For Dogs With Food Allergies Try An Elimination Diet
Dog food allergies certainly call for a change in diet to prevent your dog from suffering the consequences of consuming food he or she cant tolerate. However, sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what part of the ingredient list theyre allergic to. In this case, make a dog elimination diet a part of the food transition process. This will help you identify which foods are safe to switch to.
Transitioning From Dry To Wet Dog Food
Although kittens often start on wet food, puppies typically start with a high-quality dry food kibble. However, sometimes our pups dont love the dry options we are providing them. As our dogs age, they may also need the transition to a softer food option. No matter the reason, if youre looking to switch up meal time offerings, trying wet dog food can be a great choice.
There are some considerations with wet dog food. Wet food is a great way to keep your dog hydrated due to the moisture content. This can help aid your dogs digestion and overall health. Most dogs also prefer wet food to dry because of the texture and the flavorful taste. You do want to ensure you choose a high-quality, natural wet dog food option to avoid unnecessary fillers or excess calories in your dog’s meals. To help keep your pup’s teeth clean while feeding wet food, work in a natural daily dog dental chewy like WHIMZEES.
When transitioning your dog to wet food, introduce the food slowly. Just like humans, sometimes new foods can upset our stomachs. Add a little wet food each day to your dogs bowl while slowly reducing the amount of kibble. Within a week, you should have fully transitioned to their new diet.
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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What If The Dog Loves The New Food And Therefore Eats It Too Fast
Dr. Slome: Id recommend putting the food into a Kong toy or puzzle-type dish that makes it harder to binge. You could also ration the portions to slow them down.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
When To Switch To Adult Dog Food
Depending on your dogs breed and individual variation, puppies can become adults at different ages.
Smaller dogs become an adult at around 8 months of age medium-sized dogs around 12 months of age large dogs around 18 months of age and giant-breed dogs, around 24 months of age.
When your dog becomes an adult, switching to an adult dog food is an option but is not mandatory. While some dogs may do well long-term on puppy or all-life-stages food, the extra calories in these diets can create problems with weight gain and obesity.
Note: Dog foods labelled all life stages have the energy content and composition of puppy food.
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Things To Consider When Transitioning To Raw For Specific Life Stages:
Since puppies dont have the long term negative effects of a processed diet, they are likely to adjust to their new diet much quicker than adult dogs. Puppies have a healthier digestive system, making the transition process much quicker. With puppies we still recommend transitioning slow and gradually but it may take a couple days instead of a couple weeks.
If your dog has a healthy digestive system, they may be able to transition much quicker as well. We still do suggest starting slow, monitoring their stool, and adjust as needed.
Due to their age and possible health issues, we suggest moving slower when transitioning a senior dog to a natural raw diet. They are less robust, and their digestive system is much more fragile and sensitive to change.You may need to extend the transition process for several weeks or months. Remember, if your senior dog has been eating processed foods their entire life they need a more gradual switch to detox the harmful built up toxins in their stomach.
Check Out Our Life Stage Nutrition Guide For More Information.
Are Carbohydrates Bad For Dogs
Many of us have been conditioned to squirm when we hear the phrase carbs. There are, however, good carbs and bad carbohydrates. Whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables include complex carbs, which take longer for the body to break down. As a consequence, you get more steady energy than you would from simple carbs like fruit or syrup.
As previously stated, dogs do not have a dietary demand for carbohydrates. They do, however, require a certain amount of glucose, which carbs may offer when broken down by the body. Carbohydrates can help dogs in various ways, according to Dr. Susan G. Wynn, DVM, CVA, CVCH, AHG:
Low-carbohydrate diets are sometimes prescribed for dogs with diabetes or cancer. Otherwise, unless your veterinarian advises otherwise, theres no need to maintain your dog on a low-carb diet.
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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.
Transitioning Your Dog To Grain
If you decide to transfer your dog from grain-based to grain-free dog food, take it cautiously at first. Blend in a small quantity of the new food at a time, gradually increasing the amount over a few weeks. This gives your dogs digestive system time to acclimate to the new situation.
Keep an eye on your dogs faeces when youre transitioning their meals to make sure theyre not constipated or have diarrhoea. You should also take note if your dog refuses to eat or drink. Its possible that your dog is refusing his food for health reasons, but its also possible that he just doesnt like whats being served to him. Some dogs are finicky, but we still adore them!
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Additional Support May Be Necessary
Food should be thoroughly ground Bones and bone meal should be excluded at first Food should be gently cooked for many months in the initial transition phase Begin with only two ingredients in a homemade diet. Slowly add nutrients one at a time as you dogs health improves Provide probiotics and digestive enzymes to aid in the transition
Dogs with inflammatory bowel disease or an overactive immune system may need both a detoxification and leaky gut protocol to transition.Consider these tips from Dr. Karen Becker for transitioning dogs with GI disease:
Along with a slow change in diet, an additional medical protocol to treat dysbiosis and an inflamed GI tract is recommended. Thomas Sandberg echoes the concern:
Remember, dogs that eat kibble and dogs that eat raw have different gut microbe populations. When youre first transitioning, its likely your kibble-fed dog may not have the gut microbes and healthy bacteria to get the most out of raw food.This is why supplementing with probiotics is a good idea.Gut microbe transitions will also take time. It takes about a week to decrease the microbe population we dont want and increase the ones that we do want. According to dog food formulator, researcher, and author Steve Brown:
How To Switch Dog Food Gradually
Theres no big secret to switching foods. This is simply a matter of gradual change to let the gut bacteria in your dogs digestive system adjust to the new diet.
Change from the dogs old food to new by slowly reducing the amount of old and making up the difference with the new.
There are 2 ways to do this and both should be done over at least 7 days:
Method 1: Mix It Up
Hide the new food amid the original food. This is a stealthy way to successfully transition fussy eaters to a new dog food.
Example Dog Food Transition Schedule
|Replace 75% of old with new.|
|Day 7||Feed entirely new food.|
Fussy eaters may benefit from an even slower transition change out their food over a full months time if needed.
Method 2: Side by Side
As an alternative option, instead of mixing new and old food in the same bowl, offer them separately in bowls sitting side by side.
Whats the reasoning behind this method? Well, theres an argument that goes: How would we like curry mixed in with spaghetti Bolognese? In other words, 2 different foods mixed together isnt necessarily a winning combination.
As the days go by, keep adding a bit more to the new food bowl and reduce the old stuff.
Again, this should take at least 7 days to switch completely, but longer is also fine.
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Lots Of Patience Is Necessary
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.
How Much Raw Dog Food Should You Feed
How much raw dog food your dog will need will be based on a variety of factors, including their age, breed and lifestyle.
According to Emma, a good rule of thumb to understand how much raw dog food to feed is this:
As a rule of thumb, an adult dog should eat around 2-3% of its ideal body weight per day .
For puppies, at about 8 weeks of age, they will need approximately 5-6% of their body weight per day, spread across 3-4 meals.
This will be required until the puppy reaches around 6 months of age. At this point, you may wish to reduce the number of meals to two, until they have reached maturity and are well placed to switch to the recommended adult diet.
For further help, try our handy food calculator here!
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How Can I Make Sure That My Dog Is Not Upset About This Sudden Change
One must need to carefully observe and watch out for any issues and symptoms during this adjustment period.
Following are a few ways to make sure that your dog is not facing any serious digestive issues:
- Water: Ensure that your dog is having enough hydration as required by his body.
- Gas: Contact your vet immediately if you feel that your dogs gas is not low, since this could mean that theyre not digesting the new food well.
- Poop: As weird as it may sound, but the fact is, your dogs feces should remain normal. Look out for any diarrhea signs.
A Guide To Changing Your Dogs Food: How To Transition To Wet Or Dry Foods
When it comes to our pups, we want to make them happy just like they do for us, but sometimes health or other restrictions get in the way. When these situations occur, it usually means a change in food. No matter the reason for this change, here are a few ways to make the shift easier on you and dog.
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Special Considerations And Additional Tips
Pregnancy: Pregnant or nursing dogs need energy-dense foods with increased calcium content so be sure to transition them during this special time to puppy food.
During pregnancy or nursing, large breed dogs should be switched to regular puppy food, not a large breed puppy food.
Health Reasons: If your veterinarian has recommended therapeutic dog food for a specific health condition, please be sure to discuss transitioning to the new dog food in detail. There could be some special considerations and suggestions as far as the transition schedule to ensure success.
Transitioning Between Dry and Wet: Whether your dog is getting older and needs a softer food or youre just looking to provide a different texture and taste, transitioning between dry and wet dog food should follow a similar transition schedule of mixing in the old with the new.
If you decide you just want to use canned dog food as a topper to their normal dry food, be sure to check with your vet on the proper amounts, so as to not go over his daily caloric intake requirements.
For whatever reason you need to update your dogs food, switching food while mixing in some of the old food is the best way to ensure your switch is a successful one. Remember that whenever youre making a decision about your pets health, you should consult your veterinarian and adhere to the recommended feeding guides on your pet foods packaging.
Are There Any Other Special Circumstances Or Exceptions To The Process
Dr. Slome: Yes, there are different guidelines for puppies, moms who are pregnant or just gave birth, or dogs with concurrent diseases. For example, if a vet is prescribing a diet for a diabetic dog, theyll offer a different approach to the transition. Definitely seek your vets advice in any such circumstances.
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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.
How An Improved Diet Might Help
A diet that balances the calorie and fat intake of your dog is the first measure that should be taken against pet obesity. There are many healthy dog food options available on the market, that will not only lower the body fat of your dog, but also improve his quality of life, toughen its immune system, and prolong its life.
Pancreatitis can as well be treated with a diet that is low in fat and easily digestible. Similarly, depending on severity, bladder stones can either be removed through surgery or dissolved with food rich in calcium oxalates.
Heart disease can be explained by high blood pressure, something that is connected to your pet being given table scraps and other foods that are high in sodium. Finally, the pains of diarrhea can greatly be alleviated and even cured through diet. While a high fiber diet helps large bowel diarrhea, bland and low-fat food intake helps with small bowel diarrhea.
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How To Change Your Dog’s Food
You might want to change your dogs food to a new brand or type, either for preference or because you have been advised to do so for a medical reason.
Its always best to change the food gradually, over a couple of weeks. This may seem like a long time, but its best to be patient to avoid any problems.
Never change their food suddenly unless you are advised to do so by your vet. This is because sudden changes to diet can cause a tummy upset or even diarrhoea, and for some pets it may make them less likely to eat the food offered to them.
Day 1-3: Introduce a small amount of the new food separately
- Give your dog their regular meal as normal. On a separate plate or bowl, put down a small teaspoonful of their new food.
- Keep them on separate plates or bowls and dont mix the foods together yet. This is to introduce them to the new food slowly.
- Theyll probably sniff it, and may even eat it .
Day 4-10: Increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old food
Day 10-14: Gradually phase out the old food completely
- Once your pet is consistently eating the mix of new food alongside the old for at least a week, start phasing out the old food
- Again, if they dont want to eat it at any point, then you may need to decrease the amount of new food for another few days.