The Farmer's Dog

Switching Dog Food Gradually — Guidelines for Success

Unlike people, who can eat many foods a day with no problem, your dog’s digestive system is much more sensitive. The key is switching dog food gradually.

Switching dog food gradually
Your puppy doesn’t know a thing about switching dog food gradually. But now YOU do.

Unlike people, who can eat a variety of foods in a single day and not have any digestive upset, your dog’s digestive system is much more sensitive.

On average, your dog will need a seven-day transition period when switching to a new food. If you change his food too quickly, you may find your pet becoming sick, which will involve a messy cleanup for you.

Although the average amount of time it will take for you to switch your dog’s food is a week, it may take some dogs longer to become completely accustomed to the new chow.


 

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For example, if you are currently feeding a kibble that is high in grain and corn, like Pedigree or Hill’s Science Diet, and you want to switch to a more natural grain-free dog food — like Nature’s Variety Instinct, Taste of the Wild or Natural Balance LID — the extreme ingredient differences between the two types of food may cause the transition period to be longer.

The following is a good set of guidelines for transitioning your dog between two foods with similar ingredient panels.

Transitioning to a Different Dog Food, Gradually

  • Days 1-2: During the first couple of days of starting a new food, mix 75% old with 25% new food. You want to feed these two together, not separated. Examine the feeding guidelines on the new bag of food — overfeeding is the top reason dogs are overweight.
  • Days 3-4: If you notice that your dog has loose stools or an upset stomach after the first two days, continue to feed less of the new stuff before increasing the percentage. If your dog has diarrhea or loose stools, along with slowing the transition, adding a small amount of canned pumpkin in the diet may help firm up the stools again. (Oddly enough, pumpkin can act as both stool firmer and softener.) In the case that he seems to be okay, change the percentage to 50% old and 50% new.
  • Days 5-6: At this point, you can change the percentage to 25% old and 75% new. Always look for signs of an upset stomach so you can slow the transition if needed.
  • Day 7: You can now start feeding your dog 100% of the new dog food.

If you have more than one dog, I highly suggest feeding them separately or watching the dogs finish their meal. If one finishes his food and there are leftovers, pick up the bowl and keep it out of reach of both dogs to ensure they are eating the correct food.

Rotation Diet

Certain foods (Nature’s Variety Instinct, for example) have formulas that allow dogs to rotate between raw, kibble and canned foods regularly. When feeding a diet like this, you can change the food daily, weekly or monthly, and the dog’s digestive system will remain stable.

The different forms of this particular food change only in the main protein. In fact, feeding a diet that allows for rotation gives your pet optimal balance and nutrition.

But, Be Aware…

Not all dog foods allow you to rotate like this. I do not suggest jumping around between flavors within one brand of food such as Iams; often the protein mentioned on the front of the bag is not the main protein ingredient in the food. Ingredients from one flavor of food may be completely different in another flavor of the same brand. Rotate only with foods that specifically suggest it.

The Farmer's Dog

Whether you are switching dog food gradually from a premium or store brand to a natural food or changing the flavor of an existing brand, you must monitor your dog during this time period. Each dog has a different sensitivity level to dietary changes.

Are you currently changing brands, or have you done this in the past? Tell me about it in the comments below. I look forward to hearing how it went with your pet.

Photo: EraPhernalia Vintage/Flickr

Clarissa Fallis

View posts by Clarissa Fallis
Clarissa Fallis is a canine behaviorist and trainer from Upstate New York. She has attended Bergin University of Canine Studies, State University of New York at Cobleskill, and Animal Behavior College. She is competent in training all breeds and ages of dogs, though she prefers hounds because of the challenge they present. She has a chihuahua/min-pin mix named Addisen, whom she adores.

Don’t Miss: See why Dave from Petful thinks The Farmer’s Dog is the best new dog food in the U.S. for a happier, healthier dog: Here is his review. For cats and multi-pet households, Dave’s top pick is NomNomNow. See why here.

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78 Comments

  1. Mary Jane
    October 18, 2012

    Please remember when using pumpkin to use the regular canned pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie mix which has additives to it

    Reply
    1. David Deleon Baker
      October 18, 2012

      Good point, Mary Jane.

      Reply
  2. Ann
    October 18, 2012

    We have changed our dog Angel’s food now for the second time. She was on Royal Canin when we first purchased her. It seemed like the food was way to rich or oily for her to digest so we switched to pedigree. We were not satisfied with her growling stomach and the gas. We then put her on Science Diet which I had always fed our other dogs. She does fairly well on that, but I thought maybe she was getting way to much grains with that. All she wanted to do was eat, and she was putting on pounds. Now we are tring Blue Buffalo, thought maybe that would be better. She has allergies and we are not sure from what, but the vet doesn’t think it is from food. She has no parasites, no dry skin, and a fair amount of shedding.
    We did the 7 day transistion each time we changed her diet and she does good.
    We thought maybe the corn was giving her the problems with digestion, and that is why we changed foods. I do not like to keep changing so I hope the new food solves alot of problems.
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. David Deleon Baker
      October 18, 2012

      I hope you can settle on something that works well soon. Good job on slowly transitioning the pet food.

      Reply
    2. Clarissa Fallis
      October 20, 2012

      My dog has terrible food allergies. We have had the most luck with Taste of the Wild (lamb) and Nature’s Variety Instinct (lamb). I spoke with a holistic vet and she helped me find a good food. I was told that lamb is very easy on the stomach and stay far away from grains. Make sure you are using Blue Wilderness. Some Blue products still have a high grain count.

      Also, if your dog is having gastrointestinal issues like loose constant stools, frequent defecating, or diarrhea then that is a food allergy. But if your dog has external issues like a skin reaction or ear infection, then its most likely an external allergy such as grass, pollen, or dust.

      I would try adding fish oil or salmon oil to her meal. The Omega 3 acids and DHA helps with cognition as well as improved skin and hair. It may help with the shedding or dry skin. I literally just buy a bottle a fish oil at the market and put the capsule in his food. He scarfs it right up! May be worth a try! Your dog will have very shiny hair!

      Reply
  3. Anne
    October 18, 2012

    I second Mary Jane’s Comment. We once accidentally used canned pumpkin pie mix and made all our furkids’ tummy WORSE!

    Reply
  4. lainey
    October 18, 2012

    no problems with switching from regular to no grain food

    Reply
    1. Clarissa Fallis
      October 20, 2012

      Its pretty amazing how some dogs can switch with no issues at all and others have serious issues. Im glad your dog did okay with the transition!

      Reply
  5. Cheryl Chervitz
    October 21, 2012

    I used to feed IAMS and switched to Taste of The Wild. It took me about 10 days for the dogs to get used to it.

    Reply
    1. Clarissa Fallis
      October 21, 2012

      Good switch!

      Reply
  6. Deborah J Austin
    October 26, 2012

    I’ve never had to switch my dogs, they have always done well on Royal Canin, but my cat…I did use the 7 day switch method on her, she adjusted well.. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lorraine
    October 27, 2012

    Great article – I learned the hard way when I changed my dog food for my dog. She is my first dog, so I really did not realize the problems that their tummies go through with changing their food “cold turkey”. At least I know now and can tell others what I learned the “hard way”.

    Lorraine – Ontario, Canada

    Reply
    1. Pets Adviser
      October 28, 2012

      Indeed, dogs and cats have delicate digestive systems.

      Reply
  8. Stephanie
    March 12, 2013

    I have a German Shepherd and Mini Doxie. I had my doxie on the Zero dry dog food because it was the best around and I didn’t have to feed him as much. My parents had the Shepherd on Purina which I can’t stand! I ran out of my doxie’s food and couldn’t get any of his same brand (i bought it before I moved to a new state) so I had to let him have the Purina for a couple of days. Bless his heart, he had diarrhea every day I gave it to him. Finally I hunted down a dog food that I liked and switched both dogs to it. The doxie was switched “cold turkey” and the Shepherd was introduced gradually. For some reason this food has changed the doxie’s stool’s color and made it stronger smelling. He also has gone #2 more often in the past 3 days than I have ever seen him. 9 times just yesterday. I’m hoping he will adjust to the dog food in a week or two so maybe he’ll be back to normal.

    Reply
  9. applemoon
    August 17, 2013

    My little terrier mix who is 15lb I started him on dry Beneful it will be 2 years in January and now I feel like a bad mommy for giving him food that’s not good for him. I was thinking about starting him on Blue Buffalo for small dogs what are your suggestions.

    Reply
  10. CMD
    January 22, 2014

    Hi, My 8 month Lab has had a loose stool issue since she 1st came home. She has been on Royal Canin Gastro and still had on & off loose stools. She’s been good for 2 weeks and we want to transition her to Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Fish and today is Day 3 of a gradual mixing. She has had 2 very loose stools today & Im not sure if I should continue the mix, stop, add pumpkin or yogurt or what. On Day 3 I did 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 RC food. Maybe this was too fast?? Help please!

    Reply
  11. Layla
    July 12, 2014

    My 13 week old puppy was having very soft stools. On advice from vet I fed her small amounts of Royal Canin (chicken and rice) for two days and when she’d settled down switched to a new, healthier (dry) food. Unfortunately, through ignorance, I didn’t do this gradually and the problem is worse than before. As she still isn’t house trained this is a nightmare for me cleaning up! What do I do now? Go back and do the gradual thing (I threw all the old dog food away as I believed all the additives were bad for her) or should I just carry on with the new food? Help!
    By the way I am not punishing her at all. I know this is my doing.

    Reply
    1. Kristine Lacoste
      July 13, 2014

      Hello Layla,

      Since your puppy was having problems before and is now again with the food change, I would definitely recommend talking to your vet. Another type or brand of food may be suggested, or you might be advised to cook plain chicken and rice at home while gradually switching her to another new food. You could continue the new food and see if she stabilizes, but I’d still recommend discussing this with your vet in case they have a different recommendation or can at least be aware of what you are trying next in case your puppy has to have further care. Let us know how she does, and good luck.

      Reply
  12. rb16
    July 16, 2014

    My Beaglier puppy was on the Vet choice Healthy Extension and we slowly switched her to the Blue Buffalo. I switched her because the vet choice was very hard to find and read how good the Blue Buffalo is for dogs. However, she was having a high concentration of urine and getting frequent infections on the Blue Buffalo. The vet recommended us to switch her off it because her body was not able to process it. I didn’t want to have to make a completely new switch so we slowly put her back on the Vet choice. I at some point would like to get her off the Vet Choice because like I have stated it is hard to find and I also find it to be a bit pricy. I will most likely keep her on the Vet Choice until she is at least a year old and her body has had a chance to get used to being back on it. She is 5 months now and I don’t want to have to switch her again so soon. I was looking into other dog foods that are just as good and was wondering if anyone has tried the Earths Pride dog food?

    Reply
  13. Whitney
    August 02, 2014

    Hello I have two 6 week old blue pits besides the mothers milk they was giving them pedigree but when I got them I gave them natural balance but now only one of them has loose n runny stool n the other one is fine wat should I do

    Reply
  14. Imarie
    August 06, 2014

    I have a 1 year old doxie, and I have him on fresh pet vital, he loves it but sadly the food has carrageenan, which is not good ingredient. I bought a 2 month lo Shorkie and I decided to change their food. Went to pet smart and got Ultramix from Castor and Pollux. The issue here is that I didn’t got any food from the person I bought the shorkie, now she is having diarrhea once or twice a day. How can I make a better transition,since I don’t have her previous food?

    Reply
  15. Ugh sorry puppy!
    September 23, 2014

    I stupidly switched my dog food from Diamond to Blue Buffalo without a transition period. I’m now paying for it. Any suggestions? Can I start the transition over or am I out of luck.

    Reply
    1. Pets Adviser
      September 23, 2014

      You can try mixing in some of the old stuff, even now. It may or may not help. (Your dog should be fine after a couple of days, but if symptoms are severe or seem to be worsening or persistent, you should see a vet.)

      Reply
  16. Sara
    September 26, 2014

    Hello. We have a 9 week old purebred bull mastiff. The breeder was feeding beneiful and we have gradually tried to switch him over to authority large breed puppy grain free food from pet smart. At first it was going great and now he is having loose stools. Lately he cannot even make it through the night without one or two poops in his crate which is unusual because when we first started he was not doing that. We have scaled back the transition between foods. But he continues to be pooping in his crate at night. Did we chose the wrong food. We certainly wanted a more natural food for our puppy but now we are wondering if it was a bad idea. The bad habit of soiling his crate has started and we didn’t want that because we know its a bad habit to break. We want to call the vet to see if everything is okay with our puppy but wanted to try and find free advice first.

    Reply
  17. David
    September 27, 2014

    I’m switching my dog from pedigree to blue buffalo. I’m worried that the kibble size difference between the two is going to upset his stomach. The pedigree is large kibbles compared to the blue buffalo which is very small. Will this hinder my dogs transition from the pedigree to the blue buffalo?

    Reply
  18. Dawn
    December 30, 2014

    I switched from Hills Science Diet to Merrik and did it cold turkey. Lesson learned. I should have weaned her off of it. She was fine for 3 days. No problem. Then day four, the poop literally hit the fan and it was the worst ever in dog history of poop. Not sure if I should continue with the Merrik or gradually add in a little of the Science Diet. I changed quickly because I was told that Science Diet was terrible food to give. I paniced and changed cold turkey. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  19. Mandie
    June 10, 2016

    I have a yorkie who is very sensitive to things.. Stress scraps etc. We had been feeding her natures recipe but she barely ate it and was skinny. A week and a half ago she was treated by our vet again with a bleeding ulcer, the exact cause not known due to maybe her being stressed..an occasional scrap(which has stopped) etc. We have completely switched her to boiled chicken and rice diet and a baby carrots for a treat. Loves it and scarfs it down but now experiencing loose stool… Could this be causing that?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      June 10, 2016

      Hi Mandie! I know that when I fed my dog the exact same diet, she did have some loose stool. But she also had a lot of medical issues herself so it’s hard to say if the diet was the cause. If I were you I would reach out to your vet via the phone and see what he/she says.

      Reply
  20. Diana Torres
    July 24, 2016

    I got an 8 Week old puppy yesterday, they gave me a small bag of the food he was eating but I went ahead and got him the natural balance for puppies one, he likes it and eats it with no problem so I decided to not mix it with the old food like they told me and now he has diarrhea, it started gradually but now it’s very soft to the point of not being able to brag it with the potty bag …should I go back and start mixing like the previews owner told me or since I’ve been giving her the new one for a whole
    Day already should I just stick to it? I feel so bad, I should have known better, I don’t want my cutie to get sick or something

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      July 25, 2016

      Hi Diana! I certainly don’t think it would hurt to start mixing the two together and then gradually make the shift back to Natural Balance. Poor puppy, and poor you! Let us know how it goes. And as always, if you have concerns that there might be something medical going on, be sure to give his vet a holler!

      Reply
  21. Amanda Werner
    August 13, 2016

    Gave my 5 month old puppy purino one smartblends i just changed the flavor i thought it was just a bigger bag of what i was getting but he got diarrhea i gave him some white rice mixee with a tiny anount of food for a day and that seemed to help and then he was ok yeaterdag gave him food with no rice and started having it again .. can i just go back to old flavor of food ? Should i continue with the rice and slowly taper that off …help

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      August 13, 2016

      Hi Amanda! The first place to start is with the veterinarian, so he or she can rule out anything medical that might be going on. 🙂

      Reply
  22. Nhu Huynh
    August 21, 2016

    I am currently in the process of switching food for my 8 months old golden. I switch very slowly (only 1/4 cup (out of 3 1/4) into the old food), but he still have diarrhea, very bad one. Is it because of the new food?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      August 22, 2016

      Hi Nhu! Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say whether your pup’s diarrhea is from the food change or not over the internet. It could be so many different things – something he ate out in the yard, some sort of stomach bug, stress, etc. etc. The best thing to do is to call his vet and see what they think!

      Reply
  23. Yen Huynh
    November 06, 2016

    I has a new 11 weeks Labrador yesterday and I went to Petco to buy food for him. After 1 day feeding, he is getting diarrhea. What should I do now?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      November 07, 2016

      Hi Yen! If you are concerned, definitely give your veterinarian a shout to see what he or she says. You can also call the person you rescued your Lab from to see what food he was being fed before. If it’s different that may be why he is having a little tummy issue.

      Reply
  24. Nina Ward
    November 11, 2016

    hi i found that if i change brand of puppy biscuits my 5 month old puppy gets diarrhea. I want to put her back on the original biscuits she started on when we bought her home. Cause she has had this brand before will that give her diarrhea?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      November 13, 2016

      Hi Nina! Unfortunately there is no way to be sure. I think the trick is to make changes gradually so her tummy has time to adjust. If you’re not sure which way to go, it never hurts to check with the vet!

      Reply
      1. Nina Ward
        November 13, 2016

        Thank you i have out her back on her original biscuits and she is fine. Thanks again for your advice

        Reply
  25. Joanna Nicholls
    February 09, 2017

    We switched foods recently with our 13 week old cavapoo puppy – we didn’t have enough of the extremely difficult to get hold of food she was on to switch over 7 days… and did it over 5 instead. She’s now been fully on the ‘new’ food for 8 days and occasionally has loose poos and lets off lots of very smelly gas. Wainwright’s Puppy Complete Dry Food with Turkey and Rice is the one we have switched to which was recommended by the shop and some friends also. Is it a sign that she is still getting used to the food or do you think they are signs her tummy isn’t coping?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      February 09, 2017

      Hi Joanna! Sometimes when dogs that I care for have a tummy upset, I fast them for 12-24 hours. It can be hard to tell what is causing stomach issues, especially since they can’t talk to us in human-speak!

      Reply
  26. Iovanna de Iraola
    March 15, 2017

    Hi, we started a food transition today for all our dogs. We’re changing the diet for all of our 4 dogs to natural and grain free. All using different brands. We are doing it very gradually but one my dogs a German Shepherd mix, almost 10 years old and weights 56 pounds, had diarrhea in less than 12 hours. (We gave him 1/2 cup of the new food + 2 cups of the other one). We’re planning on getting him Pro-pectalin tomorrow from his vet, but I was wondering for how long can we give Pro-pectalin to him, or all of them? Can we give it for a whole month, while we do the food transition…as as precaution? Can you recommend anything else that we can give him as a supplement for his upset stomach and diarrhea, please? BTW, they all loved their new foods!

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      March 15, 2017

      Hi lovanna! That’s the thing with dogs, they all have different sensitivity levels when it comes to food – even among the same breed! My sister and I both had German Shepherds. Mine could eat a cast iron sink and be fine, hers would pick up a grain of rice off the floor and have explosive diarrhea.

      Because of his age, I would ask those questions of his vet when you get the Pro-pectalin. I’m not familiar with it so I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong advice! In the meantime, if he’s really struggling today you can try fasting him a bit to give his system a chance to settle. Some dogs just have a really hard time when it comes to changing up foods, but in the long run all natural is probably going to be way better for him!

      Reply
      1. Iovanna de Iraola
        March 16, 2017

        Hi Melissa, thank you for your comment. My vet suggested I keep him, and the other 3, on Pro-Pectalin for a while. He also prescribed an antibiotic -Metronidazole, for the one with diarrhea. He is feeling well and active, no signs of sickness or pain, but he did have another episode of diarrhea last night. We might fast him for a day not sure yet!

        Reply
        1. Melissa Smith
          March 16, 2017

          Thank you for updating me! I always worry when I read comments about pets who don’t feel good <3 I'm glad to hear that he's feeling well other than his tummy upset! I think it's great that your vet added a lil med to help out. Rock star!

          Reply
  27. April Jennings
    March 29, 2017

    When I got my puppy she had been fed cheap and unhealthy food. I didn’t know what kind, so wasn’t able to transition. I didn’t want to feed that to her anyways. Day 7, she still has loose stool and is still gassy. I can tell a difference in how much better she looks and feels. Even her breathing is different and much better. Any idea how long it could be till she will have normal stool? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      March 29, 2017

      Hi April! Some dogs have sensitive tummies (while others it seems could inhale the kitchen sink and be fine) and your dog might just be taking a little longer to transition. If you’re comfortable with it, one of the things I used to do with my dog when she had tummy upset was to fast her for 24 hours just to let anything in her system get out and let her system take a break. If she continues to have loose stool and lots of gas, a call to the vet never hurts!

      Reply
  28. Karlyn Ruggle
    March 30, 2017

    I switched my dog VERY gradually from Hills Science Diet i/d to Iams Proactive Health Mini Chunk food mainly because he preferred the latter but also because it is cheaper and does not require a prescription. He seemed to be doing just fine for more than a month but all the sudden he is pooping in the house which is something he never does! Do you think this could be a result of the food change? Do you think it will likely stop? I don’t know of anything else that could be contributing to his accidents. It just seems like he is having more bowel movements in general now..

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      April 01, 2017

      Hi Karlyn! It could be the food change, but it could also be due to a number of other factors. Stress, schedule changes, illness, and diet changes can all contribute to elimination issues. He may simply need to go out more often as well, or have some of his house training reinforced.

      Reply
  29. Chrissy Abell
    April 02, 2017

    Hello! We recently adopted a two year old shih tzu. From what I know so far…the dog was fed once a day at 6 am, and was fed Iams soft canned food. The dog will NOT eat dry dog food at all. At first we didn’t realize this, and purchased just some soft drier type dog food. He ate it right up, but quickly began vomiting/diarrhea. I then tried the Iams soft canned food. He would NOT eat it. So, I went and tried the soft food in packets. He loved the food, but the vomiting/diarrhea is getting worse. My vet is out of town for a week. I’m not sure how to adjust his food, or what to do to get him regulated again. Just worried he will get deyhydrated. Another concern I have…I usually feed my dogs 2-3 times per day. Should I only feed him once a day? He seems very thin/bony to me. I can feel his backbone and ribs very easy. My other two dogs are not like this. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Pippa Elliott
      April 03, 2017

      Hi Chrissy,
      Hmm, I’m a bit concerned by the mention of vomiting.
      It’s not unusual for a change of diet to cause diarrhea because the bacteria in the gut don’t get the chance to adapt to the new food. However, this doesn’t normally trigger vomiting. From what you describe of him being skinny, having a poor appetite, and vomiting / diarrhea, it sounds like this little chap needs to see a vet.
      Ordinarily, it’s a matter of swapping foods gradually, say over 4 – 5 days. But in this case there sounds more to it than just a change of diet. Give your vet clinic a call and see what they suggest.
      Best of luck,

      Reply
  30. abhishek lazarus
    April 24, 2017

    Hi needed to know got a pug 10 weeks old litter owner was feeding him puppy pedigree starter as if now. m looking forward to change it to new food is’t fine as if now for the change in food. and i’m looking forward for MeraDog puppy junior as a change. please suggest is’t fine or should continue pedigree Small breed puppy #1 now…??

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      April 24, 2017

      Hi there! Before making any changes, I’d give the vet a quick call for his/her advice, just because your pup is so young. Can’t hurt to get advice from the #1 source!

      Reply
      1. abhishek lazarus
        April 25, 2017

        My Vet had suggested me this change in food. And asked to go for MeraDOG a German company . I don’t Know have you heard of this name there. So was bit dicy for the change. I Have 1 more name in mind and thinking of as a change what i’m liking is N&D.. What do you think about that..?

        Reply
        1. Melissa Smith
          April 25, 2017

          Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with the brands of pet food outside the U.S. (I do need to familiarize myself though; it’s one of my goals.) In this case, if I were in your place I would stick to what the vet told you to start with. You can take it as slowly as you need to, introducing just a little bit more of the new food every day until your pup is completely transitioned. 🙂

          Reply
          1. abhishek lazarus
            April 25, 2017

            Sure Thank You so much for your help and Guidance on the issue. I appreciate that. God Bless.

            Reply
  31. Janice Machado
    May 28, 2017

    I have tried many foods years ago and she did not like them now she likes purina puppy chicken but it’s not a very good brand but she likes it. Tried to change her gradually but she got sick

    Reply
  32. Kayla Rivera
    September 06, 2017

    Hi, I just got a puppy about two weeks ago. He was a rescue, and he was given to me with a small bag of food. When the bag finished, I bought a brand new 30lbs bag of different food, and started feeding it to him (no transitioning). He has been having diarrhea since I started giving him the new food, for 2 days now. How long should wait before I start to worry? I know I messed up, however, it was a tiny bag that he came with, so I wasn’t really going to be able to transition much, and I didn’t want to feed him the same food because it wasn’t puppy food and I wanted him on more of a grain free diet.

    He is a pit bull, only 2 months old.

    -Kayla

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      September 06, 2017

      Hi Kayla! Best place to start is with the vet – he’s still pretty little so you want to make absolutely sure he doesn’t get dehydrated with all the diarrhea.

      Reply
  33. Kelsey Marie
    December 30, 2017

    I noticed my dog would go a few days without eating. I figured maybe he was sick of his food. So I decided to switch him from dry kibble to soft fresh dog food. He loves it. The only problem is, I’m trying to gradually introduce it. But when I mix the two foods together. He spits out the kibble and just eats the new dog food. Would feeding just new food be okay, since he won’t even eat his kibble?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      December 31, 2017

      Hi Kelsey! I would continue to offer the kibble (why not, while you still have it) and see if he eats any of it. Every dog handles food transitions a little differently. Some have stomachs like steel and can eat pretty much any and everything and be fine, while others take time to adjust. Has your dog shown any adverse effects as of yet? Mainly tummy trouble – excessive gas, too loose/too hard stool, vomiting? If not, he’s probably doing okay. But if you’re worried it never hurts to give the vet a quick call just to ask!

      Reply
  34. Kim Meucci
    March 09, 2018

    My dog has developed sensitivity to his normal food nature’s recipe and has been having problems with dirreah and vet placed him on Royal Canine gasterolitis food. After 2 days he has normal stools, can I start switching him over to natures recipes grain free food or should he stay on prescription food?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      March 11, 2018

      Hi Kim! You can certainly try to switch your dog’s food back to Nature’s Recipe; however it’s likely he’d begin to experience the same symptoms. You might want to consider keeping him on the prescription if you can – I know it’s super expensive so it may not be an option.

      Reply
      1. Kim Meucci
        March 11, 2018

        Ok thank you. I just started the transition yesterday 25% to 75% ratio, how long would it usually take before I would see the same symptoms I’m guessing 1-2 days?

        Reply
        1. Melissa Smith
          March 12, 2018

          It’s unfortunately different for every pet – some take to it like champs, others experience issues for weeks. For the manifesting of symptoms, it usually happens pretty fast so your guess of 1-2 days seems right on the money!

          Reply
  35. Ericha Powers
    March 11, 2018

    I recently changed my 13 week old golden retrievers food on Feb 26th from Purina puppy chow to IAMS. She was hating the food! But never once had any bowel issues. She did not like the food by day 9 of the diet change, and was 100% refusing to even one small bite. She practically went a whole day without eating. So when I got home and noticed this, I had my husband immediately go and buy her original food that the breeder was feeding her , which the Purina puppy chow. This was on March 6th. I came home Saturday (March 10th) and she started with her slight diarrhea which has now turned into really bad diarrhea where she is having accidents in her kennel !! Is she sick ?? Or is this a dietary issue ?? She is not lethargic nor does she have less energy. She’s her usual hyper self and is even eating she drinking ! What could this be ??? I’m going crazy !

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      March 12, 2018

      Yikes! How awful for all of you! This could indeed be related to the recent food changes she’s had. If I were in your shoes, I may fast her for a day just to give her system a chance to clear out. (Allow her water, though – very important so she doesn’t get dehydrated.) You may want to call the vet just to let him/her know what’s going on and see if there is anything you should add to her water/food to prevent dehydration. Her system has just had two food changes in the last couple weeks so it may be trying to catch up.

      Reply
      1. Ericha Powers
        March 12, 2018

        Thank you so much for replying, do you think that I should incorporate some of the IAMS food with the new Purina or just let her go cold turkey? She already has been since March 6 but I don’t want to hurt her anymore by now trying to incorporate the IAMS again to try to correct for how I did it wrong in the first place ? ???

        Reply
        1. Melissa Smith
          March 15, 2018

          It’s hard to answer that, because I don’t have the hands on with your pup to see how she’s reacting – plus I have no medical training. If she is responding well to the food she is on, I would continue what you’re doing.

          Do note that Iams has had a slew of complaints lately; they allegedly changed some items in their recipe a few months ago and now many pet parents are complaining of tummy trouble in their dogs. You may want to consider another brand.

          Reply
  36. Tim Arnold
    March 14, 2018

    No matter how carefully I’ve tried to transitionary 6mo lab/shep pup mix, he gets the squirts if the new food (Merrick Puppy Kibble) exceeds 1/4 of the total mix. The Blue Buffalo Basics Puppy kibble is very high in carbs (50%) where the Merrick is more balanced around 33% carbs, protein, and fats/nutrients. But it seems that the Merrick just isn’t tolerated beyond 1/4 of the mix. Anyone have a suggested replacement for the Blue Buffalo Basics that is better tolerated and lower in carbs?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      March 15, 2018

      Great question! Unfortunately, finding the right dog food is rough. Before my dog passed away she was eating prescription food. Does anyone have recommendations?

      Reply
  37. Melissa Smith
    April 02, 2018

    Keep an eye on the labels – many, many pet food companies use chicken or chicken meals and by-products.

    Reply
  38. River Rose
    April 20, 2018

    Thank you so much, this article clarified it all for me. Been having problems with my sensitive tummy dog not acclamating to the new food, now I know how to proceed. Relief.

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      April 20, 2018

      Glad we could help!

      Reply
  39. Megan Batchelor
    June 11, 2018

    I am in the process of switching my dog over to new food from the food that he came with from the shelter. Apparently I made a good choice as he LOVES his new food (Merrick LID Chicken). However, he now roots through his mixture of new and old food and digs out the new food only. We just started this yesterday and his stool today was loose but not watery. Is there anything I can do to help ease the transition and to prevent him from just gobbling up the new food?

    Reply
    1. Melissa Smith
      June 12, 2018

      The only thing I can think of is to reduce the amount of new food so he’s still hungry enough to eat the old, but that’s only a band aid. Eventually you’re going to have to feed him more new less old! If he is reacting okay to the food transition, then he may be happier just getting the new food.

      Reply
      1. Megan Batchelor
        June 12, 2018

        Thanks Melissa! I’m splitting the food 75% new and 25% old and adding a bit of chicken broth! He’s loving it 🙂 his stool this morning was totally fine so I think he just needed a day or two to adjust. Thanks again 🙂

        Reply
        1. Melissa Smith
          June 13, 2018

          Woohoo, glad to hear it!!

          Reply

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