Dogs have been an important part of people’s lives for millennia. From the first canine to come out of the shadows to accept a morsel of food from mankind’s forefathers, dog and human have been inseparable.
Dogs depend on us for companionship and protection, and we depend on them for the same reasons — happily accepting them into our families (and likewise us into their packs) — to live their lives in a happy partnership that has numerous advantages for us both.
But what if it becomes necessary to change their food? Dogs can be finicky eaters, and any rapid change in their diet can cause stress and discomfort. How then, can we change their menu without causing them any of the problems that can come with such a change?
Here’s a simple, low stress way to make that happen.
There are many reasons why you might find yourself needing to change the kind of food your dog eats every day. Health concerns, aging, or even no longer being able to get his preferred brand
in your area are all good reasons that you may need to switch brands.
But doing so rapidly can cause your dog to have loose stool, gas, and stomach discomfort. And if your dog is a finicky eater, he may not even eat the new food if you introduce it the wrong way. So how can you go about switching up his diet while avoiding these problems?
The answer is to gradually change it.
An Easy Transition
The simplest and easiest way to transition your dog to a new menu is to introduce it gradually. This way will help you both avoid stress, and help him avoid any discomfort and curtail any finicky tendencies he may have.
Introduce him to the new menu over a period of about a week; On the first day, give him a mix of about 90% old food, 10% new, and gradually increase the percentage of new food while lowering the percentage of old food.
On day two, give him an 80/20 mix. Day three, 60/40. By day four he should be getting at least a half and half mix of old and new food, or maybe a little more new food than old. Feel free to go slower though, if your dog is showing any signs of stress with the change. It won’t hurt to go slower if need be, and anything that makes the transition easier on your dog is worth the effort.
Day five, give him 25% old food and 75% new. Day six give 10% old food, 90% new, and finally, by day seven, you have made the switch completely.
Doing the switch in this way will greatly reduce any chances of the change in diet bringing about any stress or discomfort for your pet, and will make it less difficult for you as well. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind when switching your pet to a new diet.
For example, don’t try to switch your dog’s food during a stressful time, such as in the middle of a move or any other drastic change in your lives. The added stress will make it difficult to get him to accept the change, and he may already be experiencing a loss of appetite or upset stomach due to stress. You don’t want to introduce any new stress during these times if you want the change to go as smoothly as possible.
Also, keep calm when doing a menu change; losing your cool at your pet if he experiences troubles, like accidents or refusing to eat over stomach discomfort, will only exacerbate the problems you both could have changing foods.
If you take your time to gradually introduce your dog to a new diet, you can keep your dog happy, healthy, and eating well, while making what could be a challenge into a stress free process that is easy and painless for both of you.