Training

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How to Train Your Dog to Eat New Food

Training

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2 min read

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How to Train Your Dog to Eat New Food
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-2 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

There are several reasons why you might need to switch the food your dog is currently eating for another. It could be that your pup needs to make dietary changes due to age, perhaps his vet has suggested the change, or maybe he simply refuses to eat the food you are trying to feed him. Yes, this can happen, some dogs seem to just get sick of a particular food or it might have started to upset his tummy.

The good news is that in most cases, the transition is a relatively easy process and takes minimal training, it is more a matter of patience. The most important thing you can do is try and plan the training ahead of time. Remember, you cannot simply take your pup's old food away and suddenly dump a new one in his bowl. Doing this may result in your dog refusing to eat or suffering from nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting. 

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Defining Tasks

The task at hand is to transition your dog from one brand or type of dog food to another. No matter why you are making the change, it has to be done the right way or you may end up with a very sick pup. While you might feel like you need to be in a hurry, especially if the current food is making your pup sick, this training is more a process than anything.

It takes several days, and you should not try to shorten it as you could end up with a very sick dog. You should not expect to see the desired results for at least 7 to 10 days after the change has been completed. 

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Getting Started

For this training, you will need very little in the way of supplies, just some of the old food and some of the new food. If your pup is having trouble with his current food, such as an upset tummy or diarrhea, you should take him to his vet for an examination before making any changes to your pup's diet. Beyond this, be sure to match the new food to your dog's age in order to ensure he is going to get the right nutrition. If you are not sure about the food you are considering changing your dog to, your vet can advise you. 

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The Prescription Method

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Day one

On the first day you are going to start the changeover, give your dog a mixture containing 20 percent of the new food and 80 percent of his old food. Feed him at his normal feeding time. He should have no problem with this mix.

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Day two

On the second day of the changeover, give your dog a give your dog a mixture containing 40 percent of the new food and 60 percent of his old food. Feed him at his normal feeding time. This ratio should seem fine to him.

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Day three

On the third day of the changeover, give your dog a give your dog a mixture containing 50 percent of the new food and 50 percent of his old food. If he balks at eating this mix, you can go back to the 40/60 split and let him eat this for a few days before trying the 50/50 mix again. If he takes the new mix, it's time to move on to the next step.

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Day four

On the fourth day of the changeover, give your dog a give your dog a mixture containing 60 percent of the new food and 40 percent of his old food. Feed him at his normal feeding time. By now he should tolerate this change just fine.

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Day five

On the fifth day of the changeover, give your dog mixture containing 80 percent of the new food and 20 percent of his old food. Feed him at his normal feeding time. He should be good to go with this balance.

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Day six

On the sixth day of the changeover, give your dog a give your dog a feeding of 100 percent of the new food. Feed him at his normal feeding time and he should no longer have a problem with his new food or the problems caused by the old one.

The Slow Change Method

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Recognize the timeline

While most dogs can be transitioned to a new food in one to two weeks, it can take up to six weeks.

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Mix the two foods

Mix the old and new foods together very carefully, too much of the new food at first can upset your pup's stomach. At first, you need to create a mix that is 25% new food and 75% old food. Feed him this mix each time you feed him.

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Watch his poop

Watch his poop carefully. When his stools appear firm up, you can move on. This typically occurs after 3 or 4 days. Then feed the mix one more day before increasing the amount of new food in the mix.

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Increase the mix

Change the mix to 50% new and 50% old food. Continue feeding him this until his poop becomes firm again. Don't be in a hurry and this time, keep him on the 50/50 mix for a week after his poop has firmed up.

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Moving up

Time to create the final mix: 75% new and 25% old food. This time let him enjoy the food mix for two days after his poop has firmed up. The whole process should only take 3 to 4 days.

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All the way

Finally, switch to 100% of the new food and your pooch should be more than ready to take off with it and run. By now your pup should be back to his normal happy healthy self.

The Sudden Switch Method

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Find the right food

Start by trying to find a food that closely matches his current one in things like types of protein, ingredients, and amounts of fat and fiber.

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Make the switch

Make the switch all in one go, but start out by giving your pup smaller meals than he is used to.

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Keep watch

Keep an eye out for stomach issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. A small amount of upset tummy is normal but if it persists or worsens, contact your vet.

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Over the days

Over the next few days, slowly increase the amount of new food in comparison to the old one.

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Maintain watch

During this transition time, be sure to keep an eye on your pup for any signs of stomach or bowel issues. If your pup stops eating or experiences severe vomiting, diarrhea, or seems to be sick be sure to take him in to see his vet.

By PB Getz

Published: 12/01/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

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