Switching diets?

As our pet dogs develop from playful puppies to adult dogs and then enter their senior years, feeding them the correct life stage diet provides all sorts of benefits. However, transitioning from one food to another must be done very carefully...

Posted: 04 March 2020

Switching diets?

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When it comes to food, dogs have never had it so good. Reputable pet food manufacturers are harnessing the power of nutrition science to create high quality dog food that meets the nutritional requirements of canines throughout their life, bringing enormous benefits to their health and wellbeing.

Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, says: “At Burgess, we’re continually striving to further our nutritional knowledge and scientific understanding and we work closely with universities and leading animal charities. We know that gearing the diets that we feed to our pets to meet their specific needs and different stages of their development can play a significant role in ensuring they enjoy the best quality of life for the longest time possible.”

As well as top quality ingredients and expertly balanced recipes, today, much more is known about the benefits of feeding ‘life stage’ diets. Dr Moyes continues: “A dog’s nutritional needs varies throughout their life. For example, puppies require a little more protein to support their growing muscles and the right balance of calcium and phosphorus for developing bones and teeth; adult dogs require foods that are naturally rich in protein for good muscle maintenance and essential fatty acids to help nourish their coat and maintain healthy eyes; neutered dogs, or those who are not as mobile, require fewer calories supplied in ‘light’ recipes. Older dogs benefit from added glucosamine for optimal joint mobility and prebiotics to aid the body’s natural defences. At Burgess, we’ve addressed these particular needs in our range of recipes.”


DID YOU KNOW?

It wasn’t until the 1930s that foods specially designed for pets appeared. Before then, dogs were simply fed the scraps left over from the household meals, which wouldn’t have been particularly good for their health.


However, switching diets as your dog reaches particular milestones – from puppy, to adult, to senior dog – is something that has to be done gradually, to avoid upset tummies. You should plan to do this over a couple of weeks. While this may seem like a long time, it’s patience pays off if you want to avoid any problems such as diarrhoea or your dog refusing to eat what you’ve dished out for them. Unless you’ve been advised by your vet, never change food suddenly.


DID YOU KNOW?

There are 37 essential nutrients that a dog needs in its diet. 

Source: Pet Food Manufacturers Association


The UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, recommends this step-by-step approach:

  • Day 1-3: Introduce a small amount of the new food separately. Give your dog their regular meal as normal. In a separate bowl, put down a small teaspoonful of their new food. Keep them on separate plates or bowls and don’t mix the foods together yet. This is to introduce them to the new food slowly. They’ll probably sniff it and may even eat it (but don’t worry if they don’t yet).
     
  • Day 4-10: Increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old food. You can now start mixing the foods together, though if your pet is very picky it’s best to keep them separate for the whole process. Start by mixing a very small amount of the new diet in with the old diet – less than a teaspoon is plenty at this stage. If adding the new food goes down well and they’re still eating all their food, then you can slowly increase the portion of new food and decrease the amount of old food in equal parts every day. Gradually keep adding the new food and decreasing the old until you have made the transition fully. 
     
  • Day 11-14: Gradually phase out the old food completely. Once your pet is consistently eating the mix of new food alongside the old for at least a week, start phasing out the old food. Again, if they don’t want to eat it at any point, then you may need to decrease the amount of new food for another few days.

Dr Moyes advises: “If these steps are followed, introducing a new food to your dog should be quite straightforward. However, if you’re having any problems, speak to your vet to ensure that the food you’re feeding is right for your dog and that they don’t have any health issues that might be affecting their appetite.”


Does your dog need a new feeding plan?

Check out the full range of Burgess Dog Food – from Original Supadog to Sensitive, Greyhound and Lurcher, Working and our latest Paul O’Grady’s range – there’s something to meet the nutritional needs of every dog.


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A DOG'S DINNER? How much should you feed your dog? How many times a day should you feed them? Will feeding treats lead to obesity? What foods are dangerous to dogs? Our essential guide has all the answers...

WHAT’S ON THE LABEL? HERE'S SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT... Complete, complementary and crude ash? Have you ever wondered what the ingredients list on pet food packaging actually means? Find out with our essential guide...

DOG NUTRITION Q&A WITH OUR VET For your dog, it’s not just a case of you are what you eat, it’s more about what your human feeds you…

 

Sources: pdsa.org.uk, pfma.org.uk

 

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