Tips for Transitioning Your Dog's Diet

Just found a new food for fido? Before you throw his old food away, read our tips here on how to transition your dog's diet the right way.


Reasons for Switching your Dog's Food

Apart from just wanting to give your dog some variety and a change of pace, there are several reasons why you may want to think about finding a new diet for your dog. Typical reasons for making such a change include:

  • Your dog is entering a new lifestage (transitioning from puppy to adult or from adult to senior)
  • Your dog needs to gain or lose weight
  • Your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to his current food
  • Your veterinarian recommended a switch in diet
  • You're bringing home a new pet (you'll want to transition your new dog from the food he's been eating to the new food you want to feed him)


Food Transitioning Timeline

If you aren't careful, giving your dog a new food can result in digestive upset and issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. To avoid this, it's best to shift your dog's diet over 5 to 7 days to allow her time to adjust to her new food. Many brands will include instructions on their food packaging, but if yours doesn't or you don't have the packaging anymore, you can follow this guideline.


Days 1-2: 25% new food, 75% old food


Days 3-4: 50% new food, 50% old food


Days 5-6: 75% new food, 25% old food


Day 7: 100% new food


This is a general guideline, and if your dog is prone to digestive issues, you can always extend the transition period to suit his needs.


What to Watch For

To make sure your dog's diet transition goes as smoothly as possible, it is helpful for you to be aware of the signs that things might not be going so well. You'll want to watch out for adverse food reactions, which can be indicators of an allergic reaction to the food, a food intolerance, or even gastrointestinal disease. Things that may signal an adverse food reaction are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. You might also notice symptoms like itching, skin inflammation, and hair loss. If these problems continue after the transition period to your dog's new diet, a trip to the vet can help you sort things out and get to the root of the problem.


It's important that your dog has a food that will promote his overall health and wellbeing, and with these tips and guidelines, the transition to your dog's perfect food can be a smooth and successful as possible!