By Ann E. Kenny
Webmistress’s note: Be sure to read the comments after the articles. You’ll find even more reasons for greyhound gas and solutions to them.
Is the dreaded greyhound gas a problem in your home?
Are you embarrassed to have friends come over for fear they won’t ever want to come again? If so, then it’s time for action. First, be sure that you are feeding your dog quality food. Look at the label and make sure that it doesn’t have any soybean product in it. Many dogs have difficulties with soybeans and hounds seem particularly sensitive. Second, be sure you are not giving your dog too many unhealthy treats (biscuits with lots of sugar or fatty table scraps). Not only will these treats contribute to unhealthy weight gain, they can aggravate a gas problem. Third, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons per day of plain low or non-fat yogurt to their food. The acidophilus in the yogurt helps stabilize the bacteria in their digestive system.
If the above steps haven’t eliminated the problem, try adding an enzyme product to their food. My husband and I have had great success with a product called K-Zyme (sources listed below). The manufacturer has also been getting lots of positive feedback from hound owners regarding the product. This particular enzyme product is liver-flavored (our dogs love it), contains extra vitamins and minerals, and requires only 1 tsp. per day. Gas is no longer a problem with our three dogs and their stools are somewhat smaller because the enzyme helps them better digest their food.
Because they digest their food more effectively, weight gain can be expected. This is great if you have a dog who has a hard time keeping weight on (like Fritz). On the other hand, if your dog gains weight easily (like Ginger and Vox) you will need to reduce the amount of food you give your dog. We also give K-Zyme to all our foster dogs and find that it really helps them make the transition more quickly to regular dog food. (Our dogs get a tablespoon of yogurt per day as well.)
Another product recently came on the market which is the doggy equivalent of Beano. It’s called CurTail. We haven’t tried it, but it should also work to control gas.
What is the proper weight for a hound?
All the literature I’ve read suggests that the best weight to maintain is one where you can still see a one or two of the backbone ridges and one or two ribs. Anything heavier is simply unhealthy for the dog’s heart and its muscular-skeletal system. The dog should feel muscular, and not flabby when you give it a hug. If you feel flab on the dog’s chest and the dog’s stomach is no longer tightly tucked, then it’s time to exercise your dog more and feed it less food. Substitute vegetables such as raw carrots, blanched asparagus or green beans for a tasty no-fat treat instead of biscuits. Some dogs also love fruit such as grapes or apples and appear to tolerate them very well (no diarrhea or added gas). Ed note – grapes can be toxic so we recommend avoiding them.)
Do not, however, place a highly active dog on diet or senior food, without first checking with your veterinarian. We tried this with Ginger, our five year old female hound, and the results were disastrous. She very quickly became lethargic, had a hard time keeping up with the rest of our dogs, and a torn muscle in her groin refused to heal. Fortunately, I had read a review of senior foods in the magazine “Good Dog” which found that their test dog declined significantly on senior food (May/June, 1996). They concluded that active dogs (and hounds are certainly more active than the vast majority of dogs) need more calories than the average diet or senior food provides. As soon as I read this article, I put Ginger back on regular dog food (we use the Nature’s Recipe brand) and within 12 hours she was significantly improved. Within two days she was back to normal and her torn muscle hasn’t been a problem since. The moral here is: just feed an overweight hound slightly less (1/2 cup or so) of his regular food and exercise him more and soon he will be a healthy weight. Finally, if you have more than one dog, be sure the dog on the diet doesn’t sneak food from the other dogs’ bowls when your back is turned!
Sources for K-Zyme, 5 lb. canister, also available in tablet form:
J-B Wholesale Pet Supplies, Inc.:1-800-526-0388
K-V Vet Supply: 1-800- 423-8211, $26.90; $30.00 minimum order, $3.00 fee added if under. They also carry Curtail, $6.99 (.55 oz. equals 75 feedings).
Omaha Vaccine Company: 1-800-367-1444, $31.85; $50.00 minimum order, $6.00 fee added if under. Their current price for CurTail is $6.95.
CG F 96
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