New Dog Food – Can You Switch Quickly?
As a dog owner, you love your dog more than anything. You will strive to give your dog the best. Hence, you are in a dilemma when you stumble across a new better brand of dog food. You want to change your dog’s food but you do not know how. Here, I will tell you how to get your dog used to new dog food and the possible side effects. But first,
Is It Ok To Change Dog Food?
Yes. However, owners should try to do it as little as possible. For instance, only consider it if the old food gets discontinued or a medical condition requires your dog to change up his diet. Try to avoid changing dog food just because a certain brand is on offer this week. Your dog’s stomach is more sensitive than ours and a sudden switch in diet will cause intestinal upset.
What Happens If You Change Dog Food Too Quickly?
By suddenly changing your dog’s diet, it messes up the delicate balance of bacteria in your dog’s gut. This will result in your dog being unable to digest food well. This leads to diarrhea, vomiting or gassiness.
Why Should You Change Dog Food?
There are certain reasons as to why you should vary your dog’s diet. Here are some of them:
- Variety to ensure nutrition.
- Food recalls/discontinuations and ingredient changes
- Food intolerance or allergies to certain ingredients.
- Chronic disease that requires a change in diet
How To Choose The New Dog Food
Choosing a new type of food for your dog may seem daunting. You want him to be happy and healthy. Hence, it is important that you understand what types of food is best for your dog.
Firstly, pick a food which lists a meat or a vegetable as the top ingredient. Meats like beef, lamb or chicken are recommended. It is advised that you avoid dog foods that list corn or soy as the top as they are less nutritional. They are usually commonly used to just make your dog full. One good advice is that if the lead ingredient is something you would eat, it will most likely be good for your dog too.
Secondly, take note of the food’s target. Some foods are made specifically for old dogs or for puppies. Some are made for those with weak stomachs while others are made for sensitivity or allergies. Hence, always read the label and do your research before purchasing a new food.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to spend more money on your dog. Don’t choose foods based on the price as they may not be right for your dog. Feeding your dog the wrong food just because it was cheaper may backfire in the future. The expenses spent on their potential medical treatment for eating the wrong food won’t be worth it. Furthermore, seeing your dog in pain cannot be healed by any sum of money. Love your dog, treat him right.
Lastly, always read the label to be on the lookout for artificial preservatives, fillers, and poultry by-products. Also, you should know what kind of ingredients that your dog is allergic to. Check the labels to ensure those ingredients are not in the food.
Always buy the smallest bag available when you purchase a new food. Dogs are just like humans where they have their own tastes and preferences. For instance, I personally dislike foods like tomatoes so I should not expect my dog to like everything I give him. Buy a small bag and observe your dog’s reaction when you feed him.
Let your dog taste the food. Give him a small amount to let him try the food. Do not give him too much as it may ruin the feeding schedule and cause an upset stomach. If your dog wags his tail or tries to get more, it suggests he likes the food. However, if he walks away without finishing the food, he does not like it.
Some stores have exchange policies where they can take back opened bags of dog food. Try buying your dog food from those places to reduce your costs of finding the perfect food for your dog.
How To Change Dog Foods Properly
The most common advice to switching dog food would be to do it gradually. This allows your dog to get used to the new food. This will prevent your pooch from getting stomach problems. Remember not to rush him too much. The advised duration would be to take one to two months to fully complete the transition. Find out from your vet about your dog’s stomach conditions. Dogs with sensitive stomachs would usually require more time, approximately six months. This prevents illnesses from popping up.
The way to start the transition would be to mix the old and new food together. Mix them very well to ensure that your dog will eat both. Sometimes, your dog may still prefer the old food and end up only eating the old. Thus, he neglects the new. Mix the two foods well and your dog will thus be forced to eat both. This allows him to get used to the new food while still fulfilling his usual dietary requirements.
To do this, start by mixing 7 parts old food to 3 parts new food. It is normal for your dog’s stools to be relatively wet and loose right after starting his new diet. Hence, continue feeding him the 7 to 3 mixture until the stools turn firm again. This typically takes around 3 to 4 days. Don’t panic if it takes longer than that as each dog is different. Just be patient and take it slow. Remember, your dog’s wellbeing is the priority.
Once the stools turn firm, you are ready to go to the next step. Now, you can move on to equal parts. Here, you will mix the food in equal portions. This means feeding half from the old food and the other half from the new food. As usual, monitor your pet’s stools until it turns firm. Once it turns firm, maintain this percentage for one more week.
Following that, move up to 7 parts new food and 3 parts old food. One small tip states that since this is your dog’s last time eating the old food, let him enjoy this a while more and feed him this mixture for 2-3 more days even after the stools turn firm. The time taken for the stools to turn hard should be about 3-4 days as well.
Once this is done, go 100% new food. Your dog is now accustomed to the new food. Your dog will now consume the new food happily and healthily.
Things Of Note
It will be easier switching from dry food to wet or canned food. This is because canned and wet food tends to be more flavourful and tasty. Your dog will thus take more interest in the food and be more receptive to the change. However, you should still follow the same tips to prevent stomach issues.
Can You Switch Food Quickly?
However, sometimes disaster strikes where the old food is discontinued or recalled. Hence, you do not have enough old food to conduct the gradual switching process. Now, you have to switch foods rapidly or your dog will go hungry. This process is doable but should be generally avoided unless in dire circumstances.
Firstly, if possible, pick a new dog food that has ingredients that generally matches that of the old food. For instance, your old food consists of beef and rice, try to find a new dog food that is the same. This prevents your dog from having a large reaction towards it.
Start by offering your dog a small meal of the new food. If he eats it without any stomach trouble, offer another small meal around 4-6 hours later. Don’t worry about your dog getting a little hungry. Gradually increase the portions of the food and increasing the time between feedings until you are back to your normal schedule. Do this for 48 hours and you should have successfully switched your dog to a new food.
Where Can I Find Good Dog Food?
You can always go to your local supermarket or pet store to pick out a brand of food. Alternatively, online stores are getting more popular as the prices are lower and it is more convenient. Here, you can find great brands of wet dog food or dry dog food.
Remember, choose the brand that best suits your dog and do not stinge on them. After all, a dog is man’s best friend and they deserve nothing but the best.