Varying your dog’s food?


There is a wide spread belief that once you have selected a good quality food for your dog, you should stick with it.  But that is not necessarily the case…


Dogs are like all mammals in that they are designed to consume different ranges of foods.  They are not designed to eat only “beef” or only “chicken” forever.  Changing their foods from time to time (more importantly the contents of their foods) helps give them the variety their bodies were designed to thrive on.  It is important to remember that we are talking about periodic changes to their diet (once or twice a year), we are not talking about serving a different meal everyday.


Feeding your dog something different helps to ensure that they do not become bored with their food.  This will avoid them becoming “choosey” about their foods. 


There is yet to be developed a dog food that contains everything that your dog requires.  Changing foods periodically helps you to ensure that there are no dietary deficiencies for you dog.

It also helps to avoid the development of allergies.  The majority of allergies are things that build up over time.  It is only in a few extreme cases that may instantly allergic to something.  The surest way to develop an allergy to chicken is to consume it daily for an extended period of time.  Modern advice given by nutritionists is that feeding a wide variety of different foods, preferably from young age can avoid the development of allergies in the first place.


Common signs of allergies are itching skin, red itchy paws, chewing paws, yeast infections, ear infections and skin infections that may respond to antibiotics but reappear as soon as the antibiotics are discontinued.


It is important to remember that when changing foods, you must change to a food with different main ingredients.  There is no real benefit to switching from one brand of “Chicken & Rice” to a different brand of “Chicken & Rice”.  If you have been feeding a food with chicken as the main ingredient, it far better that the next food is based on lamb or beef or fish.  You must also make sure the other primary ingredients are varied as well.


When changing the food it  is usually best to change gradually.  Not every dog is sensitive to food changes and many will handle changes without any issue.  However, many won’t.  It is advised that unless you know for certain that your dog has a cast iron stomach you should change it over time.  The easiest way to do this is to blend the old and new foods together over a week.  Start at a blend of 3:1 for old food to new, after a couple of days change to a 50/50 blend.  Again feed that for a couple of days and then increase to a 1:3 blend until finally you are feeding just the new food. 


It is important to remember that if at any point your dog gets an upset stomach or has loose stools you should wait until they have been resolve before increasing the mix of new food.  If there are no problems the process should be complete after a week.