How to Switch or Change
Your Puppy’s or Dog’s Food
Clients ask me all the time what food is best for their dogs and how to switch foods – usually after they switch when they run out of the old food, change to the new food, and their dog gets diarrhea!
The process in changing foods is not difficult, but it cannot be done overnight. Also, what is a good food for one dog may not be good for another because of medical, health, or age differences. What follows is a guideline for switching or changing dog foods.
The Process of
Switching or Changing Your Dog’s Food
First, when you switch food, you may have to experiment to see which food your dog likes and which his system adapts to. Pet stores sometimes have sample packages, so ask for some. If they don’t give samples, then buy the smallest bag so you don’t get stuck with a large bag of food your dog can’t or won’t eat.
When you are switching foods, the transition needs to be done gradually decreasing your dog’s current food and increasing the new so your dog’s digestive tract acclimates to the new food and doesn’t get an upset stomach. The process should take 10 days to 2 weeks.
Let’s hypothetically say you are feeding your dog 1 cup of food at a meal. When you begin the transition, give him ¾ cup of the old to ¼ of the new for 3-4 days. If his stool is okay (it may look different but should be at least the consistency of a banana), then switch to half of each for 3-4 days. Again, if the stool is okay, then go to ¾ of the new to ¼ of the old for 3-4 days. And then all new food.
If the stool is not okay – let’s say it’s okay at half and half but not at ¾ to ¼ – then stay at half and half for about a week and then try the switch again. If it’s still not okay, then you may have to try a different food.
Other Considerations in Changing Food
Keep this in mind – some dogs can only tolerate one grain source and/or one protein source, and you may find that information on the label. For example, if you’re currently feeding chicken and want to switch to lamb, his system may not tolerate the lamb, which will make itself known in the stool. If you want to switch foods to get a better quality food, then choose one with the same grain and/or protein source.
One other thing, your dog may love the new food and the stool is fine, but it gives him gas. Gas ain’t great – especially if you’re in a closed room! – because it means that he’s not fully digesting the food. Try to find a food that’s good for him and gasless.
Some recommended foods to try
Here’s a link to the foods I’ve chosen from Amazon. http://dogbookslibrary.com/allProducts-dog-food.php
True confession – I have not tried every single food or every item in this website. I do get a small commission from the items you order from there. My criteria for choosing items is
- I like the product.
- Other trainers whom I respect like the product.
- It has gotten 4 of 5 stars from Amazon consumers.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.