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Whether your veterinarian recommended a new diet or you’ve decided to switch brands of dog food, transitioning is more than simply filling up their bowl with the new food and calling it a day. Dogs have sensitive stomachs, much like us humans, so it’s best to transition slowly and gradually to ensure your dog makes the change with as few problems as possible.
Why Change Their Diet, Anyway?
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Even if your veterinarian has not recommended a specific diet for your dog, many dog owners choose to switch dog food to provide them with a better, more nutritious diet, benefit the environment, reduce the risk of gastrointestinal problems developing, and many more valid reasons.
Most dog food is manufactured as kibble in a process called ‘extrusion,’ which cooks the raw components at extremely high temperatures, thereby killing off much of the essential nutrients your dog needs to keep healthy. If your dog is eating kibble at the moment, now is the time to consider cold-pressed dog food such as Bug Bakes for its myriad benefits.
How to Transition to New Dog Food
In order to switch to new dog food successfully, it’s essential that you prepare a transition schedule. Generally, one to two weeks should work for most dogs, but dogs with intolerances or highly sensitive stomachs might need six weeks or longer.
Using one week as a general standard, endeavour to feed your dog as follows:
- Days 1-2: Mix in 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food.
- Days 3-4: Mix in 50% of both the new food and 50% of the old food.
- Days 5-6: Mix in 75% of the new food with 25% of the old food.
- Days 7+: Give 100% of the new food and monitor the results.
An important tip to remember is that many dogs will prefer the new food to the old food, especially if you’re switching to nutrient-rich cold-pressed diets from extruded kibble, so mix in the old and new food as much as possible so that they aren’t only eating one or the other.
If your dog’s stool begins to appear much firmer or much more liquidy than normal, it’s a sign that you should delay the next step until it appears healthy again.
A Poopy Evaluation
One of the best ways to verify that your dog’s intestinal system is tolerating the new diet is to inspect his stool. Just like for us humans, where our fecal matter can show signs of food intolerance or diarrhoea, dogs also should be having consistently firm poop whilst adapting to their new diet.
During the transition to the new diet, check your dog’s stool every day and ensure that it is firm. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, this Fecal Scoring Chart can help you evaluate dog poop. Scores between 3-4 are what you should be looking for. Generally this means you’re looking for a log-shaped stool which leaves residue on the ground. Too stiff or too watery are signs that your dog is not tolerating the transition well, so slow down if you’re finding problems in their poop.
Special Considerations for Transitioning
- Puppies come of age at 12 months, so ensure your transition takes into account the nutrient-dense needs of adult dogs as they approach this age.
- Pregnant dogs should have plenty of calcium in their diet, so account for this whilst transitioning.
- Always follow your veterinarian’s advice with regards to diets.
- Exercise caution if switching to frozen, raw food diets as the handling of raw dog food can be dangerous to immuno-compromised children and adults, the elderly, and pregnant women.
- Insect-based protein and cold-pressed dog food are nutrient-dense, so always have a ‘less is more’ mentality. About 30 per cent less food is required per meal (check labelling for feeding recommendations).
Will My Dog Tolerate a New Diet?
There’s no guarantee that your dog will adapt to his new diet, and there may be other considerations such as allergies or intolerances. Speak to your veterinarian if you have any doubts about choosing a proper diet for your dog.
Generally, most dogs will have no problems at all switching from kibble to alternative diets, such as cold-pressed dog food. The reason is pretty simple: cold-pressed is the best approximation of a raw diet, which dogs naturally love.
Insect-based diets are full of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that dogs simply love, so most dogs that have tried Bug Bakes speak (bark) quite highly of it as seen in our testimonials. If you have any doubts, however, try a 10-day trial for yourself.
Switch to Bug Bakes Today
Our insect-based, nutrient-rich dog food is a sensible choice for your dog’s health and the environment. Make the switch to Bug Bakes today.