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I am having a lot of trouble finding the right dry kibble for my two greyhounds, Gus and Tulsa. Gus has had major digestive issues and Tulsa often has very soft stools. I have tried several dry foods, all researched online to be sure the food meets all canine nutritional standards. Right now they are eating Nutro lamb and rice formula, but their coats have become very dry and flaky and their stools are occasionally very soft--difficult to clean up on our walks. I read recommendations for Natural Balance sweet potato and venison and also sweet potato and fish but when I went to Natural Balance's web site, the minimum protein listed is 20% and 21%.
The greyhound book I have recommends protein levels of 22-27% and that the first six ingredients of a dog food should be animal derived. Both of these list sweet potato as the first ingredient. I am confused and really hope other greyhound owners can tell me which kibble I should try. Does a lower protein level matter? Should the first six ingredients be animal derived? I would welcome any feedback--especially from anyone who has had digestive issues and dry coats. (Oh, I didn't mention that I do give pumpkin with both meals as recommended for soft stools.) Thanks!
Doesn't look like anyone replied and as I have 2 dogs with somewhat similar issues, I thought I would offer my 2 cents worth.
First, when you switched foods, did you do so gradually? Changing abruptly can cause more digestive problems. I have a 2 yr old lab/hound cross (I think the "hound" is a sighthound breed, but don't really know) with a "sensitive stomach". Spry's previous owners fed him Beneful (bad!) and I switched him to a better quality, chicken & brown rice kibble that he is doing much better on (the chicken is the first listed ingredient). I just started adding an holistic preparation with appropriate digestive bacteria (the same as yogurt) designed for helping transitioning diets, but also recommended to me for his sensitivity. I also found some charcoal dog biscuits called Tummy Treats (by Darford) - activated charcoal helps with sensitive stomachs and other digestive problems.
My German Shepherd/Collie has allergies. I have feed him Natural Balance Fish & Sweet Potatoe - even the biscuits. In fact, he loves the sweet potatoe so much that I give him raw slices as his chew treat - it's packed with antioxidents which is why these foods are recommended for food allergies. He does well on that diet, but still has seasonal "attacks" (usually in ragweed season). Most vets automatically give steroids for allergies, but I found an older vet who had a dog of his own with the same problem and he recommended a high potency omega-3 and -6 fatty acid supplement (e.g., Allerderm), shampooing with a prescription cortizone shampoo when Tuck's skin is particularly bad and Nizoral if it's just dry and flaky, and antihistimines as soon as he breaks out in a rash or hot spots. That all helps when he has symptoms, but I give him the Allerderm and an herbal product called Skin-Eze (from Allergicpet.com) in his food every meal (mixed into half a can of the same food as his kibble). The difference is amazing! 2 years ago I had to make Tuck a winter coat because he lost all his undercoat every Fall and the remainnig hair was very thin with bald areas where he chewed the hair out of itchy hot spots. Now his coat is so thick and shiny I have to get him professionally groomed. Your dog's skin problem doesn't sound like allergies, but some of the same remedies may be appropriate, esp. the fatty acids and shampoo (a dog oatmeal shampoo might be good, too).
One other note. Spry cannot eat Tuck's food or biscuits - the fish oil is too rich for him (esp. when he manages to steal the whole cookie jar!). If your dog's aren't used to eating only their own dinners, you might want to go with the veal instead--it should be less fatty than the fish or lamb, which might also help with the soft stool problem. As for the protein, I'm not sure that a difference of 1 to 5% would matter, and while I normally look for a product with meat listed first, you have to go with what works with your dog's issues and sensitivities. I studied Wildlife Biology at the University of Guelph (home of the Ontario Veterinary College) including courses in wildlife and human nutrition as well as biochemistry, and was surprised to learn that the dogs are not carnivores, as commonly believed. Canines are omnivores (cats are true carnivores and shouldn't be fed any product with grains and veggies).
Lastly, ask a vet - one with experience with greyhounds preferably, and a greyhound breeder or blog. There may be breed related issues that you need to take into consideration.