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Can I Change My Dog’s Food? How to switch to New Dog Food Without Upset Stomach or Diarrhea

April 03, 2023

Change is good, even if you’re talking about dog food. Yes, switching dog food can get messy, because some dogs have sensitive stomachs that react to new ingredients. If you’ve been putting off a change, even if your dog can use a switch or an upgrade, your hesitation is understandable.

Ready for the good news? Switching dog food is a lot easier than you think. We’ll show you why and how in this guide to switching your dog’s food.

Can and should I change my dog’s food?

Why switch your dog’s food … and should you? Switching dog food can be triggered by life events, so you can better meet your pup’s evolving nutritional needs. Dietary changes can also address many issues involving your pet’s overall health and wellness, and switching food can make them feel better. You can also change simply to provide your dog with the better nutrition that a high-quality brand offers.

Puppy to adult: Typically, when dogs reach their first birthday, pet parents switch from the higher-calorie, higher-fat puppy diet to an adult diet.

Senior: When your dog starts getting on in years, he’ll need a calorie adjustment to account for the fact he’s moving less and lounging more. Switching to a lower calorie, higher fiber senior diet brings balance to their evolving energy needs.

Weight control: With a majority of dogs being overweight or obese, the best dog food for weight loss is a weight management diet, which scales back calories and fat per serving, and includes more of the satiating fiber content.

Health problems: A diagnosis of a serious medical issue, such as diabetes, pancreatitis or kidney disease, can prompt a switch to a prescription diet.

Tummy troubles: It’s unfortunate, but dogs often live their lives muddling through a variety of uncomfortable conditions. These include allergies, messy stools, bad breath, yeasty odors, frequent ear infections, itchy skin and excessive paw licking. We tend to brush these off as part of being a dog. But the source of these irritations can be linked to their diet, whether it’s poor gut health or they developed an intolerance to their usual food.

Food intolerances are a dietary issue that’s all too common with dogs. When dogs eat the exact same food repeatedly, the body can develop an intolerance to one or more of the ingredients. When the system is constantly set off by the aggravating ingredient, it affects everything, from how their stomach feels to the luster of their coat.

To avoid developing intolerances and other health issues goes beyond a food switch. Dogs need a full spectrum of nutrients, which is what they’ll get when you use Full Circle Feeding. After your dog adjusts to a higher-quality diet, you can build back their system by going for variety and alternating their protein and carb sources.

Symptoms of Changing Dog Food Too Quickly

What happens when you switch dog food too quickly? With most brands, a sudden change in dog food can cause diarrhea, loose stools and vomiting. Why? It’s a gut reaction. The new ingredients from changing dog food alter the gut’s microorganisms and flora, which sets off gastrointestinal distress. It can take 3-4 days for your dog’s stomach to settle and for the messy symptoms to clear up. That’s not fun for anyone.

Gut health is essential to switching dog food without the mess

We make switching to NutriSource easy for you — and much, much easier on your beloved dog. Just switch to full servings, and your dog will experience zero gastrointestinal issues.

So why is it possible to switch to NutriSource without tummy troubles? NutriSource features probiotics, prebiotics and minerals, which make up our proprietary nutrition system, Good 4 Life. We include these nutritional elements to support the health of the gut and the microbiome, which is the source of all health.

From the first feeding, Good 4 Life kicks in to prevent the gastrointestinal distress triggered by switching dog food. It does this by:

  • removing pathogens from the gut
  • improving food absorption

How to switch dog food: Can you change quickly?

Most dog feeding guides will advise you to take things nice and slow when switching brands. Start by adding a tiny ratio of new food to the old diet. As you monitor your dog’s response, gradually increase the ratio of new food, taking as long as your dog needs to complete the transition. Otherwise, dogs get an upset stomach from a sudden food change, because it triggers a reaction in their GI system.

How to switch to NutriSource

As we detailed above, you can skip the gradual approach when you switch your dog’s food to NutriSource. The probiotics and prebiotics in Good 4 Life start working immediately in the gut to temper that overreaction. Switching dog food quickly or quitting the old brand cold turkey is possible. Fill the bowl (according to the feeding guidelines), feed and observe. That should be about it.

What if your dog has a sensitive stomach? Try a smaller portion of the new food. Most pet parents discover even these dogs adjust quickly.

New dog food recipe, same brand

Can you switch flavors of the same food brand without tummy upset? Most feeding guides stick to the gradual, phased-in approach when introducing new recipes, even if it is the exact same brand or line. Because you’re introducing new ingredients to your dog’s system, you want to start small and gradually increase the portion to prevent stomach upset.

Once your dog is established on NutriSource you can switch throughout the entire line of entrees without giving your dog’s stomach a second thought. Rotate their proteins for optimal nutrients, alternate between grain-inclusive and grain-free, and try new lines, including PureVita and the Element Series.

Switching to a new, premium dog food brand

When it comes to switching from a bargain brand to NutriSource’s premium line, the Element Series, pet parents report their dog showed zero gastrointestinal issues.

But you know your dog best. When switching from a bargain brand to Element Series, you can decide what’s best for your pup:

Start fresh with a full serving of Element Series — no transitions needed.

Or, introduce your dog slowly with a small sample of the Element Series mixed with the old food for the first two feedings. If you see no signs of tummy trouble, then you can speed up the transition.

Once you switch to NutriSource, practice Full Circle Feeding

After your dog is happily transitioned to NutriSource, expand their horizons and keep mealtime interesting by practicing Full Circle Feeding.

Once your dog finishes the first bag of kibble, you can safely and easily introduce a different protein in the NutriSource line such as fish or beef — with no transitions, and no mess. To give your dog the full spectrum of nutrients, trade between grain-inclusive and grain-free formulas, and make mealtimes exciting by adding wet and freeze-dried entrees. Because Good 4 Life supports gut health and enhances digestion, you can provide your dog all the benefits of a varied diet without the disruption of tummy upset.

Discover Full Circle Feeding