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How to change dog and puppy food

English Cocker Spaniel eating from a bowl indoors
Introducing your dog to a new food should be done slowly, to avoid any potential stomach upsets. Follow our simple, seven day guide to ease your dog onto their new diet safely and carefully.


When should I consider changing my dog’s diet?

There may come a time when you find you need to change your dog’s diet. There can be a number of reasons why you may want to change, including:

  • Your dog is moving out of one three key life stages and into another: puppy, adult and senior. Each one of these life stages has a unique set of needs that can benefit from tailored nutrition.
  • Your dog is pregnant. A lactating dog will need extra energy, and may require a new diet that is better suited to their nutritional needs.
  • An illness or condition which needs added nutritional support, such as skin sensitivity or gastrointestinal upset.
  • You’ve been researching various dog foods or have spoken to your veterinarian and have decided to change your pet’s food.  


Signs that your dog might need to change diet

There are a few signs to look out for which could hint at the need to change to a new dog food:

  • A dull, flat coat may be an indication that your dog isn’t getting the right nutrients from their diet.
  • Loose stools and flatulence can be a sign of food intolerance or the result of a lower quality food.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Overweight or obese dogs may require a new diet, rather than simply reducing their existing diet, to ensure they continue to receive the proper complete and balanced nutrition they need while safely and slowly working to reduce their weight for healthy weight loss.


If you have any concerns about your dog’s health, your veterinarian can help determine which diet is right for your pet. The veterinarian can also help you know when and how to transition your pet to the new food successfully. Your vet’s advice will help to make the transition a positive experience for both of you.


How to change your dog’s food - make the transition gradually

Once you’ve decided to make the switch to another food, we recommend a gradual transition. By slowly easing your pet onto their new food, you will help avoid stomach upsets. Generally, this process takes about a week, and it’s always a good idea to monitor your pet to make sure it's going well.


Begin by introducing the new diet as a low proportion of their old diet, then gradually alter the ratio of old food to new food over the period of about a week until your pet has completely transitioned to the new diet. For the first couple of days, work with a ratio of around 25% new food to 75% old food, and monitor your pet’s behaviour and food consumption.
If all the signs are good after a couple of days, start to alter the ratio of new food to old. Gradually increase the percentage of new food so that it is 50/50 after four days, then 75% new food to 25% old after six days. Finally, if your dog is tolerating the food well, start feeding them on 100% new food after seven or eight days. It’s a good idea to keep your regular feeding routine, keep mealtimes and eating areas the same while you transition your pet to a new diet. Talk with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about the way your pet is transitioning to the new food.


Keep an eye on them

Once your pet has taken to their new diet and is no longer being fed any of their old food, you should keep feeding this new diet for at least two months so your pet can feel the full benefit of their new nutrition, and you can better gauge how well they are responding to it. The best kind of diet will show in your pet’s appearance, resulting in a healthy body weight, great skin and a shiny coat, on top of minimal stomach upsets and good stool quality.


Pet owners that have placed their pets on a new diet for health reasons should ideally schedule a check-up with their veterinarian to monitor their pet’s progress and see if their new diet is managing their health condition.

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