Is your pup a picky eater? A beneath-the-table beggar?
Switching dog food could be the answer.
If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably been warned against switching dog food. So, other than changing from puppy to adult to senior food, you play it safe and feed your dog the same thing day in, day out.
But is this really healthy? After all, grilled chicken and broccoli are healthy, too. But that doesn’t mean you should eat nothing else for years on end.
In this article, we’ll examine this decades-old myth and help you decide whether switching dog food regularly is right for you (and your furry friend).
Should I Be Switching Dog Food Regularly?
The short answer? Yes!
The pet food industry has started to (slowly) shift toward replicating dogs’ native, wild diets. Some experts even suggest breed-specific dog food to help your pet live up to their best potential.
But in the wild, dogs don’t eat the same exact thing every day. Switching things up from time to time reflects this natural variety.
When dogs eat the same ingredients for an extended period of time, it can upset their gut biome, create nutrient imbalance (i.e. not too much of any one nutrient or not enough of another), and even lead to the development of food allergies.
But won’t switching dog food make my pet picky?
Quite the contrary! In fact, your dog also might become bored with meal times, either eating everything but their food or refusing to eat entirely.
Others might become picky as a result of eating the same type of food for too long. For example, if you have a toddler who only eats chicken nuggets, what happens when you run out of chicken nuggets?
Occasionally switching dog food gives your pet more variety in their diet, which is always a good thing! Who wants to eat the same exact meal for years on end?
How Often To Switch Dog Food
Most experts recommend changing food every 2-4 months for the best results. However, it’s better to change the food too little rather than too much.
Some sources may claim that you can change your dog’s food weekly or even daily if you prefer. However, we do not advise this, especially if you are giving them a completely new food that they have never had before.
Changing your dog’s food abruptly often leads to diarrhea, stomach upset, and other symptoms that can mimic allergy symptoms. If your dog has an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the new food, you may chalk it up to “normal” tummy troubles from an unfamiliar food.
When it comes to switching dog food, how you switch is just as important as the type of food you choose.
How To Switch Dog Food
Switching dog food should be a gradual process that happens over the course of a week or so. Even if you’re transitioning from commercially processed kibble to a whole foods diet (something we always recommend!), this process needs to happen slowly.
Abrupt changes in your dog’s can cause a host of GI issues, from nausea and diarrhea to gastroenteritis. Additionally, if your dog has an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the new food, you might ignore it because you think it’s from switching the food.
When switching to a new dog food, we advise the following process:
- Day 1-2: Replace 25% of the old food with the new one.
- Day 3-4: Replace 50% of the old food
- Day 5-6: Replace 75% of the old food
- Day 7: Give 100% of the new food
If your dog has a sensitive tummy, you may want to do this over two weeks instead. You can also consider giving your dog a vitamin supplement with probiotics (such as Dynamite’s TNT) to help replenish their gut microbiome.
Make the Switch To Rick’s Dog Deli
As always, you should make sure that the new dog food is one that promotes the health, wellness, and longevity of your furry friend.
At Rick’s Dog Deli, each of our 12 recipes have been formulated as a balanced diet with your dog’s nutrition in mind. In addition to four delicious Signature Meals, we also have a wide variety of Therapeutic Meals to support pancreatic issues, allergies, weight, and more.
If you’re thinking about switching dog food to give your pet better nutrition (and better taste!), look no further than Rick’s Dog Deli.