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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there

This is my first post so hopefully I am posting in the most appropriate section!

I have a 21 month old intact male golden retriever. Temperament-wise he is wonderful - sweet, gentle and calm. However we have been extremely unlucky with his health. He has major food intolerances which mean that he is on a vegetarian diet. We have trialled him with every meat type you could imagine and the ONLY food he is fine with (no streaming diarrhoea etc) is the veggie food.

He also has atopic dermatitis; the problem is house dust mites and storage mites. We have tried to manage this with measures at home, including weekly antibacterial baths and steroid creams (amongst other things) but he keeps having big flare ups so he's starting immunotherapy injections later this month.

The problem currently is that he's epileptic. We are getting the seizures under control with medication, but it's always going to be trial and error until we get the right balance. The medication he's on makes him drowsy and slow - we have been told that this is unlikely to change. He's happy living his life but he can't go on 90 minute walks and tear through the woods any more. He gets tired after an hour walk and his legs go wobbly etc. It simply wouldn't be fair to walk him any more than that.

The problem at home is that i'm finding it difficult to mentally stimulate him. In the past (before we realised about the cause of his stomach problem) he used to have rawhide chews and other meaty bones etc to get his teeth into - I tried them again recently and we've had bad diarrhoea for a few days. We play tug of war games and run around, but he gets bored of this easily and sometimes just sits in front of me and whines. I buy him new toys every week (he has lots in his toy box) but unless a toy is incredibly sturdy he destroys it in 5 minutes. He doesn't like stag bars or fake bones as they're not meaty enough for him (I assume).

I can't exercise him any more than I do (if he gets overtired he's prone to seizures and back legs giving out etc) and I can't give him the rawhide treats or bones that he could work on for hours as these make him ill.

I love him to bits but things have been so hard with his health problems. I am desperate to give him a more fulfilling life but I don't know what to do. I feel so guilty all the time that I could be doing more for him. Thank you so much for reading x
 

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Luna and Lily's Dad
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Have you tried Kongs with him? An extreme Kong is very durable and can be made very entertaining. Try filling one with some of his food and some banana or pumpkin. Pack it in tightly and then freeze it overnight. It will provide lots of entertainment for him and should be friendly to his health conditions.
 

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Kaysea's Mom Forever
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Hi Avocado Addict, since I'm a vegetatian (over 35 yrs), my Kaysea was given mostly a veggie diet too ;-) For stimulation you might try the Kong and stuff it with a carrot or two or messy but stuff a banana into it and let him work at that for a while.

Sorry your boy is having so many health issues...you love him to bits...that's the best gift you can give him...a safe secure loving home!

Kaysea would also go through toys so we started buying the flat unstuffed but still had the squeeker in them. They lasted a little longer ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! Unfortunately carrots and bananas don't work for his stomach but will definitely try with root veg (which seems to keep him firm in the bowel department!).
 

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Try puzzle toys. Although I've never had a dog with food allergies, I have had dogs stay with me that were receiving heart worm treatment and injured dogs so they had to be kept quiet. Lots of attention, grooming (if your dog likes it), many short and slow walks a day as opposed to less frequent long/fast walks, mental stimulation games and training were all life savers. You may also want to think about doing nose work that will tire your pup mentally, but may not require as much physical energy. I did a quick google search on puzzle toys and here is what I found
Dog Puzzle Toys for Sale Online | PetSolutions
Interactive Dog Toys | Puzzle Dog Toys - 1800PetSupplies.com
The 6 Best Toys to Keep Your Dog Really Busy
 

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Look into "shaping". It is very mentally stimulating but doesn't require a lot of physical energy. It is a neat way to train your dog to do cool tricks (like turning the light switch on and off etc.) and fun for both you and the dog.
I looked online for an article on shaping and this is the best I could find. Methods of "Getting Behavior": Shaping | Dogster
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Eowyn, the links are great (especially the last one). Never thought of puzzle games! Will have a look for similar products in the Uk.
 
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