Changing Your Dog's Diet
One of the questions we get asked often in our shop is “is it okay to change my dog’s food?” and we are here to dive in and answer your questions!
When should I consider changing my dog’s diet?
Age is the biggest factor to think about when you're considering changing your dog’s diet. Dogs go through various life stages from newborn, to puppy, to adult, to senior to geriatric. Some diets cater to each of these life stages, especially between puppy and adult. Once your dog reaches between 12-15 months old, you should consider changing their diet from puppy food to adult food.
You might be either getting a hint from your pup that they’re starting to become bored with their food, or maybe you’re thinking of changing up their diet with new flavors to keep it interesting for them. Thankfully most pet food brands have different options flavor-wise but are formulated very similarly, making the transition to new flavors easy between a single brand.
This is a common reason as to why many pet-parents change their doggie’s diets. Different brands offer different options and varieties. Some may have more holistic options, some are entirely grain-free and all-natural, while others are specifically catered towards certain conditions, such as weight management, dermatological care, or even for those with sensitive digestive systems. In these cases, switching brands may be the answer, as some may offer more variety or more specific options than others. Check out our range of dog food brands here.
Food Sensitivities & Allergies:
Certain dog breeds are prone to genetic sensitivities and allergies. This means that unfortunately specific types of foods may not be suitable for your pup. Some ingredients may cause skin irritations or upset stomachs depending on what your dog may be sensitive to. Dogs who suffer from these sensitivities require only single source protein diets or completely grain-free diets. There are dog food brands that cater to the needs of specific breeds to avoid these sensitivity issues and others that are specifically designed for combating stomach and skin problems. To an extent, some dogs may require medicated diets that are medically conditioned to treat animals suffering from allergies to specific food or gastro-intestinal sensitivities. If you’ve noticed your dog is vomiting, has a loose stool or hotspots and itchy skin or fur loss, then that’s when to consider changing their diet. Of course, the first step would be to consult with your vet to ensure there are no other medical factors that are influencing these reactions from your dog.
Physical Signs That Their Food Needs Changing:
Your pet may not have any dietary allergies, but they can still show signs that their food is not doing them any good. Dry and flaky skin along with dull coats is a big sign that their food needs changing. Your dog may also start gaining weight at a faster pace, and slowly become overweight. Accompanying this, they may also have much less energy and may be less active than usual.
What Happens If I Change My Dog’s Food Too Suddenly Or Immediately?
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to change your dog’s diet, there can be some issues medically or physically that can be triggered by not going through the diet change process correctly. If you don’t change your dog’s diet gradually over the course of a week or so, your dog may experience symptoms of an irritated gastrointestinal tract. These symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting, blood in their stool, diarrhea and an overall loss of appetite or interest in their new food.
What To Do If My Dog Has An Upset Stomach:
If you’ve had a situation where a different type of food had to be given to your dog, (for example; you’ve run of dog food out and their regular food was not available), or if they’re reacting badly to the new food and they’re experiencing these symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, the first step would be to have your dog seen by your local veterinarian. You may need to have your pup fast for 12-24 hours until their tummies are settled, then feed them again in smaller portions split throughout the day. You could also try to give them a prebiotic and probiotic supplement like Yu-Digest Plus to help settle their stomach which can simply be added to your dog’s food or water.
What Types Of Food Should I Consider Changing My Dog’s Diet To?
If you’re looking to switch to a type of food that is not only easier on your dog’s stomach but also healthier and tastier for them, then we have plenty of options for you to choose from. Firstly, avoid dog food brands that contain a lot of mixed ingredients and are high-calorie. For dogs with gastric problems or trouble with weight control, you could consider grain-free diets that are higher in protein with natural probiotics like Taste of The Wild. Naturally hypoallergenic dog food brands like Arden Grange are also ideal for dogs suffering from skin and stomach sensitivity issues. For dogs that have allergies to specific dog food ingredients, single source protein foods such as Ziwi Peak would be a good option.For picky dogs who tend to get bored of just one flavor of food, we’d recommend food diets that have a variety of flavor options in both wet and dry food like Lily's Kitchen.
Changing To The New Dog Food:
You’ll need to plan before you start switching over your pet food, as you will still require some of your dog’s original food before making the change. Start by making sure you have at least a week’s worth of the original food left. Before jumping in head-first and buying a large bag of the new food, start with a smaller bag, most food brands offer a smaller version. This is in case your dog rejects the new food, which helps avoid wasting an entire 12kg bag, for example. You’ll then need to measure out and start planning portions of food for the next 7 days. According to your regular feeding amount and schedule for your dog, you’ll need to divide your dog’s food for the week accordingly:
Day 1 & 2: 75% of the original dog food & 25% of the new dog food.
Day 3 & 4: 50% of the original dog food & 50% of the new dog food.
Day 5 & 6: 25% of the old food & 75% of the new food.
Day 7: 100% of the portion should be the new food.
The following days after completely switching over your dog's food should be spent monitoring your dog to ensure that they’re not showing signs of gastrointestinal upset. If you notice no changes, and in fact that your dog has more energy, a shinier coat and a healthy stool then that means that the transition has been successful and that the new food is benefiting them!
How To Keep Your Dog Interested In Their New Food:
Combating dog food boredom can be challenging, but there are a few methods that can be implemented to ensure that your dog remains interested in their new diet. The most simple method would be to run some warm water over your dog’s kibble. The softer pellets are easier to chew and it may be more appetizing to your dog. Another option is to mix it with either treats, toppers, or even wet food. There are even pureed treats like Absolute Holistic Bisques that can be mixed into your dog’s food in order to make it more appealing and appetizing.
Changing your dog’s diet is definitely not something that you should feel nervous or uncertain over. In fact, if you follow this guide, you’ll see how easy it actually is, and you’ll be prepared for it! As always, however, it is best to consult with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, in order to ensure that it is the healthiest option for your pup, and that they will not be at risk of any allergic reactions or gastrointestinal reactions. Whichever diet you choose in the end though, we will have you covered with our variety of dog food options!