3 Steps for Successfully Switching Your Dog’s Pet Food

Whether your dog needs a dietetic food or they’re just entering a new stage of life, there are several reasons you may need to transition them to a different dog food. When the time comes to make the switch, you’ll want to do it in a way that doesn’t cause stomach upset. Here are three tips that can help.


Determine the proper serving

bag of dry hills food with highlight on recommended feeding chart

It’s never good to overfeed your dog, so make sure the amount you’re giving them is appropriate for their weight and health needs. The best resource for information and advice is your veterinarian, but you can also check the feeding guides on the back of your dog’s food packaging for a general idea.


Follow this 7-day transition schedule

Once your portions are correct, gradually decrease the amount of current (old) dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food. The foods may be offered mixed in a single bowl or in separate bowls side-by-side. Be patient — if it seems like your dog needs a little more time, add an extra day or two to the schedule.

pet food transition days 1-2
DAYS 1-2
pet food transition days 3-4
DAYS 3-4
pet food transition days 5-6
DAYS 5-6
pet food transition day 7

Add canned food as a topper if needed

dog eating from bowl with can of wet hill's food on the side

Some dogs are more stubborn than others, so while it’s not a necessity, adding a bit of wet food can make all the difference. Be sure to check with your vet on the proper amounts so your dog stays within their daily caloric intake requirements.

Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Becky Mullis, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)