5 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Dog’s Food
Some dog owners may not know this but switching dog food according to the stage they are in life is quite important if you want your pooch to live a healthy life. Learning how to change dog food can be tricky and for this reason, dog owners often end up patronizing a particular brand for the rest of their canine companion’s life. Notwithstanding, there are pet owners who are willing to walk the talk when it comes to taking care of their dogs, they, however, know little about dog food transition.
No doubt, knowing when to change dog food is not always easy. From puppy to adult, and finally to old age, different kinds of food are required to help dogs grow. Knowing how to change dog food is important if you want your dog to grow up accordingly without suffering from stunted growth or other health challenges, especially at old age. The following signs will guide you on when and how to change the foods you give your dog.
- Constant itching
Your pooch can develop allergic reactions just like humans and most of the time; these allergies are caused by the kind of food they take. Certain foods like soy, corn and even wheat, as well as specific kinds of meat, may cause discomfort to a lot of dogs. Food allergies can lead to signs like excessive itching which you can easily notice if you pay attention to your dog. Your vet can suggest a change in the diet plan for your dog to fix this problem as it may not be getting what their body needs to stay healthy.
- Your dog is gaining a lot of weight or losing some
Excessive weight is not only bad for the owner but dogs should also desist from this as it often leads to many health issues and can be fatal, to say the worst. If your dog is packing a lot of weight, you may have been feeding it with commercial pet foods that are known to make these pets eat a lot but lack good nutrients.
These dry foods for pets are usually overflowing with calories and if this is what your pet eats and is gaining weight, you need to retrace your steps and feed the pooch with more raw food that contains the right and healthy nutrients. On the other hand, losing a lot of weight within a short time most likely means that the dog is not getting enough nutrients from whatever you have been feeding it. A visit to your vet for reconsideration of diet for your dog may be in order.
- Dull and peeling coat
When you nourish your body with the right nutrients, the effect would be evident on the skin which will be glowing, to say the least. However, if you have been feeding on less of the required nutrients, flaky and dull skin might be part of the effects and the same applies to your dog. Also, you may have noticed that the shiny coat of your dog has suddenly turned pale and dry or they are constantly battling with skin irritation. At this point, foods that contain fatty acids, particularly Omega-3 and Omega-6, will likely do the magic and transform the flaky coat back to its former glory.
- Excessive fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea
While dogs are constantly active and seem to be full of energy, they can equally get worn out. Though it’s fine to see a tired dog once in a while, however, if it takes the pooch too long to bounce back on its feet, it could be a sign that they are not feeding right. Again, stress or illness can cause a dog to be lethargic but with the help of raw foods that are high in antioxidants, your dog can recover quickly. Nevertheless, it is important to consult your vet if your dog starts displaying signs of weakness. This will guide you more on how to change dog food to get the best result.
Additionally, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be an indication that you need to change your dog’s food. Perhaps, you just started a new diet for the pet and their body is reacting negatively to it? Though this condition might correct itself in a matter of days, you might want to seek advice from an expert to know the way forward and determine if there is any need for a change in the food your pet eats.
Dog food transition usually follows a natural trend that requires puppies to eat certain kinds of food that may not be necessary for a senior dog. Older pooches of around five to seven years of age need special nutrients to guarantee they live out the rest of their days in good health. At this stage in life, what they need are foods with low calories and high fibre for easy digestion as their internal organs are no longer as active as they used to be as a result of old age.
Puppies, on the other hand, don’t need to count calories as such. At this stage, your dog needs to eat foods that will enhance growth, especially proteins. Failure to meet the dietary requirements may lead to a deficiency that affects growth hormones. There’s also the period between old age and puppyhood. This stage is the adult life of the dog when it also needs to maintain a healthy diet to ensure a stress-free transition to the senior stage.
How to Change Dog Food
If you are on a mission to overhaul your pup’s eating habits, but not sure where to start, the following tips on how to change dog food will help.
Make sure your pooch is hydrated: Drinking enough water will help your dog with transitioning to a new diet. Water helps in the process of digestion which is important when the pet is being introduced to a new diet.
Make a gradual transition: Don’t rush it as this might cause more harm than good for your dog. If you bought your dog from a shelter or any other place, you don’t need to start feeding it with strange foods immediately. A few days of little quantity of their old diet and more of the new one will help the dog gradually get comfortable with the new diet and environment.
Boost the digestive system: The digestive system needs a little help to function well during this transition. Probiotics, plain pumpkin and any source of soluble fibre help to ensure a smooth transition, preventing digestive problems.
Maintain a close watch: Keep a close eye on your dog when changing its diet as this helps in identifying possible negative reactions to certain foods. Paying attention to your dog at this time will also help you study their stool to determine how their body is reacting to the new diet. Whether watery or just too soft or extra hard, the texture of your dog’s stool can be your guide in knowing the right quantity of food to give it.
Changing Dog Food Side Effects
You can’t switch foods for your dog without side effects no matter how little. This is often the case when the food you are giving them is not what they need at that stage in life. On the other hand, their body system may just be adjusting to the new nutrients your dog is consuming and these signs should disappear within a short period. Some of the possible side effects are listed below.
Lacklustre, dry coat: This likely occurs when the new diet is not rich in fatty acids. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential in a dog’s diet to ensure a healthy and glowing skin and coat all the time.
Weakness; Lethargy can be a serious side effect of switching dog food. The dog’s body might be trying to adjust to the new nutrients or the new foods you are feeding them don’t have enough nutrients to provide the energy it needs, thus, the constant weakness.
Chronic vomiting and diarrhoea: An upset stomach is a likely side effect you may notice after introducing a new diet to your pooch. Depending on how their body reacts to the new food, the stool might be loose or just too soft and chronic vomiting might also occur. It is important to consult your vet to make sure the signs don’t go beyond the side effects of a new diet.
Itching: Dogs get allergies too and the easiest way to find out is when their skin becomes dry and itchy. If your dog is itching a lot, check his diet plan to know what might be the cause. The pooch might be allergic to something you are feeding him with. A visit to the vet is also required to rule out other likely causes.
Fluctuating weight: Changing dog food side effects can also include weight fluctuations, depending on the kind of nutrients in the foods they were eating before and the new ones. That said, your dog’s weight can gradually go up or down with changes in their diet.