Diet and Nutrition

Flower has had food sensitivities since she was a puppy. I cannot tell you how many different types of dog food I’ve purchased trying to find one that Flower likes and where there is no stomach upset or diarrhea. Then once that has been found I need to switch up her food because she gets bored quickly and the taste is not appealing to her anymore and then it’s time to switch it up again. Found out quickly the best food for Flower was grain free and limited ingredients.  Every dog has a food that will work best for them. I recommend you talk with your vet to gain education on how to know a good food from the bad and how by looking at their poop you can tell if their systems are agreeing with the food you choose or not.

Flower was fed 3 small meals per day from 8 weeks old to about 1 yr. and 3 months. Although the amount of food may have changed, the times of feeding never did. Consistently enough she was always fed amounts lower than what the average or recommended amount was, even to this day she eats less than the recommended amount. Which is a good thing. Over-eating/over-feeding your bullmastiff only shortens their life. If flower is unusually hungry, for example which occurred after her last cycle, she gets vegetables, which she loves. Her favorites are listed below.

FlowerWeightChartGraph accurately measuring Flowers weight gain/loss from puppy-hood to teenager. Note: *** Different scales measure different weight. So if you want to be exact and accurate you can only use one scale location as your baseline. IE: Vets scale vs. PetSmart/Banfield Hospital scale.

Flowers first food was Diamond up to about 10 weeks old, shortly after I got her I switched her to Blue Buffalo. She stayed on that for almost 9 months. During that time there were bouts of stomach upset and diarrhea for no apparent reason other than her being a puppy and this being normal, according to the vet, I took her in multiple times as I was a concerned new puppy parent. As the months went on and her weight was closely monitored the vet had assured me that this is all quite normal for puppies to have sensitive stomachs and most of the time they grow out of it.

A staple around my house during this time was chicken, quinoa pasta, and sometimes wheat pasta since I found out that rice gave her even worse diarrhea that was removed quickly from all food sources at a young age.

When she would have upset tummy and diarrhea, electrolytes and other nutrients are lost so I would made a specifically concoction for her to  prevent dehydration. Pedialyte Unflavored was given to her but not by itself since she refused to drink it. So I had to mix it with chicken broth then place them in the freezer to make frozen drink treats for Flower:

  • pour in ice cube trays halfway, or
  • plastic disposable cups filled up only about 1/4 inch so they become little frozen saucers/discs of yummy goodness

If Flower was sick with throw up and diarrhea combo this is what I would give her in addition to fresh water throughout the day since eating was sparse or refused.

At one point around 9-10 months old Flower poo-pood her Blue Buffalo completely and refused to eat an actual meal. She only ate enough to sustain her health and that was it. My vet encouraged me to stay strong and don’t give in to immediately giving her chicken or trying a new food. Dogs know how to wrap us around their paws to get what they want. Flower was still healthy, she’s not underweight so no need for concern. funPlayingEspecially since she was happy, playful and still drinking water, and would eat a piece of chicken or vegetables. This went on for about a month as we monitored her weight carefully every week and no weight loss had occurred. But as soon as the weight started to drop something had to be done, so here we go again to food sensitivities and searching for a new food for Flower. Photo caption, Flower being happy and having fun, just being a ham!

Now as Flower is a teenager and still gets bored with her food I have learned to be a little bit more aware of her behaviors and when to switch it up. For example Flower might get a few days of the same type of food, then for say lunch I’ll switch it up and give her something else mixed in to change the flavor a bit. It will always be a per-approved food that I know agrees with her. This is a must! It is cumbersome but this is what works best for Flower. In addition to remaining on a grain-free limited ingredients diet of dog food. Again, every dog is different, but if you have a dog that’s picky or having food sensitivities I recommend you try to switch it up for them. Would you like to eat the same thing every meal for every day?

 

How I test food with Flower:

  1. Always look for grain-free and/or limited ingredients, without a high percentage of protein. Healthier dog foods generally have higher amounts of protein, make sure to read the labels.
  2. I always purchase the smaller 4-5 bag of food to test it out.
    1. If it makes her sick, it goes back
    2. If she likes it great, keep buying small bags for another few weeks to make sure no sensitivities begin or she poo-poos the taste and refuses to eat
    3. If she eats it but it’s not her favorite and does not make her sick, I keep it as a “mix-in” dog food to slightly change the flavor or current food she’s eating from time to time
  3. Once I’m able to find a food that works well in all areas I take a photo of it so I don’t forget and know that I can always go back to that food as a “proven winner” one that Flower will eat. But also keeping aware that a food allergy or sensitivity may occur at any time.

 

morevegiesPlease01 morevegiesPlease03Mom always tells me to eat my vegetables and I do!

Flower has always like vegetables and if they are given it’s given as a treat. Or on the rare occasion that she’s extra hungry and they go in her food dish mixed a little kibble. She does not beg for food of any kind so it’s very nice to be able to have Flower around even in the kitchen since she’s not begging. Here in these photos, 6 months and 16 months she’s sitting here patiently like a good girl as I told her that she is going to get a carrot or piece of broccoli, she knows the routine. She’s trained to sit in the same spot, behave polity and to take the food from my hand very gently. She may sit there for a few minutes until I give her a treat. She’s learned to wait until “I” decide to give her the food. This is a good lesson for dogs to learn. To take it a step farther Flower is so trained that I will set her food down in front of her and she’s not allowed to eat it until I say the magic words, “OK Eat”. I do this almost daily with Flower for her meals, sometimes its immediate that I say the magic words, other times it may be 1 minute or longer. Believe me, 1 minute is a long time….

Here’s a list of the Vegetables Flower likes, in their yumminess order. All cut up to bite size servings so she does not choke and since my vet approved these for Flower, I’m absolutely comfortable giving her the vegetables she loves so much.

  1. Broccoli
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Squash
  4. Carrots

vegetablesSome vegetable may not be suitable for dogs so make sure to check with your vet and find out if they need to be cooked or can be served raw. Rely on your vet who know more than you do on dog’s health. If you’re questioning your vet’s creditability please find another. I wholly trust my vet and I go in frequently and call often in any questions I may have. They welcome me being a proactive pet parent and that’s the type of vet you want.