Healthy Food & Life: How to Change Your Dog's Food without Making Your Dog Sick
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How to Change Your Dog's Food without Making Your Dog Sick

Border Collie dog

And you thought this Blog was only about people healthy food and life. Dogs also deserve healthy food and a healthy life. Sometimes you might want to change your dog's food to a different brand with different ingredients. This is easier said than done. If you have ever changed your dog's food to a different brand, you might have noticed your dog became sick with diarrhea or other digestive problems. There is a right way to get your dog to eat a new brand of food. 

Why Switch Dog Foods?

After having your dog for a while, you might decide you want a different brand or dog food with different ingredients. You might find that your dog has an allergy to corn which many times is the first ingredient listed, so you change to a different brand with the first ingredient as salmon or chicken, which is healthier than wheat or corn dog foods.

Or you might find a cheaper brand with the same ingredients. Whatever the reason for changing, there are certain things to watch for. Knowing how to change dog foods can help your dog make the change without getting sick. 

Symptoms of Changing Dog Foods Too Fast

There is a right way and a wrong way to switch dog foods. You’re excited and want to give your dog an entire bowl of the new food, but this could make your dog sick.

Dogs seem to be able to eat everything and anything without getting sick, but changing their food too fast is one thing that can surely make a dog sick. Symptoms that you switched dog foods too fast or that they really don’t like the new food include:

  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

How to Switch Dog Foods

My experience has been that the best way to change your dog's food from the old to the new is to mix the two gradually and carefully watch how your dog reacts.

  • First day: Mix 10-20% of the new dog food with 90-80% of the old dog food.
  • Third day: Mix 30-40% of the new food with 70-60% of the old food.
  • Fifth day: A 50-50 mix of both dog foods.
  • Seventh day: 80% of the new dog food and 20% of the old dog food.

If after a week your dog has not shown any ill effects, start feeding your dog 100% of the new food and continue to pay attention to your dog's bathroom habits and digestion. 

Switching from Dry to Canned Dog Food


You can use the same formula as above to switch from dry to canned or wet dog food, just be aware that once a dog has had canned food, they may never want to eat dry food again. Dogs are smart and can be picky, and I have found dogs prefer canned food.

Call a veterinarian if your dog has severe diarrhea, vomiting, stopped drinking water, stopped eating or there is any sign of blood.  

About the Author

Sam Montana is a certified Food Over Medicine instructor from the Wellness Forum Health Center and certified in optimal nutrition from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Copyright © 2014-2019 Sam Montana

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