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Changing Your Dog\'s Diet

Changing Your Dog's Diet

There are a number of basic steps when it comes to changing your dog's diet. Sometimes changes in diet are necessary, but most dogs don't particularly like change.

lf a dog is in a new environment, has a new owner, or is being required to undergo some other emotional or physical strain, food changes should be postponed until the stress has been eliminated or the dog has adapted to it. With changes in ownership, the diet fed by the previous owner should be obtained if at all possible and fed until the dog becomes accustomed to its new surroundings. It is for this reason that good dog boarding kennels will ask you what food your dog is accustomed to, so as not to add to your dog's stress of being separated from you, by feeding your dog a food he is not used to eating.

Once the dog is in an appropriate emotional state to accept a dietary change it should be accomplished gradually. Start by substituting 25 percent of the old food with new food. Mix the two thoroughly making an attempt to conceal the new food within the old. This mixture should be fed until the dog eats the mixture with the same relish that it ate its previous food. For some dogs this may be the first time the mixture is fed, although for others it may take several days or even weeks. Do not be tempted to hurry the procedure. Your dog may take a little (or a lot of) time to become accustomed to the change.

Once your dog is eating the 25:75 mixture as well as he did his previous food, you can then increase the proportion of the new food to 50 percent - i.e. replace 50 percent of the old food with new food, so your dog is receiving a mixture of half and half. This time, slightly less effort should be needed to conceal the new food within the old food.

Again, when your dog is eating the 50:50 mixture with the same gusto he did his previous food, proceed to the next step. Now 75 percent of the new food is added to only 25 percent of the old food, and little if any effort is made to conceal the new food except to mix it evenly with the original food. By now, most dogs will readily accept the increased mixture the first time it is fed.

Finally, all of the old food can be eliminated from the dog's diet. One hundred percent of the new food is fed from then on. For some dogs this procedure may take only three days, and be achieved with a minimum of fuss.

For other dogs it may take considerably longer. Do not become discouraged. With dogs, food likes and dislikes are mostly learned from previous experiences. Changing a food is a process of unlearning and relearning, and such things cannot always be hurried.

For a change for the better, choose a really high quality dog food containing only the best ingredients.

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