Changing your dog’s food regularly without a good reason isn’t a good idea, as whilst humans would soon get bored of eating the same old thing every day, dogs need a reasonable level of stability in terms of their food and mealtimes in order to thrive.
Adding veggies, a range of treats and offering different flavours of your dog’s chosen diet can add a little variety without interfering with the core nutrition that your dog needs or running the risk of leaving them with an upset stomach, but aside from this, it is generally wise to keep your dog’s diet consistent and not change it around unnecessarily or without a good reason.
However, there are a number of situations that mean that your dog should indeed have their diet changed to something else, and your dog themselves may give you some important clues to this, if you know how to recognise them!
In this article we will share five clues that can tell you that your dog needs to be fed a different diet, and how to interpret them. Read on to learn more.
First of all, if your dog is too fat, the actual food that they are fed might not be the problem – it could be that they’re being fed too much of it, being given too many treats between meals, or aren’t getting enough exercise to match their food intake.
However, your dog’s diet might not be the right fit for them too, in terms of its nutritional makeup and how well this matches what your dog actually needs. If their food is too high in fat or carbs or contains bulking and filling agents, these things can make some dogs gain weight even though they’re eating the appropriate portion size for their build and exercise levels.
Try a food with a different nutritional makeup and more lean protein, less filler, and less fat.
Food that contains a lot of bulking agents offer poor nutritional value compared to the portion size itself – so your dog would need a larger portion of this rather than less of a better-quality food to meet their needs. Dogs will of course be more than pleased to eat a large meal as opposed to a small portion, but a lot of that bulk and filler is indigestible and unnecessary, and this in turn translates to a lot more poop production!
If your dog poops a lot, has overly large stools, or if they are gassy or have very foul-smelling stools, a change of diet could once more resolve all of these issues – and provide your dog with a better nutritional balance.
Your dog’s diet isn’t likely to be a triggering factor in them being more or less likely to develop urinary tract infections, although it is not wise to feed dry food to a dog that is prone to them, as this can lead to lower their hydration levels that in turn, worsen the problem.
However, if your dog frequently has urinary tract issues then they might be better served by a special diet either prescribed by or recommended by your vet that contains a specific balance of ingredients and nutrients that are designed to support a healthy urinary tract and reduce the chances of future infections developing.
Poor dentition is all too common in dogs in the UK, as few dog owners are committed to cleaning and caring for their dog’s teeth properly. There is no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth and arranging regular dental check-ups with your vet and if and when needed, a more in-depth sedated dental procedure, but your dog’s diet might help, hinder, or need to change depending on the condition of their teeth.
Hard kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than wet food, and you can buy special dental diets too that are harder and more abrasive than the norm, to help to keep plaque and tartar down as a preventative measure.
On the other hand, if your dog’s teeth are already in very poor condition with lots of missing teeth, or the teeth are fragile and easily damaged, after as much improvement has been made as is possible by means of a veterinary dental procedure, your dog may need to be fed wet or soft food to enable them to eat without discomfort or damage.
Dogs with food allergies usually need to be given a hypoallergenic diet to reduce allergenic flare-ups, but some dogs simply have sensitive stomachs and so, tend to be prone to various foods disagreeing with them even though they don’t actually have a genuine allergy.
Choosing the right diet for a dog with a sensitive stomach usually means picking one that contains a minimal number of individual ingredients and is free from colourants and unnecessary additives, but it also means that you should keep your dog’s diet stable and avoid then switching it around, or giving treats and scraps, and so once you have found the right formula, consistency is again key.