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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28503
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My girlfriend's dog has always had a sensitive stomach.

Customer Question

Hello! My girlfriend's dog has always had a sensitive stomach. As he gets older, its only gotten worse. We had him on a chicken and rice diet for a while, after he suffered from a hernia which he had surgery for. We were concerned he wasn't getting all
the nutrients he needs, so we started incorporating some Blue grain-free canned chicken food with his normal chicken, and he is running into problems (mostly diarrhea) again. My girlfriend is concerned that just chicken and rice is not enough, but he absolutely
seems to respond to the homemade food better. We were wondering if there is anything else you could recommend to supplement the nutrition of the chicken and rice. I've read pumpkin or yogurt can help with stomach problems, but I'm not sure if those are meant
to be used long term. We're definitely looking for something to add to his normal diet. We've tried various wet foods (he has missing teeth so we keep him off hard, dry food) and Dino-vites (vitamins) but they all just seem to exacerbate the issue. I guess
you could say we have a distrust of the processed, store-bought food now. Could you please advise us as to what the best diet for our dog would be here? I appreciate your time and any suggestions you can offer. Thank you so much!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

If you're convinced that Rocky suffers from a food intolerance, the strictest manner in which to test for such an intolerance is to feed a hydrolyzed protein diet. Such a diet can't be homemade, however, as it takes a special process to hydrolyze proteins. Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Rocky's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

The above notwithstanding, it's important to note that at 16 years of age Rocky is likely to suffer from more than one disorder concomitantly. His exacerbating diarrhea may not be related to his diet at this time and so it would be prudent to have diagnostics in the form of a senior/geriatric panel of blood and urine tests prior to altering his diet. Many of the age-related disorders respond to dietary alteration and so we need to see if such a disorder currently exists. I can supply you with balanced home cooked recipes but I need to know about Rocky's overall condition before posting such a recipe.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Rocky. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin