Switching Your Dog's Food

Switching dog food

Photo by Justin Aikin

 

Switching Your Dog's Food

Providing your dog with a healthy diet that’s tailored to their needs is one of the most important things you can do for their health and wellbeing. This means that throughout their life you may need to swap their food for something more suited to their needs, whether due to an allergy, changing nutritional needs or simply because your dog is turning their nose up at their current meals. As a sudden change in diet can cause a stomach upset, it’s important that you make the switch gradually and keep an eye out for any signs of digestive trouble.

Why a food switch might be needed

Even if you are providing your dog with high-quality dog food, you might need to switch their food at some point in their lives.

Switching food due to age

Just like humans, dogs have different nutritional needs as they move through life. Puppies require more protein and calories to support their development, while senior dogs may need a formula to address specific health concerns. That’s why OPTIMUM™ brand create specialist puppy, adult and senior ranges that supply dogs with the nutrients they need at each life stage. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you switch your puppy onto adult food at around 12 months old and onto senior food at around 7 years old.

Switching food due to dietary changes

Another reason to switch your dog's food is due to a change in dietary needs. For example, if your dog has been diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance, you'll need to avoid those specific food allergens or switch to a hypoallergenic formula.

The best way to make the switch

Once you've determined that a food switch is necessary, it's important to make the transition to the new food as smooth as possible for your dog.

Easing them into the change

Firstly, start by slowly introducing the new food over the course of a week or two, mixing a small amount of the new food into their current food, and gradually increasing the ratio of new food to old over time. By easing your dog into the change, you'll minimise the risk of unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhoea or vomiting, and also get them used to the change of flavour more gradually. While you make the switch, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re feeding them at the same time each day to avoid any disruptions to their feeding schedule.

If your dog isn’t sure about their new food, you can try adding some warm water to dry food or heating up wet food to make it more fragrant and appealing. Just be sure it’s not too hot when you serve it.

What if the change needs to happen quickly?

In some cases, a food switch may need to happen quickly. For example, if your dog has developed an acute allergy or intolerance, you'll need to switch to a hypoallergenic formula right away. In this case, it's important to monitor your dog closely for any signs of digestive upset and consider a probiotic supplement to help support their digestive system during the transition.

When to talk to your vet

If you have any concerns about switching your dog's food, particularly if they have any pre-existing health conditions, it's always a good idea to talk to your vet. They can help you select an appropriate formula based on your dog's specific needs and provide guidance on how to make the switch. They can also answer any questions you may have about how to monitor your dog for digestive upset, and what to do if any issues arise.

With a little planning and patience, you can make switching your dog’s food a smooth transition. Remember to consider your dog's age, size, activity level, and dietary needs when selecting a new formula and ease them into the change slowly to minimise the risk of digestive upset. If you have any concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to your vet for guidance and support. For more advice on caring for your dog, check out our pet care blog.

 

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