Changing Diets: A How to Guide

Submitted by Veterinary Wellness Partners on Fri, 02/27/2015 - 11:15am

How do I change my pet's food from one to another?

Is the pet store out of your normal pet food?  Are you needing to change diets due to food allergies?  Are you changing diets for medical reasons or weight management?  Scared of a food recall or the recent Beneful Class Action Lawsuit (2015)?  Maybe it is time to change to a higher quality pet food.  You may be an owner who does not like the idea of feeding your pet the same food all the time.  There are many reasons why a pet owner may elect to change their pet's diet.  Whatever the reason, it can be dangerous to change from one diet to another abruptly.  The only time this is suitable is when changing from a normal diet to some sort of bland diet, which is usually recommended for Gastroenteritis, vomiting and diarrhea cases.

So, what is the best way to transition from one diet to another?  Here is a good, simple method:

We recommend a gradual change from one diet to the next.  This transition period should cover a period of time of about 10 to 14 days.  It is recommended to change slowly, but typically the following easy plan seems to work really well:

Day 1-2:  Begin with about 10% of the newer diet mixed in with 90% of the diet that your pet is accustomed to eating

Day 2-4: Begin mixing the diets at a ration of 25% of the new to 75% or the "normal" diet.

Day 5-7:  At this point, you can probably change at a slightly more rapid pace.  Begin mixing the diets at an equal 50:50 ratio

Day 8-10:  Now is when the diet begins to be more of the "new" diet and less of the "old" diet.  Give your pet 75% of the newer diet, mixed with 25% of the former diet.

Day 11 and moving forward:  You pet should now be ready to start eating the newer diet as his or her only diet.

There are some instances where this formula may be too sudden.  There are some dogs that need to be started by adding in one teaspoon of the new diet and removing one teaspoon of the other diet.  These dogs can be transitioned by adding an additional teaspoon every 2 days.  It is also important to note that a true dietary trial for food allergies does not begin until the point in time that your dog is on the trial diet exclusively.


Written and published by Dr. Jeff Fink on behalf of Orrville Veterinary Clinic, Inc.