So how do you switch from one food to another? Do you begin by adding a few kibbles at a time? A quarter-cup? Gradually add a scientifically calculated increasing proportion until you’re finally down to 99% new brand and 1% old? Did you try going cold-turkey once and the dog had diarrhea for a week?
If so, let me suggest that you’re maybe thinking the wrong way about how dogs should eat.
Wouldn’t you be pretty concerned if every time you ate more than a quarter-inch slice of something you got raging runs? It’s no more normal for dogs than it is for us. What we’ve done very incorrectly is that we’ve been convinced that dogs should only be fed one brand, often only one flavor of one brand, for their entire lives.
Dogs should be able to handle just about everything you throw at them – hopefully healthy, but let’s face it. It’s not evolutionarily sound for a dog to not be able to tolerate an occasional dose of Quarter Pounder leftovers and a heel of bread, much less a switch from Mister Magoo’s Chicken and Sweet Potato to Mister Magoo’s Lamb and Rice Formula.
The reason they get so out of sorts is that their stomachs and intestines are tricked into thinking there are only five substances in the world – chicken that’s been cooked at 500 degrees for half a day and then ground up, ground yellow corn, sweet potato flakes, and tomato pomace. Or substitute whatever ingredients your kibble uses. A digestive system that has never seen anything else freaks out when lamb meal and rice are introduced – it speeds up to dump what it thinks might be dangerous strange stuff out as fast as it can, and the dog gets what we affectionately call “cannon butt.”
The solution is SO simple, all it requires is ignoring TV commercials. Oh, and sometimes your vet. Dogs do NOT, heavens no, need to stay on one brand or one flavor. You can have twenty-five bags sitting on your counter and take from each as you desire. For most people that’s kind of silly, but for sure you should never be scared of feeding two or three. Or, if you absolutely love your one brand and flavor, scrape the peas off the kids’ plates into the dog bowl. The next night empty the yogurt container in it. Keep a bit of variety going in every day.
This will really save your bacon when you get a hundred miles out of town and realize your husband forgot to pack the food that you have to mail-order from Tasmania every six months. Knowing that you can pick up a small bag of a lesser-but-acceptable stuff and your dog will feel normal on vacation is a heck of a relief.