Breaking up can be hard to do, whether you’re doing it with a job, friend, or significant other. Switching dog food can also be difficult for your dog. But sometimes, it must be done.
“It’s usually a medical reason,” says Dr. Ashley Rossman, DVM of Glen Oak Dog and Cat Hospital. She recommends speaking with your vet before changing a dog’s diet for any reason, including personal ones. For example, you may have heard about a new dog food trend, such as grain-free, but it may not be necessary for your dog or worth the hassle for you.
“If you just suddenly change their dog food, they have [have digestive issues],” Dr. Rossman says, adding some dogs may dislike the taste of a new food at first.
If you do need to change your dog’s food or get the OK from your vet to do so, following a few simple steps can help mitigate these digestive problems. Dr. Rossman dished on how to change your dog’s food.
Top Tips for Switching Dog Food
Dr. Rossman says the biggest key to changing a dog’s food without the fuss is by taking it slow.
“If you know your dog has a sensitive stomach, start with 10 percent new dog food, 90 percent old dog food,” she recommends.
If the dog’s stool is firm after a couple of days, move to 20 percent new food, 80 percent old food and so forth. Dr. Rossman recommends expecting the process to take two to three weeks.
If your dog doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, you can plan to complete the process in one week and start with a ratio of 30 percent new food and 70 percent old food. Again, you’ll want to ensure the dog’s stool remains firm before moving to the next increment. There’s a chance your pup does have a sensitive stomach, and you just don’t know about it.
Why Timing is Everything
You’ll also want to consider timing. For instance, you are moving or adding a new dog (or human child) to the family, it’s probably best to put off switching your dog’s food if you can.
“You don’t want to add too many stressors at the same time,” Dr. Rossman says, adding that you may not have a choice if it’s for a medical reason.
Troubleshooting Issues When Changing Dog Food
Though dogs are known for being more flexible than cats about food preferences, sometimes, their bodies can’t help it. Dr. Rossman suggests easing stomach issues with a soft, low-sodium broth like chicken or beef.
But if the problems persist or your dog repeatedly rejects the food, you may need to try something else.
“They may not like that food, and you may have to change the flavor,” Dr. Rossman says.