Switching my Dog Menu
Introducing your dog to new food
Life is always changing, and so too are the nutritional needs of your dog.
This may be because your dog is entering a new life-stage, like moving from being a puppy to an adult, or perhaps you have adopted a new dog and are introducing him to new food. There are also health reasons for a change of diet that your vet may recommend.
Whatever the reason, there are some simple tricks you can implement to help your dog transition to a new food, and to make it an enjoyable and enriching experience for both of you. It can also be educational moment – it can encourage your dog’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm, and even help deepen the connection between the two of you.
Let’s look at the different nutritional needs for different types of dogs so you know what to feed your pet depending on his life-stage, and then we’ll look at some transition tips.
How to fit your dog’s nutritional needs
Whatever your dog’s stage in life, he needs a complete and balanced diet that is specifically tailored to him. Your vet will be the best person to discuss your dog’s nutritional needs with, but here is a quick rundown on what constitutes a complete and balanced diet for a dog’s different life-stages.
Puppies need a diet that specifically supports this period of their life when they are growing so fast. Although energy requirements do vary with breed, newly weaned puppies need approximately twice as much energy per kilogram of bodyweight compared to adult dogs. As a result, adult dog food will not meet a puppy’s nutritional requirements or support his rapid growth.
Ensuring that your puppy is fed a variety of different flavours and types of food can also be beneficial, as it may help prevent him from becoming a fussy eater as an adult. It’s a great idea to include wet and dry foods in their diet. And because of their small stomachs, you’ll need to feed your puppy more often – up to 6 meals a day!
Adult dogs have stopped growing but they still need a complete and balanced diet that contains all the required nutrients in the right amounts. It should be designed to meet their energy requirements and lifestyle, and tailored to their life-stage. This is particularly important around life events such as neutering, pregnancy or lactation.
Unlike a puppy, your adult dog doesn’t need as many meals a day – two is enough. If your dog is an enthusiastic eater, he might benefit from a mix of wet and dry foods. For instance, wet food is far less calorie dense than dry food, so you can increase your dog’s portion without increasing his calorie intake. In any case, before making any change in your dog’s diet, we recommend you talk to your vet.
Large breed dogs and senior dogs also need diets that are tailored to suit them.
The diet for large breeds, should take into consideration their size, age, lifestyle and life-stage. It should be formulated particularly to support joint health and a healthy bodyweight.
Senior dogs generally have lower energy requirements than young dogs, so they need fewer calories in their diet. Of course, the requirements of your older dog will be dependent on their specific lifestyle too. Older dogs that still enjoy long walks and are very active will need more energy than dogs that have become more sedentary in their older age.
Whatever your dog’s life-stage, it’s important that your dog’s food is palatable - uneaten food obviously has no nutritional value!