Customers ask me this question all the time. If they don’t ask I tell them anyhow. Yes, you can and SHOULD regularly change your pet’s food (specifically the protein source).
Imagine eating the same sandwich for lunch EVERYDAY!
The same dinner every evening, Everyday!
You’d get sick of it very quickly. Eventually, even the smell of it would turn your stomach. So why do I constantly hear people say they’ve been feeding their pets the exact same food for years without consideration?
Fear and ignorance.
Let’s start with the fear. This is a BIG one (and a potentially messy one too). Have you ever traveled abroad on holidays? Ever get a dicky stomach after the first couple of days?
Any change in the composition of our regular food intake (even water) can have an adverse effect on our digestive system. The same applies to our Dogs. Their stomachs get used to their regular food and their digestive systems regulate their waste (poop) consistency. Any sudden change in their food composition can, but not always, cause their poop to become soft, often to the point where they struggle to hold it in on till toilet time.
This scenario is totally avoidable. Provided the new food doesn’t lessen in quality, such as an increase in non-digestible grains, then a gradual transition from old food to new food will almost always eliminate any unwanted messy accidents.
The suggested transition period can vary with the age of the dog but generally, a 5-7 day transition for adult dogs and a 7-10 day transition for pups and seniors is sufficient. So for pups, simply start with 90% original food mixed with 10% new food on day one, 80-20 on day two, 70-30 on day three and so on leading to 100% new food on day 10.
While this process does require a little extra wok and some simple calculations, it is well worth the effort.
Now for the ignorance part.
Many people just don’t think about it. How sad. Changing the protein source of our Pet’s food is a very important tool in the fight against the ever increasing instances of sensitivities and intolerances (itchy skin, hot spots, upset stomach and more) now all too common in our Pets. I love chicken but chicken every single day for the rest of my life!! No way. Feeding the same food day in day out will naturally cause adverse reactions. Effectively, our pets bodies become so tired of the same food that they react negatively. A recent survey on a UK Dog food rating site found that the main causes of sensitivities/allergies in dogs were (in this order) wheat, maze and surprisingly chicken! Chicken is cheap, and abundantly available making it the main choice for many of the commercial pet food manufacturers. Therefor mixing up the protein source we feed our pets is an excellent idea.
Nowadays, there are many excellent, protein rich, grain free foods on the market and many of these, such as Pet Parlours Grain Free Formula, offer a variety of proteins to choose from Duck, Venison, Fish, Rabbit, Lamb to name but a few options. Not to mention BARF!!
A suggested protein rotation schedule is every 3 months or so. Some dogs can handle bag for bag. If you discover that your dog doesn’t have a sensitive stomach when you switch, try changing proteins every time your bag runs out. Let your dog adjust to the new protein the first time round and as mentioned above, a phase-in phase-out period is advisable too. Finally, keep an eye out for any potential proteins that don’t agree with your Dog.
Now, whats for dinner tonight!