The Best Way to Switch Dog Food

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

In today’s post, I’ll summarize everything you need to know about switching your pup’s food.

(Regardless of whether its a puppy or adult dog)

Let’s start with the most important question:


What’s the Best Way to Switch Dog Food?

Changing your dog/puppy food is pretty simple and straight forward.

In a nutshell…

You’ll have to mix your dog’s old food with the new food, over a period of 7 days. And make sure to gradually increase the amount of new dog food and decrease the amount of old one. (As shown in my newbie illustration)

Here are the 4 steps you should follow: 

  • On day 1 and 2, you should mix about 25% of the new dog food you bought and 75% of the old/current dog food.
  • On day 3 and 4, add about 50% of the new and 50% of old dog food.
  • On day 5 and 6, add 75% of the new dog food and 25% of the current/old dog food.
  • On the (7th) final day, you should give your dog 100% of the new food.

That’s it! Your pup is ready for the new food.

Pro tip: Because your dog will be having about 3/4 meals a day, you can mix a full day’s amount of dog food in the morning, divided that into 3/4 equal parts and give him throughout the day.

Related guides:

Why do you want to switch dog food?

The most common reason as to why you want to change dog food is either your dog is experiencing vomiting/diarrhea (or diagnosed with some other health issue) OR you simply want to upgrade to a better quality dog food.

You may also want to transition your dog food if you think your dog has developed food sensitivities, itchy skin or symptoms of an upset stomach. (Yes this can happen even though your furry friend has been eating that same old food for years!)

How many days will it take to transition dog food?

It will take about 7 days to safely change dog food. Closely monitor your dog during this transition period. If your dog refuses to eat or suffers from constipation/diarrhea slow down the rate of transition to 10 or more days.

What can be possible issues?

Changing the dog food very quickly can cause tummy troubles for your four-legged friend. Therefore it is recommended that you follow the guidelines in this guide to avoid this scenario.

Also, avoid giving your dog any treats or other non-dog food during this 7 day period and preferably over the next 4 to 6 weeks to whether your new diet regime is working or not.

What are some other reasons as to why you might change dog food?

From Mother’s milk to Puppy Food

In the initial 8 weeks of your pup’s life, he will need mother’s milk:

  • For the first 4 weeks, the pup requires (and should consume) mother’s milk only.
  • In the following 4 weeks, you can begin transitioning from milk to solid puppy food. This process is slow and the diet given to the puppy is a mixture of puppy food & milk.

Keep in mind:

During these 4 weeks, the diet starts with a ‘liquid form with mostly milk and barely 10% solid food’ to a ‘solid form with 100% solid puppy food’ by the end of the 8 weeks mark.

Changing the diet too quickly can cause an upset stomach. Ask your veterinarian how much quantity you can feed your four-legged companion.

Dog food allergies

A dog may develop allergies or food sensitivities (like humans) even though your dog has been eating the diet for years. This can be due to either food-related or in some cases due to the environment.

The most common allergens are:

  • dairy
  • beef
  • wheat
  • chicken
  • egg
  • lamb
  • pork
  • soy
  • rabbit
  • fish

You may want to ask a vet for advice if you think your dog has a food allergy. An elimination diet may be recommended, to figure out exactly what allergen is the culprit.

Related: Check out this grain-free dog food guide as well.

Dog Life Stages

Fun fact: On average a dog can live upto 12 years.

The 4 Main Stages of a Dog’s Life Cycle

The Puppy Stage

The puppy stage starts at birth and lasts between 6 to 18 months. The rate of aging depends on nutrition, breed type and quality of care given. You may want to choose puppy dog food at this stage.

The adolescence stage

This stage starts somewhere between 6 to 18 months and lasts until your dog reaches the adult stage. Expect significant growth spurts at this stage.

The Adult Stage

This stage starts between the 1st and 3rd birthday of the dog. You may want to change his diet from puppy food to adult food. At this stage, your dog is fully grown and is in his best shape. He will be active and needs a lot of exercise on a daily basis.

The Senior Stage

This stage starts somewhere between 6th to 8th year depending on the breed and size of your dog.  At this stage, your dog will become less active, he will sleep more and eat less. Because the nutritional needs change during this stage, you may consider changing your dog food to senior dog foods at this stage.

Dog Weight Management

There are other ways to manage weight as well (such as exercise and feeding less) but at times your vet may recommend you to change to weight management formula.

Dog foods for weight loss may be recommended to Less active pets or senior dogs.

Further Reading: