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Most dog owners tend to stick to a particular brand and flavour of dog food that they know their dog enjoys and also suits them. However, there are times when owners look for a change of food for their dog. These include moving onto to an adult food as a puppy matures, dogs moving onto senior food as they get older and changing food to help health issues such as obesity and arthritis.
What many dog owners do not realise is a sudden change in diet can cause vomiting, excess gas, diarrhoea and lethargy. A sudden change of diet can even lead to Gastroenteritis, a painful inflammation of the stomach and intestines which requires veterinary treatment. Dogs may turn their turn their noses up at even the tastiest of treats and experience vomiting which in turn can lead to dehydration and more serious health problems. Quite often dog owners will not realise the problem relates to a change in diet and put symptoms down to other factors such as their dog picking up something undesirable while out on the dog walk. Gastroenteritis can also be caused by parasites, a bacterial infection or a reaction to new medicines, but a change of diet should also always be considered to be a likely cause of the illness. The reason for this is, that a sudden change of diet disturbs the delicate balance of bacteria found in the gut that helps digests food. So what can dog owners do to prevent this unpleasant and painful condition?
If you plan to move your puppy onto adult food you should do it very gradually. Most pet manufacturers provide guidelines on switching food on their packaging. You should aim to allow at least 2 weeks of mixing your dogs existing diet to the new one, starting with around 75% existing food and 25% new food. It’s a good idea to stick to the same brand at this time, as recipes do vary enormously from one brand to another. Do try and stick to what suits your dog. For example, some dogs react to pork and ingredients such as wheat and soya. Some added vitamins and herbs may sound healthy but may cause a reaction in dogs with sensitive tummies.
We should also bear in mind that when we change our eating habits, at Christmas for example, we often feel bloated and lethargic and experience issues such as heartburn and wind, so it makes sense that our dogs could feel the same too!