Switching dog food considerations are very important for the comfort of your dog during the changeover period.
Here are the points that need to be thought about;
(1) What causes diarrhea when switching between dog foods?
(2) What about switching between brands?
(3) What happens if I switch too fast?
(4) How do I switch from puppy food to dog food?
(5) A guide for switching food.
Switching Dog Food and Diarrhea.
Diarrhea happens because bacteria in the large intestine becomes accustomed to having a certain level of PH within the intestine.
With a sudden change in food quality, or style of food, the stomach bacteria becomes shocked and signals the lumen (intestinal lining) to release water in an attempt to bring the PH back to what it would consider "normal" levels.
Your dog will suffer stomach pain as well as diarrhea and, due to discomfort, will probably avoid eating or eat very little.
Switching Dog Food Brands.
A switch in brands may or may not cause problems depending on the quality of ingredients and the make up of levels in protein, fat, fiber etc. so it is worth looking at the label and comparing those noted levels plus the rest of the guaranteed analysis information.
If it is very similar it will reduce the possible risk of problems.
Even so I (who always errs on the side of caution!) would still do a slow changeover.
It is not a huge drama to run two products side by side for peace of mind, to ensure your dogs' comfort.
Without doubt ingredient quality change is the area of main concern, but it must be done with consideration of other aspects in the food makeup.
Switching Dog Food Too Fast.
If you do not do a slow changeover you are certainly going to cause some form and level of discomfort for your dog, and who really wants to do that?!
It varies between dogs so there is no definite time frame or form of discomfort that will take place but when it is so easy to avoid then surely following some form of changeover guide makes more sense.
My guide starts at adding 10% to begin with and increase slightly each day. It has worked for my dogs without having any problems so I am comfortable with the method.
Others suggest starting at 25% and stay at that level for 3-4 days and then increase another 25% (50/50) for another 3-4 days and follow that with 25% (75/25) again for a further 3-4 days and then complete the 100% changeover.
Whichever path you choose to follow is not important as the consideration has to be the comfort of your dog.
Switching From Puppy Food To Dog Food.
Changing what a puppy eats is where so many people get it wrong!
DO NOT bring your puppy home and feed it something different to what the puppy has been used to having.
To do that is going to give your pup so much discomfort with stomach pains and diarrhea.
So here's the "special rules" for puppies.
Feed your puppy with exactly what the pup has been getting from where you got the pup. If the product is not what you want to feed then you must do a SLOW changeover.
If the pup has not been on solid food then you must use a puppy formula and do a slow change to a suitable puppy food.
A large breed puppy needs a different food to that of a smaller breed as the requirements in calcium, phosphorus and fiber are not the same. There are brands that have special large breed puppy formulas.
Puppy food should be given for around 12 months for smaller breeds and up to 18 months for large breed dogs.
Pups should be feed meals three times a day for their first four to six months and then twice a day.
Only when the pup has matured should consideration be given to once a day feeding but since older dogs are better off with two meals a day why bother to change?!
Switching Dog Food Guide.
Here is my changeover method that has worked for my dogs every time.
I do slow changeovers between food styles or different manufacturers, but not recipes within the same brand format.
DAY (1) Add 10% of new food with 90% old style / quality.
DAY (2) Put 15% new with 85% old.
DAY(3) it is 25% new and 75% old then on
DAY(4) new becomes 40% and old is 60%. Follow this on
DAY(5) with 60% new and 40% old and
DAY(6) will become 80% new with 20% old and on
DAY(7) the switch is complete with 100% new food.
So there it is - the not too hard nor too many considerations but non the less very important ones to ensure your dog or puppy does not suffer discomfort when switching dog food.