Myth 15: Dogs Need a Smorgasbord of Food Choices
For many families there comes a point when you need to change your dog’s diet. Maybe he’s not a puppy anymore, maybe the pounds are starting to pack on, maybe you’ve seen changes in his stool or coat you’re not happy with. There are many reasons to make a switch, but you want to have a plan with your dog’s health and safety in mind and do it methodically to avoid gastrointestinal fallout.
For many dogs rapidly changing from one food to another can result in pretty significant gastrointestinal issues – in other words, diarrhea. Unlike humans, for whom diversity of what we eat is not only fun but good for us, switching a dog’s food must be done with care.
As a general rule, it’s best to make a gradual transition from one food to another giving yourself one to two weeks to make a complete transition. On the first two days start with a mix of 25% new food and 75% old food. For example, if you feed your dog 1 cup of kibble at each meal, start with ¼ cup of the new food and ¾ cup of the current brand.
Over days 3and 4 move to 50% new food and 50% old food (1/2 cup of each). Between days 5 and 6 move to 75% new food and 25% older food (3/4 cup new and ¼ cup old). Finally on day 8 complete the transition to all new food. That’s assuming this all goes off without a hitch.
If at any time your dog’s stool becomes soft, stop and hold there until your dog’s stool is firm. At that point you can again slowly begin the transition. If problems reoccur consult your veterinarian and consider a different type of food.
Thanks for reading.
What I’ve found is that I have to sometimes take care in switching meats in the same dog food brand. We just switched our dog’s kibble to Halo Pets grain free and one of our dog had trouble with the switch for a day. 🙁
What I find interesting that the need for this rule seems to apply to commercial kibble only.
Jasmine is home-cooked diet. She has a sensitive system, she even has IBD. But I can rotate different ingredients and meats (within the choices she’s not allergic to) any way I want. She can have beef for most of the time, then pork for a few days, then beef again, then some turkey, then some fish … with no stomach upsets whatsoever. Same applies for her veggies.
With fresh foods, cooked or raw, this problem just doesn’t seem to exist.
It is absolutely true that for many dogs; rapidly changing from one food to another can result in pretty significant gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. So, it is best to make a gradual transition from one food to another giving yourself one to two weeks to make a complete transition.