There comes a time in a dog’s life when it is necessary to change their diet. There can be a number of reasons why you may want to change your furry friends food:
- Your puppy is growing up and moving out of the puppy stage, adult dog stage and finally becoming a senior dog. Each one of these life stages requires a different diet and dietary needs for your pooch and it is important they are nourished correctly at each stage.
- Your dog is pregnant. Your dog’s nutritional needs will change drastically at this life stage as not only will your dog need different food for additional energy, you want to ensure they have a healthy litter.
- A medical condition may also be a reason that your dog's dietary needs will change for example digestive issues.
- Following advice from your vet, you wish to seek alternatives to the brand or type of food you are using for your dog.
It is important to remember some key facts when transitioning your dog's food. Puppies are no longer considered puppies when they reach 12 months of age and it is imperative that they transition at this stage to adult food, ensuring they are receiving all of the proper nutrients an adult dog needs. It is also recommended to never change your dog’s food suddenly and without advice from your vet, as this can cause your dog to become ill or refuse to eat their food.
Encourage a Gradual Transition
It is considered best practice to change a dog’s food gradually, ideally over a period of a few weeks. The slow introduction of new food to your pet will avoid them going off their food and upsetting their stomach. We recommend beginning by mixing a small amount of the new food with your dog's original food for 1-3 days. During this time you should monitor your dog’s behaviour towards food and any stomach upsets. If your dog doesn't agree with the food, decrease the amount of the new food mixed in with the old food and gradually work your way up again. However, you know your furry friend best, so if you notice any unusual behaviour please consult with your vet.
Increase the New Food Consumption
As time progresses and your dog is showing no signs of disruption, the new food ratio to the old food ratio should move in favour of your dog’s new food. From days 4-10 you should increase the new food and decrease the amount of old food. However, you may reach a point where the amount of new food being added is turning your pet off, simply decrease the amount back to a level they’ll eat and stay at this for a few more days. After a few more days have passed, start to climb the ladder again and introduce more of their new food. The gradual change should ensure little to no tummy upsets for your pooch.
Phase Out The Old Food
When you reach day 10 or after, and your pooch has shown little to no signs of upset or disruption, you can now phase out their old food. Your dog's new food should be well adjusted to their digestive system at this stage. We always recommend rewarding your dog throughout the transition, positive affirmations and a lot of belly rubs after they have eaten their food usually works the trick to let your pooch know they are doing a good job.
Once you have carried out the above stages you should have no issues with fully transitioning your dog's food and you will be ensuring your canine friend is getting all the right nutrients for the right stages in their life. In case you're experiencing difficulty, it's best to address your vet to ensure that the food you're using is appropriate for your canine and that they don't have any medical problems that may be influencing their appetite. It is also recommended to schedule a check-up with your vet to monitor your dog’s progress if they have changed their diet due to medical reasons.
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