Switching Dog Food Cold Turkey

Well, for your understanding let’s make it clear that “switching dog food cold turkey” means switching dog food instantly. There are debates that how, when, and why one should or should not switch dog food cold turkey. Before switching dog food give us a read because we have provided our detailed overview of the matter.

switching dog food cold turkey

Switching Dog Food Quickly Or Cold Turkey

When your dog is on a certain diet, you may need to change it. There could be multiple reasons why one needs to change his dog’s food? These can be

  • Because your vet prescribed another food.
  • The existing food plan was not meeting your dog’s nutritional needs.
  • Your dog is an adult and has to switch from puppy to adult food.
  • Your dog has to switch from dry to canned products. Dry food has its limitations. Sometimes it gets stuck in teeth and causes oral problems. So the vet may recommend switching from dry to canned food.
  • Your dog’s stomach is upset because of the existing food and you have to switch.
  • Your budget does not allow you to buy certain dog foods so you want to switch to a cost-effective solution.
  • You may want to upgrade your dog’s food.
  • Your dog has an allergy to certain food ingredients so you have to replace the food.

Should you switch dogs’ food cold turkey?

While others may suggest and claim that you switch it instantly and there is no harm in it. we suggest otherwise. Make the process easy by

Switching one serving at a time

This is not about switching food, it is a matter of the dog’s health and you want the best for him. His body is already used to existing dog food. Switching instantly can upset his stomach.

Giving in portions

It is not wise that your dog was on a certain diet and you replaced it with another. The body and stomach need some time to adjust. So replace food with a new one in portions.

Breaking the addiction

Sometimes your dog is literally addicted to its food and replacing it can be a tough choice for it.

Your dog won’t welcome a new diet easily. Breaking it down in portions will slowly break its addiction.

Side effects of switching dog food cold turkey?

We can see a lot of “Nos” while switching dog food cold turkey. You should never switch instantly because here is what happens when you change a dog’s food too quickly.

  1. It can upset your dog’s stomach which may lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
  2. If your dog is allergic to certain ingredients, this is the best time to know. Switching cold turkey is not a good choice. Instead, give it in portions. Eating the allergy-causing ingredient in less portion will do less harm to your dog and you will know what to do.
  3. It will be easy to train your dog to new eating habits by slowly ingesting a new diet in its system.
  4. Instantly changing your dog’s diet can make it sick, nauseous, and allergic.

How long will be a dog sick after switching food?

Switching dog food can cause gastrointestinal and digestive issues. Your dog may suffer from nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting. If you are worried about how long will my dog have diarrhea after switching food or how long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new food. Here is an answer.

Usually, this is a one-time game. Your dog should be fine after that. However, If the symptoms persist even after 24 hours, consult your vet for further guidance and advice.


As there is always another side, sometimes mixing gradually doesn’t work. You have to give your dog a new regimen to follow without delay. This can happen because of the differences between the two diets. For example, how you will mix dry and wet food? Or what if one food digests faster than another? It can cause digestive issues or what to do if you don’t know your newly adopted dog’s previous diet. So in such situations, without an option, you have to switch cold turkey.

For this

Starve your pet

Instead of just replacing one diet with another, Fast your dog for one meal. This will allow the previous food to digest completely and make the stomach ready to accept another type of food. Hopefully, there will be no bloating, diarrhea, or vomit issue.

Start with a minimum quantity

When switching cold turkey, even when your pet has fastened for one meal, don’t serve the full amount. Start with fewer portions to give the stomach time to prepare for a new diet regimen.

Give digestive aids

Add food that helps indigestion. This will resolve digestive issues and your dog will feel light even after taking a new food.While food transition, giving your dog probiotics to aid in digestion is very much recommended.

What type of dog foods can be switched cold turkey?

Although switching cold turkey is mostly not recommended but when necessary, switching between foods that have similar fat and protein content is safe. A food having more fat content than the existing one will cause an upset stomach.

Many breeders, shelters, and dogs owners who have adopted dogs and didn’t know about the previous diet switched cold turkey. Most of them said that their dog didn’t show any symptoms of illness. While some claimed that their dog had vomiting and diarrhea for 1-2 days. Also, some dogs show more severe symptoms at a young age when switched cold turkey.

Switching cold turkey may or may not have any side effects on your pet. This depends on your situation. Sometimes puppies are not comfortable and sometimes you can put the fault in food.  Some people may think that switching to a better brand will not cause side effects. This perception is wrong. Upgrading has nothing to do with side effects.

In the end, we suggest that if it is not necessary, switch gradually. Even if you are transitioning to a better brand and upgraded food ingredients.

We realize that a full and fine stomach means happy pup and a happy pup means happy you!

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