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When Should I Change My Dog’s Food?

When Should I Change My Dog’s Food?

Dogs are more sensitive to dietary changes than you might think, and deciding whether or not to change up your dog’s food isn’t quite so easy.

Your dog’s dietary needs change with age

Your pooch’s nutritional needs change as he or she gets older. Just take protein, for example.

Puppies need a lot, adult dogs need less, and senior dogs need even less—in fact, older dogs can suffer kidney and liver damage when they’re fed a diet that’s too high in protein.

That’s why puppy formula has a higher concentration of carbs and proteins for your growing pup, while senior and adult dog food has a totally different makeup for those older dogs out there.

Senior dog foods may even include supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine that may help ease stiffness and pain caused by arthritis.

Dog diet and food sensitivities

If your pup suffers from symptoms like an upset tummy or itchy skin after eating, then your dog food may be the culprit.

Like humans, dogs can suddenly develop food sensitivities, even to ingredients they’ve been eating for years with no issues.

If your veterinarian thinks that your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, he or she may recommend replacing your dog’s protein source with new types of meat, such as lamb.

How do I change my dog’s diet?

Your dog will have fewer issues if you change their food gradually. For example:

  • Switch over your dog to a new food source by slowly swapping out some of the old food with new food, meal after meal. By the end of a week, your dog will be eating meals made entirely of the new food.
  • Surprisingly, some of the most common causes of food sensitivity are eggs, chicken, beef, wheat and dairy—so make sure your new food doesn’t have any of those ingredients.
  • Don’t give your pooch any human food or treats for at least six weeks while you’re testing out the new diet.
  • Yes, it can actually take as long as 12 weeks before you can really tell if the new diet is working.
  • Be sure to ask your vet if any new symptoms crop up.

Here’s an example of what your dog’s meals might look like as you’re switching food:

  • Day 1: 75% old food, 25% new
  • Day 2: 70% old food, 30% new
  • Day 3: 60% old food, 40% new
  • Day 4: 50/50
  • Day 5: 40% old food, 60% new
  • Day 6: 25% old food, 75% new
  • Day 7: 100% new food

If you’re wondering how to choose great food in the first place, we recommend taking a peek at our post on grading dog food right here.

And if you’re still searching for the ultimate dog, head on over to our puppy finder ASAP!

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