Healthy Dogs and Changing Your Best Friend’s Diet (a dog diet transition guide)

dog with food reversedIt has long been known that changing your dog’s food suddenly can cause stomach and intestinal distress.  From time to time and for different reasons, changing his food becomes necessary.

The short solution to this vexing problem is to gradually switch your dog from the existing food to the new food.  This can be accomplished by mixing a little of the new food in with the current food.  If you increase the amount of the new food and decrease the old every day, pretty soon you will have successfully transitioned your dog completely to his new dog diet.

In addition, who wouldn’t like a little change of pace?  Don’t you often wonder if your dog ever gets bored with his food?  Maybe he walks over to his dish at dinner time and thinks…”What…this again?”  I know I often wonder about that.

Several years ago, with the melamine problem in the dog food, it became necessary to switch dog food very quickly.  If this becomes the case (for whatever reason), adding a tablespoon of plain yogurt or giving your dog a probiotic during the transition will give you a better chance to keep his inner workings on a more even keel.

What should you do if you have shocked your dog’s system with a sudden change, and he is having stomach and/or intestinal problems?  Vets usually recommend you stop feeding him for a day to let things settle down in his stomach and intestines.  Then you can start him on boiled rice and chicken.  The white meat of the chicken is less rich and less heavy, so that is the best part to use.  Give him just a little at the start to make sure he keeps it down or it doesn’t start the diarrhea up again.  If you want to make the rice taste more interesting, you can cook it in chicken broth instead of just water or add a little garlic powder while the rice is cooking.  Dogs love garlic, and it’s good for them; onions, however, are not something your dog should eat.

If the diarrhea just doesn’t let up, a trip to the vet is in order.  Your vet may give your dog a few days of metronidazole, also known as Flagyl , a prescription which has worked wonders for my dog.  Within a few hours, we have seen pretty serious diarrhea come under control.

The best course is always to avoid switching your dog’s food quickly, so do your best to make a gradual transition if a change becomes necessary.

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About Cheryl Major

Cheryl Major has been a volunteer at The Buddy Dog Humane Society in Massachusetts for 14 years, and has been on their Board of Trustees since 2008. Her blog,, is a labor of love. She has also been involved in passing animal protection legislation at the city and state levels and was a regular guest on New England Cable News (NECN) for their "Adopt a Pet Segment". This blog is dedicated to the joys and challenges of dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages with whom we share our lives.

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