As a pet parent, you should put emphasis on your dog’s overall health. With the love and the care that you wish to give your four-legged friends, every single thing about your dog will naturally have you worried and concerned. Everyone always wants the best for their dogs, especially when it comes to their welfare, which includes what you feed them.
Dogs can be creatures of habit. Once they’ve gotten used to particular dog food, you can expect that it’ll be very difficult for them to adjust to a new one. This will test your patience, but the important thing is to not give up.
Maybe you’re considering trying a new brand of dog food or perhaps your veterinarian has suggested that your dog needs a prescription diet. Whatever the reason why you want to change, switching your dog’s food is harder than simply placing a different food into a bowl. In order to stop your dog’s stomach from becoming upset, you will need to make the change in the right way.
To help ease out this worry for you, here are some tips you should follow:
1. Find the Right Food for Your Dog
Choosing the best diet and food for your dog can be tricky. Will they eat it? Will they like it? Can you afford it? Which is the best for your dog’s health? There are lots of questions you should think about before choosing the right food. Plus, there are also certain dog foods that are best tailored to the breed of dog that you have, such as this option of dog food for Shih Tzu.
Finding the right diet can sometimes feel overwhelming. The sheer amount of food choices available is outstanding. Unfortunately, it’s not one size fits all when it comes to finding the right food for your dog. Like us, dogs differ for a number of reasons such as age, personal preferences, health, and dietary needs. With this, it’s important, therefore, that you observe your dog individually, and not compare it with your friends’ or neighbors’ dogs. Here are some top tips for choosing the right dog food for your dog.
When choosing the best food for your dog, it’s important to pay close attention to the labels on the packaging. It’s always a good idea to choose food that says it offers a complete and balanced diet for your dog. When you read the labels, you also have an overall idea as to whether or not the nutritional content is enough for the specific needs of your dog.
- If you have a pregnant or nursing dog, be sure that the dog food you select is rich in calcium.
- Consider also the food allergies and sensitivities that your dog may have. The most common food allergies for a dog include chicken, beef, dairy, and wheat.
2. Don’t Rush It
Changing your dog’s food quickly can cause stomach and gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and a reduced appetite. Any time you change your dog’s diet, you should transition to the new food slowly so that your dog can adjust to the change. It’s a good idea to introduce the new food over the period of a week. During this time, you should gradually increase the amount of new food by mixing it with what your dog currently eats. Most dogs respond well to a diet transition like this:
- Day 1 – 75% old diet 25% new diet
- Day 3 – 50% old diet 50% new diet
- Day 5 – 25% old diet 75% new diet
- Day 7 – 100% new diet
To help you along this line, here’s a graph that explains in clear detail how to go about with transitioning your dog food in a week’s time.
Dogs who have gastrointestinal diseases or food allergies may need a longer transition period. If your dog shows signs of vomiting, diarrhea or not wanting to eat, you should slow down.
3. Keep an Eye on Their Poop!
The best indicator of a dog’s digestive health is their stools. Minor changes in stool color and consistency can be normal, but any major changes can indicate that there is a problem. In so doing, whenever you have doubts concerning the stool of your dog, don’t self-evaluate. Call your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is alright and it’s not going to lead to a serious problem.
The best way to evaluate your dog’s poop is by using a fecal scoring chart. The ideal score on this chart is between 3-4. Numbers that are lower might indicate that your dog is constipated or dehydrated while numbers higher than this could indicate that your dog has an upset stomach, which can be cause for concern for a number of reasons. If it’s just one stool that is outside of the normal range then there might be no need to worry. However, if it is consistently outside the recommended range, then you should talk to your vet about your dog’s health and find out what you can do to help.
Choosing the best food for your dog can be a long process, but with the right advice and a gradual transition, you will be able to make it a success. Just be very patient, as, in fact, it’s going to take time. Dogs take a lot of time adjusting also to something new. During the process, you need to make sure you keep an eye on your dog’s stools, their behavior, and your dog’s appetite in order to make sure that you’ve made the right choice. As always, if you’re worried about your dog you should get advice from your veterinarian. Then, do apply also the three tips enumerated above.