How to change your dog's food

You might want to change your dog’s food to a new brand or type, either for preference or because you have been advised to do so for a medical reason.

It’s always best to change the food gradually, over a couple of weeks. This may seem like a long time, but it’s best to be patient to avoid any problems.

Never change their food suddenly unless you are advised to do so by your vet. This is because sudden changes to diet can cause a tummy upset or even diarrhoea, and for some pets it may make them less likely to eat the food offered to them.

Day 1-3: Introduce a small amount of the new food separately

  • Give your dog their regular meal as normal. On a separate plate or bowl, put down a small teaspoonful of their new food.
  • Keep them on separate plates or bowls and don’t mix the foods together yet. This is to introduce them to the new food slowly.
  • They’ll probably sniff it, and may even eat it (but don’t worry if they don’t yet).

Day 4-10: Increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old food

  • You can now start mixing the foods together, though if your pet is very picky and/or you’re introducing a wet food it’s best to keep them separate for the whole process.
  • Start by mixing a very small amount of the new diet in with the old diet – less than a teaspoon is plenty at this stage.
  • If adding the new food goes down well and they’re still eating all their food, then you can slowly increase the portion of new food and decrease the amount of old food in equal parts every day
  • If you reach a point where the amount of new food being added is turning your pet off, then decrease the amount back to a level they’ll eat and stay at this for a few more days. After several days they should start to show interest again and you can then start to add a few more sprinkles of the new food.
  • Gradually keep adding the new food and decreasing the old until you have made the transition fully.
  • The gradual change over will help to avoid tummy upsets.

Day 10-14: Gradually phase out the old food completely

  • Once your pet is consistently eating the mix of new food alongside the old for at least a week, start phasing out the old food
  • Again, if they don’t want to eat it at any point, then you may need to decrease the amount of new food for another few days.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to introduce a new food to your dog without difficulty. If you’re having trouble, it’s best to speak to your vet to make sure that the food you’re feeding is best for your dog and that they don’t have any health issues that might be affecting their appetite.

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