablespoon of that gel in the food, that will help slow the gut down and absorb water.

Auventera Two
Oct. 2, 2009, 09:26 AM
Auventera2, you need to clarify your experience with greyhounds when you pop into a thread that is breed-specific. What works for your Weimers and your pit mix may be very, very bad for a greyhound.

Then by all means, feel free to correct my post, and offer resources explaining how/why duck, venison, bison, or rabbit is very, very bad for a greyhound.


P.S. - my post was only a suggestion of one more thing to consider. I would hope that anyone with any kind of issues or questions on their dog's nutrition would speak to a nutrition advisor prior to making any kind of decision on their dog's diet!

And also - I do hope that your dramatic warning goes for ALL on this thread who have no personal experience with a Greyound, as well ;)

Oct. 2, 2009, 11:33 AM
Could it be the thyroid meds? I have had a number of cats on thryroid meds. One of them always had a loose stool and sometimes would not make it to the litter box. The other two would have occasional loose stools. It appeared to be from their thyroid meds.
Yes, I know these were cats not greyhounds or even dogs. But it may be something to look into.

forward ride
Oct. 2, 2009, 12:25 PM
Thanks for everyone's replies!

SonnysMom -- Did you end up having to change the thyroid meds for your cat? Like (s)he was on too high a dose and it had to be brought down a little?

That could be a thought because I don't think the vet has revisited dosage of the thyroid meds since Linus first came off the track & I wonder if he could have somehow come down a little on his own after getting over the shock of...everything.

I think I'm gonna see how he likes TOTW sensitive tummy or Pro Plan Sensitive tummy.

Hillside H Ranch
Oct. 2, 2009, 04:45 PM
Re-check the thyroid. It is well documented that normal thyroid levels in Greyhounds differ from what is considered normal for other dogs. Although the lab you are using may show that your dog's thyroid levels are outside their normal range, it may not truly be a problem.

Oh, and I feed my Greyhounds Science Diet Sensitive Stomach.

Here is a site referencing the bloodwork: http://www.recycledracers.org/FAQ/greyhound-blood-values.html

Many Greyhounds are diagnosed as hypo-thyroid by vets who are not aware of these differences. By supplementing thyroid hormone, you can actually be making the dog hyper-thyroid.

Oct. 2, 2009, 06:31 PM
Greyhounds are a lot different than other dogs. They require a knowledgeable vet re anaesthetic, care when worming and do have funny tummies. Not surprising since they are raised and trained on such gawd-awful food - 4-D's - dead, dying, dropped and diseased.
One of ours came definitely on steroids. Love them.

Oct. 2, 2009, 06:49 PM
I've had a bunch of greys over time and did rescue for years. I've not had experience with thyroid meds but greys are a little "different" and so it would make sense to check on that as others have suggested. Generally I found a lamb/rice (or some ground meat but mostly rice) mix helped with loose stools - which tended to happen when the sky clouded over, someone looked at them funny, or the wrong music was on the radio (get the picture?). Or ignoring it... Greyhounds can do a very good job talking you into all sorts of measures designed to ease their stressful lives. Sound like OTTB's much? My favorites were the adoptive families with no kids where the greys had maneuvered their way into running the household completely. They are insidious that way. For prospective adoptors - don't be alarmed - just know that they are cats in dog skins and will take advantage of any minor weakness to increase their own comfort.

More serious -I have fed an array of mid-high range foods and all have been fine including most of those you mention. My failsafe for loose stools was rice and pepto for a few days - but that was really for emergencies - sounds like just endemic soft poops may be more just your guy or the thyroid. But a lamb/rice kibble is a nice safe choice.

Ben and Me
Oct. 2, 2009, 09:03 PM
The number one ingredient in Missing Link is flaxseed, so it is pretty high fiber.

As others have mentioned, California Natural is also made by Natura (they also make Evo) and they have both a "regular" and "low fat" lamb and rice formula. It would probably be comparable in price to the Evo though. Evo is pretty high in protein, so I'd be worried that it might just be a bit too much for his sensitive tummy to handle!


I just switched my dog to Innova (also made by Natura) and have been pleased so far. The dogs I've seen on California Natural have been in good shape! :)

I am by no means a nutritionist though! You could always call a vet school and ask for an on-the-phone consult with one of their board certified nutritionists if none of these suggestions work, or if you were worried about potentially making the problem worse with a diet change--they would really know all the facts. :)

Oct. 2, 2009, 09:12 PM
What food works well for one grey (or any breed for that matter) will not necessarily work well for another. Sometimes alot of experimentation is necessary. IMO items like pumpkin, rice, etc. are good for short-term looseness issues, but better to find a food that is a better fit for your dog's particular digestive system than have to add mix-ins forever.
Would agree with the suggestion of trying a different protein. For our greys, we finally had good results with fish-based kibble, been happy with Fromm but there are other fish-based brands of course.
Check out Greytalk forum, there is a section on food/dietary and you will find tons of info there, but again, really trial and error w/ your own dog.

Oct. 3, 2009, 07:19 PM
The one cat with the thyroid issue that sometimes couldn't make it to the litter box was not our cat. He was my SIL's and she wanted us to continue to use her vet. Shall we say I did not see eye to eye with her vet and he was not exactly open to suggestions. Also when it was Villa's time to cross the bridge I took him to my vet as hers was not open that day. Villa was also being treated for a heart murmer. My vet could not find a heart murmer.

The other cats on the thyroid meds did need to occasionally have their meds tweeked. They were tested quarterly to make sure the numbers were where they should be. I don't remember specifics since it has been a number of years.

Oct. 5, 2009, 11:14 AM
MistyBlue -- borzoi pics can be found here -- http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/album.php?aid=2026464&id=1116915947

Oct. 5, 2009, 12:13 PM
Lots of dogs have difficulty with Evo at first. It's very rich. Some animals will adjust to it well, others never do.

I used it with my dogs for ages but have one that just never adjusted to it. Now we're feeding Acana Pacifica, which is a grain-free fish based food. It's similar in price but much better tolerated. They've got a few grain-free formulas.

Unless the dog needs the grain-free diet though, there are perfectly good premium foods that do have grain in them. I'd just make sure the first two ingredients are meat and that the food is free of corn and soy....

Oct. 6, 2009, 12:50 PM
A friend has a great dane that frequently has loose stools. She told me that Eagle Pack makes a food additive powder that you add to the food to keep them regular. One of the ingredients is one of the yogurt cultures but there are other things it. I think she feeds it every other day.
She said she can tell the difference if she goes to every 3 days to try to stretch the bottle.
Eagle Pack also has a powder you add to food while you are transitioning them from one food to another to help prevent transitioning issues. This is a different product than the one mentioned above.

forward ride
Oct. 6, 2009, 01:07 PM
Thanks for the thoughts everyone. i have checked out the Greytalk forum. for attempt #1 (or #5 really), i got some pro plan sensitive stomach, which is salmon based. he definitely likes it, but it's more like a treat now since i'm just starting to combine it very slightly.

his thyroid was measured & tested etc when he came off the track & went to his foster home through Greyhound Pets of America (Fast Friends is our local chapter -- as seen on the Dog Whisperer :D ) so i'm not worried that it was so strange vet who didn't know about greys or anything. what i am wondering is if there is a chance he could have had a "false positive" or tested lower than normal or something. we are off to our regular vet for that.

anywho, i'll let you know how it all comes out (sorry, i couldn't resist).