German Shepherd's Digestive Issues ~ Diarrhea

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.


Keep your mouth- closed, I'm a- kisser!
Barked: Tue Jul 20, '10 11:08pm PST 
This is a question my sister posted elsewhere about her German Shepherd's digestive issues. I'm hoping she will get a better response here. Thank you!

"Does anyone out there have a German Shepherd with tons of tummy troubles? I have a 1.5-year-old female, Shasta, who has had chronic diarrhea since we've had her (from 7 months on). We have tried every food under the sun (transitioning slllloowwwwllly each time). Next step is to do a GI panel and check her digestive enzymes. It is my understanding that GSD's are quite prevalent in the 'Pancreatitis' group... She is currently on a bland diet of rice and either boiled chicken or beef, both of which she does great on. However, we are worried she is not getting her necessary nutrients, so are eager to get her on dog food. Our veterinarian is wonderful and working with us every step of the way, conservatively - which we like. Just wondering if anyone out there has any thoughts or ideas?"

Barked: Wed Jul 21, '10 4:16am PST 
Mogwai has had tummy problems for as long as I can remember. If your dog tolerates the chicken and rice well, you can keep homecooking, just adding a few things to ensure she gets all the nutrients she needs. Look online for balanced recipes, or ask your vet what to add. A lot of people will add a vitamin supplement as well.

There are tons of dog foods for sensitive stomachs, too. Lots of hypoallergenic options with novel proteins/starches that are fully balanced, and may not upset the stomach as much.

Mogwai ended up on Z/D which is a prescription food, the proteins are already broken down into amino acids in the food when she eats it, so it doesn't irritate her stomach. I'm not happy about the quality of the Z/D but it has made a huge difference.

The biggest difference was adding enzymes and prebiotics to the Z/D. Since I have put them both together, she has had zero stomach flare ups, which is HUGE after 9 years of flare ups monthly or weekly.

There are lots of solutions to this problem, unfortunately it is trial and error, but you will find something that works!
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Jul 21, '10 4:44am PST 
Many GSD's require the addition of pancreatic enzymes such as viokase in their food on a daily basis. Your vet can check the stool for fat content, but most times it is easier and faster to just do a trial of the enzymes. There are ones available otc, in fact some people report good results with just the addition of pineapple in the daily diet, but a prescription brand does work better and overall, will give the best results. I would ask your vet to try a trial run with one of these products. If this is her problem you can then get her back on a high quality kibble with great results. In our boarding kennel one out of ever five GSD's is on these enzymes on a daily basis. They are very safe, they only provide the enzymes lacking in her system. Good luck!!! Having worked in a GSD kennel for many years, I feel your pain!!! In some cases, the dog will begin producing the lacking enzymes naturally with maturity.

Brodie Bear

The Furry- Bull-Dozer
Barked: Wed Jul 21, '10 6:02am PST 
Brodie has always had digestive issues. We have had pretty good results with adding a probiotic to his food. Brodie doesn't do well with any kind of grain at all.

So, he is doing good on the bland diet? If not try taking away the rice and see what happens.

I wrote a post in the homecooking formum bc I had considered cooking for Brodie in the future. There's some good info that helps you make sure the dog is getting what it needs.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Wed Jul 21, '10 6:43am PST 
Poor Shasta. Squ'mey has a rather delicate digestive system also. I have to be vigilant about what goes in, or risk "rocket-butt" on the way out. I hope she gets in figured out. It took me a while to figure out just how much orijen I could give him & I can always tell if the housemate has fed him something she knows she shouldn't. Hopefully others will chime in with more responses for you.

How You Doin'?
Barked: Wed Jul 21, '10 12:47pm PST 
Chance has a "delicate" digestive system and it took much trial and error to find a food she could eat without producing pudding poops and runny butt or having it come right back up.
Even with a food she did well on, feed her too much and it would come back up.

We finally had success with Blue Buffalo Wilderness until just before the officially went grain-free, Evo (no longer feeding because of the P & G buyout, Orijen and now ZiwiPeak.

Barked: Fri Jul 23, '10 7:58pm PST 
You should ask your vet to run a blood test called TLI, don't remember exactly what that stands for but it tests for a condition called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. It's a condition where the pancreas don't produce the necessary digestive enzymes and results in weight loss and diarrhea.

It's almost always found in dogs (my cat has it but she's an extremely rare case - neither of our vets saw it in a cat before), and about 70% of the time it's found in German Shepherd's. It's a lifelong condition, but easily treated. I just have to give my cat an enzyme replacement pill each time she eats.

The medication used is either Pancrezyme, Viokase V or Biokase. It's very expensive from my vet, but just a fraction of the cost going through an online pet pharmacy.

Good luck, my new puppy was just tested for this because of diarrhea that's not going away. I really don't expect it to come back positive, but at least if it does I know it's not too big of a deal.

Momma is the- center of the- universe...
Barked: Sat Jul 24, '10 12:26am PST 
My first thought is always parasites, Giardia being the most difficult to get rid of.

Next culprit, a messed up digestive system due to medications. Plain cultured yogurt can help put back healthy bacteria.

Pancreatic problems are next for GSD's.

Copy and paste this to browser to read article.


Keep your mouth- closed, I'm a- kisser!
Barked: Sat Jul 24, '10 12:13pm PST 
Thank you to everyone who responded. I am forwarding this info to my sister and hoping my canine niece will be pooping like a champ soon!

My sister is waiting for the test results from a blood test taken last week.

Thanks again!!!