How To Transition Dog Food
Your dog may enthusiastically dive into their new dog food, but their system will likely need some time to adjust to a new diet. When switching dog food, our nutritionist Sara recommends making a slow, measured, and gradual change between over a 7-10 day period to help your dog avoid digestive upset. Thats something that both you and your dog will appreciate!
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Dog Articles: Health
Puppy, adult and senior: all three stages are important times in your furry pals life when its appropriate to ask your veterinarian about your dogs diet.
Growth foods necessary at the puppy stage have higher protein levels and calorie counts to meet your pups developmental needs. But once your pup is six to 12 months old those needs change.
Thats usually when your puppy is nearing his adult height and can transition to adult food. Spaying or neutering usually occurs at this age as well, lowering your dogs need for increased energy hence a reason to switch from puppy to adult dog food.
Breed size matters
Switching to adult food coincides with maturity, but due to the large variety of breeds, different dogs mature at different rates. Smaller breeds tend to mature faster than larger breeds:
Dogs up to 30 pounds mature around 10 to 12 months of age.
Some toy breeds can mature as early as seven to nine months old.
Medium breeds, up to 80 pounds, mature between 12 to 16 months.
Large breeds can mature at 12, 13, or even 14 months old.
Giant breed dogs can take up to two years to reach full maturity.
No more three squares a day
Most pet parents feed two half-portions of adult food when their dogs are over a year old.
Eyes on your furry friend. Not his food.
Cooking Our Way To A Healthier Dog Diet
Ever since I started raising my own dogs, Id always wanted to make their food at home but thought it would be too expensive or too time consuming, or that they wouldnt get the nutrition they needed.
During the month of Bugs doggy depression, I vowed to make her precious life as comfortable as possible.
Both of my pugs had a range of health issues growing up, which I unfortunately found out were common for the breed.
My older one had persistent hot spots and itchiness that no commercial dog food could cure .
Bug was overweight for a while when she was younger, even though she ate the recommended amount of food for her target weight. Eventually, I settled on Wellness kibbles and they did well with that brand.
But, I wanted to explore other options. I wanted to give them real food fresh, nutritious ingredients that I recognized and could even eat myself.
Ive mentioned in my post on homemade whole grain chicken feed that the entire household all share the same whole grains and seeds that we buy in bulk, as well as the bounty that comes from our edible garden.
Everything our animals eat, we can eat.
When it comes to homemade feed for our laying hens, we stick to a tried-and-true formula that works for every layer: 16 to 17 percent protein , vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from a wide variety of grains and seeds, and free range of a pasture for weeds, greens, and insects.
Dogs, on the other hand, arent bred for a standard function the way chickens are.
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Why You May Want To Transition Your Pet To A New Food
Just like you may have to make some adjustments to your own diet to keep yourself at your healthiest, you may similarly have to change your pets diet to keep them in tip-top shape.
Has your picky eater suddenly decided that they dont like their kibble? Has your kitten grown up into an adult feline? Consult your vetthey may recommend that its time to transition your pet to a new food. In addition to an unexpected dislike of their old food or transitioning into a new life stage, other reasons why your veterinarian may recommend changing your dog or cats food can include:
- Your pets current food causes gastrointestinal upset, like gas or diarrhea
- Your pet is overweight and needs a weight-loss food
- Your pet has allergies that may be alleviated through a specialized diet
- Theyre suffering from aliments like dull haircoat or poor energy that can be alleviated through additional nutrients in their diet
- Your pet has been diagnosed with a health condition that requires a specific diet to help treat
- Its otherwise been determined that their nutritional needs arent being
You may also find yourself considering a diet change-up if you want to purchase a food made and sourced in the United States, or be forced to find a new food if your pets old grub has been recalled or discounted. Just be sure to keep your vet in the loop: You should always consult them before making changes to your pets diet.
The Difference Between Puppy Food And Dog Food
So whats the difference between puppy food and dog food, anyways? For starters, puppies need more protein and fat than an adult dog of the same size. They also require higher concentrations of certain minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
For this reason, puppy food is more calorie- and nutrient-dense. You will find essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and chloride all in greater concentrations in puppy food. Sometimes puppy foods are also supplemented with things such as extra omega-3 fatty acids. These can support healthy eye and brain development.
Keep in mind that larger breeds can be at a greater risk of developmental diseases as a result of overly rapid growth. This is why large breed puppy foods have a little less fat, calcium, and phosphorus. They also have a very carefully balanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus. This ensures that they develop and grow at an appropriate and healthy pace.
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How To Transition From Puppy Food To Dog Food
Unfortunately, dogs only stay puppies for so long and they will need to switch to an adult diet to ensure they are getting the proper nutrients. Puppies are considered adults at 12 months of age and should be switched onto an adult diet around this time.
Make sure you take into account your dogs breed. Large breed puppies should be switched to a large breed adult dog food and small breed puppies switched to a small breed adult dog food. Some dogs may benefit from specific formulations. Consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations for your dogs diet.
Remember to keep in mind that portion sizes will vary depending on age, breed, adult size, and other factors like pregnancy. Regardless of these factors, all dogs deserve quality dog food with top-notch ingredients designed to benefit their health, longevity, and happiness.
I’ve Heard Conflicting Advice About Feeding My Dog
Feeding your dog does not have to be mysterious. By recognizing a few key concepts and attributes of dogs we can create a very reasonable feeding plan for them.
Dogs are creatures of habit. We can use this fact to our advantage by creating a regular feeding schedule and sticking to it.
A regular feeding schedule helps with house training puppies, as well as adult rescue dogs who have not been taught household manners. Puppies generally need to relieve themselves within 10 to 15 minutes of eating a meal. By linking a ‘potty stop’ with a meal we not only allow ourselves to predict when the pup needs a trip outside, we allow the puppy to learn to associate the urges to urinate and defecate with being in the appropriate location. This is a very important step in the house-training process.
Feeding an adult dog at regular times provides the security and predictability of a routine. Meals become a cornerstone event of the day around which other activities are added. A feeding routine helps your dog cope when there are changes in the household .
“A feeding routine helps your dog cope when there are changes in the household.”
A feeding routine makes a necessary food change easier. When your dog is used to eating at the same times each day, his body becomes conditioned to expect food at those times. Hunger can be a great motivator! If the stage is set for increased hunger followed by meals at regular times, then transitioning to a new food will often be seamless and straightforward.
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Long Dog Food Transition Timeline
|25% current food + 75% new food|
|Week 4+||100% new food|
The percentages in the timelines above refer to the quantity of food fed. For example, if before the transition you were feeding 2 cups of the current food, then day 1 of the transition you would feed 75% of the current food which is 1½ cup. This leaves ½ cups of the new food to fill the bowl.
Regardless of which diet transition schedule is used, it is generally recommended to give your dog a pet-specific probiotic during the transition to help your dogs stomach break down and digest the new ingredients in a healthy way. Consult your veterinarian to find the best probiotic that is recommended for your dog.
How Environment Impacts Appetite
Sometimes it depends on how and when youre feeding your pet. A consistent schedule on feeding your pet may eliminate the idea of your dog being a picky eater.
Here is a recommended feeding routing:
- Set and stick to a schedule
- Dont leave food out for longer than 15 to 20 minutes
- If your dog is not eating, remove the bowl
You should avoid giving your pet any more food or treats until the next scheduled feeding time.
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How To Know When To Switch To Adult Dog Food
How long should a puppy eat puppy food? Maybe youve wondered this yourself, and rightly so. It can be a confusing topic, but its important to know when your puppy is ready to make the transition to adult dog food.
The important thing to realize is that because puppies are still growing, they need more calories and nutrition than adults. In fact, feeding an adult diet to a puppy could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Likewise, feeding a puppy diet to an adult could cause excessive weight gain and its related issues. This is important to avoid, since obesity is the most common nutrition-related issue for canines. Knowing when to switch to adult dog food will help your puppy grow into a happy, healthy dog.
That being said, theres no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Instead, youll want to change from puppy food to dog food based on your dogs breed, size, and age. Read on to learn how and when to switch to adult dog food.
The Cause Of Diarrhea
It is well known that changing dog food can and does cause diarrhea, quite often in fact. The reason for this is actually quite simple, and its usually nothing too serious. Simply put, your dog is used to eating one kind of food with very specific ingredients. If you keep feeding your dog the same food for months or even years, the dogs stomach and intestinal tract gets used to that food.
When you switch foods, its like a shock to the system. Your dogs digestive tract and stomach is not ready for the new food. Its a really fast change, and this is what causes the upset stomach. It has to do partially with the bacteria in your dogs stomach.
The bacteria in there are equipped to break down the specific food the dog has been eating, but then when you switch the food, those bacteria need to adjust, and new bacteria need to form, which can then handle that new dog food.
In some cases, it may not be the actual switching of the dog food that causes the diarrhea, vomiting, gassiness, and upset stomach, but the new food itself. Dogs, just like humans, can have food allergies and sensitives.
Maybe the new dog food contains an ingredients which your pup cannot handle. Below, we will discuss how long the upset stomach and diarrhea should last, but that said, if it does not subside in a week at most, its probably not the switch, but the food itself, in which case, you will have to switch foods again, and yes, probably deal with some more upset stomach too.
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Offer Small Meals Gradually
Once you get the new dog food home, start by offering your dog a small meal. If he or she eats it and doesnt develop any tummy troubles as a result, offer another small meal a few hours later. Gradually increase the size and decrease the frequency of your offerings until you are back to your normal schedule in a day or two. If your dog doesnt dig in to the new food, pick it up and dont offer anything for eight hours or so. It is okay to let your pet get a little hungry, so long as you continue to offer the new food every 68 hours and then pick it up if it is not eaten. Continue this pattern for 48 hours. If you cannot get your dog to eat the new food within this timeframe, consult your veterinarian and try another formulation but avoid frequent changes in flavor as this can promote finicky eating habits.
How To Feed Your Dogs Growing Needs
As your dog grows, their dietary needs change. Each blend of Just Right is uniquely crafted to support your dogs lifestage or lifestyle, so you never have to worry if you are missing an important dietary milestone.
Follow these tips for feeding your dog at each lifestage:
Puppy food should help support areas like healthy brain and vision development, proper bone and muscle growth, and a strong immune system. · Now that you know when to switch from puppy food to adult dog food, keep in mind that adult dog food should help support their unique nutritional needs and lifestyle.
Consider your dogs activity level, skin and coat health, body condition, and digestive health.
As your dog grows, their metabolism changes can lead to weight gain or loss of lean body mass, so calories and type of diet should be adjusted accordingly.
Dog food designed for the nutritional needs of your dog from puppy to senior should help support areas like bone and joint health, strong muscles, and changing activity level.
Ready to switch dog food? Create your dog’s personalized blend of dog food that grows and changes as your dog does. Start your dogs unique blend today.
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The Right Way To Switch Foods
The best way to switch dog food is by doing so gradually, so it is something that takes a bit of planning.
Ideally, for the first 5 to 7 days, mix only 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food. In the second week, change the ratio to 50/50.
Then in the third week, change the ratio to 25% old food and 75% new food. Then, finally, after about three weeks, you can give your dog only the new food. Also, adding some digestive aids also helps.
Help My Dog Doesnt Like The New Food
There are many reasons you might decide to switch your dogs food.
Sometimes a change of life stage requires a change of food. Or you may wish to switch from a dry food to a fresh dog food. Or perhaps the dog has a medical condition requiring a special prescription food.
If your dog turns up their nose at the new ration, the following suggestions may help.
- Take it slow: A fussy eater may object not only to a new taste, but also to a new texture or smell. Transition them very slowly so they become accustomed to the different sensory experience of the new food.
- Warm the food up: This can work for wet or canned foods. Warming it gently can make it more appealing and release some of the tempting food smells to stimulate your dogs appetite. For dry food, you may wish to add a little gravy or the water from some boiled fish.
- Give a fresh portion each meal: If the dog refuses the food, reduce the portion size, but offer fresh each meal. Also, pick the food bowl up between meals. This helps them realize that if they dont eat the food, it disappears until the next mealtime.
- Sprinkle a probiotic over the food: Again, FortiFlora is tasty stuff for dogs and will tempt some fussy eaters to tuck in.
- Dont make a fuss: Dont stand and watch, biting your nails, waiting for your pup to eat. Instead, leave the room. To do so removes the potential for your concern to accidentally reward the dog for not eating.
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Recommended Products For Canine Digestive Health
All featured products were chosen at the discretion of the Great Pet Care editorial team and not directly recommended or endorsed by the author of this article. Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Despite the best of intentions, sometimes changing dog food can cause digestive upset. Switching your dogs food too quickly may result in imbalances in her gastrointestinal flora . Dogs are notorious creatures of habit, so their digestive system may not always agree with a new food.
In order to help you help your pooch transition to a new food like a pro, weve curated five of our favorite products for canine digestive health. Each of these products has been hand-selected for pet parents who are changing their dogs food. We recommend you keep one or more of these products on hand when making the transition in the event your dogs tummy reacts with a vengeance.