Posted : 1/9/2008 1:03:03 AM
Forgot to mention that giving probiotics can also sometimes help.
Again, it's one of those things that can cut both ways: it'll either help get better formed stools, or make them soft. Trial and error is the only way to find out.
I would recommend going straight to using a top quality, very concentrated Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic powder (has to be kept in fridge).
Some people report success with using just plain acidophilus yoghurt - but my experience is only of stool softening.
I give my guys probiotic powder, just dabbed on the tongue, at bedtime - and that seems to work well. It aids digestion by populating the digestive tract with friendly micro-bacteria.
I re-read your original message and noticed that you add to the kibble "a little bit of cooked turkey or hamburger".
While I think adding some fresh, cooked food to a dry diet is a good thing ... you need to remember that meat (also fish and eggs) has no fiber whatsoever. So, in effect, you are 'diluting' the percentage of fiber in the meal you are feeding. I would therefore suggest you add a fiber-rich source to the extra home-cooked meat: mix in some flaxseed and also add a vegetable (cooked soft and mashed thoroughly). My guys love broccoli - and it's good for them!
When adding extra fiber in the form of veg or fruit or seeds, you're not just adding a fiber bulking agent ... you are enhancing the health of the gut flora.
As to kibble: I see that you used to feed Canidae ... but it wasn't cough very popular. ;)
Same story here, so I know what you mean.
Terrierlover mentioned NB Duck &Potato, and I think that's another excellent one to try.
Another approach mentioned is feeding a food - raw pre-mix or dry EVO - that is very very very high in calcium. With many dogs, this will produce very hard poops (the excess calcium being excreted). I just want to advise caution when trying this approach - with a robust healthy dog there is no great danger; but our poodle guys tend to be quite sensitive and ... well, I've been down that road and it's a bit risky IMHO.
My girl had 2 AG abscesses, and the vet said that as a result the tissue around the glands is now scarred and not as flexible as it used to be. He advised to keep the poops not too hard because that puts strain on that whole area.
The solution to AG problems is often more complex than just hardening up the stools. Firm poops are obviously desirable ... but not the be all and end all. From my experience, it's a combination of stool volume and firmness.
If your dog is pooping quite hard and small stools, then it's quite possible that this may not be enough to express the glands properly. It needs a certain amount of bulk - that's where the fiber sources come in: vegies give good bulk, flaxseed dries and firms the poop etc.
Ideally, the poops should be well-formed, firm and clean to pick up ... but not hard as chalk. Having the occasional softer poop in between is actually no bad thing. Today I saw an example of this - forgive me for going into such detail (I think I could write a book about anal glands and diet! LOL).
My girl had her glands expressed last week at the vet's. However, there was still some hard residue in there that wouldn't shift and I got worried. Well ... clever girl: today she had a firm poop (no change with the AGs), and shortly after a second one that was soft. And guess which poop managed to finally clear the glands - yep, the second soft one.
So I think for dogs with real chronic AG problems, it's a combination of factors. It can take quite some time to figure it all out.
Oh ... and I got over being embarrassed at the rather big poops my guys sometimes produce.