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Food & Nutrition

How to Switch Your Dog’s Food

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Photo by Helena Lopes

How to Switch Your Dog’s Food

Feeding your dog the right food is key to keeping them feeling healthy and energised, and sometimes, that involves switching dog food. You might need to change your furry friend’s food for any number of reasons, but luckily the process will be the same. The key is to know when to do it and how to make the switch!

Why you might need to switch dog food

The most common reasons for switching dog food are your dog’s age and dietary requirements, or, maybe they’ve just got a bit fussy lately! Whatever it is, a change in your pooch’s needs calls for a new menu.

Switching because of age

According to the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, dogs have different nutritional needs throughout their life, so you’ll need to change their food as they grow up. Around a year old, your puppy will graduate from puppy food to adult food, and around seven years old, you can make the switch to senior dog food.

Switching because of dietary changes

Switching dog food might also be necessary if your dog experiences health or dietary changes. It could be that they’ve developed a sensitivity that can be managed with a different food, or their vet may suggest a type of food to help with a specific health issue.

How to switch dog food

Changing your dog’s food can be a simple process, as you slowly introduce the new food into their diet over a two-week period. What’s important here is to keep a close eye on your dog and watch for any changes in their behaviour or eating habits. This way, you’ll know if they have a reaction to the new food or if they absolutely love it!

Making the switch gradually

Changing your dog’s food abruptly can cause an upset stomach, and nobody wants that! That’s why it’s best to take things slowly. Over the course of 7 days, start by mixing the new food into their bowl, gradually increasing the proportion of new food to old food. 

Here’s what their bowl might look like:

Days 1-2

25% new food + 75% old food

Days 3-4

Days 50% new food + 50% old food

Days 5-6

75% old food + 25% new food

Day 7+

100% new food

Signs the switch isn’t working

Some dogs are more sensitive to dietary changes and might have trouble adjusting to a new food – and some dogs are just a bit picky! If they’re not taking to the new food, it could be a case of too many snacks. Treats outside mealtimes can slow down the process, so limit snacks until they’ve fully switched over to their new food. 

A (less pleasant, but very telling) sign that the dog food switch isn’t going smoothly is your dog’s poo. Some variation is normal, but if you notice any major changes in the colour or consistency, it may be a cause for concern. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet.

When to consult your vet

If at any point your dog is consistently vomiting or has diarrhoea, make sure to speak to your vet. You should also check in with your vet if your dog isn’t eating at all. They will be able to check your dog over and do the necessary tests to figure out whether your dog is suffering from an allergy or health condition. They will also be able to advise you on any specialist foods that your dog could benefit from if they have got an intolerance to certain ingredients.

Switching dog food is something you’ll likely have to do a few times throughout your pooch’s life. If you take things slowly and stay in tune with their behaviour, it should be a walk in the park! To learn more about your furry friend’s nutritional needs and how to keep them feeling their best, check out the PEDIGREE Help Hub

© 2023 Mars or Affiliates.

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