How to Change Dogs' Food

When deciding the change the dog's food, you will have to consider a number of things. Even if you think the dog's stomach will adapt easily, the change of food has to be gradual, otherwise your pet will vomit and have various adverse reactions.

Reasons for Changing the Diet

A dog's diet will be changed when he switches from puppy food to adult food. Senior dogs may also need a change in diet. The vet may recommend a change in diet if your pet has a medical condition such as diabetes, liver problems or kidney disease, which require a special diet. If the dog is suspected to have food allergies, food testing will be needed and this will involve a change in diet. You may also decide to change your pet's diet and switch to wet food or homemade food, if you are considering healthier feeding alternatives. You may want to switch the brand of the dog's food for various reasons.

How to Change the Diet

The dog's dietary changes will have to be made on a gradual basis over a period of around two weeks. This time may be reduced if you only switch to a different brand of food that contains many of the same ingredients as the old food.

The best way to start the transition is to keep on feeding your dog with his old diet, but reduce the amount of the meals and add a bit of the new diet. During the first two days, add only 25 percent of the new food to the old food. Monitor the dog's reactions, which may include vomiting or skin rashes in severe cases.

If the dog has major reactions such as vomiting, you should continue feeding him the 75 percent old, 25 percent new food diet for up to four days, so as to allow the body to get used to the new ingredients.

Starting from day five or six, you can increase the amount of the new food to 50 percent of the total your dog is getting. Stick to this diet for another four days and talk to the vet if you notice any unusual reactions from your dog. If you transition your dog from wet food to dry food, he may experience constipation.

10 days into the food transition phase, you can increase the new food to 75 percent, and each day thereafter you can add 10 percent, until your dog's diet is made up only of the new food source.

Dog's Reactions to Sudden Diet Change

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

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, because the stomach cannot process the new ingredients properly
  • Constipation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Lack of appetite

To prevent these side effects, the dog's diet change should be made gradually and should take at least one week.