Diet is one of the most important factors when it comes to keeping our dogs healthy. The food we feed our furry friends can affect their physical and mental health alike—after all, you are what you eat.
If it’s time to change your dog’s diet, it’s not quite as simple as simply emptying out the food bowl and replacing it with new food. In fact, transitioning to new food too quickly can lead to tummy troubles, and no one wants that for their pooch. Keep reading to learn how to safely and efficiently help your dog transition to new food.
Reasons to Switch to New Food
If your dog’s current diet is treating him just fine, then there’s no reason to worry about switching to new food. However, there are a few reasons why you may need to transition your dog to new food:
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- New life stage (puppies, adults, and seniors all have different nutritional needs)
- Pregnancy or nursing
- Needing to gain or lose weight
- Refusing to eat current food
- Changes in activity level and/or nutritional needs (such as extra support for hip and joint health, skin and joint health, oral health, or breed-specific health)
- You are preparing to bring home a new pet and need to accommodate the new pet’s diet
Some people choose to switch their dog to a new diet because of the overall health benefits. For example, feeding your dog a raw diet may lead to healthier skin and coat, cleaner teeth, increased energy, improved digestion, and a more muscular build.
However, keep in mind that what’s right for one dog may not be right for another. Kibble and wet food can also be perfectly fine options. What’s important is that your dog’s diet is vet-approved.
Transitioning to New Food
The transition period is crucial when making changes to your dog’s diet. Transitioning too quickly can lead to tummy troubles. Generally, a food transition should last for about 7-10 days. For dogs with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues, though, this period may be longer.
To start, combine about 25% new food with 75% old food. Feed your dog this combination for about three days, and monitor him for any signs of sickness or food allergies. Keep a close eye on his stools, too, as any significant deviations from the norm could indicate a digestive issue.
If Fido seems happy and healthy with his new diet after a few days, you can gradually increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of old food. For the next few days, feed him a half-and-half mixture of old food and new, continuing to keep an eye on his health.
Next, switch to about 75% new food with 25% old food and… you guessed it, keep an eye on your dog to make sure he’s adjusting well for about three more days.
Finally, you can fill the food bowl entirely with the new food, and congratulate yourself on a successful transition.
If you notice that your dog is having trouble adjusting at any point during the transition period, you can slow down the rate that you’re switching out the food and/or make the changes more gradual. It’s also a good idea to talk to your vet about ways to make the transition to new food easier.
If your dog is simply a picky eater and you’ve ruled out any underlying health issues, you may need to make changes to meal times and the usage of treats as a reward. Be reassured that even the pickiest eater will give in to his instincts and eat before he lets himself starve.
If your pooch often deals with tummy troubles, consider Pet Honesty’s Digestive Probiotics Chews. These chews promote the growth of good bacteria and aid in healthy digestion and nutrition absorption, keeping your pup healthy and his poops regular.
If you’re bringing home a new dog, you may have to deal with a transition to new food. Generally, it’s recommended that your new dog continues eating the food he ate at his previous home until he’s well adjusted. After all, too many changes at once can be quite stressful. Pet Honesty’s Hemp Calming Chews can help to reduce anxiety and stress while your pooch navigates any changes to his routine and environment, and make the overall adjustment easier.
Of course, always talk to a vet before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet, and if you notice any signs of concern after making said changes.