Changing Dog Food Too Quickly Symptoms And How To Fix Them

Last Updated on March 9, 2022 by Marco C.

Dogs are omnivores so you’d think they rarely have digestive problems. Not always true, however. Here are some changing dog food too quickly symptoms and how to fix them. We’ll go over what you can expect, how to avoid most issues, and what to do if some problems arise. A vet’s recommendation should always take priority over anything we say, of course, but these are some good general tips that will likely help you avoid any issues in the first place.

Changing Dog Food Too Quickly Symptoms

The main symptoms you can expect to encounter aren’t all that major but can lead to bigger things if your dog has some underlying health problems. Here’s what might happen at first:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Stomach upset
  • Panting and salivation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Uncontrolled peeing
  • Dehydration (from the vomiting and peeing)
  • Hyperactivity

If you notice any or a few of these issues after you’ve changed your dog’s diet, contact your vet immediately, They should know what are the specific underlying conditions and predispositions of your dog, whether you should be worried about any of those symptoms, and what you should do next. Ideally, you will have called your vet even before you made the switch but it’s better late than never.

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting you might want to skip the next meal and offer plenty of clean water. Offering some plain pumpkin or boiled white rice can also help harden your dog’s stool.

Go Slow Instead To Avoid The Changing Dog Food Too Quickly Symptoms

So, what’s the best way to avoid any of the above changing dog food too quickly symptoms? Obviously, by just not going too quickly. A lot of dog owners groan at this tip as they don’t like the extra hassle but a slow switch is usually the best way to avoid most issues.

How is this done? Simple – start by mixing a bit of the new food in your dog’s old food. A 72/25 ratio is a good starting point but you may need to go 90/10 if your dog doesn’t like the new food. Then, increase the new food ratio every few days until you get to 50/50 by the end of the first week. Keep going until you’re feeding your dog 100% new food after a couple of weeks.

This method is very easy to do if you’re switching one type of wet/canned food with another. If you’re moving from wet to dry or vice versa it’s also still doable, it just looks messy and weird.

This method can be annoyingly slow but it’s usually the safest way to do this, especially with senior dogs. Again, call your vet ahead of time to make sure that you’ve picked the right food for your dog.

Read more about: How Much Food To Feed A Labrador Retriever?

Switching Dog Food Cold Turkey

Switching dog food without mixing is usually frowned upon but it’s often just necessary. Not only are we sometimes just too busy, especially when we’re lone dog owners, but there are also quite a few dog-related reasons to go cold turkey:

  • The old dog food simply isn’t available anymore
  • The old food turns out to be extremely unhealthy and you need to cut it as soon as possible
  • You’re switching from food with grains to one that’s 100% grain-free and the two can cause digestive issues when mixed

If any such concern is forcing you to go cold turkey, there are still things you can do to make sure everything goes smoothly. Obviously, contacting your vet ahead of time is important but the basic steps are pretty simple:

  1. First, fast your dog a bit by skipping a single meal. This is done to ensure that your dog’s stomach is empty and all the previous food is properly digested. Skipping two meals is not necessary or recommended.
  2. Make the first meal of the new diet small – you don’t want to suddenly overfeed your dog.
  3. Add some probiotics such as plain pumpkin or food supplements.
  4. Monitor your dog’s behavior in the first 12 to 24 hours for any of the aforementioned symptoms. Call your vet if you see anything unusual. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of clean water too.

What Are The Changing Dog Food Too Quickly Symptoms and How To Avoid Them?

As you can see, the symptoms of changing your dog’s diet too fast can range from annoying to quite unfortunate. Vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and an overall stomach upset are the initial symptoms you can expect to see. If your dog has some underlying conditions, additional health problems are possible which is why it’s wise to always contact your vet as soon as you notice anything weird.

What Are The Changing Dog Food Too Quickly Symptoms and How To Avoid Them

Such symptoms aren’t that common with healthy dogs, however, so as long as you’ve chosen a good new food, everything should be fine. Going slow is usually recommended but even if you try switching cold turkey your dog will still likely be ok. Just fast your pooch first, starts with smaller portions, add some probiotics, monitor your dog for any symptoms, and everything should be ok.

Read more about: Why Do Labradors Eat So Much?


How to change dog food quickly?

When it comes to switching your dog’s food to something else, the wise thing is to do so slowly. A gradual switch lasting one or two weeks will usually guarantee that your dog easily accepts the new food and that there are no health problems and unfortunate symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Sometimes the switch does need to be done quickly, however. It may be because the old food is suddenly unavailable, because it doesn’t mix well with the new food (grains and grain-free raw diet, for example), or for other reasons. In these cases, the way to do the quick switch right is fairly simple.
First, fast your pet for a meal (not more). This will ensure that your pet’s stomach is empty when you introduce the new food. To avoid any frustration, you can distract your pet with an interesting activity or just time it so that you’re not home.
Next, Make sure that the first couple of meals are smaller as you don’t want to introduce too much of the new food all at once. Lastly, consider adding some probiotics to the food at first. Pumpkin is a good natural source of probiotics or you can use a good commercial probiotic food supplement brand.