Switching Puppy Kibble
If you recently bought a new puppy and are thinking to switch to a different kibble you need to consider a few things before you make the switch. First of all, you will need to learn how to choose a kibble that your puppy will thrive on. Furthermore, it is important that you learn the process for weaning your puppy off the old kibble and on to the new food. This will help avoid stomach upset if this is a food your puppy has never tried before.
Deciding the best food for your new Shih Tzu puppy is a tough decision. You want to make sure the new food is nutritious. Not every food on the market is good for your new puppy’s health. Often pet food contains unhealthy additives and chemicals. I’ve written another blog post where I dive deeper into what constitutes a pet food as healthy. Click here if you want to learn more about the subject.
Next, you need to learn how to decipher a pet food label. The ingredient list on a pet food label is usually put in order based on weight. The ingredients that make up a large sum of the weight are listed first. Meat should always be the first ingredient unless your dog has some type of special dietary requirement.
Watch out for products that don’t name the type of meat in the product. For example, meat meal can even include road kill. Often meat meal is sourced from another country of origin as well. All of the ingredients in the dog food should come from the United States in my opinion.
Have you ever seen the term poultry-by-products on a bag of kibble? Poultry-by-products can include anything for chicken feet to turkey feathers. These ingredients are put in the food to boost the protein content while saving money. Poultry-by-products usually contain minimal if any nutritional value. Furthermore, the by-products may cause gastrointestinal issues in your pet.
When it comes to carbohydrates less is best. Our pets usually do fine with a small amount of natural carbohydrate in their food. But, dogs don’t need a ton of carbohydrates. Some fresh berries and carrots added into the food is typically not a problem. The problem is when pet food companies try to stuff carbs into the food to cut back on healthy protein. A tell tale sign for instance is when you see corn on the ingredient list several times in different places. The manufacturer usually plays with the wording to make the obvious less obvious. For example, the words corn, corn flour and corn meal may all be part of the ingredients.
Now let’s talk about how to transition your Shih Tzu puppy to a new food. Dogs like humans aren’t always keen about trying something new. Furthermore, if your puppy is trying the food for the first time it is best to go slow to avoid stomach upset. If your dog already tried the food before there is no need to go slow. But, if this is a brand new food, I suggest gradually increasing the new food over the course of a week.
Step one is to replace about 1/4 of your Shih Tzu puppy’s old food with the new food. If your puppy eats a few times a day simply divide the new food by three and mix it into the old food. Continue feeding the new food at this portion for a few days. Watch out for the following signs of gastrointestinal upset:
- Excessive gas
If any of the above symptoms develop take a break for a few days. Try to introduce the new food again in a few days. If stomach issues develop again you may want to return to the old food and consider looking for a different alternative dog food. Not every food agrees with every dog.
If your pet is cruising along with no gastrointestinal issues you can move on to an increase of 1/2 new food to 1/2 old food. Once again, follow this regimen for a few days. The next step would be to increase the new food ratio to 75% for a couple of days. The final step to complete the transition would be to offer a full meal of the new kibble as long as your pet isn’t having tummy troubles.
Please make sure to talk with your Veterinarian as well before switching your puppy to a new kibble. Your vet may have specific guidelines that he or she wants you to follow. Also, it is important to make sure that the food you choose to feed your puppy is either for puppies or all life stages. Puppies have different nutritional requirements compared to adult dogs. Also, look for the AAFCO (https://www.aafco.org/) seal on your pet food of choice. AAFCO is responsible for making sure that pet food companies adhere to certain set standards.