Are you thinking about changing the diet of your pet? What about putting them on a healthier diet? Maybe your vet advised a prescription diet, or maybe you just want to test a different brand. Changing your dog's diet, for whatever reason, is more complicated than just dumping new food into a bowl. You must make the proper transition to the new diet in order to avoid disturbing your dog's tummy. There are different ways to incorporate changes in your dog’s diet.
How to select the dog food
Selecting dog food can be a daunting task. A good amount of time should be spent in market research and in understanding your dog’s habits, amount of physical exercise, etc. Your dog’s willingness to try new things in terms of food also matters a lot. Your dog’s age, amount of food, and the number of times they eat in a day can help you determine the perfect dog food to choose. When selecting a portion of suitable dog food, consider your dog's physical qualities, behavior, and overall health. Puppies and nursing mothers need more calories each day, but geriatric pets need fewer. Similarly, more active breeds require more calories than couch potato breeds. Feeding your dog the right sort and amount of food will help your dog prevent obesity and other health problems.
Introduce a small amount of the new food
The first step to incorporate a new brand of food or even a home-cooked meal into your dog’s diet is to introduce it to them. There’s a reason for this step as many brands create foods depending on breed, however, the majority just differentiate between small and large breed recipes. The differences are mostly in kibble size, but your dog must be able to eat safely and comfortably. Once you know if your dog likes the food and shows no signs of allergy or reaction and has adapted to the new food in a healthy manner, you can increase the amount of new food and start phasing out the old meal. One of the most important factors is to read the ingredients list in the dog food brand.
Keep a track of your dog’s digestive system.
Paying attention to the quality of your dog's stool is the greatest approach to check his digestive health. While slight changes in stool color and consistency are to be expected, any significant changes can signal a problem that must be addressed. A Fecal Scoring Chart is an excellent tool for evaluating your dog's stool. A fecal score of 3–4 is ideal. Lower values would indicate dehydration or constipation, but larger levels could indicate gastrointestinal distress caused by a variety of reasons. If the feces repeatedly falls outside the normal range, you should visit your veterinarian to check your dog’s digestive health. It is important to give your dog supplements of calcium and multivitamin along with the diet. This adds value to your dog’s diet that keeps them healthy and immune from falling ill.
Keeping a track of your Dog’s diet
If the diet of your dog consists of dry and wet food, it is important to keep a track of what you are feeding them and when. Another important aspect is to calculate the calorie intake of your dog. Controlling the portion size while incorporating a new brand of dog food or home-cooked meal is important. If you are not careful, your dog might be overfed which can cause obesity or digestive problems. Avoid table scraps, to keep better track of your dog’s intake. Unscheduled snacks can throw off the calorie intake of your dog and can make them lethargic. Keeping a food journal can help a dog owner a great deal. The majority of veterinarians welcome clients to bring their dogs in for frequent weigh-ins. This allows pet owners to know exactly what is required for a pet to lose or maintain a specific weight. This will help you keep a track of the fluctuations in the weight of your dog and help fill any gaps in the optimal weight of your dog according to their age and breed.
Is fasting a healthy option?
Animals, including dogs, benefit from fasting, which is unsurprising. Fasting can also act as a much-needed reset for healthy adult dogs going from kibble, making a fresh dietary start. Fasting has been proven by the National Library of Medicine to have beneficial impacts on the gut microbiome (the billions of bacteria that live in an animal's digestive system) and food flow through the stomach. According to research both of these may have a role in the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with a diet change. The idea of restricting your dog's food may seem strange. Dogs love to eat! Fasting, however, does not imply starvation. Many animals have evolved to go without food for lengthy periods of time, so a brief fast poses no risk and offers a lot of benefits for your dog's health. While there are other types of fasting, for our purposes, fasting is stopping food for a period of 24hrs and allowing the dog to drink only water.
Fasting causes a break in digestion, which in turn assists a dog's detoxification and immunity. This is especially beneficial if he's been eating highly processed kibble for a long time. The gut of your dog helps with digestion and metabolism, but that's not all. Nearly every physical process, including and especially immunity, is influenced by this interior ecosystem, either directly or indirectly. The gut assists the body in eliminating unwanted substances such as poisons and infections. Allowing this system to take a break from digesting food allows it to reset and detoxify the body.
Adverse Food Reactions in Dogs
As mentioned above, food can have adverse effects on dogs. There’s no known template of diet for your dog. It is more about experimenting while being careful and understanding what helps your dog and their health. Adverse food responses (AFR) are a prevalent condition in dogs that can produce gastrointestinal symptoms. Food intolerance, food intoxication, and food allergy are among them. The diagnosis and treatment of dogs with AFR is still based on their response to a dietary elimination experiment and the recurrence of symptoms after food provocation. It is therefore of utmost importance to be careful before introducing your dogs to new food and conduct research before doing so.
If you are interested in fasting your dog, you may expect some vomiting and lethargy. Some dogs may show some allergies if they are fed with a new brand of food, in which case they should be taken to the vet immediately. Any sort of rash or infection if caused should be paid attention to stat. Dogs usually adapt to the food sooner and if they don’t they might vomit, which is a good way to know the food you are feeding your dog is not helping. You can switch the brand and look for a more balanced diet which is a mix of dog food and a home-cooked boiled meal.