Guidelines For Changing Dog Food

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Guidelines For Changing Dog Food

It is essential to switch your dog food progressively to avoid digestive upset or tummy trouble.

My advice

Perform the transition mixing your dog’s present food with his new food. Over 7 days, gradually decrease the amount of the current dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food.

Frequent reasons to change your dog’s diet:

  • Puppies should transition to an adult dog food when they reach adulthood to guarantee they receive appropriate nutrient levels for adult dogs
  • Large breed puppies and small breed puppies should switch to a large breed or small breed adult dog food, respectively
  • About the age of 7 years, dogs should transition to a mature adult or senior dog food. In the case of larger breed dogs, this transition should be around 5 years of age
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs need energy-dense foods with increased calcium levels. In these cases, you should do the transition to a puppy food.
  • If your veterinarian has suggested a therapeutic dog food for a specific health condition (e.g. diabetes, liver problems or kidney disease)

changing dog food / changing puppy food

No matter what the reason for the change, you should change your dog’s food gradually.

A slow transition method will help your dog’s intestinal tract to digest the ingredients of the new food smoothly and easily.

Guidelines – 7-day transition schedule:

  • Day 1: 20% of the new food with 80% of the old
  • Day 2: 30% of the new food with 60% of the old
  • Day 3: 40% of the new food with 40% of the old
  • Day 4: 50% of the new food with 20% of the old
  • Day 5: 70% of the new food with 20% of the old
  • Day 6: 80% of the new food with 20% of the old
  • Day 7: 100% of the new food

When changing from a dry food to a canned food you should expect your dog to drink a little less, and eat more as a meal.

Because dry dog foods are in general more energy-dense than canned foods, your dog may need to eat proportionally more canned food to get the same calories.

Even if your dog’s stomach adapt easily, the change of food should always be gradual.

A dog that doesn’t have a gradual transition from a food to a new one may present a few negative reactions that can include:

  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Obstipation
  • Anorexia
  • Salivation
  • Depression

To prevent these adverse reactions, you should follow the above guidelines doing the transition in at least a 7-day schedule.


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.

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Why was the Dog Food Selector created?

Each dog has unique needs... The approach "one food for all dogs" isn't the more suitable. Dogs have different sizes, different life stages, unique breed characteristics, health conditions and a few other factors... Choosing the right food for your dog may help him or her life a longer and healthier life! We exist to make that task easier for you.

How does the Dog Food Selector work?

It's quite simple... It's a 1-2 step process. You just have to fill in the form with your dog's characteristics, like gender, age, size, activity, health conditions and a few other important data and click "search". Then, you'll see a list of dog foods with the highest review score. If you wish you can see all the detailed review of each individual dog food.