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How to Switch Dog Food

From time to time, you’ll need to transition your dog to a new diet. Whether it’s because of a change in age, a health condition or just the fact that you’d like your dog to eat a healthier diet, you need to know how to switch dog food properly. When done incorrectly, your pet will likely suffer from digestion problems including diarrhea, excessive gas and nausea.

A gradual transition is key.

Switching to a new diet too quickly can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Keep an eye out for signs of digestive issues, like vomiting, diarrhea and even decreased appetite. A slow transition will give Fido's body a chance to adjust to the diet gradually.

The key to learning how to switch dog food is keen observation of your pet. If at any time your dog begins to exhibit signs of digestive upset, slow down the transition. If you have transitioned to a new food slowly and your dog is still showing signs of digestion problems, you will need to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

How to Switch Dog Food

How to Switch Dog FoodIt's important to have a discussion about your dog's diet every time you visit the veterinarian. You pet's nutritional needs will change as his ages, when his health condition changes and as his activity level fluctuates.

On the 1st and 2nd day of the transition, you should mix 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food. On day 3 and 4 the ratio can increase to 50% of the new food and 50% of the old food. Day 5 and 6 should be a mixture of 75% new food and 25% old food.

By day 7 you should be able to feed 100% new food. However, if you notice any changes in appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, you'll need to transition more slowly. Add an extra 1-2 days to each step.

As I mentioned, if you make the transition more gradual and your pet is still showing signs of digestive troubles, consult your veterinarian. It may be an issue with the food that you're switching to or it could be an underlying condition with your pup. Either way, your veterinarian can help you figure out the problem.

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Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.