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'how-to-change-a-dogs-diet

How to Change A Dog’s Diet


by Lauren Samet
07/08/2020


Looking to change your dog’s diet? Here are a few tips and a guide on how to make the switch…

 

 

Things you will need:

 

 

Where to Begin

Whether changing your dog’s food or not, it is really important to keep a regular record of either your dog’s weight or a body condition score (BCS). Having a non-subjective idea of whether your dog is the right weight for its breed type and shape is crucial when deciding how much to feed them. 

Dog Size-O-Meter - PFMA


(Figure 1. The PFMA’s Size-O-Meter for dogs, one example of the many dog BCSs that exist. Available at: https://www.pfma.org.uk/dog-pet-size-o-meter)

Switching From One Diet to Another

Switching a dog’s diet can be carried out over the space of a week or, if your dog is prone to a sensitive digestive system, can be elongated to 10-14 days to allow their body more time to adjust.

Step 1: Weigh out the amount of food you currently feed your dog and divide the number by 4.

Step 2: Calculate the amount of food you will need to feed your dog daily from the new diet, weigh it out, and divide this by 4. (If your dog is overweight you can reduce the total amount to feed daily by 10% until your dog achieves his or her perfect weight).

Step 3: Follow this feeding guide to switch foods…

DAYS OLD DIET  NEW DIET
Most Dogs Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
1-2 1-4 3/4 1/4
3-4 5-8 2/4 2/4
5-6 9-13 1/4 3/4
7 14 --- 4/4
Switch Complete!

If a dog has any digestive upsets during the dietary switch, then you can go back a stage or take a few more days before increasing the proportion of the new diet. It can be useful to monitor faecal consistency during this period, which should provide clues on how well your dog is adjusting to the new diet also.

If your dog is a fussy eater and you are anticipating difficulty in changing their diet, check out our tips for fussy eaters.

When to Change

There may be several reasons why you want to change a dog’s diet. These include:

Age or Life Stage 

Most brands now produce different formulations for varying life stages. 

Puppy food, for example, can help support growth by providing higher levels of protein. Many also offer omega 3 for cognitive development. 

Senior foods, in contrast, tend to compliment an older dog’s slowing metabolism with easier-to-digest ingredients, lower energy content, and ingredients to support joint function. 

A common question received by pet nutritionists is when to change their dog from a puppy diet to an adult diet, and similarly from an adult diet to a senior diet. While there is no one universal answer, a general guide can depend on your dog’s breed size. 

Small breeds tend to reach full size by 12 months (toy dogs even earlier) and many people use this as the time to switch to an adult diet. Meanwhile large and giant breeds can take 18 months to 2 years to reach a fully grown status.  Medium breeds tend to fall somewhere between the two. Complete dog foods should provide appropriate nutrition for a dog at any age so some variation in when you switch shouldn’t be a problem. 

Changing from an adult diet to a senior diet also depends on breed size. Smaller breeds tend to live longer than large or giant breeds,  and the aging process tends to reflect this; larger breeds tending to reach senior status at a younger age than smaller breeds so. For example, this may be when a smaller dog reaches 10 or 11, while for a large or giant breed this could be at around 7 years old. Ultimately it is the owner’s choice and knowledge of their dog that will drive the need for a change. 

Click here to view their range of puppy foods and senior dog foods

Weight Management 

Helping a dog to gain weight is much easier than losing it. To encourage weight gain more of a diet is fed, either through larger portions or additional meals. However, assisting weight loss can be trickier, and if success hasn’t been found in reducing portion sizes, some people choose to change diets to one that is lower in calories/fat or to one that supports metabolic function. 

If you’re looking for a lighter diet visit the Vitapaws website and view their light diet.

Diet Availability 

Sometimes you simply can’t get your favourite brand in the shops or they discontinue a product. The online VitaPaws dog food and supplement range have an option to select a rolling order so you never need to worry about running out!

Cost of Diet 

Sometimes lifestyle changes mean we can afford to shop up or need to shop down depending on our budgets. With VitaPaws Subscribe & Save you’re guaranteed the best price every time, with a saving of 10% off the full price. 

Health Reasons 

As dogs grow and age their health status and dietary tolerances can sometimes change. Scientific diets (often suggested by vets) are available and designed to support particular canine health states. However, additionally many complete foods now also contain supplementary ingredients, which can also support anything from joint function to old age, to smelly stools! Hypoallergenic diets may also be sought if a dog has had intolerance or allergy to a common feed ingredient. 

Palatability or Quality  

Just like human diets sometimes it’s nice to have a change! There are so many dog foods and flavours available now that even within a single brand there is no need to be satisfied with second best for your dog. 
The Vitapaws dog food range comes in a variety of flavours, including chicken, salmon and duck.



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