How To Transition Dog Food

A Pup Licking Its Owners Wet Hand As A Sign Of Respect

Several factors might be contributing to your consideration of changing your dog’s diet regimen.

Probably, you are looking for more premium dog foods, wanted to shift his meal from wet food to dry food, or your dog has been diagnosed with some specific health condition, your pup needs new food that fits with their nutritional needs to hit the proper nutrient levels, your vet requires you to give therapeutic dog food or you just simply want to save bucks.

Whatever the reason may be, in order to ensure success when switching your dog’s diet, gradual change is important.

Here are the things you need to know as responsible pet parents. However, it should be noted that before everything else, you should consult your veterinarian first.

Reasons to Change To New Dog Food

Adverse Food Reaction

Dog food transition is necessary whenever your pets have food allergies. Like humans, most dogs have certain food sensitivities. Some of the most common allergies include chicken, dairy, beef, and wheat.

In dealing with this particular problem, it is advised that a pet owner creates a special elimination diet in order to identify the specific allergen that causes the allergic reaction. From there, with the aid of your veterinarian, you can choose the best dog food that suits your dog.

Entering A New Life Stage

Your dog’s specific nutritional needs change as they transition from being a puppy to a full-grown dog. Depending on the breed, size, and sex, switching your dog’s food to adult dog food formula usually takes place around one year. This adult formula has fewer calories, protein, and fat content, appropriate for your growing dog.

Additionally, pets who reach their later adult stage (geriatric stage) or older lifestage also require unique nutrition needs that only senior dog food can provide [1].

Generally, large breed dogs are considered seniors when they reach the six snd small breed dogs between the age of six and age ten. As there is a huge difference between one dog breed to another, it is advisable to consult your veterinary clinic before switching from puppy formula to adult formula just to be sure.

Managing Weight

It is undeniably true that your dog is prone to obesity. While some causes can be prevented like your dog’s lack of exercise or overfeeding, some causes are inevitably unavoidable.

For instance, some pets become more prone to gaining weight simply because of their gender, age, and activity level. In these particular cases, you may need to give your pet a weight management formula in order for your pet to maintain a healthy weight.

Brought Home A New Pet

Bringing home a new pet requires you to know the food he has been eating to initially feed him with the same dog food. You need to allow your new pet to internalize the major adjustment that has happened to his life as rehoming is a lot of stress for your pup. You should wait for your pet’s initial vet visit before changing his diet for whatever reason you might have to avoid tummy trouble.

Vet Recommended Diet

In some instances, your pet veterinarian would suggest some dog food in replacement to your dog’s current food. This is in response to your dog’s needs in oral health, skin and coat health, hip and joint health, food sensitivity, activities, your pet’s digestive system, and breed-specific needs.

It is with the best intentions, that your veterinarian suggests for your dog’s food and alternatives and a deviation from which would do you and your dog harm rather than good.

To Add Variety

In order for your dog to have variety in his diet, you must choose a dog food that provides a complete and balanced diet.

If you decide to switch dog foods, there are various types of dog food in the market that you can choose from. Some variants include fresh and raw, moist, semi-moist, wet food, dry dog food, and other related products. It should be considered, however, the appropriate amounts of macronutrients like fat, carbohydrates, and protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals to ensure your pet’s overall health and well-being.

As your dog, later on, loses interest in meals that you give him, it is vital to incorporate new flavors and texture ni the pet food that you give him. You can try blending the regular puppy food gravies and broths or mix one part wet food with two parts dry pet food.

Apart from the fact that you would keep your dog’s interest in the variety of pet food that you give, you would also observe that as you give him the right nutrition, improvement in your pet’s health can be seen through his coat as it would become shinier, and silkier, without dull dry skin.

Always bear in mind that whatever the reason is for a change of diet, you should first consult the nearest veterinary clinic before transitioning to a new diet. Additionally, without proper supervision, transitioning can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive issues.

A Puppy Just Finished Eating His Wet Dog Food Meal

How to Switch Your Dog’s Food The Right Way

If you decide to change your dog’s food, you should gradually transition your dog for him to be accustomed to the new diet. If you switch your dog’s diet immediately, it can cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, decreased appetite, and diarrhea.

During a five to seven-transition period, you should gradually incorporate incremental quantities of the new food with your pup’s current dog food. This might take some time but with patience and consistency, your dog will soon be accustomed to his new diet.

Begin your dog’s transition by putting the new food at the bottom of the food bowl. You should start with the proportions of 75% old food and 25% new food. Every day, reduce the old food by a percentage not greater than 15% and at the same, increasing the new food in the food bowl. You should continue this until the new diet was completely adapted.

Moving From Wet Dog Food to Dry Food For Your Dog's Digestion

Another alternative option instead of mixing the old and the new food, is having the two options sitting side by side. As the first option, gradually increase the new food and gradually decrease the old food.

It is important to note that dogs do not starve themselves. It could be possible that these feeding guidelines will be rejected by your pup but with a slow transition, your pup would never leave the food bowl unfinished. If your pup is poorly reacting to the foods that you give, the best option is to bring him to the vet for an appointment to check if there are underlying health issues involved and if so, do what the veterinarian has recommended.

Owner Slowly Reducing Giving Treats To His Pup

Some Notes To Consider

Follow Portion Control 

The same amount of two different types of dog foods are not similar in terms of the macronutrients that they contain. Hence, when you switch dog foods, it is important that you look into its calorie content and reassess the portion size that you have been giving as this would increase your dog’s risk of being overfed or underfed which could, later on, cause weight gain or loss.

Usually, there are physical indicators that tell whether you cut down or add up to your dog’s food. One noticeable physical indicator is your dog’s waistline. If your dog’s waistline widened after giving him the new food for some time, it is best to reduce the portion of that new food that you give to your pup.

Expect Gastrointestinal Upset

Transitioning into new food too quickly can usually result in an upset stomach. If you wish to check your dog’s digestive health, you can check the consistency and color of your dog’s stool. As there are various reasons for the changes in your dog’s stool, more likely than not, it is caused by the new diet your pup has. However, if you are quite unsure of the cause for your dog’s stomach upset, you can always consult your vet in order for your dog to be tested.

Additionally, here are some tips that you might find helpful for you and your pup:

  • Always follow the feeding guideline when mixing the old and the new diet. Continuously feed your pup with equal amounts by using measuring cups and be informed about the food’s macronutrient content.
  • The muscles and bones of adult dogs from the larger breed age relatively quicker smaller breeds. So as your dog needs to be receiving proper nutrient levels, you should transition your pet to senior dog food as early as six years, in continuation to large breed puppy food and adult dog food.
  • Small and medium-size dogs need to transition to a mature adult or senior dog food around the age of seven to be at par with the appropriate level of nutrients for the older life stage.
  • In order for your canine to meet its special needs, you should give them the appropriate diet required for them.
  • If you have nursing dogs that need special considerations, give them energy-dense foods to meet to increase calcium production.
Small Breed Puppies Wanted To Eat Together In Their Preferred Location

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should it take to transition dog food?

Transition usually happens around five to seven days. The transition to the new diet must be taken gradually in order to give your dog some time to adjust. These figures, however, vary depending on the dog as some dogs have sensitive stomachs, allergies, and digestive issues which require a longer transition period.

Can you switch dog food without mixing?

No, you cant switch dog food without mixing. It is important to know that in order for your dog not to have gastrointestinal problems or experience allergic reactions from the new diet that was introduced, you should employ gradual addition of the brand-new diet until your dog becomes accustomed to it. Furthermore, it should be duly noted in order to successfully switch dog food, you should at least consider what your veterinarian has to say.

How do you transition a dog from kibble to homemade?

To transition from kibble to homemade food, begin by feeding your pup with a mixture of homemade food with the dry food kibble that your dog is used to. With gradual increments of the homemade food gradually and the decrease of kibble food gradually. If done correctly and religiously, problems like stomach issues, vomiting, and diarrhea will be avoided.


Looking for suitable dog food for your pup could be a hassle job for many pet parents like you. However, with the right help from practicing professionals, the right tools, and consistent gradual transition, you can be sure that the transition will be successful. 

As your pup’s transition takes place, make sure to monitor your dog’s appetite, stool, and behavior to aid you in determining the right diet for your pup. Always remember that your access to veterinary aid is much accessible today. You can discuss transitioning with your vet and have a broader insight regarding your pet’s health nutrition, and well-being.

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