How to Switch Your Dog’s Food

Perhaps your pooch is turning her snout up at the food. Maybe your canine companion is packing on the pounds, or the regular kibble has become so hard to find or expensive that it’s no longer worth the hassle. Whatever your reason for changing your dog’s food, there is a right way to do it.

Why Can’t I Just Swap Out Dog Food?

Dogs don’t eat like humans do. Humans can change up their meals from day to day, eating different things as much or as little as we want. Because dogs eat the same type of food every day, their digestive systems aren’t used to different kinds of foods and need some time to adjust.

A sudden change in food can upset their stomachs, sometimes resulting in diarrhea or vomiting. The best way to avoid these complications is to change your adult dog’s food gradually, preferably over seven days or longer.

Days 1 and 2

If you don’t normally measure your dog’s food, now is the time to start. On the first two days, replace a small portion of the old food with the new food. For example, if you feed your dog 1 cup of dry food in the morning and the evening, you can remove ¼-cup of the old food and replace that portion with the new.

Days 3 and 4

Over the next two days, replace a larger portion of the old food. For example, you can feed them half a cup of the old food and a half a cup of the new.  Keep an eye on your dog to ensure there are no signs of digestive upset.

Day 5 and 6

For these next two days, most of the food will comprise the new brand — but you should still incorporate the old! At this stage, you can feed ¾-cup of the new food and ¼-cup of the old.

Day 7+

Your dog is finally ready to transition to his new food completely!

This method of changing food can also be used when switching from puppy food to adult dog food, though you should carefully consider when to make that switch — puppy food is specially formulated to support their growing bodies and should be done only when they are ready.

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