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Is It Bad to Switch Dog Foods Often? Dietary & Feeding Guide

Cassandra Kyser

By Cassandra Kyser

senior beagle dog eating food from the bowl

We would get tired of eating the same food every day, but is that true for our pets? Unless your dog is on a special diet, there’s a good chance they already have some variety, like treats, meal toppers, or a choice between wet and dry food. But what about switching dog food formulas or brands? Is this bad or even necessary? Do dogs really get tired of eating the same thing?

Some dogs can switch dog food formulas without any problems. Others are picky eaters or have sensitive stomachs. Let’s take a closer look at why people change dog foods, the best way to switch, and when to see a vet.

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Why Should I Switch Dog Food?

Walking down the pet food aisle of any store is eye-opening. There are countless dog food brands and formulas on the market, and new ones come out all the time. If your dog eats their food and is healthy, there is no reason to switch dog foods just for the sake of switching.

You could waste money since your dog may not like the new food. If you choose to switch, look for dog food companies that offer a money-back guarantee or a free or discounted trial.

That being said, there are some valid reasons to switch dog foods even when your dog likes what you’re feeding them. Perhaps the brand you’ve been serving them went up in price and is no longer in your budget.

Or you’re having difficulty finding your regular brand in stock. If possible, you want to avoid an abrupt change in your dog’s diet. Your dog has the best chance of liking and tolerating its food if you transition slowly.

a white fluffy pomeranian dog not eating the food
Image Credit: Varvara Serebrova, Shutterstock

How Do I Transition From One Dog Food to Another?

Whatever your reasons for switching dog food, it’s best to do so gradually over 5 to 7 days. Your dog’s first meals should be ¼ the new food and ¾ the old food. If that goes well, slowly increase the ratio of new food.

Unless you’re switching foods for medical reasons like a confirmed allergy, try to stay with a similar recipe. If your dog has been eating a chicken and rice formula, you want to find another brand with those primary ingredients.

What Is Rotational Feeding?

The idea behind rotational feeding is that dogs enjoy and even need nutritional variety. Pet owners who practice rotational feeding give their dogs different brands or formulas at set intervals.

Pet food companies have published much of the current literature on rotational feeding. Your dog may or may not benefit from this feeding method, so it’s wise to consult your vet first.

When to See a Vet?

vet checking french bulldog
Image By: Nadya Chetah, Shutterstock

Don’t assume you need to switch foods if your dog stops eating or has an upset stomach. These can be symptoms of a health condition or illness. For example, a sore tooth can make it difficult to eat. Vomiting in dogs can be the result of an internal parasite or infection.

Dog food allergies often manifest as skin conditions or ear infections and not necessarily gastrointestinal symptoms. Contrary to pet food trends, most dogs can consume grains without issues. Most of the time, dogs with food allergies cannot tolerate a specific animal protein like chicken or beef.

See your vet if your dog has a decreased appetite, upset stomach, or any signs of a food allergy.

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Final Thoughts

Dog food is often a case of, “it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” If your dog’s food checks all the boxes regarding price, availability, and taste, there is no reason to switch. If you need to change dog food, try to match a similar formula with the same primary ingredients. Transition to the new food slowly over the course of a week.

Featured Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

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