In this article, we will be going over how to switch dog foods quickly and easily with minimal issues and side effects. There are a number of reasons that you may be required to transition your dog over to a new type of food. For example, it may be due to medical reasons or the current food product may have been discontinued.
We have seen a number of people asking for advice on how to transition their dogs to a new dog food so we decided to publish this article. Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are in this same situation.
How To Switch Dog Foods
Before we get started, we just want to say that there is no set time period that a dog food transition will take. Different dogs respond at different rates with timeframes usually varying from a week to a month. Factors that come into play include the age of the dog, the breed of the dog, how stubborn your dog is, and how long your dog has been on its old food product.
An often overlooked factor is also a change in the quality of the food. For example, going from a high-quality dog food that is grain-free and packed with real meat to a low-quality dog food that is packed with grains and fillers and contains little real meat slows the process down.
Taking Advantage Of A Transitioning Period
When looking at how to change dog food quickly we always recommend initially trying to use a transitioning period. This method is the most popular, has the highest success rate, and managed to cut down on any digestive upset due to the rapid switch in diet.
Essentially, you will be mixing your dogs existing dog food product with its new dog food at a specific ratio and slowly increasing the ratio until your dog is fully transitioned to its new food. Although some people will use a ratio of 80% old food product to 20% new food product initially, we feel that the vast majority of dogs will be fine with 75% old food and 25% new food.
When doing putting your dog in a transitioning period, be sure to mix both of the food products together well enough to prevent your dog only eating its old food product and leaving the new one. This is a simple step that we hear many dog owners miss out and it only makes the process take longer.
Getting The Process Started
As we mentioned earlier, some dogs can be transitioned over to the next ratio within a matter of days while others may take a week or so. Always use the below as a guideline and adjust to your specific dog. Only move your dog to the next ratio once it has finished its meals for that day completely. Try to minimize any additional food sources that your dog has access to during this time frame to maximize the chance of it eating the new food product.
- First Phase – 75 percent old food with 25 percent of the new food.
- Second Phase – 50 percent old food with 50 percent of the new food.
- Third Phase – 25 percent old food with 75 percent of the new food.
- Graduation – 100 percent of the new food.
We just want to stress again that each phase can take between a day and around a week depending on the factors that we explained earlier in the article.
Switching Dog Food Without Mixing Foods
There are a few situations where you may have to try switching dog food cold turkey with your dog. For example, say your preferred brand of dog food is no longer in production and you have none left to transition your dog with.
Although this is not an ideal method to use as you have no backup food or food to mask the new food with it can be done. Although we have not done this personally, we have seen reports of removing any additional food sources from their dog’s diet and simply leaving the new food product in your dog’s bowl.
There are some additional tweaks that we have seen other dog owners report having success with. The main one is to add warm gravy to the new food product before offering it to their dog. This helps to mask the taste as well as slightly change the texture of the new food helping to get your dog to try it.
The other popular twist is to chop up hot dogs and add them to the new food. As most dogs enjoy hot dogs as a treat, chopping them up and adding them to your dog’s new food product can help get your dog eating it.
With either of these twists, you will be doing a similar process to the transitioning period where you gradually reduce the treat or gravy in the food and leave your dog eating a meal containing nothing but its new main food product.