There are many reasons why you might need to change your dog’s diet such as sudden allergy or sensitivity to an ingredient in their regular food, a health issue that requires a specialised diet, or just because your dog is getting older and needs less protein.
A sudden change in diet can cause gastrointestinal upsets ranging from mild such as bloating or gas, to severe with vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy.
The best way to completely change your dog’s diet is to do it gradually, especially if you’re not sure how they’ll react to the new food.
Slowly Does It
How long it takes to incorporate the new food into your dog’s diet will depend on how sensitive their digestion is.
With any dog it’s best to take at least five days to transition them from the old diet to the new one, replacing 25% of the old food with the new food on day one, and adding another 25% each day until you’re feeding the new diet entirely.
Sensitive Dogs and Allergies
Of course, if your dog is super sensitive or prone to allergies then it may take much longer to introduce smaller amounts of the new food every day, over the course of a couple of weeks.
If your dog has multiple allergies and you’re switching their diet to reduce adverse reactions, you might need to introduce just one new ingredient at a time.
When you start the transition to the new food, keep a careful watch on your dog for any signs of distress or reactions to what they eat.
If your dog is sensitive to the particular protein, usually beef or chicken, that you’re feeding them, your vet might suggest you start to introduce a completely different protein such as kangaroo, pork or fish.
Careful monitoring after you’ve introduced a small amount of the new food should tell you how well your dog is tolerating it.
By introducing just one ingredient at a time, it’ll be easy to identify the culprit if there are any adverse reactions.
Give It Time
It can take a few weeks for your dog’s digestion to settle down and get used to the new diet, so have some patience and keep monitoring them.
Make sure no one else in the family feeds your dog anything else except ingredients from the new diet so it’ll be easy to pinpoint what’s causing any sensitivity.
One of the best ways to know what’s going on inside your dog is to check their daily stools. It’s not a pleasant job, but, as a responsible dog owner, you should have picked up enough of your dog’s stools to know what’s normal and what isn’t.
If you’re seeing consistently abnormal stools, visit your vet for a check-up and some professional advice.
Sydney Animal Hospital and Specialist Vet
Sydney Vet Specialists is dedicated to providing quality 24 hour veterinary care for your pets, as well as specialist services for a wide range of conditions.
To speak to one of caring, professional team members, call us on 02 9197 5800, or contact us online.