We rarely eat the same meal from one night to the next, and so it’s tempting to want to provide the same level of variety for our pets.
However, when it comes to your pooch, too much variety – too soon – can sometimes have negative consequences. One of the most common causes of digestive upset in a dog is a sudden change in a brand or type of food.
Nevertheless, some variety can be great and very enjoyable for dogs – as long as the transition is managed properly. Here are some tips to help guide you on introducing new foods:
Introduce new foods gradually
Make any dietary changes slowly and consistently, over a seven-day period.
Your dog’s existing food with a small amount of their new food.
As each day passes, gradually increase the new food and decrease the old food until your dog is being fed only the new food by the seventh day.
Only make one change at a time
While you’re introducing a new food, don’t make any other changes to your dog’s diet.
That way you can monitor how they are responding to their new diet, and easily pinpoint if something isn’t working.
Mix new textures slowly too
The same principle applies when mixing dry food, chilled food or wet food options within the one brand – such as Nature’s Gift.
For example, if you are happy with your existing dry food, but would like to introduce ‘toppers’ with chilled or wet food, make sure you do so slowly.
A topper could be wet food, a diced chilled roll or some chilled meatballs – all of which add taste, variety and fresh meat to your dog’s diet.
Start off with mixing in a small amount of a topper (for example, a half to one teaspoon) into their dry food on day one. Gradually increase the amount of the topper while reducing the amount of dry food over seven days. This will help to avoid over-feeding and minimises the risk of digestive upset.
Keep in mind that if you are ‘mixed feeding’ like this, the dry food should make up the majority of your dog’s diet, while the topper is a tasty addition to enhance the flavour. If you find your dog has a stomach upset from one particular topper, discontinue feeding it and gradually try an alternate flavour that may be more suitable for your dog.
Keep an eye on your four-legged friend
When transitioning food, always keep an eye on your dog and check for any reactions.
If at any stage your dog loses its appetite, appears lethargic, develops vomiting/diarrhoea, or appears unwell in any way, please contact your nearest vet as soon as possible.
Also, be conscious of your dog’s overall portion sizes. Keep track of your pooch’s body weight and ensure it’s not gaining weight – which could mean too much feeding.
Always follow the feeding guidelines on the pack of each individual food and feed your dog according to their ideal body weight (as advised by your vet).