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About Switching Dog Food

If your not careful when switching dog food, you could have quite a mess on your hands. It might seam that dog's have an iron gut, but their digestive tracts can actually be quite sensitive.

Changing dog food should be done gradually over at least a 2 week period. Puppies are usually the most susceptible to stomach upset when a dog food switch is made.

The reason is because puppies already have rather sensitive stomachs because they're still developing. When a puppy comes home to her new family, she goes through many, many changes all at once.

Usually one of the first things new puppy parents do is switch dog food. Along with all the other changes and stress (new people, missing mom and siblings, new environment), a new puppy food tends to really upset their tummy's.

So, regardless of whether your dealing with a puppy or an adult, a dog food switch should be done gradually over time. There are also a few things you can add to your dog's diet to help the transition to a new food.

How to switch your dog's food

Switching your dog's food gradually is not difficult. It's just a matter of adding the new kibble to the old kibble a little at a time.

Since I don't know how much you're feeding your dog, because everything depends on breed and size, I'll give a sample ratio:

  • For every 1 cup of food you normally feed your dog, reduce that to 3/4
  • Add 1/4 of the new food into the old food
  • Continue this ratio for 2 to 3 days
  • Over the next week or so, increase the ratio to 1/2 & 1/2 of each type of dog food
  • After a week and 1/2 to 2 weeks, you should be able to switch completely over to the new food.

It's a good idea to try to time your dog food switch with just the right amount of old food left in the bag. If you can measure it out (approximately) using the ratio's and time frame above, you hopefully won't waste any food, or switch your dog over too quickly.

Problems when switching dog food

No matter how gradually you switch your dog's food over, sometimes they still get stomach upset. The most common problem when switching food is loose stool, and sometimes diarrhea.

Hardening your dog's stool back up is pretty easy -- there are two things you can do and one or the other may work better for your dog.

  • Cook up some plain rice, (actually, over cook it until it's very mooshy), and even brown up some plain hamburger and mix the two together. Give this mixture with a little kibble mixed in with it for a day or two until your dogs stool starts to harden back up, then gradually over a couple of meals feed more kibble than rice and hamburger mixture.

  • Another option for stool hardening is adding some canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix, but real pumpkin) to your dogs food. It's the same principal as the rice & hamburger mixture. Just add a generous amount to each meal and as your dog's stool starts to harden, back the pumpkin off over a few meals.

Some thoughts to ponder. . . .

Hopefully your food transition goes smoothly, and hopefully you're switching dog food because you want your best friend to be eating high quality food. High price does not necessarily mean high quality by the way.

One the most important things to remember is that not all foods work for all dogs -- even quality foods. If your dog's food is not agreeing with his stomach, then you should consider a switch.

A couple of ingredients that dog's can be sensitive to are grains and protein content. For dogs with highly sensitive stomachs, lamb is usually the best protein source.

When it comes to grains, a lot of dogs are allergic to corn, and low quality foods use corn as a filler and it adds zero nutritional value for your dog. . . .

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