How To Transition Dog Food: 3 Schedules for Success

Have you ever wondered how to transition dog food successfully? Transitioning from one diet to another can be tricky for some pups and their people. While I generally recommend gently transitioning from one diet to another, most dogs with a healthy digestive tract can switch without a transition.

You might consider transitioning your dog slowly if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • You are new to this dog and don’t know their digestive system.
  • Your pup has been eating the same food for years without disruption.
  • Every time your dog eats something new, they suffer from digestive distress (such as vomiting and diarrhea). 
  • You are testing a new food with possible allergens.
how to transition dog food

Transition schedules

7 Day Transition

When planning how to transition dog food, the gold standard schedule is 7 days. This allows time for your dog’s gut to adjust to the new ingredients and formulation. If your dog eats 2 meals a day, this transition will take place over 14 meals. Each meal, subtract a little less than 10 percent of the old food and replace it with the new formulation. This allows for an extremely slow and gentle transition that will help you spot loose stools, vomiting, or other food reactions.

3 Day Transition

This is a much easier transition and will be sufficient for most dogs. Transition your pup’s diet over 6 meals. This translates into removing slightly less than 20% of the old food and replacing it with the new food each meal. Don’t worry about getting it perfect as it’s a visual estimation!

Cold Turkey

This is my favorite transition when in a pinch! If your dog doesn’t have a history of digestive upset, you can probably transition immediately without a problem. This is especially important if you can’t get the same brand and formulation that you usually feed. 

I would love to hear from you! Have you ever wondered how to transition dog food? If you have transitioned, did you change your dog’s diet slowly or cold turkey? Leave a comment below!

Want more? Check out these other dog food related posts!

Big hugs,

Dr. Angie

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