How to Switch Dog Foods Gradually

Two Parts:Picking the New FoodTransitioning to a New Food without Illness

Do you want to switch dog foods without upsetting your dog's stomach? You need to do it gradually.

Part 1
Picking the New Food

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    Find a good quality food. Not all foods that are high quality will be right for your dog. If you have heard that a brand is really good, but then your dog isn't doing well, that just means that it isn't right for your dog.
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    Look up foods online. If you hear good things about dog foods, look up a website where people can review it in the comments of the website. There are lots of forums, communities, and sites dedicated to sharing experiences and advice over specific brands of food.
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    Don't be afraid to spend the extra few bucks on your dog. If you find a good food but think it's too expensive, it's fine! Resist the temptation of buying a low quality food because it's cheaper. If the first ingredient is something that you would eat, then buy the food! (This doesn't apply if you are a vegetarian or vegan.)
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    Read the label! Some dog foods will try to trick you into thinking that it's a great food even if it isn't. Read the label thoroughly. There are three things you need to check for in the label. Make sure the food follow these requirements:
    • No ingredients that your dog is allergic to
    • No artificial preservatives or fillers
    • No poultry by-products
      • If the food meets all these requirements, then you have a match!
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    Be warned that your dog may not like the food you have chosen. It's not guaranteed that your dog will like the food. Why? Think of it this way. If somebody cooks you a food that doesn't taste good to you, will you continue eating it? Chances are, no. Your dog might not like some of the foods simply because his stomach or taste buds disagreed with it. For this reason, you need to buy the smallest choice of bag available. Most foods carry 4-5 pound bags, so buy one of these.
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    Do a taste test with your dog. Get a few pieces of the dog food into your hand. Make sure it's enough to take more than one bite/lick, but not enough to ruin your dog's food schedule. If you feed your dog snacks sometimes, this would be the time to test the food. If your dog seems to like it, he'll/she'll probably be wagging his/her tail and trying to convince you to feed him/her more of the food. If your dog doesn't like it, he/she will most likely walk away without finishing the rest.
    • Offer your dog water to wash down the taste of the (to him/her, nasty) food.
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    Try other brands if needed. If your dog liked the dog food, you can move on. If your dog didn't, you need to find another food to switch to. You need to go shopping for dog food again. If a dog you know eats the brand you chose, give it to another dog's owner. That way, you technically aren't wasting it.

Part 2
Transitioning to a New Food without Illness

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    Remember that you need to increase over time, not all at once. If you start a new food cold turkey, your dog will most likely get an upset stomach, which is why you need to transition slowly. Take about two weeks at least or three weeks at the most. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you can take about six weeks.
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    Mix food carefully and gradually. Some dogs will only want to eat the new food and not the old food. In order to prevent this, you have to pour a bit of the old food, a bit of the new food, a bit of the old food, a bit of the new food and so on in layers. That way, your dog can't choose which parts he/she wants to eat.
    • Gradually means starting with 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food. Check the label on the back of the two dog foods. If it tells how much your dog should eat daily, divide both numbers by two (provided you feed your dog two meals a day). Once you've divided them, you need to find the percentage of each. Use your calculator or Google to figure out how much to feed. Measure carefully, and make sure to add the right amount.
    • Depending on your dog, your transitioning time might be different. Don't worry if your dog takes less or more time. Remember, each dog is different. Feed the 25% and 75% mix until the dog's stools (poop) are firm. Feed them that mix for one more day after, and you are ready to continue.
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    Move to half and half. Once your dog is ready to continue the transitioning journey, switch to a 50-50 mix. Look up the percentages again, but this time you have to change the percentages to 50% and 50%. Now you are feeding half the old food and half the new food. Again, wait one day after the stool is firm before moving on to the next step.
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    Move up to 75% of the old food and 25% of the new food. You're really making progress now! Good job on being patient for your dog to adjust. Do the percentages again, this time using 75% of the new food and 25% of the old food. Since this is the last time for your dog to eat his old food, let him/her enjoy this mix two days after his/her stool is hard.
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    Go all out with the new food. You're done! You've accomplished everything you needed and should now be feeding your dog 100% soon-to-be regular food. Now your dog should be happy and healthy.


  • Don't ever try switching too quickly, no matter what your reason is.

Article Info

Categories: Feeding Dogs