Puppy tummy issues, when does it get better?

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/puppy101/comments/eo0pwr/puppy_tummy_issues_when_does_it_get_better/

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We’ve been struggling with our 10 month old shepherd/retriever puppy and his very sensitive stomach. It all started when we switched him to a new food as recommended by our vet when he was about 4 months old. We did this very gradually and went through hell regardless. Lots of nightly trips outside with very loose stools, and no sleep for me or my fiancé. We did the chicken and rice thing for about 2 months and eventually for him back on his kibble. But he’s had frequent tummy troubles on and off still, and I’m at my wits end at this point. We even had a trip to the emergency room and a hospital stay (7 months old) when his GI tract got so inflamed that he was basically leaking bloody stool. We still aren’t sure what caused this, and the vet didn’t have much to say except that this is common in puppies. This was frustrating to hear, especially after a steep hospital bill and a night of intense worry that we could lose him. We’ve been terrified of a repeat incident ever since.

We’re currently going through this cycle of him having solid poops (truly worth celebrating) for a week or two, and then a seemingly random bought of diarrhea for 24 hours or so. It seems to be triggered at night, with him crying to get out of his crate so we can hurry to his spot outside (no backyard). His food hasn’t changed, and we really have tried to keep his treats to a minimum or at least try not to introduce new things to him in large quantities.

The only thing I can think to do at this point is to limit treats and chews altogether, but this feels so cruel. He is really food motivated and cutting him off of the treats and rewards could jeopardize the progress we’ve made with his training. The only other thing that could possibly be triggering it is if he is picking it up on a walk or at a dog park. It’s so tough because we rely on daycare and dog parks to keep his energy levels down and to just help him have a happier life. These are all things that so clearly bring him joy, and we don’t want to rob him of that, especially when we can’t nail down the cause.

My question is, when does this stop being “just a puppy issue” and more of a lifetime struggle for him? Is there anything we could try that I’m not thinking of? I truly just want him to be healthy and selfishly I’d really just love to sleep through the night consistently.

Any advice would be appreciated!

For reference, we went from Taste of the Wild to Hill’s Science Diet Large Puppy Formula at the advice of our vet. He went on Royal Canin Gastro kibble after his hospital incident as well, and we give that to him to try to calm his tummy down when things get really bad. This isn’t a long term solution though, so I need other options.

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