How to Transition Dog Food

June 12, 2022

Have you ever thought that your canine friend might be getting sick of the same food? Or it might be that the food is making them sick. You might also then be thinking, “I’ll just change their food”.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it might seem. For humans, it is a simple task to change from wholegrain to rye bread, or from red meat to chicken. For dogs, the change is a little trickier but not an impossible task!

Before we get deep into the food bowl of this transition, lets talk about WHY your doggie diet has to change.

Why a change in food?

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For starters, your pup might be getting that little bit older and is ready to go from puppy food to something a little more robust to cater for their changing nutritional needs. Puppies need food which has nutrients to help grow their organs, bones and support their changing joints.

Once they reach adulthood, their organs have settled and they don’t need any more nutrients for growth. The nutrients in adult food however are different in the way they don’t support growth but a happy and healthy lifestyle for your growing boy or girl!

When your dog gets sick or contracts a parasite or disease it might cause you to have to change to a food which will be more accommodating to their sensitive stomach.

Just like skipping breakfast in the morning might decrease YOUR energy levels, a poor diet might cause your pup to have lower than usual energy levels. This might make them stop chasing their favourite balls or jumping up for that evening boop.

Then there is age, as your dog starts to get that little bit older (and wiser) it might mean that they require a change in diet to accompany any medications they may be on to keep their health. When your dog enters their senior years the type of food that they need will be different to that of both an adult and a puppy, yes that’s right…senior dogs need special treatment too! As dogs age, they require food which is better suited to their changing digestion system as well as their changing mental and physical wellbeing.

How do you change their food?

Just like anything new, a change in diet will need a slow, steady, and incremented introduction. Even if your puppy is changing from TALENTAIL® Chicken and Brown Rice puppy food to the TALENTAIL® Chicken and Brown Rice adult food, a small percentage of the new food gradually introduced over a 5-7 day period is the best option.

Australian Talentail recommend that the increments of the new foods should be no more than 25% for the first two days. Increasing to 50% new food on day three, 75% on day eight and on the 7th day, they should have adjusted to their new diet!

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As mentioned earlier, dogs have very sensitive stomachs even though we might think they are iron clad, so having an upset tummy is likely to occur during the change period. You will notice this through their stools if they are runny or if your dog begins to vomit.

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If they do become sick, pause the diet change until they settle and then pick up from where you started. It might mean an extra couple of days weening them onto the new food, but it will make them happier in the meantime!

Size does matter!

Switching foods coincides with the growing maturity of your dog, but you have to also take into consideration their size. Smaller breeds of dog do usually develop faster, leaving the puppy stage behind whilst larger dogs take just a bit longer.

If you are unsure when your puppy has their big fur pants on, a vet consult will be able to help recommend when a change in diet is needed.

What if they don’t like change?

Yes, dogs can be fussy eaters too! They might not put up their paw in a way to say, “no thanks, don’t like that”, but they can turn their nose up to their food bowl. If you follow the abovementioned process, or the one prescribed by your vet, it is most likely that they will adapt to their new diet. If you do notice that they are not accepting their newfound food, it might not be to do with what’s in their bowl.

It might be the food, or treats, that your hands might be feeding them without you even noticing! If your pup is having too many nibblies and avoiding their new food and turning to treats and snacks, make sure that you don’t overfeed them so that they both look forward to their meal and stay healthy!

Change does take time; your pup might not take it easy right away but with some persistence and a slow ease into it they will love their new food. Remember to keep an eye on your furry friend to make sure they are loving their change and not sneaking off into the doggy pantry for some late-night treats!