When I was a practicing vet I frequently saw pets with upset tummies due to a quick transition to a highly palatable new food. This was usually because owners could tell their pet loved the new food and were keen to go all in on it!
However, there can be quite significant differences between pet foods in terms of macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate and fibre) content and also digestibility, so it is important to slowly transition your pet to a new food in order to give their gut microbiota (the good bugs in their tummy that do the hard work of digestion) time to adjust to the new diet.
For most pets
Most pets are fine with making the transition to a new food over 7 days. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow:
The key to successfully transitioning your dog's diet is to monitor their individual response to the new food. If, at any point during the diet transition, your dog displays concerning signs such as changes in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or soft faeces, then pause the transition until their stomach has settled and then resume at the slower transition process below, to allow more time for the gut microbiome to adapt.
Pets with sensitive tummies
If you know your pet has a sensitive tummy or you are switching from a very low quality food or a food with very different ingredients than Genius pet food, then take it even more slowly right from the start. Try this protocol:
- Start by hand feeding the new food as a treat a little at a time. This makes it appeal as a high value reward! Gradually increase the amount they are getting as treats and then follow the 2 week transition protocol.
- Try adding a small amount of warm water to dry food to soften it. Some dogs do have strong texture preferences and even having a food slightly softer will make a big difference.
- Try scattering a few pieces of kibble about. Dogs are natural scavengers and many will comfortably hoover up something new in this way!
- Are they getting lots of treats outside of their regular mealtimes? While transitioning to a new food limit their treats to ensure they are hungry enough to eat their main meal.