As dog owners, it is our job to make sure our pups are getting the right kind of care they need, and their food and diet is a big part of that.
While we like to change things up for our dinner each night, the same can’t be said for our four legged friends. Unlike humans, dogs need consistency with their meals and switching it up on a regular basis can actually make them really poorly.
As a dog food company, we always get questions about how to properly switch over dog food, so we’ve compiled a short guide to help you ensure a smooth diet transition.
What happens if I give my dog completely different food?
First, let’s take a quick look at the issues that come with just changing your dog’s food on the fly.
By switching foods abruptly, you run the risk of causing multiple stomach issues, including vomiting, diarrhoea, and a decreased appetite.
As you can imagine, any of these symptoms can be quite traumatic for your dog, and should be avoided at all costs unless specifically advised by your vet.
How do I switch my dog’s food?
When making the transition between dog foods, the number one thing to keep in mind is patience. It’s going to take some time, but it will be worth it.
The general timeframe for this process is around 7-10 days, giving your dog plenty of time to adjust to the new food and to see how they react.
When making the switch, you need to gradually introduce the new food mixed in with their current food, slowly upping the amount of new food and taking away old food. We find it best to break down the days like so:
- Day 1: 25% new diet
- Day 4: 50% new diet
- Day 7: 75% new diet
- Day 10: 100% new diet
If your dog is known to have a sensitive stomach or any allergies, we recommend taking a couple of extra days on top of this to make the switch.
During this transition phase, make sure to monitor your dog’s appetite, behaviour, and stool to see how they are doing on the new food, and to ensure that the food is working for them.
If your dog experiences loose/looser stools when changing their diet, this is totally normal and can be expected. It could be that you are simply overfeeding them, so we recommend trying to cut the portion size down gradually. You can get away with feeding a bit less when using a more refined food.
Changing dog food should also be something you plan in advance and not a snap decision, allowing you to still have enough of the old food to properly make the change.
What kind of food should I feed my dog?
When it comes to the type of food you should be feeding your dog, it’s important to see what does and doesn’t work for your dog.
Dog food isn’t exactly a “one size fits all” type of thing, and like humans, every dog isn’t going to like or agree with every food.
Personally, we recommend a complete food such as our Field Dog & Game, meaning your dog will get all the vitamins and nutrients needed in their kibble without the need for extras or supplements.
If you’re unsure of what age to switch over your dog food, these are generally some good timeframes to go by:
- Puppies can transition to adult food from 12 months.
- Small/medium breeds can transition to mature/senior food from 7 years old.
- Large breeds can transition to mature/senior food from 5 years old.
These timeframes will also vary depending on the brand – for example our Puppy food is suitable for young pups all the way up to 15 months.
What should I do if I’ve already ran out of the old dog food?
While it’s always good to have some of the old food spare when transitioning diets, sometimes life gets in the way and you’re left with very little or sometimes none at all.
In cases like this, instead of forking out for a whole new bag, we recommend trying something like our Regular Plus food, as it is so kind to the gut and shouldn’t cause your pup any issues.
Whether you’re changing over to an adult food or simply want to try a different brand, it’s important to slowly introduce the new diet in order to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Got more questions? Want to learn more about our kibble? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today – we’re more than happy to help!