Wait, what? Can you repeat that please.

As a reminder, Doug is impossible to keep weight on. We tried food after food to find one that he keeps down and doesn’t poop 25 times a day on and one that keeps his poops ‘moderately’ good. While on the one food that somewhat worked, he consistently lost weight.

His bionic leg endeavors deterred some of our digestive progress.  Or masked it. Or made us forget all about it. But he started throwing up regularly and we went to the vet. And the vet did bloodwork and it all came back terrible and they were worried Doug could be in organ failure and I was overwhelmed and he was malnourished and ok universe JUST STOP BEING SUCH AN A$$HOLE.

We did x-rays. We did ultrasounds. Scope was up next, but we decided to do a food change to see if we could pinpoint the issue. Doug went on the food that has pre digested protein. The one I argue is the worst.

You knew all of this from previous posts but I wanted to get you back up to speed. Also, here is a reminder of what Doug looks like!


We did the food trial for 8 weeks. Doug went from skinny to pleasantly plump. I had to cut back on the recommended amount because he was clearly back up to healthy hippo weight, and maybe even for the first time, a little overweight.

We had his bloodwork redone and the vet called. I could hear in her voice that the results were unexpected, maybe even questionable. Then she delivered a statement to me that has never once been said, to me, about any dog:

Doug’s bloodwork is perfect. Like textbook perfect. Like we’ve never seen such good bloodwork ever, in the history of all the bloodwork.

I legit cried. I mean I’m not saying we will ever be able to find out what the mystery of an ‘annual vet visit’ is like, but hot damn, we got him from possible organ failure to poster child of health!

Turns out, Doug has an intolerance to Chicken. And a few other things. This explains while during the terrible weeks, when we put Doug on the bland diet (chicken and rice), everything got way worse. The predigested food is a short term solution as even that manufacturer of the foods says that dogs should not stay on it long term. Doug is now on a food trial with Kangaroo and higher fiber (which we know he does better on). He’s tolerating the food great and we will do another blood test after 8 weeks, but I can just tell, he’s nutrient boosted and being fueled by food joy. Yay!

Doug is the perfect example of how nothing happens overnight. This September will mark our 3rd year together, and it is has taken this long to figure out all his digestive issues. In between all of it was two major leg surgeries and a host of anxiety and behavioral learnings. He is never boring, currently his hind legs are posturing in a way that his outside paw pads and nails don’t touch the ground. We learned this by noticing that those nails are always super long, unlike the other nails that wear down normally on all the walks. Who knows what the solution to that is.

I think the moral to this story and maybe all of my stories about all of the dogs is 1. get health insurance for your pet and 2. there are no guarantees for how easy or difficult or challenging life with a pet will be. There is only what you make of the joy.



12 thoughts on “Wait, what? Can you repeat that please.

  1. Yay for Doug! Love these updates. When I began reading I thought oh no, poor Doug and Tracey! What a relief he’s got regular blood work that is awesome!! Our dog is allergic to chicken too–and we had her on a purely raw diet but she was so thin! We added Kasik’s (brand from Canada) and it was pure joy to see her get “pleasantly plump”! Here’s to Food Joy!! Best, Rebecca & Abigaile

  2. Oh my dog it’s amazing how similar Doug and Atticus are! Atticus is also allergic to chicken (and beef, potatoes, peas, eggs, and a crapload of other food). We have him on The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Whitefish and he gets kangaroo kibble as treats! This seems to have helped his belly issues so much. Atticus will be 12 at the end of July and while we knew some of the foods he couldn’t tolerate (beef essentially made his fur fall out) we had no idea about most of the others. We did a food intolerance test we got from Amazon and it came back with so many things! It’s helped us so much. Relatively inexpensive and you just send in some fur. We have a much happier dog now and while we spend a lot on food, we spend so much less time and money at the vet, so that’s a win!!

    • Doug’s fur falls out with beef! I do want to do a test, but when I had Melvin, his came back everything. Literally everything in life, and he did incredibly well on raw. Doug did not do well on any raw. Why is it so complex?! 😍 Also, 12 is such an awesome age.

  3. We’re in the process of trying to find a food for our 12.5 year old IBD dog. He was on Acana singles pork but they moved their manufacturing plant to Kentucky and changed some ingredients sooo back to the drawing board we go. He’s allergic to chicken, turkey, salmon, wheat, peas and lord knows what else. It’s nit the first time we’ve been faced with having to call it quits over not being able to find a good he can tolerate. I’m kinda at a loss as he even reacted to the vet diet and refused to eat it. He was on honest kitchen for years but he reacts to that now too. So I feel your pain and I’m overjoyed you found something that works for him.

    • I know your path. That was also life with Melvin, although he would eat anything, nothing agreed with him. He did great on raw. He was even able to eat the raw proteins that he was allergic to cooked. I’m not a huge fan of vet diets but I do have to admit, having Doug gain weight has been so joyful. We did Royal Canin hydrologized and are now on Royal Canin Single protein kangaroo. Have you tried either of those?

      • We haven’t tried them yet but thanks for the suggestions I’ll add them to our to try list. I’m just so thankful that things aren’t like they were 12 years ago when we started all this. There are so many more potential foods out there now.

  4. Glad to see a post and get an update on you and Doug. Congrats on winning this food round, I know it was not without difficulty. Hope Doug stays well and plump!

  5. What is this “annual vet visit” you speak of? 🙂

    SO glad you figured this out. Coop can’t tolerate chicken either, and what I’ve learned over the years is that chicken is sneaked into everything dog… treats labeled another protein, supplements, even some heartworm preventatives. It’s an undertaking, that’s for sure, and I’m now a pro-level label reader but so very worth it to see that weight gain and healthy belly!!!

    • Twinning chicken rejectors! I’m allergic to Flax Seed and it is also in everything so I spend most of my life reading human and dog food labels! ❤️

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