How To Switch Dog Foods Gradually
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 29,965 times.
Changing your dogs food can be a difficult task because it can upset your dogs stomach and create digestion problems. This is especially true if you try to switch the food too quickly or all at once. Take some time to do a little research and figure out how to gradually switch your dogs food so that it will affect your pet minimally.
How To Transition Your Dog Or Cat To A New Food
- You’re bringing a new pet home and want to put them on a different formula
- Your pet has a food allergy or sensitivity
- Your pet is entering a new life stage
- Your pet needs to gain or lose weight
- Your veterinarian has recommended a specific diet for your pet
- You want to change your pet to a functional or minimally processed diet
Whatever the reason is for change, you should always consult with a veterinarian before transitioning your pet to a new diet. Dogs and cats can experience an upset stomach if you don’t transition them to a new food gradually. Transitioning too quickly can lead to diarrhea, vomiting or even loss of appetite.
When transitioning to a new pet food, do so slowly over a period of about 710 days, mixing an increasing amount of new food with old food each day:
- Start with 75% old food mixed with 25% new food for approximately three days
- Then mix 50% old with 50% new for approximately three days
- Then 75% new, 25% old for approximately three days
- Then 100% new
While we mentioned a few reasons you may need to change your dog or cat’s food, with the risk of pet sensitivity to new food, why would you want to switch to a new food at all? Here is some additional informaiton to explain the likely scenarios, and what makes switching foods so important at these junctures:
How To Pick An Adult Dog Food
Here are a few guidelines to help you choose an adult dog food when the time is right:
- To make the transition as smooth as possible, consider keeping the brand of adult food consistent with the brand of puppy food you were feeding.
- It is important that the food is complete and balanced so that your dog will receive all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need in the correct proportions to support a functioning body.
- Make sure you are happy with the ingredients list. If you have any concerns, speak to your veterinarian.
- Be sure you are happy with the price tag. Since your dog will be on this long-term, make the food fits within your budget .
Once you have found the right food for your young adult dog, be sure to follow the diet transition schedule above to minimize stomach upset.
Read Also: Can You Purchase Dog Food With Ebt
Blue Buffalos New Experience Designed To Help You Be The Best Pet Parent You Can Be
Say hi to Buddies, your partner in pet parenthood! Get tips and advice from a community of like-minded Pet Parents and trained pet buffs, earn rewards, and track your pals wellness all in one convenient place.
Say hi to Buddies, your partner in pet parenthood! Get tips and advice from a community of like-minded Pet Parents and trained Pet Buffs, shop, earn rewards, and track your pals wellness all in one convenient place. Learn More
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.
Don’t Miss: Can You Buy Pet Food With Food Stamps
Catering To Your Dogs Preferences
Transition Dog Food Gradually
Switching your dogs food suddenly can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and decreased appetite. Transitioning food slowly gives your dogs GI system time to adjust.
Plan on taking 1-2 weeks to transition from one dog food to another. Start by adding a small amount of new dog food in with the original food.
Wet Dog Food: Switching Dog Food in Seven Days
Pro Tip: Mix the new dog food thoroughly with the current food so your dog can’t pick and choose which food to eat.
Switching dry dog food follows the same slow transition, extended over 14 days instead of seven.
Also Check: Is Pedigree Better Than Purina
How To Switch Dog Food Safely
Our staff gets this question a lot How to Switch Dog Food Safely? While the answer can vary, there is a way to do this, so your dog doesnt end up with an upset tummy. We like to refer to this as our 7-10 day transition, but this can also be extended into a more extended schedule if you have concerns or if your dog has a sensitive stomach. One excellent resource on transitioning a dog to a new food is the podcast by Theory of Pets.
If You Would Like To Find The Very Best Pet Food Then You Want To Be Sure You Follow The Rules For Purchasing The Pet
Including buying the food through your veterinarian.By using a vet, youll be able to read the nutritional information thats on the tag of this food that you buy. In this manner, you will be aware of what sort of diet that your dog should be eating and youll be able to make much better choices.
If youre confused about which kind of dog food to buy, this guide can help you out. There are many distinct forms of wet and dry dog foods available, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The real differentiation, however, is primarily what they are against each other especially, which one is fitter for your furry friend? The canned pet food is generally dry along with the canned pet food thats usually sold in pet shops is usually tender, also, but its your choice what sort of food that youre going to feed your pet.
This depends on your dogs requirements. And, if youre feeding him homemade dry food, then you might wish to look at going with canned dog food. In reality, you should think about producing your own pet food, so that youre able to control the components and the way that your pet gets fed.
So, which kind of dry versus wet dog food is healthy for the dog? Well, you will notice a significant difference when you look at the nutritional data for the various brands.
Although wet and dry dog foods come in different flavors, there are a few basic guidelines you must follow when deciding on the foods that your dog will eat. These include:
Also Check: Does Food Stamps Pay For Dog Food
How To Switch Your Dog’s Food
Switching your dog’s food gradually is not difficult. It’s just a matter of adding the new kibble to the old kibble a little at a time.
Since I don’t know how much you’re feeding your dog, because everything depends on breed and size, I’ll give a sample ratio:
- For every 1 cup of food you normally feed your dog, reduce that to 3/4
- Add 1/4 of the new food into the old food
- Continue this ratio for 2 to 3 days
- Over the next week or so, increase the ratio to 1/2 & 1/2 of each type of dog food
- After a week and 1/2 to 2 weeks, you should be able to switch completely over to the new food.
It’s a good idea to try to time your dog food switch with just the right amount of old food left in the bag. If you can measure it out using the ratio’s and time frame above, you hopefully won’t waste any food, or switch your dog over too quickly.
When Switching Dog Food Is Not Recommended
There are situations where changing a dogs diet is not recommended. One such situation is switching a dogs food to prevent food allergies. Currently, there is no evidence to support this concept.
Since food allergies develop because of a dogs genes, and not because of the number of foods they have been exposed to, it is best to keep your dog on the one food they do well on and manage any allergies if/when they become prevalent in your dogs life.
Also Check: Does Dry Dog Food Go Bad
Why Its Important To Switch To A New Food Gradually
Dogs have more delicate systems than you might think.
Your dog has to go on a weight management diet, or a prescribed diet to cut down on the risk for kidney stones, or a special diet for heart or kidney disease. You might think that because so many dogs will scarf up any food in sight, all you have to do is stop feeding the food he has been eating and start feeding the new one. That does work in some cases, but much of the time, a more gradual transition is necessary to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of gastrointestinal upset gurgling, excess gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. How gradual?
Some dogs will need a month to 6 weeks to make the transition comfortably, although in most cases, a week should do, says Tufts board-certified veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder, DVM. She recommends checking the chart below as a general guideline:
The guideline is for percentages by calories, Dr. Linder comments, not the amount you scoop into a measuring cup. Thats because a cup of the new food may contain more or fewer calories than a cup of the old. She says to check the label for calories per cup or can.
Even if you follow this guideline to the letter, your dog may have some soft stools and a bit of stomach gurgling. Thats okay if your pet is still acting his usual peppy self, the doctor says. Youll just want to stretch the transition a little longer. Go back to the previous ratio of old-to-new food for a day or two and then continue from there.
Transitioning Your Pets Food
Nutrition needs are highly individual and evolving. Many pet parents find that they need to make diet changes. Whether its a long-term switch to a new food, or rotating in different types of proteins or diets, making changes too quickly can cause digestive upset. Here are some steps for a successful transition.
Gradually Mix in New Food.
Unlike us, our pets often eat the same diet for months or years and are not used to sudden changes.
Switching foods abruptly can cause vomiting, diarrhea or excess gas. So its important to change diets gradually.
The Ratio Method.
Keep the ratio of old to new food the same for several days. If at any time during transition your pet experiences gastro-intestinal upset, increase transition time at the previous ratio to allow them time to adjust.
High-quality, high-meat content foods are nutrient dense and usually higher calorie-per-cup than cheap alternatives. Feeding the same amount of a nutrient dense food can cause diarrhea or weight gain from over-feeding. Use the guidelines on the packaging for feeding recommendations. But remember, its just a guideline. Your pet may need less to maintain their ideal body weight. So, its a good idea to cut down on the amount you feed when you switch to a better food.
The Cold Turkey Switch.
Fast Your Pet. Skip one meal so their stomach is empty of old food contents. Dont skip more than one meal though, especially with cats.
Use Digestive Aids.
Don’t Miss: Darwin Dog Food Recall
Monitor Your Dogs Reaction Closely
Dogs who have sensitive stomachs, food allergies or other gastrointestinal diseases may need more time to switch foods. Every dog is different, so monitor your dogs individual response. If your buddy shows changes in appetite, vomits or has diarrhea, transition even slower. If your dog still has an upset stomach after switching slowly, tell your veterinarian. He or she may advise a different type of diet completely.Pro Tip: The best way to monitor your dogs digestive health is to evaluate his bowel movements. Minor variations in stool color and consistency are normal, but tell your veterinarian about any major changes. No matter what, if you follow the slow and steady approach to switching dog food, your best buddy will most likely be enjoying his new food soon. Bone-appetit!
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.
You May Like: What Is The Best Dog Food For A Pomeranian
Side Effects Of Switching Dog Food
If you didnt take the time to follow a diet transition schedule, or if you otherwise tried to switch too quickly, you might get to see what intestinal upset looks like.
Consider a time when you have eaten a brand new cuisine or a food you were otherwise not used to eating. The stomach pain and/or bathroom consequences you experienced are similar to what a dog goes through after eating something their body is not used to. Intestinal upset can manifest as throwing up, little or no appetite, or diarrhea.