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My 3-y-old 6 lb male Chihuahua started out on Royal Canin dry food for Chihuahuas before I got him at 16 months old.  Since then he has had no grains, no sugars, no ‘meat or animal derivatives’.

I changed him over to Natures Menu Country Hunter wet food pouches, and he continued to do well.

After about six months, I changed him to Lily’s Kitchen wet food trays because these were more readily available to me, and there were no adverse effects (at first).  I would give him a variety of LK trays, including the Organic variety, which I increased to every other day.

He started to get loose, and more frequent, mucousy stools.

I suspected his food was not suiting him.  Maybe the LK Organic was too rich...  I then gave him a half-wet-half-dry diet (the dry was Barking Heads small breed, grain free) so he had LK wet trays in the morning (alternating organic with non-organic trays on different days) and dry in the evening.  After that his stools firmed up, but were often bright yellow, and often normal consistency but marbled brown and yellow. 

I emailed the company and they told me that they had never heard of this problem with their food.  With hindsight, his stools firmed up not because he was eating half dry food, but because it meant he was eating less of the LK Organic.

At some point last year he developed occasional symptoms (about six episodes in total) in the morning which included, but not all at the same time, gurgling stomach, vomiting bile (twice had specks of blood in it), loss of appetite, shaking, gulping, head-bobbing, licking the air, licking the carpet, strange posture, yelping, frantic running, once even eating his Vetbed!  His symptoms would clear up after he had eaten, but he would lose his appetite during the episodes, and he would get worse if he didn't eat.

I took him to two different veterinary practices where he was given an anti-nausea injection and I was told by both to feed him Chappie to settle his stomach and come back next day if he didn’t improve.  He improved as soon as I got home.

I strongly started to suspect it was his food that was the problem and, eventually, specifically CARRAGEENAN in the Lily’s Kitchen Organic.  Carrageenan is an unnecessary and dangerous thickening agent used to make the food look prettier.  It firms up the product to make it loaf-like.

I have recently removed the LK Organic / carrageenan and, so far, he has been right as rain.  He used to also do wicked-smelling farts two to four times a day, and now does none.  His stools are perfect in colour and consistency.

I now keep a very detailed food and symptom diary which includes every single thing he eats, the time he eats it, the amount he eats, and any symptoms at all.  I have eliminated the dry food, too, and feed him three times a day instead of two.

I now email all companies BEFORE I feed my dog (and cat) on a new food to ask them if their food contains carrageenan, and what other thickeners their food contains, because they don't have to declare them on pet food labels.  Please do this if your pet has any of the above symptoms I mentioned.  If a food contains carrageenan, don’t feed it to your pet.  It can cause inflammation (anything with ‘itis’ on the end of it refers to inflammation) and severe digestive upset, and I believe these are the milder, short-term symptoms.

It is hard to find a dog food that contains no thickeners at all (Barking Heads uses none, and Meowing Heads for cats has none).  Some companies use cassia gum, xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum as thickening agents.  After an absolute ton of research, I believe these are less harmful by far than carrageenan, and some or all may not cause harm.

He is still eating some LK non-organic foods that I have in the cupboard, which contain either locust bean gum or cassia gum, and he has been well ever since dropping the organic version which contains carrageenan.

Lily's Kitchen are up front about naming thickeners on their labels, but not all companies are.  It is best to check with them with a simple email before you feed their food to your pet.
Hello and welcome to the forum. It is good to hear that you are making headway with your dog and  I am sure it will be useful to others to share what has worked for you.
Thank you!

Dog food really is a minefield!
Hello and welcome to the forum. Well done for persevering with your dog’s health problem. Hope that he/she remains well.
Feeding dogs with health problems / Re: Best dog food for Colitis
« Last post by Dottie on Yesterday at 10:50 »
Thank you for the update. Colitis can be caused by intolerance of certain ingredients but not always. Assuming that your dog has a food intolerance, this thread might be useful to you. There is no best food for dogs with colitis because every dog is different, especially when it comes to food intolerance.

Here are some suggestions:
- Conduct a proper elimination diet with the help of your vet. It takes a while but can have a useful outcome.
- Discuss with your vet whether it would be worth testing  for intolerances.
- Change to a wet food. They tend to have simpler recipes. Dry dog food often contains storage mites in varying numbers and this is a common allergen.
- Add in a good quality canine specific pre/probiotic such as YuDigest. My understanding is that while many dogs are ok with plain yoghurt, some are lactose intolerant. Also, dogs have a highly acidic stomach which may kill off the healthy bacteria found in yoghurt.

If you are interested in trying wet food, use the Dog Food Directory and set the ratings slider to the higher end eg 4-5 stars. Tick no red ingredients.  If you go for grain free choose sweet potato. The ones that contain brown rice might be useful too because it is a good source of fibre.

If you prefer dry food the other option is to look at the cold pressed foods because some of them contain ingredients that are reputed to promote gut health. There are some that don’t contain chicken eg Gentle Fish. They soak very nicely with tepid water and you can therefore easily make it into a wet food which will not dehydrate the dog.
Hi everyone.  I have a dog which has in the past had a few episodes of digestive issues, which I believe I am on my way to solving.  I thought I would join the forum and try to help others with my findings, but would like to 'find my feet' first!
Feeding dogs with health problems / Re: Best dog food for Colitis
« Last post by lily24 on Yesterday at 09:43 »
Hi yes
So at the begining - and I had her as a puppy - she had been on Royal Canin - I changed this after a while  as it didnt seem to have any goodness in it
Then went onto Simpsons  Sensitive Chicken and Potato - after a while she must have started to have issues as she was at the vets quite frequently, ear infections, itchy and then really strange poos - so the vet said it could be that she is intolerant to chicken and the food may be making her ear infections etc, and the colitis may have started then near the end of me giving her this food.  so did some research and changed it again.
SO decided no human food, and she is on Arden Grange sensitive white fish kibble which she loves but has maybe not made the issue any better after a while as I am now back to her having what I call 'Colitis mornings' about twice a week - dont get me wrong after these episodes which must be hurting as she doesnt run or want to do anything just sort of sleep it off - she is fine eats her food and plays like normal - but I assume it is what is going in is causing these flair ups?
The last few months also she has really smelly farts and lots of gurgling in her tummy mainly at night with acid - then in the morning when I come down she has been sick with the acid etc so have been trying to give her a little supper before bedtime.
Anyway she is on the Arden Grange food, 4 smallish portion a day - on the morning portion she has 2 tablespoons of yoghurt to try and settle tummy and  help with the smelly farts - the night meals I soak in warm water which I gather helps with digestion.
The only other things she has are 2 Lilys Kitchen bedtime biscuits at bedtime and about 2 a day Lilys Kitchen Cheese and Apple treats (these are very small)
The vet has said she has Colitis and all the symptoms of that are there, bloody mucusy poos, for the tummy acid he prescribe Ranitidine which helps.
Other than all this going on she is in good health, fit and active, has not lost weight, eats and drinks (when not having an 'episode')
But as the Colitis seems to be having a big flare up at the moment I was just considering maybe there is a gentler, better food out there that I could try - it cant make it any worse than it is at the moment.

Feeding dogs with health problems / Re: Best dog food for Colitis
« Last post by Dottie on Yesterday at 08:25 »
Hello and welcome to the forum. Please can you say which products you have tried and what your dog is currently having? Also, what has your vet said about this? 
General discussion / Re: Ingredient help
« Last post by Dottie on Yesterday at 08:24 »
Hello and welcome to the forum. There is an existing discussion about this subject here.  It is sometimes useful to contact the manufacturer of your chosen dog food for further advice and information.
Feeding dogs with health problems / Best dog food for Colitis
« Last post by lily24 on Apr 20, 2019, 14:57 »
Hi everyone this is my very first post but I am very confused.  My dog is 5 years old and has been suffering from probably chronic colitis for the last year, I have changed her food etc but the last month it has got really bad again and I presume it is what is going into her - which is the food - that I need to do something about again.
She also suffers from very bad smelly wind (so have been putting a spoonful of yoghurt on her food in the morning) and also very gurgly, acidy tummies mainly at night which cause her to be sick in the morning with acid coming out - I have been soaking her food at night so it is easily digestible too.  But now I need help - I am searching for the best sort of food to give her to settle all these problems so need any help that anybody can give me.
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