In a word: s-l-o-w-l-y.
If you are changing from dry to wet food, or wet to dry, you’re asking a lot of your dog’s digestive system. Done too quickly, the results can be:
Upset stomachDiarrhea or its opposite, constipationVomitingStomach churning and gas
If these symptoms are bad enough, your dog may simply refuse to eat out of self-defense.
Take it slow
So it’s very important to change your dog’s diet very slowly, over a considerable length of time. What do we mean by slowly? Start off by exchanging 10% of the old food for new. Try this for 3 days and monitor your dog’s response.
If all goes well, on the 4th day, exchange another 10% of the old food for the new. So now you’re feeding 20% of the new food and 80% of the old.
Again, monitor for 3 days and if all is well, exchange another 10%. Don’t think because the first few times went well, you can suddenly switch over all at once when a 30/70 ratio of new food to old has been accepted. You still need to take this major change slowly.
No matter which way you’re changing up your dog’s dinner, you may have to apply some tough love at first. Like us, dogs are real creatures of habit and are generally not happy with change. Hang tough, your dog isn’t going to starve itself to death. Be patient and you’ll see good results.
Wet or dry dog food?
Deciding whether wet or dry food is best for your dog, is a complex issue, and something you’ll want to discuss with your veterinarian. Many owners resolve it by feeding their pets a mixture of each, usually 60/40 dry to wet. Soft food can be more appealing to the animal, while hard kibble is invaluable for cleaning the teeth. Read the labels carefully on any dog food you’re feeding to ensure it meets your dog’s daily requirements.
An alternative to wet or dry food is feeding RAW food. This is growing in popularity among dog owners, and although that switch can be very challenging, most say it is well worth it. RAW or the BARF diet, is touted as the cure to skin problems, hot spots, ear infections and a longer life. BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, and is based on human-grade whole foods including raw meat, finely ground bones, offal as well as fruit and vegetables. It really is the ‘original’ way we fed dogs for hundreds and hundreds of years.
In fact, commercial kibble wasn’t ‘invented’ until the early 1930s when American manufacturers were looking for a use for cereal and other food by-products — including peanut shells and sawdust sweepings from the rendering plant! Kibble was invented not to improve canine nutrition but to make our lives easier, and really took off after World War II when ‘convenience’ was the keyword for anyone running a home.
Be a canny consumer when it comes to dog food
Canned dog food also has its share of critics, so the best solution is for you to become as familiar as you can about dog nutrition, and to read all sides of the debate. One thing the massive pet food recall of March 2007 taught us all, is we don’t know a lot about what goes into the supposedly nutritionally-balanced foods we give our animals. The good news – there’s plenty of information online for us to review.
Deb Gray is a self taught expert and self confessed lover of Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese and their crossbreed, Morkies. Click to read more about finding Yorkie puppy names at Deb’s Squidoo site. And you’ll find practical advice, hints and down-to-earth tips; resources; forums and unique sources for gifts, equipment and more at Yorkie Puppy Training.
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