PetMD.com reports, “Changes to your dog’s diet should be made gradually. In fact, taking five to seven days to mix increasing amounts of the new brand of dog food in with decreasing amounts of the old brand reduces the chances that your dog will develop an upset stomach or refuse to eat.”
But if your brand of dog food is recalled, you don’t have the time or the option to mix in the old dog food with the new one. Be sure to follow these steps to prevent your dog from getting sick or stop eating.
Purchase Similar Dog Food Brands
Try to find a brand of dog food that has similar ingredients to your current brand and stick to the same meat base. If your dog eats a beef-based dog food, stick to beef to further ensure that your dog’s digestive system won’t reject the new food.
PetMD.com suggests, “Read the ingredient list. If you can match up the first few ingredients, the foods will be fairly similar. Also, review the guaranteed analysis on both labels. Avoid big changes in the percentages of protein, fat and fiber, whenever possible.”
Sometimes a little change is good. Petfinder.com says, “Some experts believe that you should routinely change your dog’s food (particularly if he’s eating a commercial dog food) so that any nutritional deficiencies in one brand of food can be addressed in another brand.”
Start With Small Portions
When you first introduce the new food to your four-legged friend, give him a small portion and then wait a few hours. If your dog eats his food and doesn’t have any negative reactions, you can proceed to give them another small bowl of food.
“Gradually increase the size and decrease the frequency of your offerings until you are back to your normal schedule in a day or two. If your dog doesn’t dig in to the new food, pick it up and don’t offer anything (including treats) for eight hours or so. It is okay to let your pet get a little hungry, so long as you continue to offer the new food every six to eight hours and then pick it up if it is not eaten. Continue this pattern for 48 hours. If you cannot get your dog to eat the new food within this time frame, consult your veterinarian and try another formulation — but avoid frequent changes in flavor as this can promote finicky eating habits,” according to PetMD.com.
You’re going to want to pick brands with ingredients that will cause the least amount of upset to your dog’s digestive system. Or, you can start with an easily digestible brand and slowly mix in the other brand of dog food you prefer to feed your dog.
“Always watch your dog carefully when he first begins eating a new kind of food, so you will be able to determine whether it’s giving him any problems,” Petfinder.com advises.
PetMD.com adds “Probiotic supplements can also reduce the chance that your dog will develop diarrhea when its diet suddenly changes.”
Consult Your Veterinarian
If your dog continues to refuse to eat any of the food you offer, or is unable to eat due to an upset stomach, you should consult your vet.
“He or she may be able to suggest other dog food brands – brands that are not affected by the dog food recall, or which are less likely to cause your dog a diet-related malady,” PetMD.com recommends.
You may want also want to try adding some natural flavor enhancers into the mix to make the food more appealing; however, be sure to double-check with your vet first. Some pet parents may want to switch their dogs to vegetarian diets or home-cooked diets to avoid recalls all together.
Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.