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Four Signs that It’s Time to Change Your Dog’s Food

little puppy food bowl blogAs a loving pet parent, you’ve probably done your best to choose a healthy dog food for your canine companion. But sometimes, even with the best intentions, a particular food just doesn’t work for a dog’s individual needs. Below are four signals that it might be time to change your dog’s food:

1.) Weight gain: If you’ve noticed that your dog has a gained a few pounds, it may be time to make an appointment with a veterinarian. A vet will be able to rule out possible medical causes for weight gain and recommend a weight management food or a plan to reduce calories that will fit your furry best friend’s needs.

2.) Frequent scratching: If your sweet pup is scratching incessantly, and there are no signs of fleas or other parasites, an allergy may be to blame. Food is one of the many triggers for an allergic reaction. Consult with a vet to find a limited ingredient dog food or come up with an elimination plan to uncover exactly what your dog is allergic to.

3.) GI upset: Low quality pet foods can often cause loose stools, flatulence, and other stomach issues. A food intolerance may also be the culprit for such symptoms. Seek advice from a vet to determine the root of your dog’s stomach upset and be sure to stick with a high quality food going forward.

4.) An unhealthy coat: If your dog’s coat is looking a little dull or you notice dander, switching foods might help. A diet rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can restore your dog’s coat to optimal health.

Remember, a dog’s food shouldn’t be changed too often to avoid stomach upset. If you notice any of the above signs, speak with your dog’s veterinarian to determine the best possible option before making a diet change.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Brian Hur, DVM July 1, 2014, 11:27 pm

    So, I love the article title, but some of the content seems questionable. I’m not sure if weight gain is an appropriate reason to change the diet. Oftentimes, the caloric intake (ie the amount of food being fed) and the amount the animal exercises should be considered prior to changing the diet. This doesn’t even necessarily need a vet either. i.e. if you are feeding treats like ice cream, your dog is going to get fat, regardless of what diet you feed him. If you don’t ever exercise your dog, it is also going to be overweight. Neither of these need a vet’s a opinion prior to trying these options.

    • VetDepot July 2, 2014, 6:54 am

      Hi Brian. Thanks so much for your feedback and the tips! While weight gain isn’t always a sign that a dog’s food needs to be changed, it’s our understanding that it is sometimes, especially if the food in question isn’t high in quality.

  • Brian Hur, DVM July 2, 2014, 10:15 am

    I agree, that it could be the cause of weight gain, but I would still recommend to try these other things previously before a diet change.

  • bobbi July 8, 2014, 5:51 am

    Strange question. what is the breed of puppy in the picture. Our rescue has the identical puppy for adoption and we can’t figure out what breeds he may be.

    • VetDepot July 8, 2014, 11:24 am

      Hi Bobbi! Unfortunately, we’re not totally sure what the breed is in the picture. Maybe another reader will have some insight?

    • patricia July 10, 2014, 8:25 pm

      Looks like a Boston terrier

  • MB Grieb July 8, 2014, 6:04 am

    I agree with Dr Hur. Having performance dogs for 30 years it is
    overweight dogs, like people, is more likely due to over feeding and
    too little activity. I have noticed that most dog food bags list way too
    high a serving per the weight of your dog. The bag usually indicates
    my large sighthounds should eat 5 cups per day. They eat 1/2 that even
    when actively coursing. If people are feeding a lower quality good consisting of mostly corn/ grain and protein (meat, fowl or fish) is not the first ingredient then switching to a higher quality food would be a good idea.
    People need to learn how to read the ingredients of their dog ‘s food just as their own food and choose wisely. And consider the size of your dog when giving snacks. A 6 lb dog obviously needs a much smaller snack
    portion than a 60 lb dog! My dogs love fruits & veggies for snacks in small portion when I eat them. Remember no raisins, grapes, onions and of course no chocolate.

  • Carolyn S July 8, 2014, 8:40 am

    I feed my dog a specific brand that has no by products or fillers and one day the store was out of her brand. Without really thinking it through, I just picked up a quality brand that I used to feed my dog years previously. Slowly my dog began to shed her fur, then more rapidly and before I knew it five to six weeks had passed and she had lost most of her under coat and now some of her top coat was starting to come out as I brushed her. This was the dead of winter! The only change I had made was her food. I ran out and bought her regular brand and almost immediatley the shedding stopped, she slowly began to regrow her fur and it was coming in like rich beautiful puppy fur! And she is and older dog. I am a huge believer in what we feed our pets directly affects the quality of their health.

  • Lois Snyder Davis July 8, 2014, 9:50 am

    I just wanted to add that sometimes chronic ear infections are caused by food allergies. It has been my experience with a few of my dogs over the years and most recently my GSD. When I first adopted her she had brown mud-like ear discharge. She had been treated for chronic ear infections for a few years. I discussed it with a Vet and she suggested eliminating poultry from her diet along with treating the ears with medication. In a matter of months her ears cleared up and now 2 years later they are spotless. Apparently she is allergic to poultry.

    • Teri July 13, 2014, 9:49 am

      Very true. My GSD kept getting ear infections (yeast) until I switched him to a grain-free diet (Orijen Senior). He has been infection free since. A word of caution, tho….if you take your dog to a groomer make sure they put cotton in the dog’s ear canals as water in the ears can also cause an infection.

  • Cheli July 9, 2014, 5:54 am

    I think it may be a Terrier mix ….still looks like a puppy.

  • Deanna July 9, 2014, 3:55 pm

    Looks like a terrier/chihuahua mix. Very adorable!

  • Helen Zeughauser July 12, 2014, 7:52 am

    What about dogs that cannot keep weight on. I have a 14 year old with kidney problems that will not eat healthy dog food. So I put a little grass fed beef in it so she will eat it. My vet does not like that.

    • VetDepot July 22, 2014, 6:58 am

      Hi Helen. If your dog is having trouble keeping weight on, we definitely suggest continuing to consult with a veterinarian.

  • Teri July 13, 2014, 9:55 am

    regarding GI issues: both of my dogs (1 year old ABD and an almost 10 year old GSD) have some issues. The GSD is on Orijen Senior and has done much better. But the pup is on Taste of the Wild and has been since he was weaned. They both also get Blue’s Stew. Now, all of these foods are highly rated so I suspect the pup’s issues, loose stools (not always but frequently), and really rank gas, are from other sources such as his knuckle bone and his habit of eating things he finds (like paper towels, toys, dirty socks). I wish I could keep everything away from him but this dog is like a heat-seeking missile (not to mention, it’s difficult to keep things out of reach because he is so tall). I am going to take him off all treats, including the bone, and see what happens (other than him being unhappy with me).

    Now, if I could just get my son to quit feeding HIS dogs that Beneful crap. And he wonders why his Beagle has skin issues….

  • Myfoodie Pet July 15, 2014, 11:53 pm

    Hi,VetDepot, the signs you listed I ever saw on my dog”Kyle” at different term. I felt a little sorry not to notice the signs because of my busy job before! Now Kyle has recover well after I take it to see my veterinarian and make change formal diet.

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