We all want the best for our pets and sometimes that means changing their food. There any many reasons for such a decision. It could simply be that your favourite brand is no longer available or that you want to try a different type of food for your pet.
The decision could also be due to health concerns or the fact that a dog’s dietary requirements change over time. For example, compared to an adult dog, a puppy requires more protein for muscle development and calcium for their bones. Alternatively, as your dog gets older, it may face mobility issues and so would need to move from an adult to a senior formula.
Whatever the reason, you want the change to be stress free. A sudden shift in diet can bring about a great deal of discomfort for your dog and anguish for you.
The good news is that with a little planning, the process can be safe and pain free for all concerned. Here are our seven steps to successfully changing your dog’s food.
If you’re changing your dog’s food, then keep everything else in his life the same. Don’t decide to change his shampoo, treats or even meal times at the same time. If you do this, you won’t know what’s working and what isn’t.
The worst thing you can do is make an instant switch to a new food. Although your dog may try to eat anything, his digestive system is remarkably sensitive. An impromptu change in food can bring about stomach upsets, constipation, indigestion, vomiting or a refusal to eat.
Gradually introduce the food over a period of a week to 10 days. On day one, mix in one part new food to three parts old. Feed your dog this mixture for three days. If your dog seems to be coping well with the change, progress to a 50-50 mix for the next three days.
If there have been no adverse reactions by this point, move to three part new, one part old for a further three days. Finally, if you’re completely happy with your dog’s process, you can complete the switch, feeding 100 per cent of the new food.
You don’t want your dog to realise that they’re being weaned off their old food, so mix it in well. Otherwise, they may just pick out the taste they’re used to.
Throughout the process, keep an eye on your dog’s stool consistency. If it’s looser than usual, then the food may be causing a reaction or the transition may be happening too fast. Slow down the process and see if it improves.
Also look for the basics of good heath. Is your dog unusually lethargic? Is his coat shiny? Are his eyes clear? Does he want to come back for more?
Dogs are creatures of habit and don’t always like change. Keep persevering and once you’ve begun to change their diet, don’t abruptly switch back to the old food. Instead, phase it out gradually.