Hi Everyone, I just registered in the hope that I could get some advise. I have 2 dogs: a 9y/o whippet and 9/yo Jack Russell. No health issues . I have for the first time ever been feeding a regular grocery store dog food for several years and I just have to switch to something I feel is healthier. I asked the advise of a fellow whippet owner whose dogs are also older and in great condition. She uses Arcana Wild Prairie (chicken); Instinct Raw by Natures Variety chicken medallions and Tiki canned. I’m going to try to ease into this starting with the Arcana dry but there are many horror stories about serious, lasting GI disturbances from the switch to this food. I’ve had dogs for many decades and switched foods many times without incident but it seems from what I’ve read that switching to grain free, high protein can be tricky???
So….if you have any experience, cautions, or advise for me, I’d appreciate it.
Get canned pure pumpkin and start adding a spoonful to their food at each meal when you start the change. Give digestive enzymes and probiotics, human ones from the health food store o Swanson’s online ae just fine.
The issue is that after eating the same food for a while the dog’s body adjusts to that specific food. It produces the enzymes needed for that food and the probiotics that are not supported by that food die off. The new food needs different levels of different enzymes and a different mix of probiotics to help digest it. After your dog has been completely on the new food for a couple weeks, you can start trying to decrease the added stuff, but I give enzymes with every kibble meal and probiotics a couple times a week for life.
Great. Thank you.
Any special enzymes or probiotics? How long do you think I should take to switch? I’ll check Swansons now and see what looks right. Have you used Arcana or grain free Patty?
OK, I see a Enzyme Probiotic Complex. Seems good, both in one? So many different kinds/choices. I’m feeling ignorant here! I should know about this stuff.
Most Acana foods are a no-no for one of my dogs. He has intolerance issues with chicken, many grains, and, I recently discovered, tomato. I haven’t tried a lentil/legume heavy food on him yet, but I only feed grain free.
For Swanson’s, my favorite probiotics are Dr. Stephen Langer’s and Soil Based Organisms. Their Swanson’s Premium Enzymes are great. The 2 in 1 is probably fine for your purposes though, my dog has issues.
You can always ease them into a 5 star food too by going with something that is slightly better than what you’re feeding now but not being drastically different. If you’re feeding a 1-star food, go with a 3 or 4 star grain-inclusive food, then maybe a 4-4.5 star grain free food, then try a couple 5 star foods. I actually feed 4.5 and 5 star foods. I do keep a grain-inclusive food in my rotation but it is gluten free (Nutrisource small/med breed puppy, Nature’s Logic and sometimes Nature’s Select Hi-Pro). Basically, I avoid wheat, rye, barley (gluten grains). Barley is easily contaminated with other gluten grains during processing at the plant. Rice, millet and quinoa are gluten free. This is just one way to transition to a better food. If they get digestive upset, then don’t increase the new food amount until they are regular. Transitioning can be quick or take weeks or months.
Thanks again Patty. Pugmomsandy, do you mean you can just rotate between , ie, Nutrisource, Natures Logic and Natures Select without transitioning slowly? I assume you mean feed one brand for a while then another. Why can I do that without “transitioning”? is it because they have similar ingredients? I’m so glad I found this site,! Thank you.
I have several dogs. I have 2 or 3 bags open at once. So technically, they are eating 2 familiar foods when I open a new bag. I used to only have 2 bags at once, but with fosters, they allow me to open 3 bags (I use about 300 cups a month). Even using only 2 foods, you wouldn’t need to transition since one of them will always be something “old” when you add food #2 because I’ve never had 2 bags of food go empty at the same time, there’s always one “old” food in there. I usually make a “mixture” so I can make it how I want – the amount of “old” food and the amount of “new” food. It’s like always being in transition, I guess. When I’m too busy to make a “mixture”, they get a scoop directly out of one bag so that would be just that food, no mix. I also have fosters so they don’t get a food transition at all. I give probiotics/enzymes, ground psyllium for loose stools and they just have to eat what I give them which is 4.5 to 5 star foods. I just don’t want you to be discouraged if there is tummy troubles. A switch can be done, quickly or slowly. And poor quality foods can have sugar and MSG or other addicting ingredient which can make transitioning difficult when they refuse to eat the new food! You can do a mix of our old food with some new food until they can get off of the old food. I can’t seem to give up Ramen noodle with at least 5 sources of MSG in it!! Bad, I know!! My dogs have been eating mixes for at least 2 years so they can eat single foods any time. They actually eat different kibbles, different canned foods, raw food, dehydrated food, anything, no problem. That is (hopefully) what you can achieve by starting to rotate. I even got a 13 yr old foster that was eating Hill’s W/D when I got him and I put him straight to my regular food, supplements and he’s fine. He’s 14 now and still eats 4.5 to 5 star kibbles and wet food (canned, dehyrated). Seniors should get more wet foods BTW. Sometimes I give ground psyllium or chia seed with canned foods to make the stool more formed (solid formed vs soft formed). I have 5 fosters right now who did fine with no transition. BUT some dogs do have trouble with it.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 5 months ago by pugmomsandy.
One of my dogs had a very delicate stomach when I got her, so when we found a food that worked for her, we stuck with it. The problem was that it was one of the Diamond foods and they got recalled. So I had to do a cold turkey switch, which always really messed her up. A year and a half ago, just before the last major Diamond recall, I found this site and started hearing about rotational feeding and how it could help dogs with sensitive stomachs. I jumped on the band wagon and committed to rotational feeding. The first few times I switched, I took an entire month to do it. Then I cut it down to 2 weeks, then 1. Now, I switch food weekly with no transition over the summer, and before the weather got warm and humid I was feeding a different kibble at every meal. Once dogs get used to switching, they no longer need transition time or need only a very short transition. In the last year and a half, my dogs have only had soft stools once for a few hours and not had any real diarrhea at all. I have to assume that their gut is healthy and the microflora in their intestines are diverse. BTW, I live rural, so the dogs can find all kinds of disgusting things to eat, and they do, but they never get sick from them.
I ended up mixing foods because I couldn’t decide what food I wanted to use since there’s a million kinds out there! So after 3 years of trying things out, my staples are Nutrisource (grain free and small/med breed puppy), Nature’s Select (local) only the grain free or Hi-Pro formulas, Brothers Complete, Merrick (local), occasionally Nutrisca (some issues with their chicken from China and possible farmed salmon) so I just get their Lamb food, Vital Essentials freeze dried nibblets and I’ve thought about Victor because they are local too (made in Texas). For cans, I use Merrick, Wellness Stews, Weruva, Nature’s Logic, Hound and Gatos and sometimes Nutrisca lamb. Dehydrated foods I use are The Honest Kitchen, Addiction (with Big Dog Natural), Sojo’s (with Big Dog Natural) and I make my own raw food with duck, goat, tripe and organs and supplements and they eat whole raw sardines and sometimes RMB (raw meaty bones) like necks, pork ribs and chicken legs. All foods have their pros and cons and not all dogs do well on certain foods. For me, these work. I am thinking of boycotting Dogswell though. Too many issues with their treats and they use chinese chicken. Actually, I think I’ll scratch them totally off my list now… and Sojo’s uses some dried veggies from China so that’s going to have to go too when my bag is gone. It is frustrating sometimes trying to find good foods with good ingredients. I’ve probably used about 20 different kibbles in the past 3 or 4 years (my dog is 6 now). He’s such an inspiration for me to make homemade!! I lub him so much!! He has his own freezer full of goodies!
- This reply was modified 7 years, 5 months ago by pugmomsandy.
I did it exactly that way when I started, so as soon as I had them switched to one food, I started transitioning to the next.corinneParticipant
I just joined this site, and already learnt so much. I have 2 chichihuas, age 2and 4 and fed them beneful. They are healthy, but i know I need to feed them something else. What is recommended for this breed. I prefer dried food so I can leave it out all the time. They just eat when they want to. They are not overweight and get excercise.I was surprised at the amount of dog food brands, now I am left truly in the dark as the best food for them. Can anyone give me some advise. For a snack 2 times a day they get beneful baked delights. Thanks.
I like using Vital Essentials freeze dried nibblets and Dr Becker Bites for treats. The VE is actually food, not just empty calories. For small dogs, some really small kibbles are Nature’s Logic, Amicus, Nutrisource small/medium breed puppy and Nutrisource grain free Lamb and Nature’s Select Hi-Pro and Nature’s Select Grain Free. Some other good brands that I haven’t used in a while are Merrick Classic and Merrick Grain Free and Merrick Whole Earth Farms and Fromms. I don’t know the kibble size of these. Annamaet grain free looks good too but haven’t tried it yet. Need to use up a couple bags before buying some more!
So much good info. I’ll read all the links, thanks for taking the time to help. I think I’m going to go the route of upgrading my grain inclusive, then moving towards grain free. I like the idea of kibbles above for treats. Getting enzymes and probiotics tomorrow. Hug your hounds!.RescueDaneMomMember
pugmomsandy- I tried the Annamaet Salcha (grain-free poultry formula) awhile back and Max loved it. I didn’t try the other varieties because Max only likes poultry-based kibbles. If I recall, they had a medium size kibble. Not small like Nature’s Logic but not large either like Orijen or Acana. I would recommend it. 🙂ikarosParticipant
hi, i have 11 dogs and i am feeding acana. thinking of changing to belcando. any thoughts? does anyone know this brand?
I’ve never heard of it.RescueDaneMomMember
I googled Belcando because I had never heard of it either. It is made in Germany. It looks like an OK food but I wouldn’t switch to it from Acana. They say “All protein sources come from animals deemed fit for human consumption.” But I don’t like that they use “poultry meal” or “poultry fat.” It doesn’t tell you what kind of poultry it is- chicken, turkey, or duck?
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