Does Fido have new dietary requirements because of his age or health? Or has he lost his usual healthy appetite? Or perhaps there’s just curious about a new formula? Switching our furry pal to new food is not as simple as “out with the old, and in with the new.” We have to properly transition him to the new formula to avoid digestive upset and to detect allergic reactions early.
Here’s why and how.
Not all dog foods are created the same. There are formulas specially made for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. There are formulas designed for small breeds, medium-sized dogs, and large ones. Some formulas target certain health conditions, such as fur and skin health, kidney health, weight management, and cognitive health. And dog food also comes in different flavors, varied ingredient- and nutrient-combinations, dry and wet variants, and different levels of quality.
Fido can react to his new food in two ways:
- he’ll be excited by the new taste and smell, and will gobble it down like there’s no tomorrow.
- he’ll be averse to the new taste and smell and refuse to eat.
The first reaction may seem great, but if the new food offers a significantly different - especially one that he has not had yet before - our pooch could have a negative reaction to some of these new ingredients. He might experience flatulence and even bloat if the new food has more fiber than he’s used to. He might have diarrhea. He might vomit. Or the simple act of eating his food too quickly could give him an upset stomach because he also swallowed too much air. Plus, there’s always the concern of allergies to the food, or the fillers it may contain.
The second reaction will, of course, affect his daily food intake. And we can’t force him to like his new food and eat it by allowing him to go hungry. This is especially true if the change in diet is for health reasons. The last thing we’d want is for him to reject his new food.
Commercial pet food is not always easily digested, and many dogs and cats lack the essential digestive enzymes that allow them to get the full nutritional benefit of their food. If your dog or cat suffers from loose stools, diarrhea, gas, constipation, poor skin or hair condition, or lack of energy, it’s likely he’s not properly digesting his food. EcoDigestive probiotic and enzyme support formula improves your pet’s digestion and the absorption of nutrients in his diet.
Proper transitioning is key
Our best bud will need at least a week to adjust to his new food. We should transition him to the foreign taste and smell of his new formula by incrementally adding it to his old one every day. This way, the familiar taste and smell of his old food will make the new one more appealing until he gets used to his new food.
Below is a sample portioning strategy to help transition Fido to his new food:
- Day 1: 90% old food, 10% new food
- Day 2: 80% old food, 20% new food
- Day 3: 70% old food, 30% new food
- Continue until Fido is able to eat 100% of his new food.
It’ll take a bit of extra work and some patience to completely transition our tail-wagger to a new diet, but this is easier than having to clean up after him when he vomits or has a bout of diarrhea. While slowly introducing him to a new formula, we should still observe him closely for any indication that his stomach is not agreeing with the food. He could also have an allergic reaction to an ingredient. Anything that is out of the ordinary that could be related to his new diet is a sign that we should stop feeding it to him until his vet can figure out what’s wrong.
It’s also possible that the new formula will simply not be appealing to Fido’s palate. If this is the case, then we’ll just have to keep trying different ones until we find one that he’ll enjoy.