How To Change Your Dog’s Food To A Fresh Diet
If you’re thinking about feeding your dog fresh dog food, here are some tips for making a healthy change. Changing your dog food doesn’t have to be a stressful process, but it should be a gradual one.
Consider Your Dog
Take Your Time
Observe His Preferences
Control the Variables
Pay Attention to the Results
Ask for Help
Get The Latest Recipes Right In Your Inbox:
Keep your dog healthy and fit with this easy peasy homemade recipe its cheaper than store-bought and chockfull of fresh veggies!
I never thought I would be one of those dog owners who made homemade human food for their pups. Not in a million years.
But when Butters recently fell sick with an upset stomach, our vet advised us to feed him a bland diet chicken and rice without any kind of seasoning. So thats what we did we poached a chicken, shredded it in a food processor, and mixed in some white rice and fed him this bland diet for 3 days.
Thats when I started to do some research on homemade dog food, and I have been so amazed as to how many different kinds of vegetables dogs can have. And with the help of Balance IT, you can create so many different recipes for your pup!
Now the best part about making homemade dog food just like making anything at home is that you know exactly what is going into the dog bowl, and not any of that questionable gelatinous gunk from the canned food.
But its important to note that dogs have different nutrient requirements than humans for their proportional body size, such as:
Now this recipe here has a balance of 50% protein, 25% veggies and 25% grains, but the ratios can easily be adjusted to suit your pups breed and/or needs.
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.
Also Check: Where To Buy Pedigree Dog Food
What Kind Of Snacks Can I Feed My Dog With Kidney Disease
Our dogs walk a bit on the wild side when it comes to snacks as they love thin apple slices, banana chunks, carrots, whole unsalted peanuts in the husks, and dehydrated sweet potatoes! Dogs with kidney disease should avoid meat based chews/treats that are high in phosphorus, so you may find that you need to explore doing friendly fruit and veggies for treats like we have. We still on occasion will offer Hooch bully sticks or a jerky treat, but it is better for him if we limit his intake due to the levels of phosphorous that those treats contain.
Reasons For Changing Dog Foods
Its okay to switch dog food. In fact, at some point, it may be necessary. Here are a few reasons you may need to switch up your dogs food:
- Age: Around their first birthday , puppies need to transition to an adult dog food. Around age seven, most dogs are considered senior and may benefit from switching to a senior formula.
- Weight: If your dog is not his ideal body condition, your veterinarian may recommend a weight management formula. Not all weight changes need to be addressed through a change in the food itself. It may just require feeding more or less of the current food. Your veterinarian can help you determine whats best for your dog.
- Activity Levels: Dogs who participate in shows, sporting or agility events or who have demanding jobs may need a formula to support those activities. These types of dog foods often have higher levels of protein and calories. As dogs retire from these activities, they may need to switch to a lower-calorie food to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
- Health: Some foods have been formulated to help veterinarians nutritionally manage certain health conditions. For example, your veterinarian may prescribe a therapeutic formula to help support the unique nutritional needs of dogs with GI conditions.
Recommended Reading: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good
But What About Digestive Issues
Youve probably heard that changing a dogs diet can lead to upset stomach, and in some cases, this is true. But when you introduce a rotational feeding schedule properly, therell be little- to no-tummy troubles to worry about. Its all about a smooth transition between foods. Dont just switch your dogs diet suddenlyyou need to slowly increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old, over the course of a week.
But rotation feeding is more than just transitioning to a new formula. You should be thinking about building a strong intestinal system that will improve nutritional absorption and overall well-being. When youre looking at what to include in the rotation, be sure that the formula contains a variety of proteins, fruits and vegetables for the best results. If you feed your dog a commercial food, not only can you try different recipes and ingredients, but also different brands.
Food Transitioning Over 7 Days:
Once youve selected your dogs new diet, we recommend a transition period, changing their old food to their new food over a 7-day period. This process involves mixing the two foods together until your dog is solely on the new diet.
For the first two days of the transition period, feed 75% old diet and 25% new diet. If your dog is fed multiple times a day, ensure this split occurs at each meal. For days three to four, split the diets 50:50 50% old food and 50% new food.
If at any time during the transition your dog begins to have a loose bowel movement, stop the transition and take a step back. This process doesnt need to be finished within seven days if your pets stomach gets upset, so take your time and work to what your pet can handle.
If after day four your pet is looking good, eating the food willingly and has normal stools, then for days five and six feed 25% old food and 75% new food. Then finally, on day seven, feed 100% new food. Your dog is now fully transitioned onto their new diet.
You May Like: Iams Veterinary Formula Skin And Coat Plus Response Fp
Find A Similar Dog Food Formula
Pick a new dog food that closely matches the previously used variety. For example, if your dog was eating a lamb and rice product that was recalled, purchase another companys lamb and rice formulation. Read the ingredient list. If you can match up the first few ingredients, the foods will be fairly similar. Also, review the guaranteed analysis on both labels. Avoid big changes in the percentages of protein, fat, and fiber, whenever possible.
When Do I Switch My Puppy To Adult Dog Food
Depending on the breed, most dogs will not stop growing for the first year or two. You can continue feeding them a puppy formula until their growth plates have sealed, as long as they are not overweight. However, you must work closely with a veterinarian to assess your puppys body condition score. This will ensure that your puppy switches from puppy to adult dog food at the ideal time. Your veterinarian can also recommend how much adult dog food you should give your dog, as too many extra calories and nutrients may be harmful.
Don’t Miss: Iams Vet Formula
Switching Dog Foods Over A Week Or More
The 7-10 day transition schedulefor switching dog food safely is recommended by vets too. Also, if you see any diarrhea or your dog puts his nose up at his meals, then stop the transition immediately. Sometimes new diets should be tweaked, and our staff can help with any questions.
*If you want to stick to a gradual schedule, consider the new food as a topper. Using the new food as a topper would mean adding a tablespoon of the new food to your existing food.
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.
Recommended Reading: Where Can I Buy Hill’s Prescription Diet Dog Food
How To Switch Dog Food
You may be anxious to make the switch to a new food, particularly if the new food will help address any issues your dog is having. A gradual transition is the best way to switch to a new food, though.
We recommend making the switch over a 7- to 10-day period. This gives your dog a chance to adjust to the new food.
Heres our 7- to 10-day plan for switching dog food:
- Days 1 to 2: Feed 3/4 of the normal amount of current food and add 1/4 of the new food.
- Days 3 to 4: Serve half the current food and half the new food.
- Days 5 to 7: Feed 3/4 of the new food and 1/4 the previous food.
- Days 8 to 10: Serve only the new food.
If your dog doesnt seem to like the new food or if he experiences digestive upset, extend the transition over a few more days. You can also ask your veterinarian for advice.
Remember, you can use this transition process any time you need to change your dogs food.
When To Switch To Senior Dog Food
A dog is more or less considered a senior at around 7-8 years of age. A senior dog food provides fewer calories to your dog during a given meal. The assumption behind the design of a senior diet is that, as dogs age, they are not as active as they once were and do not need the same number of calories as an active adult dog.
The problem with that assumption is that each dog is an individual whose energy, appetite, and metabolism are unique to that individual.
Here are a few guidelines to help you decide whether and when to switch your dog to a senior diet:
- If your senior dog is healthy, maintaining a healthy body weight: It is generally recommended to continue feeding your dog the adult food they know and love.
- If your senior dog is healthy but is gaining weight or overweight: A senior diet might be a good idea so you can meet your dogs calorie needs without the extra weight and stress on their body.
- If your senior dog is seemingly healthy but unintentionally losing weight: Consider an exam with your veterinarian to figure out the cause of weight loss before making a decision about your dogs diet.
- If your senior dog has a disease condition , there are many commercial and prescription diets you can feed to help manage those conditions.
Also Check: Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Can
How To Choose The Best Adult Dog Food
You should choose an adult dog food formula from a dog food company that has undergone AAFCO feeding trials. This means that the specific formulation of the diet has been fed to dogs to make sure there are no deficiencies. As surprising as it may seem, many dog food companies make their food based on a recipe and never feed it to actual dogs before sending it into the stores. You want to choose a pet food company that invests in scientific research and consults with veterinary nutritionists to provide a dog food that is specially balanced for the pets lifestage.
You will also want to pay close attention to the AAFCO statement on the adult dog food formula. If the food is labeled as an All Life Stage food, the formula may have more fat and phosphorus than your adult dog needs. Discuss with your veterinarian what is best for your dogs specific needs.
Schedule For Changing Your Dog Or Cats Food:
Day 1: Feed 1/4 cup of the new food mixed with 3/4 cup of the current food
Day 2: Feed 1/2 cup of the new food and 1/2 cup of the current food
Day 3: Feed 3/4 cup of new food and 1/4 cup of current food
Day 4: Feed 1 full cup of the new food
Assuming there are no negative reactions, by the end of the week, your pet should be fully transitioned to their new diet. Congrats, you two!
How To Implement Rotational Feeding
Since the process of changing your dogs diet should been done over the course of a week, you dont have to necessarily change his food on daily or weekly basis . I recommend doing it every month to three months, or plan it around the time you usually replenish your dog food supplies. During the transitional period, youll feed your dog increasing amounts of the new food, and decreased amounts of the old food, until you have completely switched to the new food. Take note of the serving sizes and calorie countdifferent brands and formulas suggest variants on how much of the food you should be serving at each meal.
Rotational feeding is an optimal time to try out a new brand or dog food type. For example, if you usually give your dog dry kibble, you can slowly rotate a homemade recipe or dehydrated formula in the mix. Im a fervent believer in rotational feeding and my dog, Oscar, enjoys the change of menu. I usually change it up when I notice the lack of excitement around meal times. Ive changed him from dry kibble, to homemade, to Honest Kitchens dehydrated food .
I love to see him eating with gusto which is sorely lacking with a dry kibble menu. A rotational feeding plan allows me to try to foods to see which ones keep him active, healthy and licking his lips.
So You Want To Get Your Dog On A Raw
Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank
It seems like every week a commercial pet food is outed as containing actual poison. First it was a euthanasia drug that popped up in the mass-market foods on the cheaper end of the spectrum. No surprise, I thought, rather smugly. If you feed your dog garbage, what do you expect? Then it was discovered that the stuff I was spending over $200 per month on contained both arsenic and BPAs in potentially harmful amounts. If even the most expensive kibbles contain poison, what are you supposed to feed your dog?
This is how I figured out how to feed my dogs healthy raw food, and do it without going broke.
Why Would You Consider Rotation Feeding
Every dog is different, which means their dietary needs are different. And there are a ton of commercial dog foods on the market. Nutritionally speaking, do you know exactly what your dog needs from his food? Different brands of kibble feature different nutrients, and your dog may be deficient if hes eating the same food every day. No matter how complete and balanced a dog food is, its unlikely that it can meet all of his nutritional needs over an extended period. By switching it up, your dog is more likely to get all of the nutrients he needs.
And lets face iteating the same thing is boring! Is your dog a picky eater? It may be because hes bored of his bland food. Its time to spice up his dinner
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.
LEARN ABOUT OUR NEW APP
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.
Read Also: How Healthy Is Beneful Dog Food