There are many benefits to sharing your life with a four-legged friend. Dogs are wonderful additions to the modern home. There’s nothing quite like returning home from a busy day to a tail-wagging, tongue-lolling, butt-wiggling, happy-to-see-you ball of fluff. A dog or two (or three) will provide companionship for many years. Yet humanity's best friend needs care, attention and time as well. There are times when you’ll need to take them to the vet or to get groomed to ensure they stay healthy and happy. And there may come a time in life when you’ll need to alter your dogs' diet. So let’s check out the how, when, and why of changing what your dog eats.

Why Change Your Dog’s Diet and When?

Your dog has different needs as they progress through life. For the same reason we stop feeding our kids mush and switch to solids, your puppy will grow up and require different sorts of food. So, the progression from puppyhood to adult doghood is one reason to change your pet’s food habits. You’ll need to shop for dog food online to start.

Another reason is if your dog has a bad reaction to their current diet. Vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign that their diet needs some attention. Yet this can also be a sign of serious illness, so it’s always worth taking a trip to the vet if you notice these symptoms. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to Do It

The best tip here is to not make any drastic changes overnight. It is better to slowly change your dog’s diet, over time and with careful monitoring. Once you’ve decided, usually on the advice of your vet, what you’re going to remove and what you’re going to introduce, transition your pooch slowly. Switch out a little bit of the old food with the new food in their usual meal. Stick to your usual times of feeding as well so they’re not confused. Swap yet a little more next meal, and so on until they’ve fully transitioned. This process should take a week or a bit more.

What To Avoid?

Some common foods cause a bad reaction to our four-legged mates. Eggs, chicken, wheat (and other grains) and beef can all cause a reaction. If you find your dog is having the aforementioned reactions to these foods then look for new food with different ingredients. Some brands are now selling grain-free food for this reason.

Also, avoid any extra treats or leftovers from your plate during this transitional phase. You don’t want to add anything into the mix at this stage and risk scuppering your well-laid plans. Try to keep any human food on the table or bench to avoid them mooching around for some tidbits. Keep a close eye on your kids as well, as they may not understand the importance of the diet alteration and be tempted to feed their friends some scraps.

How Long Will it Take?

Be prepared to wait up to 12 weeks before the new diet is working. If, after this time, your canine shows the same symptoms or any new symptoms, go back and visit the vet again.

A Canine Diet Conclusion

Your dog’s needs will change as they age, so it’s important to alter their diet. Also, if your pet is showing adverse reactions to food it may be a good time to switch as well. Introduce new foods slowly, over a week, and slowly swap out the old food for the new. Avoid the foods listed above, and look for grain-free food. Don’t give any treats or table scraps while you make the transition, and prepare to wait for 12 weeks for the new diet to work..