Skip to main content

Many dog get diarrhea when we change their food.

Indeed, this occurrence is so common, that many bags of dog food have been adding clear instructions on how to switch dogs over a new food, for quite some time now. 

Nobody likes to deal with taking dogs out several times a day and cleaning messes. 

Not to mention, some dogs owners may be concerned about their dog's health and wonder after how many bouts of diarrhea it's time for their dogs to see the vet. 

Fortunately, in most cases, diarrhea after being switched over to a new dog food is self-limited, but why does it happen in the first place?

 Let's discover more about what may be going on, from the experts in the field. 

So Why Do Dogs Get Diarrhea When You Change Their Food? 

Apparently, it's all a matter of the community of bacteria that are normally residing in your dog's gut. 

When your dog is put on a new food, shifts occur in his gut microbiome diversity and composition. This leads to significant functional changes. 

Based on a study conducted on beagles, these substantial changes occurred within a few days of an abrupt diet change. 

It took the dogs about 6 days for their gut to stabilize according to the study. 

It took the dogs about 6 days for their gut to stabilize according to the study. 

How Long Does it Take For Things to Stabilize?

Kelly Swanson, co-author of this recent study, reveals that it only takes six days for microbial communities of the dog's gut to shift and stabilize.

With this data in mind, animal nutrition researchers should therefore expect to find a stable microbiome within 10 days.

Should Food Be Changed Gradually?

Although Swanson's study involved a very abrupt diet change, the results support the common guidance of switching dogs over to a new dog food gradually. 

Scroll to Continue

Discover More

Screenshot 2022-11-29 200314

Scotland's "Suicide Bridge," Where Dogs Jump Off

As odd as it may sound, there is a bridge located in Scotland from which hundreds of dogs have jumped off, giving this bridge a bad rap.

Screenshot 2022-11-28 134639

Why Does My Dog Yawn When I Kiss Him?

If your dog yawns when you kiss him, you may be wondering what's up with this behavior. Discover why dogs yawn and what it means.

Spleen Cancer in Dogs

Different Types of Pain in Dogs

There are different types of pain in dogs and differentiating one from another can help you better understand your companion.

Switching dogs over a new diet over a seven-day- period therefore offers the advantage of giving the dog's body time to adjust as the microbes change over. 

If the microbes are not in a happy situation, this can lead to flatulence and loose stools, explains Swanson for Science Daily. 

It's therefore a good idea to swap that dog food gradually.

How Long Should the Transition Take?

The transition period should last for 7 to 10 days, depending on your dog and how sensitive his digestive system is. 

If your dog is known for having a sensitive stomach, you may want to go even slower, possibly taking 10 to 14 days. 

Otherwise, 7 days may suffix, but you may need to go more gradually if you notice signs of digestive upset. 

Switching Over the Course of 7 Days 

  • Day 1: 75 percent old food, 25 percent new food
  • Day 2: 75 percent old food, 25 percent new food
  • Day 3: 50 percent old food, 50 percent new food
  • Day 4: 50 percent old food, 50 percent new food
  • Day 5: 25 percent old food, 75 percent new food
  • Day 6: 25 percent old food, 75 percent new food
  • Day 7: 100 percent new dog food 

Switching Over the Course of 10 Days 

  • Day 1: 75 percent old food, 25 percent new food
  • Day 2: 75 percent old food, 25 percent new food
  • Day 3: 75 percent old food, 25 percent new food
  • Day 4: 50 percent old food, 50 percent new food
  • Day 5: 50 percent old food, 50 percent new food
  • Day 6: 50 percent old food, 50 percent new food
  • Day 7: 25 percent old food, 75 percent new food
  • Day 8: 25 percent old food, 75 percent new food
  • Day 9: 25 percent old food,75 percent new food
  • Day 10: 100 percent new food
Slow and steady wins the race in dogs prone to digestive issues. 

Slow and steady wins the race in dogs prone to digestive issues. 

If your dog develops digestive issues at any time, this could be a sign that the new food should be increased slower.

If problems recur though, it may be indicative of an underlying problem, so don't hesitate to have your dog seen by your vet. 

References:

  • University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "New dog food? Study shows Fido's gut bacteria could turn over within a week." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2022.
  • Lin CY, Jha AR, Oba PM, Yotis SM, Shmalberg J, Honaker RW, Swanson KS. Longitudinal fecal microbiome and metabolite data demonstrate rapid shifts and subsequent stabilization after an abrupt dietary change in healthy adult dogs. Anim Microbiome. 2022 Aug 1

Related Articles