Wednesday, August 10, 2022

How To Switch Your Dog’s Food

How Lengthy After Switching Dog Food Does Diarrhea Happen

How to Change your pets food

According to a caution from the Food and drugs Administration launched final week, grain-free food may well be giving canines a life-threatening middle drawback referred to as dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM. The science continues to be initial, and its in response to a potential affiliation between nutrition and middle illness in fewer than six hundred dogs.

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.

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.

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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.

Measure Appropriately.

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.

Switching Dog Food: Should You Do It

How To Switch Your Dog

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.

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What Happens If You Change Your Dogs Food Too Fast

If you are feeling impatient or need to switch your dogs food rapidly, you need to be prepared for possible consequences. Some dogs have an “iron stomach” and rarely experience issues when introducing new foods or ingredients, but even the most digestively sturdy dogs can experience problems when their food is changed too quickly.

The severity of reactions can depend on many things, like the quality of the foods you are changing between, your dog’s current gut health, and the type of diet you are switching to.

When To Switch To Adult Dog Food

Some typical indicators of the right time to change from puppy food to dog food are dog size, breed and age. Depending on what size breed your dog is, the right age to transition to adult food will differ. Read on to find out more.

Small or medium breed puppies

Small and medium breed puppies are considered to be an adult at about one year of age. In this case, your dogs birthday indicates when to switch from puppy food. Toy breeds can be an exception to this, as some are considered to be adults at nine months of age. In general, small breed puppies are those who weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity. Medium breed puppies weigh between 21-50 pounds at maturity.

Large or giant breed puppies

Large or giant breed puppies take a little longer to reach maturity, and many of them are still growing until they turn two years old. In general, you should switch to adult food when your puppy is anywhere from 18 months to 24 months old. Large or giant breed puppies weight can vary greatly, so it doesnt offer a great insight into when to switch from puppy to dog food.

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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!

Transitioning To Homemade Dog Food

How to Change your dogs food

Most dogs dont have a problem making the switch to homemade food. If yours is prone to digestive issues, start slowly by mixing a little bit of the homemade food with the commercial food.

Over the course of a week or two, gradually increase the amount of homemade food while decreasing the commercial food.

If your dog vomits or has diarrhea, try introducing only a couple of new ingredients at a time until their systems are well adjusted to the fresh diet.

For dogs with health issues, please consult with a veterinarian if you arent sure what kind of supplements are needed. Use your best judgment, the way you would when feeding yourself or your family.

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A Guide To Transitioning Your Dogs Foodand Why Fasting Can Be A Healthy Option

  • Though dog owners are traditionally advised to slowly transition from one pet food to another over several days to avoid gastrointestinal distress, theres no evidence that switching food in itself causes stomach problems. Most dogs can switch to a new food without an extended transition period.
  • We recommend a 24-hour fast before you feed your first fresh-food meal to your dog.
  • Fasting isnt starving! And it has numerous benefits for dogsit can boost immunity and detoxification, and promote overall health.
  • A short fast is easier than you think. If you feed twice a day, give your dog their existing food for their morning meal. Skip the evening meal and provide only water until the next morning. If you feed once a day, no change is necessary!
  • Dont fast if your dog is under one year old, pregnant or lactating, or has diabetes or another serious health condition. Contact our customer service team if you have any questions.

Fasting has been shown to have numerous health benefits for humansstudies have linked temporary periods of not eating to everything from decreased inflammation and reduced risk of cancer to improved brain function and longevity. Unsurprisingly, the benefits of fasting apply to other animals, including dogs.

And when it comes to transitioning from kibble or canned to fresh food, for healthy adult dogs, fasting can act as a much-needed reset, making a fresh dietary start even fresher!

A more direct way to transition dog food

Why fasting is a healthy option

The Difference Between Puppy And Adult Food

Since your puppy is growing, he needs more nutrients and calories than an adult dog. This is why puppy foods have a higher level of protein and fat to support growth, as well as nutrients like DHA, an omega fatty acid found in mothers milk.

Once your puppy reaches adulthood, he doesnt need as many calories. Puppy food can quickly lead to excessive weight gain for adult dogs, so the transition is important. Dont wait until you see weight gain in your dog to make the switch, a proactive approach is better for puppy health. If youre still feeding puppy food and want to know how much your puppy should be eating, read our article on how much to feed your puppy.

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Switching Dog Food Cold Turkey

In some situations, you may be forced into changing your dogs diet cold turkey, meaning no transition. This isnt ideal, especially if your dog has been fed only one food for a long time, but there are situations where its necessary.

Acute illness, like pancreatitis, may require sudden and drastic diet changes to help during the recovery from a life-threatening illness. These diet changes should always be discussed with your vet to ensure they are done safely and according to the treatment of the illness.

A less critical reason for changing dog food quickly could be something as simple as running out of dog food. If you run out and cant get to your regular pet store, or if the brand or formula you feed is unexpectedly out of stock, an impromptu replacement diet might be necessary.

In this case, you should stick to simple diets that are as similar to your pets regular food as you can get. If you have to buy a different brand or formula, try to find something of similar quality and similar ingredients.

An easy homemade recipe to temporarily substitute your dogs food in a pinch is to feed boiled meat and rice. Try to stick to the same animal protein that your dog is used to eating to limit possible digestive upsets.

Under the Weather makes an easy-to-feed single-serving makeshift diet that can easily be substituted for your dogs regular meal in a pinch.

A Guide To Changing Your Dog’s Food

How To Switch Your Dog

Changing your dogs diet is not something you can do overnight. The shift to a new food should be made slowly to avoid stomach upsets. Here’s our guide on how to transition your dog to a new food in a comfortable way for them.

If youve decided to make a change to your dogs diet, whether its a different brand, a new balance between wet and dry food, or even shifting from puppy food to adult, or adult to senior pet food, its really important that you do so slowly. While we can happily eat a variety of foods in one day, our pets have very different digestive systems – where an abrupt change in diet can lead to digestive upsets. Therefore, gradually introducing the new food is the best way to avoid some of the issues that can occur with a change in diet.

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How Long To Feed Puppy Food

Puppies need a complete and balanced puppy food until they reach maturity. Although dogs who are one year or older are often considered adults, this isnt always the case.

For dogs, adulthood depends more on breed size than their age. Because large and giant breeds take longer to mature, they need to eat puppy food longer than small- or medium-sized breeds.

Heres how long to feed puppy food based on breed sizes:

  • Toy and Small Breed Dogs: Many toy and small breed dogs weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity and reach this size between 9 and 10 months of age.
  • Medium Dog Breeds: Medium-sized dogs weigh between 21 and 50 pounds at maturity. They tend to reach maturity around 12 months of age.
  • Large & Giant Breeds: Large breeds and giant breeds weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, respectively, and can take 18 months to 2 full years to reach maturity. They need to eat puppy food longer than small- and medium-sized breeds.

If you have a mixed breed dog or arent sure how big your dog will be at maturity, its best to consult with your veterinarian. They can tell you when to switch to an adult dog food and help make it a successful transition.

As puppies get older and reach maturity, it is important to monitor their food consumption. Leftovers in a bowl could signal that your puppy is getting full and needs less calories throughout the day. Start by offering less food per feeding and continue to monitor his body condition, says Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS.

A General Guideline For Preparing Homemade Dog Food

My DIY dog food recipe is more of a general guideline, rather than an exact meal plan that I follow each week. My dogs diet changes the same way ours does, depending on what we do and what we buy or grow.

However, we almost always stay with this basic formula:

  • 50 percent cooked protein
  • 25 percent cooked complex carbohydrates
  • Fats and supplements
  • Eggshells

Protein is always meat and usually chicken, though weve also used turkey, pork, and beef. We feed any and all parts of the animals, but most commonly, we saute chicken breasts or chicken thighs in coconut oil and ground turmeric.

Coconut oil has a host of health benefits for dogs, such as improving the skin and coat, increasing energy, aiding digestion, reducing allergic reactions, promoting wound healing, preventing yeast and fungal infections, and supporting arthritis or ligament problems.

Turmeric has long been studied for its powerful medicinal properties, including its use as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

We add it to the coconut oil since it is fat-soluble, and use it to support our pugs joint health.

Speaking of dark meat, we feed thighs and breasts interchangeably. While well remove the skin from poultry and trim off excessive fat from red meat, we dont worry about buying the leanest meat possible for our dogs.

A little fat is necessary for a well-rounded diet.

They tend to be the leftovers in our produce bin, so we never have to buy, say, a whole head of cauliflower just for the dogs.

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Is It Ok To Play Switcheroo With Your Pet Foods

Originally published as a three-part series on Fully Vetted.

Do you switch your pets food around? Be honest. Assuming you feed commercial, do you succumb to whatever super-premium canned kitty food is on sale this week? Is it one month Halo, next month Canidae? If so you shouldnt feel so bad about it .

Yes, veterinarians can be kind of funny on this topic. Get us chatting on the subject of pet foods and youll find we tend towards the conservative. So, too, does it go on the subject of switching pet foods.

For example, when asked if the occasional food switcheroo might be OK, most vets will offer up their best frowny face and lace their next few sentences with ominous gastrointestinal details involving the words “bowels,” “gut,” and “microflora” none of which sound too promising with respect to your pets potential diet change.

So you know, we vets tend to cop this cautionary attitude for one understandable reason: The vast majority of our gastroenteritis cases revolve around pets whose diets were suddenly changed. Hence, our profound and persistent distrust of pet owners when it comes to messing with our patients diets. Because it sucks to have to hospitalize a patient for three days after her three-year-long love affair with lamb and rice ended in a venison and potato-ey pool of bloody diarrhea.

Heres how I see it:

There’s obviously much more to this food-switching issue than meets the eye.

Heres how I see it:

1. Variety .

3. Non-cutaneous food allergies .

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How to change your dog food

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.

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