Changing Food for Dogs

jack russell futterumstellung

Beautiful Jack Russell Terrier dog eating dry food from bowl

Many people are familiar with the problem: switching from fast food to a high-fibre diet can provoke stomach issues and diarrhoea. It’s a similar story with our four-legged companions. Find out in the following article how you can best plan and implement a change in your dog’s diet.

Reasons for changing food for dogs

Do dogs need variety in their food bowl? Expert opinion varies, though a diverse menu isn’t necessary.

If you wish to offer your dog some diversity, you can opt for different varieties from the same brand. Dogs usually tolerate this change without any problems, since the quality and composition of the individual variants is similar.

Besides variety, there are other good reasons for changing food:

  • Changing from puppy to adult food or from adult to senior food
  • Changing from wet to dry food or vice versa
  • Diseases that require diet food to be offered
  • Obesity
  • Intolerances or allergies to ingredients in the previous food
  • Cost factors or the owner’s personal preferences
  • Product availability
Age-appropriate Feeding Based on the Dog Size
This graphic shows which food a dog needs according to its age. You can also find more information in our Puppy Club.
Dog Lifestages

How it works: Changing food cautiously

Your dog’s intestinal flora needs time to get used to the composition of the new food. Hence, you shouldn’t change dog food from one day to the next. Moreover, it’s important for the change in food to be done slowly and gradually. 

At the start, you should add up to a quarter of the new food to the usual one. Slowly increase the proportion of the new food in the course of up to two weeks until your dog receives just the new food. Another advantage is that if your dog is picky, a slow familiarisation phase can help it gradually get used to the new recipe.

Tip: If you stick to one brand of food for different age groups, you will usually have few problems with the transition.

Switching from wet to dry food

When switching from wet to dry food or vice versa, you should also proceed with caution. In principle, it’s always good if your dog is used to both types of food.

To familiarise your dog with dry food, you can use kibble as a treat. Weigh a portion in the morning and your dog will eat the kibble throughout the day. Don’t forget to calculate the portion of dry food as part of the daily intake.

What are the possible consequences of suddenly changing food for dogs?

Some dogs tolerate a change in food without any problems. However, many show the following symptoms when they aren’t used to a new food:

  • Flatulence
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Refusing food

If your dog shows one or more of these symptoms, initially reduce the portion of the new food and stick to the reduced quantity for a few days. 

If the complaints continue or return as soon as you increase the proportion of the new food, you should perhaps switch to a different food. Your vet will surely be happy to advise you if you have any problems. 

Special cases: Veterinary diet food

Certain diseases can require your dog switching to a diet food. This doesn’t mean a food intended for weight loss, but a special food formulated for specific nutritional purposes. 

Your dog may only be fed a diet food after diagnosis by your vet and upon their recommendation. 

Please note that choosing a suitable diet food can support your dog’s natural bodily functions. However, bear in mind that diet foods can neither cure nor prevent disease. You should always discuss the right diet for your dog with your vet. You can find special diet foods in the zooplus online store. 

Possible reasons for switching to a diet like this include: 

  • Renal insufficiency
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Urinary stones or grit (urolithiasis)
  • Allergies and intolerances
  • Obesity

You should always be patient even if the change in food is particularly urgent in case of illness. Since changing too quickly can in turn lead to problems, you should definitely get your dog used to a new food slowly. 

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