A lot of pet parents wonder. When is the right time for changing dog food or what steps should one take when switching dog food? What you need to know is there are many reasons why pet owners will opt to switch dog food.
For starters, the dog is no longer a puppy. Puppy food is rich in calories. This helps to fuel growth and development of the puppy. For adult dog food, it is not high in calories.
The second reason why pet parents switch dog food is that the dog is neutered. This is because spayed dogs need fewer calories. Lastly, pet owners switch dog food because their dog is getting old. As a dog gets old, he or she needs special nutritional requirements.
There are other reasons why dog owners will change dog food and all (or few) are genuinely valid.
So, how can pet parents go about switching dog food? Here are 5 tips for changing dog food safely.
Slowly Wean Your Dog Off
As a pet parent, the best way to go about changing dog food is to wean your dog off one food. As you do so, introduce your dog to the new food. This is the gradual break-in period.
To succeed, you need to follow the 10% rule. Here is how to apply the rule. For a period of 10 days, introduce 10% of the new food into your dog’s diet. While doing so, reduce the normal food your dog loves by 10%.
For instance, if your dog consumes 8 ounces of food, measure 7 ounces of the normal dog food and 1 ounce of the new dog food.
Doing this for the next 10 days will help to wean your dog.
Rotate the Foods Daily
Another trusted method for changing dog food is to rotate between the brands or food types. Doing this regularly will help your dog transition from one food type to another.
Each food is formulated differently. By rotating between each food type, you get to know what works best for your dog. Basically, when you rotate between the foods on a daily basis, you signal the dog’s nervous and immune system.
As such, it stimulates the dog’s immune system which in turn keeps your dog healthy. For this to work, do not mix two brands of foods together. Mixing two food types together will create a new food type that your dog may end up disliking and so, the whole point of changing dog food will be voided.
Always Select the Right Place and Time
Dogs depend on smell to connect the scent of a certain food type with how they feel. For this reason, a sick pet can associate a new food you are trying to introduce as bad simply because your pet is sick. This leads to your pet refusing to eat the food. If this happens, helping your dog adapt to a new food later will be difficult.
So, if you are planning on changing dog food, we highly suggest you pick the right place and time. That is, make sure your dog is healthy and not sick. Also, do not feed your dog new food while at the hospital. Allow your dog to be discharged and feed the dog new food at home.
Doing so at the hospital will distract your dog as many obstacles will be present. If you have several pets and you would like to change their diet successfully, separate them during meal times.
Choose a Similar Brand
Changing dog food within a similar brand is very easy. Why? The food is made with almost similar ingredients and process. Also, the food may have a similar flavor. For instance, brand A makes dog food X using sea fish and beef. Also, brand A makes dog food Y using sea fish and duck.
If your dog is currently on food X and you would like to switch to Y, it won’t be much of an issue. This is because the company uses almost similar ingredients and processes to make the food. Choosing this method eliminates the chances of a transition period.
If you are planning on changing dog food from one brand to a different brand, a transition period will be required.
Consult Your Veterinarian
While the above tips will surely work, it is always important to consult your pet doctor. As you already know, your pet doctor is not only trained, knowledgeable, skilled and experienced but he or she is certified and licensed.
By consulting your pet doctor, he or she will likely suggest dog food brands not affected by any food recall. In some cases, the transition from one food to another leads to a bacterial balance in the digestive tract. To remedy this, you may need to add antibiotics or probiotics.
Also, your pet doctor is in a better position to advise you on which brands are suitable for your dog depending on age and nutrition needs. By consulting your pet doctor, you can get your pet back on track.
Changing Dog Food Doesn’t Have to be Hard
Changing dog food is very simple but to ensure success, you need to monitor your dog. If your dog is making less mess in the yard, then its mean your dog is absorbing and digesting the new food better. If your pet dog coat is shiny and the eyes are clear, then it means the transition is working.
If your dog experiences stomach upset or diarrhea, the problem may be with the food or the transition period is too fast. To avoid this, consult your pet doctor.