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How to Change a Dog's Diet

Posted by Dr. Roth on March 17, 2022

Nutrition
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For pet parents, the health of their dogs is of the utmost importance. One of the main components of ensuring a dog’s overall well-being is a nutritious, balanced diet. While pet parents have many options, not all dogs can or will eat the same things. 

There are times when pet parents find they may need to change their dog’s food. However, they need to do it gradually. Here’s what pet parents need to know about how to change a dog’s diet.

Dog Nutrition: The Importance of a Balanced Diet

Dogs need a balanced diet for optimal health and overall wellness. Good nutrition provides energy, maintains skin and coat health, ensures proper digestion, and helps improve the immune system (reducing the risk of developing various illnesses). When combined with exercise, a balanced diet can help prevent obesity in dogs

Dog Health Advice: What Nutrients Do Dogs Need?

A dog’s nutritional needs depend on various factors, such as age, reproductive status, and weight. Health conditions also play a role. However, there are six things pet parents should look for when creating a  balanced diet for their dogs:

  • Protein 

  • Carbohydrates

  • Fats

  • Vitamins

  • Minerals

  • Water

Why a Dog Might Need a Diet Change

A pet parent may need to change their dog’s diet for any number of reasons, including:

  • Poor Nutrition: A pet parent may realize the food they have isn’t optimally nutritious and therefore want to provide something better. 

  • Allergies: Just like people, dogs can be allergic to various food ingredients. In such cases, a new food without the offending allergens becomes necessary.

  • Medical Conditions: A dog may need a specialized diet if they develop a health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease.

  • Weight Issues: A new food can help an overweight dog get to a healthier weight, reduce their risk of health issues, and improve his overall quality of life.

  • Age: A dog’s dietary needs change with age. Pet parents may need to switch foods if their puppy is transitioning to adulthood or their adult dog is entering his senior years. 

  • Boredom: A dog may get bored with their food over time. Pet parents may need to switch between types of food periodically to keep their dog’s interest.

How to Change a Dog's Diet

Pet parents need to gradually transition their dog to a new food. Immediately offering a brand-new food can upset the digestive system, leading to issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and generalized discomfort. 

To help a dog acclimate to their new food, pet parents should follow a schedule:

  • Day 1: Feed all original food

  • Days 2 and 3: 80% original food mixed with 20% new food

  • Days 4 and 5: 60% original and 40% new food

  • Days 6 and 7: 40% original food with 60% new 

  • Days 8 and 9: 20% original with 80% new food

  • Day 10: Feed 100% new food

During the transition, pet parents should monitor their dog for signs of digestive upset, allergies, and other issues. If they have any questions or concerns, they can seek dog advice from a professional vet. 

The Right Food Can Make All the Difference

A healthy, balanced diet can significantly affect a dog’s overall health and quality of life. If a pet parent wants or needs to change their dog’s food for any reason, they should remember to do so gradually. Doing so can help to avoid potential issues and ensure a successful switch.  

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