Guide: How to Transition Dog Food Safely
A pup’s diet is highly individual to them, and they may require several changes throughout their life to find the perfect fit.
Your dog might be a picky eater or have a sensitive stomach. They may have bad allergies that are aggravated by their current diet or they might need to lose some weight. Their veterinarian may even be recommending a higher-quality, more nutritious alternative to their current preservative-laden kibble diet.
Whatever the reason may be, if you’re looking to transition your dog onto a new diet, it’s essential that this is done slowly and safely to help ensure your dog has a good reaction to their new food.
Feel free to jump ahead to any of the following categories:
- Why Transitioning Slowly is Important
- How to Transition Your Dog’s Food
- How to Transition from Puppy Food to Dog Food
- Discover the PetPlate Difference
Why Transitioning Slowly is Important
Unlike humans, dogs are used to eating the same food over and over, often for years. Switching their food entirely with no transition can lead to shock and digestive upset. A slow transition from their old food to their new food helps your pup avoid unpleasant side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea.
It’s rare for a dog to become seriously ill from their food being switched. However, if you notice any digestive upsets or more severe problems, immediately reach out to your veterinarian about your next steps.
How to Transition Your Dog’s Food
To help your pup avoid any discomfort during their transition, you must change their diet slowly. The American Kennel Club recommends transitioning a dog’s food over 5 to 7 days. A longer transition of 7 to 14 days may be needed for dogs with food allergies, sensitive stomachs, or gastrointestinal diseases to ensure their delicate system is not thrown off.
For the first few days, we recommend serving your pup a mixture of about 3/4th of their previous dog food and ¼ of their new food to ease them into the diet. Around the halfway point of their transition, switch to feeding them half new food and half old food. Then continue to increase the new food until you’ve reached the end of their shift. If at any point during their diet transition, you notice a bit of digestive upset or discomfort, try extending the transition and slowing down the process even more.
If you’re transitioning your dog to PetPlate, our PetPlate meals include a Welcome Kit in your first box with a breakdown of how to successfully transition your pet’s food to help with this process.
While you are transitioning your dog’s food, it’s essential that you monitor your dog. One of the best ways to monitor your dog’s digestive health is by watching their stool.
- Is their stool quality changing?
- Is the frequency that they go different?
- How is the consistency of their stool?
- Is the color different from before?
- Are they experiencing diarrhea or constipation?
For more information on what normal, healthy stool is, check out our article on Decoding Dog Poop: Your Guide to Common Bowel Issues.
Your pup’s energy level is another crucial factor. Are they suddenly less playful or more tired? Take note of that and consult with your veterinarian about your alternatives.
Portion size plays a significant role in a successful transition. Overly large portion sizes can make your dog feel sluggish and make weight management a nightmare. Check out our article on Weight Management for Dogs here to learn more about how many calories your dog needs a day.
How to Transition from Puppy Food to Dog Food
Unfortunately, dogs only stay puppies for so long and they will need to switch to an adult diet to ensure they are getting the proper nutrients. Puppies are considered adults at 12 months of age and should be switched onto an adult diet around this time.
Make sure you take into account your dog’s breed. Large breed puppies should be switched to a large breed adult dog food and small breed puppies switched to a small breed adult dog food. Some dogs may benefit from specific formulations. Consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations for your dog’s diet.
Remember to keep in mind that portion sizes will vary depending on age, breed, adult size, and other factors like pregnancy. Regardless of these factors, all dogs deserve quality dog food with top-notch ingredients designed to benefit their health, longevity, and happiness.
Discover the PetPlate Difference
PetPlate is committed to sourcing exceptional ingredients for your dog’s diet. Traditional dog food ingredients are frequently lacking nutritional value, contain appalling ingredients, and are altogether unpalatable. We make our meals exclusively with high-quality, human-grade, whole food ingredients that are no different from what you would feed your friends and family. And incidentally, our pets are family, and deserve to be fed delicious, nutritious meals that have them licking the bowl clean every time!
Not only is our food vet-designed, chef-inspired, and pup approved, but we make feeding them the best easy for you! Tell us a little bit about your pup’s breed, age, and weight, and we’ll develop a personalized meal plan that’s delivered right to your doorstep already measured and ready to serve. Every meal is perfectly portioned out, so portion size is something you never have to think about. Our veterinary nutritionist balances our meals to make sure your pup is always receiving optimal nutrition.
If you’re unsure where to start, remember that you can mix and match recipes, which is especially helpful if you have a picky pup. PetPlate subscribers can also try our Topper plan, which allows you to mix gently-cooked food with your pet’s current food. This can provide additional nutrition and provide your pup with the chance to ease into the PetPlate Full Plan.
Try our delicious, human-grade quality meals today! We have a Clean Bowl Guarantee – your dog will lick their bowl clean or your money back!