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Changing Your Dog’s Food Without Causing Gastrointestinal Upset

Learn how to switch from one dog food to another without causing problems for your dog. While it is tempting to use up the old brand and then switch to the new from one day to the next, doing so can potentially result in messy elimination accidents inside the home and gastrointestinal pain for the dog. So how do you change a dog’s food?

Have a Good Reason for Making the Switch

Keeping your dog on the same chow ensures a happy intestine. Making a switch calls for some changes within the dog’s intestinal flora.

Before you go there, make sure you have a good reason to make the change. Just because one dog chow is on sale is generally not considered a good enough reason to switch food.

On the other hand, veterinarians do suggest changing a dog’s food when the pet engages in coprophagy (eating feces) because this behavior can be caused by improper nutrition.

The experts chime in that a change in chow is also indicated as your dog ages. Changing from puppy chow to adult formula dog food is a common first transition for a pet canine.


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How to Switch a Dog’s Food

Changing the food gradually is the best way of making the switch. This gradual change allows the intestinal flora to adjust to the change in the chow, its nutrient content as well as the increased – or decreased – amount of fat.

Ideally, the switch over will be a 10-day process.

  • For the first three days, mix one-quarter of the new food with three-quarters of the old chow.
  • For days four through six, mix half of the old chow with half of the new brand.
  • On days seven through nine, it is acceptable to mix in three-quarters of the new food with one-quarter of the old chow.
  • On day 10, the dog should be eating only its new chow.

Of course, it is possible that you need to make adjustments along the way. For example, a dog that refuses to eat the new chow and spits out the kibbles may require additional time at the first stage.

If the dog has an adverse reaction to the food in the first few days, it may be a good idea to suspend its usage and talk to the veterinarian. Your pet may have an undiagnosed food allergy.

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