Problems When Switching Dog Food
No matter how gradually you switch your dog’s food over, sometimes they still get stomach upset. The most common problem when switching food is loose stool, and sometimes diarrhea.
Hardening your dog’s stool back up is pretty easy — there are two things you can do and one or the other may work better for your dog.
- Cook up some plain rice, , and even brown up some plain hamburger and mix the two together. Give this mixture with a little kibble mixed in with it for a day or two until your dogs stool starts to harden back up, then gradually over a couple of meals feed more kibble than rice and hamburger mixture.
- Another option for stool hardening is adding some canned pumpkin to your dogs food. It’s the same principal as the rice & hamburger mixture. Just add a generous amount to each meal and as your dog’s stool starts to harden, back the pumpkin off over a few meals.
Some thoughts to ponder. . . .
Hopefully your food transition goes smoothly, and hopefully you’re switching dog food because you want your best friend to be eating high quality food. High price does not necessarily mean high quality by the way.
One the most important things to remember is that not all foods work for all dogs — even quality foods. If your dog’s food is not agreeing with his stomach, then you should consider a switch.
A couple of ingredients that dog’s can be sensitive to are grains and protein content. For dogs with highly sensitive stomachs, lamb is usually the best protein source.
Unique Problems With Puppies
Your puppys diet and care will need to take into account two specific problems that affect young dogs far more than adult dogs: their delicate digestive system and their reduced immunity.
A puppy has a weaker digestive system than an adult dog, particularly immediately after theyve been weaned, and its easily upset by changes in environment or new foods. They need to be given food that is the right size, shape and texture to make it easy to eat, and highly digestible so they can get all the nutrients they need from it without it causing stomach upsets.
Between the ages of four to 12 weeks, puppies enter a phase called the “immunity gap.” This is where their mothers immune support, passed through her milk, is lessening but their own natural defenses arent fully developed. During this time, their diet is a key way to support this process and boost their immunity through nutrients like vitamin E.
Healthy Homemade Dog Food Ingredients
According to WEBMD your dog needs protein from animal meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs. They need fat from meat or oil and carbohydrates from grains or vegetables. In addition, essential fatty acids from plant oils, egg yolks, oatmeal, and other foods. The question is in what amounts? After much research, we created a recipe that our dogs love they are healthy, have tons of energy, and their coats and eyes shine!
- From the Cutting Board.
- Joanies Ancient Food Processor!
- Finished Dog Food!
- Ready For Freezing!
The listed ingredients are used most of the time. Fresh meats like lean ground beef, ground turkey, and chicken gizzards provide a heavy dose of protein. Tuna, salmon, or sardines are always used. The eggs also add protein and essential oils. There are fruits and vegetables in the mix and even rice for digestion, although no wheat grains or sugars! Our homemade dog food is human grade. The main point is we know and control what goes into their food!
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Pregnant Or Nursing Dogs
Pregnant and nursing dogs have different nutritional requirements than other adult dogs. These dogs should be eating food that is calorie dense and high in protein. Look for foods that are at least 22 percent protein.
It may seem unusual, but feeding puppy food, like Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food, to a pregnant or nursing dog is a good way to meet these requirements. Because puppies, like pregnant and nursing dogs, also need more calories and protein than other dogs, food made for them is suitable for dogs who are moms or moms-to-be too.
And heres the good news for your pregnant or nursing dog: Unless she is overweight, you can let her have all she wants.
What A Puppy Needs From Its Diet
A puppys body is going through significant changes as it grows rapidly, whatever size or breed it is. Puppies require greater calcium in their diet than adult dogs to support the proper development of their skeleton.
They also need more protein, as they are rapidly building muscle and other body tissues. Their food should be more energy-dense than a fully grown dogs, as they are unable to eat as much but need plenty of energy to support their developing physiology.
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A Vets View On When To Stop Feeding Puppy Food To Your Dog
How to know when it’s the right time to start feeding your dog adult food
If you have a new puppy, you’ll probably have many questions about how to care for them. One of the most common questions about caring for puppies is when to stop feeding puppy food. As your puppy grows into adulthood, youll probably begin to notice many changes in their behavior, appearance, energy levels, and appetite. The best puppy foods provide essential nutrients to help your puppy grow, so its important not to make this transition too early. In general, its recommended that your dog reaches musculoskeletal maturity before transitioning to an adult diet. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of transitioning your dog onto an adult diet.
What Age Should I Change My Dogs Food
When it comes to nutrition, there are three life stages which experts believe are important times in your dogs life to discuss with your veterinarian. The first is the puppy life stage. During this period a dog food rated for growth is needed because it is specifically designed for puppies and kittens according to the AAFCO . Puppies and kittens that are growing require pet foods with a higher protein level and a higher calorie countto meet their growth requirements, says Dr. Lorie Huston. If these nutritional demands are not met, your pets growth may be stunted and/or your pet may become ill. Pet foods rated for reproduction” or “gestation/lactation are also a benefit for pregnant or lactating females.
The second life stage for which you should consult your veterinarian about dietary changes is the adult life stage. Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in both dogs and cats today, says Dr. Huston. One reason for this is improper life stage feeding. For example, dog or cat especially one that leads a sedentary lifestyle may become overweight or even obese if fed pet food meant for puppies or kittens. Pet food labeled as “all life stage” can also deliver excessive fat and nutrients your adult pet does not require, as it is formulated for kittens and puppies. Instead you should be looking for dog food rated adult maintenance by the AAFCO.
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What Nutrients Does Your Dog Need For Their Skin And Coat Health
Your dogs skin and hair arent just nice to pet they play an important role in keeping your pup healthy and comfortable. They prevent water and heat from leaving your pups body, plus they help keep viruses and bacteria out. One of the best ways to make sure your dogs skin and coat are in the best possible condition is by paying close attention to what you put in their food bowl.
Nutrients like protein, fat, vitamins and minerals can all impact your dogs skin and coat health. Your dogs coat is made up almost entirely of protein. If their diet doesnt contain enough quality protein, your dogs hair might fall out or become dry, weak and brittle.
Likewise, their skin is made up of tightly packed flat cells with tough membranes made of proteins and fats. Without proper amounts of these nutrients, the cell membranes can weaken, allowing water to escape and bacteria and viruses to enter more easily.
Make sure your dog is getting the following nutrients to help keep their coat and skin healthy. And keep in mind that IAMS dog foods contain an optimal blend of these nutrients to support your dogs skin and coat health.
Recommended Serving Amounts For Homemade Dog Food
As a general rule, dogs will eat around 2 to 3 percent of their ideal body weight in fresh food daily. Larger breeds may need as little as 1 1/2 percent, and smaller breeds may need as much as 4 percent.
This works out to be approximately:
- 2 pounds of food per day for a 100-pound dog
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of food per day for a 50-pound dog
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound of food per day for a 25-pound dog
- 5 to 6 1/2 ounces of food per day for a 10-pound dog
There is much variation in what the ideal amount should be as it depends on how much your dog weighs and how active she is.
I feel that the best approach is to feed and watch if your dog is losing weight, give more, and if your dog is gaining weight, give less.
For our pugs, we feed a scoop each in the morning and a scoop each in the evening, plus all their supplements.
We have an easy system for this: homemade food is refrigerated in a sealed container with a measuring cup , and all the supplements are lined up together in a cupboard in the kitchen. Keeping your ingredients organized and accessible will make feeding time fast and smooth.
Compared to feeding commercial food, where you might scoop out kibbles or open up a can, feeding homemade food with all the supplements takes maybe 10 seconds more. And even if it took 10 minutes more, fresh wholesome food for our furbabies is worth it.
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Transitioning To Homemade Dog 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.
Should You Rotate Dog Food To Give Your Dog More Variety
Most dogs are happy eating the same food regularly. If you wish to add some canned food or a little homemade stew to their food to make it tastier, thats fine, but dogs usually dont like a lot of change. Changes in your dogs food often lead to an upset gastrointestinal tract with diarrhea or vomiting. If you change foods often you can keep your dogs GI tract upset on an ongoing basis which will lead to other health problems. Of course, it is possible that if you change your dogs food continually he may get used to the changes and adapt to them, but only after a lot of upset stomachs. Some dogs will continue to have gastrointestinal problems when you change foods.
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Doesnt Your Dog Need To Encounter Other Proteins To Build His Immune System
No. Thats not how the immune system works. When a puppy or dog eats proteins he wont have an allergic reaction to the protein the first time he eats it. His body wont react to it as an allergen at that time. If he is allergic to it, he has to encounter it again. At that time his body will have made antibodies to fight the allergen and release histamines and other chemicals which cause the allergic reaction. A dog can have this kind of reaction to lots of different things, including food ingredients. The wider the variety of ingredients you introduce to your dog, the more likely you are to encounter something he might be allergic to. Even if he is not allergic to some of the common allergens, he might be allergic to some of the less common food allergens. Any kind of protein can become an allergen. You cant prevent allergies or immunize your dog from getting an allergy by feeding him different kinds of food. You can keep your dog healthy and try to support his immune system. A stressed or weakened immune system is more likely to show a reaction if your dog is prone to allergies. Some dogs have immune systems that are overactive or which react inappropriately.
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.
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Changing From A Puppy To An Adult Dog Diet
Once your puppy reaches maturity, you can transition their diet and care so youre making sure they get exactly what they need now theyre fully grown.
Adult dogs need two meals a day, and a food that is nutritionally balanced to give them the energy they need without too much fat. You can transition to a new food gently by introducing it slowly over a week: mix it with their puppy food, gradually increasing the percentage of new food, so your dog gets used to it.
How Should I Transition My Dog To Adult Food
Transitioning to a new diet should always be done gradually to prevent causing a digestive upset. A good diet transition should take at least 7 days but may need to be longer if your dog has digestive sensitivities or is prone to diarrhea. When you begin a diet transition, on day 1, start by mixing around 25% of the new diet with 75% of the puppy diet. As long as there are no signs of digestive upset, you can increase the proportion of the new diet to 50% after a few days. Finally, you can continue slowly increasing the ratio of the new diet to 75%, then 100%, when your dog should be eating the new diet with no adverse symptoms.
If at any point your dog develops symptoms of an upset stomach such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, flatulence, or bloating, this is a sign that the guts are not yet adapted to the new diet. Slowing down the transition or adding a probiotic supplement can usually resolve this issue. However, If the symptoms persist for more than 24-48 hours, switch to a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice, white fish, or scrambled egg, and contact your veterinarian for further guidance.
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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.