Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How To Switch Dog Food Gradually

Assessing The Reason For The Switch

How to Switch Dog Food Gradually (To Avoid Stomach Upset)

Before you attempt to switch your dogs food, it is important to examine the reason behind the change. Changing your dogs food can be a complicated and gradual process, so before you embark on switching your dogs food, it is important to analyze the reason prompting your decision and assess whether or not it is worth it. Below are a handful of the most common reasons that a pet owner may switch their dogs food.

How Long Does Dog Diarrhea Last When Changing Food

During this transition week, youll be playing poop-detective. Changing up your dogs diet is likely to cause some stomach issues. Youll mostly see diarrhea, and maybe some vomiting or changes in appetite. Some dogs even develop skin irritations in response to diet changes. This is why its very important to approach this change gradually.

While skin and coat issues may take up to three months to resolve, gastrointestinal changes should correct much quicker. Your dog should have their symptoms resolve ideally within a few days of starting the new food, though this may take a bit longer. Mild diarrhea without any changes to eating and drinking habits is fine and will get better quickly.

If your pet is having moderate-severe consistent diarrhea, not eating or drinking, or losing weight, consult your vet right away.

Video Answer: How To Change Your Dogs Food

Over 7 days, gradually decrease the amount of the current dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food.

Pregnant or nursing dogs need energy-dense foods with increased calcium content so be sure to transition them during this special time to a puppy food.

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.

To transition, mix your dog’s current food with his new food.

Over 7 days, gradually decrease the amount of the current dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food.

To help you with the switch and dog food transition, refer to the 7-Day transition Schedule below or view this video.

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When Should I Consider Changing My Dog’s Diet

  • Your dog is moving out of one three key life stages and into another: puppy, adult, and senior. Each one of these life stages has a unique set of needs that can benefit from tailored nutrition.
  • Your dog is pregnant. A lactating dog will need extra energy, and may require a new diet that is better suited to their nutritional needs.
  • An illness or condition which needs added nutritional support, such as skin sensitivity or gastrointestinal upset.
  • You’ve been researching various dog foods or have spoken to your veterinarian and have decided to change your pet’s food.

Lots Of Patience Is Necessary

How to Switch Dog Foods Gradually: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

Some dog owners argue that this transition approach is not natural. They say starting slow and taking a long period of time to complete the process is not what nature intended.Theyre right.But Dr. Karen Becker says:

With gastrointestinally debilitated animals, we must meet the patients where their bodies are at. Many animals must be on special protocols initially to assist in healing.

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Switching Dog Food: Should You Do It

There are a few situations in a dogs life that may justify a food change.

These include:

  • A transition from puppy food to dog food
  • A transition from dog food to a senior dog food
  • A transition from kibble to a canned version
  • A transition to a veterinary-recommended prescription diet

Many pet owners will switch from a puppy-specific formula to an adult dog food formula as their puppies grow up. A food change may also be recommended when dogs enter the senior phase of their lives as nutrient and calorie needs change.

If your dog was born with a medical condition, or develops one during their life, a change in diet prescribed to address the condition may help your pet to feel better and even live longer. For instance, if your dog has digestive problems, your veterinarian may recommend switching to a dog food for sensitive stomachs.

Learn All About Grains In Pet Food

Grains? No grains? What are they and what do they mean for your dog or cat? Find out on this special Blue Buffalo Grain FAQ page.


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.

Switch slowly

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Switching Dog Food Summary

So, switching dog food isnt as complicated as it might seem! The most important tips when learning how to change dog food is to take things slowly. You should take at least 7 days to change to your new food brand. So, dont wait until your old dog food runs out to make the change. If you change too quickly, your dog can experience digestive upset, which can be unpleasant for both of you.

If youve ever had to change dog food brands before, we would love to hear about your experiences. Why did you have to make the switch?

What Happens If You Dont Gradually Switch Dog Food

Switch Dog Foods Gradually

Switch Food Gradually And although your intentions are good, you should resist the urge. Abrupt changes to your dogs diet could result in gastrointestinal disturbances that lead to vomiting and/or diarrheaand the last thing you want to do is condition him to associate his new home with discomfort.

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When Should You Switch Your Dogs Food

There are a few times in a dogs life when an owner might be exploring the possibility of switching up their diet. It could be health changes, food availability, or aging of the dog.

You might be looking to switch your dog food when:

  • Your dogs veterinarian has recommended it
  • Your dogs health condition has special needs
  • The old food doesnt have enough nutrient levels for your pet
  • Your dog has been having digestion issues with her old food
  • The store location stopped selling the old food brand
  • Life stage changes
  • Your dog has developed food allergies

Whatever the reason, a dog food transition isnt complicated but should still be treated with care and approached methodically. Your pet needs time to adapt to food gradually!

Life Stage Changes:

For owners that breed dogs and consistently manage many dogs of different ages, its important to match their foods with their age and needs. Adult dog food will differ from the puppy food, and the two types of dogs should be fed differently. Well discuss this further below.

Switching brands:

Through your veterinarian or dog food brand, you can obtain a registration status to receive updates about the current dog food you use. This is helpful if there are any recalls of dog foods to the brand because youll be alerted immediately.

In the case of a recall, it wont be possible to slowly switch the menu up. You can expect some tummy upset and diarrhea, but adding some pure canned pumpkin into the new food will help with the switch.

How To Choose A Dog Food

Choosing an appropriate diet for your dog is a complicated process. The sheer number of dog food options available is overwhelming. Unfortunately, there is no one diet that is best for every dog. Just like humans, dogs are individuals and their dietary needs vary depending on factors such as age, health, and personal preferences.

To make the process even more complicated, there are also a lot of myths about dog food on the internet. Many people fall victim to advertising campaigns or scare tactics warning them away from commercial dog foods. Fortunately, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association has published a guide entitled The Savvy Dog Owners Guide: Nutrition on the Internet to help pet owners decipher fact from fiction when doing their own research about dog food.

Learning how to read a pet food label can also help demystify the process of choosing a dog food. The information on a pet food label is guided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is responsible for establishing definitions for many of the terms you will find on a bag of dog food. Understanding these labeling requirements can make it easier to identify which products are best for your dog. Look for the words complete and balanced diet on the label.

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When Should One Switch Dog Foods

  • Puppies become adults at 12 months of age and should transition to an adult dog food to ensure they are receiving proper nutrient levels for adult dogs.
  • Large breed puppies should switch to a large breed adult dog food to ensure that their unique needs are met.
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs need energy-dense foods with increased calcium content, so be sure to transition them during this particular time to puppy food. However, during pregnancy or nursing, large breed dogs should be switched to regular puppy food, not a large breed puppy food.
  • Anytime you plan to switch from kibble to a raw or freeze-dried diet. Adding canned food to kibble is an effortless transition, but if youre making a switch to a raw diet, youll want to take it slower.

Making The Switch Changing Dog Food Slowly

How To Change Dog Food Gradually

Learning how to change dog foods slowly is important to keep your pup happy. Abrupt diet changes can cause vomiting, excess gas, constipation or diarrhea.

In order to avoid these symptoms, most experts recommend transitioning to a new food gradually. Start by mixing in small amounts of the new food Over a period of 1-2 weeks, increase the proportion of new food every few days to 50 percent, then 75 percent, and ultimately 100 percent.

Pet owners should know that the appearance of their dogs stool may change due to different amounts of fiber and protein in the new diet. If at any point, however, your dog develops symptoms such as a loss of appetite, vomiting, loose stools or other gastrointestinal problems, consult your veterinarian.

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Day Plan To Switch Dog Food

Switching your dogs food gradually allows you to find out exactly which foods may be causing her digestive problems. Or it may simply help her accept a different diet for a new stage of life. Switching too fast may cause stomach upsets or your pet may eat just the usual food and leave the new stuff. So always ensure you mix the new food into the usual food thoroughly.

Following a set plan to do the change is well-worth the effort.

Day 1 75% usual food to 25% new foodDay 2 70% usual food to 30 % new foodDay 3 60% usual food to 40% new foodDay 4 50% usual food to 50% new foodDay 5 40% usual food to 60% new foodDay 6 25% usual food to 75% new foodDay 7 100% new food

Tip: During any diet-change, your dogs bowel movements may be softer than normal, so wait until its stools are firm before moving on to the next step in the food-swapping plan.

Catering To Your Dogs Preferences

  • 1Be aware that your dog may not like the food you have chosen. It’s not guaranteed that your dog will like the food you buy it. This is because, just like humans, dogs have specific taste preferences that vary from dog to dog. Your dog might not like some of the foods simply because its stomach or taste buds disagreed with it.XResearch source
  • For this reason, you need to buy the smallest choice of bag available when trying new foods. Most foods carry 4-5 pound bags, so buy one of these.
  • 2Do a taste test with your dog. Get a few pieces of the dog food into your hand. Make sure it’s enough to take more than one bite/lick, but not enough to ruin your dog’s feeding schedule. If you feed your dog snacks sometimes, this would be a good time to test the food. If your dog seems to like the food, it will probably be wagging its tail and trying to convince you to feed it more of the food. If your dog doesn’t like the food, it will most likely walk away without finishing the rest.
  • Offer your dog water to wash down the taste of the possibly unappetizing food.
  • 3Try other brands if needed. If your dog liked the dog food, you can move on. If your dog didn’t, you need to find another food to switch to. You need to go shopping for dog food again.XResearch source
  • If a dog you know eats the brand you chose, give it to another dog’s owner. That way, you technically aren’t wasting it.
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    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.

    When To Switch To Adult Food

    Switching dog foods? Go slow.

    An important milestone for every puppy is transitioning to adult dog food. However, this doesnt happen at the same time for every dog. Dog breeds mature at different rates. Small dogs will grow to their full size a lot faster than large or giant dog breeds. Where it might only take 9 months for a small dog breed to mature fully, giant breeds can take up to three years. You can read more about puppy growth schedules here.

    Its important not to change to adult food too soon, as puppies need a unique blend of nutrients. So, if youre unsure about when your dog will be a fully grown adult, the best person to speak to is your vet.

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    Changing Your Pet’s Food It Should Be Done Gradually

    This page may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission for qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Our mission is to help save dogs’ and cats lives through our educational content. To help us create more veterinarian- and trainer-approved content, please consider buying one of our web-books for yourself or as a gift.

    The Proof Is In The Poop

    The best way to monitor your dogs digestive health is to pay attention to the quality of the stool. While minor variations in stool color and consistency are normal, any major changes can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. A great way to evaluate your dogs stool is to use a Fecal Scoring Chart. An ideal fecal score is 34. Lower numbers may indicate dehydration or constipation, while higher numbers are indicative of gastrointestinal upset, which can be due to a variety of factors. If your dogs stool is consistently outside of the normal range, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian regarding your dogs digestive health.

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    Observing Your Dog When Switching Foods

    When switching your dog to a new food, it’s important you keep an eye on your canine companion to make sure it agrees with them. Watch for signs that the new food might not agree with your dog, such as diarrhea, vomiting, itchiness, or lethargy. It’s not unusual to have some changes in stool texture at first, but liquid diarrhea isn’t normal, especially if you gradually introduce the new food.

    Over time, if the new food is agreeing with your dog, you should notice that they have a decent amount of energy , bright eyes, a healthy coat and skin, properly formed stools, and enthusiasm about mealtimes.

    The right food can make more of a difference to your dog’s well-being than you might imagine.

    Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

    Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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