Dogs can survive on one diet their entire lives. But some dogs may require variety in their meals for many reasons.
Though dogs do not need variety in their diet, switching up things, a bit, can help keep them healthy. This is especially true for dogs that are;
Recovering from illness
Trying to gain weight
Have food allergies
When does a dog require variety in diet?
A dog’s age can determine if they need variety in their food. Puppies need more calories and nutrients for their growth and development. Feeding them a variety of ingredients facilitates their growth.
As a dog gets older, they become accustomed to their weaning diet. At this point, it may not be necessary to introduce new foods.
A dog recovering from a gut infection require a softer diet they can easily digest. Vets recommend a pet bland diet comprising of vegetables and fruits.
A pooch that is struggling to add weight can benefit from the additional nutrients in their meals. A meat-combo with lots of veggies can do the trick. For example, mixing chicken, ground beef, eggs, green beans, and kale is a perfect weight-booster for scrawny dogs.
Finicky dogs need food variety as well. In most cases, adding a new sweeter food, encourages the dog to stick to his usual diet. A perfect example is adding chicken broth to commercial dry kibble
When should you not change a dog’s diet?
On the downside, variety in diet can overwhelm a dog’s digestive system. Dogs that are used to one type of food are more likely to experience this.
For such dogs, changing their diet or the ingredients in their food abruptly can result in;
The best time to add variety in a dog’s diet is in the weaning phase. This prevents any digestive issues as the dog grows older.
If you started your dog on commercial pet food, it is still possible to introduce other foods in his palate. The trick is in doing it slowly over time.
Step by step procedure
Consult your vet first before introducing your dog to new food. A trained vet can help you come up with a nutritional plan for switching your dog into new food.
Start with an 80:20 ratio. Let 80% be the old food while 20% of the new variety
Gradually increase the new food as you decrease the old food. The goal is to end up with 80% of the new food and 20% of the old food
Continue monitoring your dog’s reaction as you add various foods in his diet. If you notice any bad symptoms, stop the new diet immediately.
Not all dogs require variety in their food. Only consider new diets if your dog is suddenly picky, recovering from illness, or needs a nutrition boost. Switch the diet gradually to avoid digestive problems.