Changing Dog Food: What You Need to Know Our top tips for how to recognise when a change may be needed & how to go about changing your dog's diet. Many of us tend to stick to the same dog food for our four-legged friends throughout their lifetime. The decision about which food we choose is often heavily influenced by professionals such as dog breeders, rescue centres & vets. It’s no surprise then, that as a nation of dog lovers we tend to stick to the same food unless advised otherwise. But it’s important to recognise when your dog is displaying symptoms which could mean that their diet could do with a change. We've pulled together some advice for dog owners on the symptoms to look for which may help you identify when a change in diet is needed, along with our top tips for how to go about it. Signs you may need to change your dog food: Dull coat It’s important that your dog gets plenty of essential fatty acids from their diet to help keep their skin and coat in great condition. Look for meals which are high in protein and contain good quality meat. Meat derivatives don’t always deliver the nutrition promised. Lethargy If your dog is feeling a little lethargic, look for a diet high in anti-oxidants. This will help to boost their immune system and help fight off any illnesses that could be lurking. If your pet seems unusually lethargic though, make sure you get them checked out by a vet just to be on the safe side! Itchy skin Allergies are very common in dogs, and food is just one of many possible causes. If your dog suffers from allergies (regardless of what it is), they may benefit from a low-allergen diet. This will reduce the overall number of allergens your four-legged friend is exposed to. We recommend a grain-free diet. Gaining weight This is often the most noticeable sign that your dog could do with a diet spruce-up. It doesn’t take much for our canine companions to end up with a little excess weight on their frame. Look for a naturally nutritionally-balanced diet which is low in calories, and delivers the essential nutrients needed. GI Upset Excess wind, loose stool, or rumbly stomachs can be the result of food intolerance. Some dogs simply don’t tolerate certain diets or ingredients as well as other ones. GI upset is an inconvenience to owners as well as being uncomfortable for your pet. If this is an ongoing problem for you, ask your vet to diagnose the problem. The solution may be as easy as switching to a better quality food or food designed for sensitive tummies. The Forthglade Grain Free Complete Range is particularly kind on sensitive stomachs and, of course, free from anything artificial. What type of food should I feed my dog? Wet food At Forthglade we firmly believe that there’s nothing better for your dog than a natural wet food diet. Free from artificial colours, flavours & preservatives, you'll want to make sure that they’re getting all the nutrition they need to stay happy and healthy. Wet foods generally contain more meat and retain more of the goodness than dry dog foods because they need less ‘processing’ before they reach your dog’s bowl. Forthglade Wet Dog Food - nutritious and full of variety For us humans, there are a few drawbacks to feeding wet food: wet food can be messier (if you’ve ever watched a cavalier king spaniel eating a bowl of wet food, you’ll know what we mean!); once opened, it must be eaten within a couple of days; and with wet food generally being of a better quality to dry, it can work out more expensive too. Wet food diets are particularly good for older dogs and those recovering from illness or not feeling 100%. They're also great for dogs with missing teeth, smaller mouths or poorly aligned jaws. Wet food naturally contains water too, so if you’ve got a fussy pup who isn’t drinking enough then wet food is a good way to help get some extra hydration in each day. Dry food Dry food is often favoured by pet owners because of its convenience. It's easy to store, measure and transport when travelling. Dry dog foods are traditionally made using poor quality ingredients cooked at a high temperature and don’t always deliver the nutrition promised. However, there are more and more healthy alternatives moving into this space. If you’re considering changing your dog food to dry, look at some natural recipes - free from fillers and anything artificial. Forthglade's dry dog food is made using natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals. We use an innovative 'cold-pressing' technique to retain both nutrients and flavour for a nutritious and delicious meal. Forthglade Dry Dog Food - cold pressed to retain nutrients and flavour Raw food Raw food is favoured by some dog owners due to it’s closeness to nature. The most common raw food diet for dogs is the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) diet which consists primarily of raw, meaty bones as well as a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, muscle meat and organ meats. Feeding a raw diet gives owners complete control over what their dog eats and total confidence that their dog’s diet is free from ‘nasties’. Although raw feeding is a very healthy option for your dog, it does require a lot of commitment and you must be careful to ensure that your dog is getting all of the nutrients they need to stay happy & healthy. Tailored mealtimes For those who want mealtime variety, mixing or moving between different types of food together is another approach. By far the most popular way to mix up mealtimes is using wet & dry food, and we think this is a great way of adding variety too! If you choose to tailor mealtimes then be sure to keep an eye on the quantities you’re feeding to make sure that your pup is getting the nutrition they need, and that you don’t accidentally over-feed them. Changing your dog’s diet can cause unnecessary tummy upset, so we recommend sticking to similar types of food and not changing your pup's diet dramatically or too often. How to change dog food Although it can be tempting to simply jump in with both feet when it comes to a new diet, it’s really important to switch over to the new food slowly to avoid any unnecessary tummy-upset. Begin with a proportion of about 25% new food to 75% previous food Over 7-14 days, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of previous food until you are feeding only the new diet Stick to your normal feeding pattern and aim to feed your dog at a similar time each day Digestion creates a significant amount of body heat, so for dogs who are prone to heat stress you may want to consider feeding your pet in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler to help prevent them over-heating. You can read about the full range of Forthglade dog food for more information on which diet might be best suited to your canine companion.