Cats and dogs who are allowed to roam eat all kinds of stuff in their travels. Wild/feral animals may eat a rat one day, garbage the next and a chicken the following day. There isn't much continuity in their diets. I would like to know why domesticated animals' digestive systems can no longer tolerate switching foods.
They can tolerate switching foods if you wean them. Why it cannot/should not be done quickly is because of their routined diet. The same can happen to humans that eat the same thing (food group) like say salads 3x a day then suddenly chowing down a burger, your gut would not be too happy at the surprise.
Even if you switch brands but keep the same formula (lamb & rice for example) the different brands would have different measurements of ingredients. You cannot compare feral animals to domesticated.
It won't harm them per se, but it would cause some serious stomach upset, diarrhea, possibly vomiting. Not pleasant for them or you. Are you looking to switch your dog's food and cannot do it gradually?
While I agree with Roxy (Diesel_Dawg) about what could happen, I never switch food slowly. Every time I've switched Bauer, I've done it all at once. He is used to this because I do change him periodically. Normally I feed Purina Pro Plan Selects, and he eats all varieties of this food; but I also mix in EVO varieties (just in case there is ever a recall). He does fine on all of these also. I switch him up occasionally just in case I ever have to make a switch due to a recall.
Last edited by BauersMom; 05-01-2013 at 08:07 PM.
Debi and Bauer
Some people are like slinkies. Not really good for much, but bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.
it depends on the dog. when i first got Rocky any change in his diet would cause major poop problems. Too many treats, too big a variety of treats...never mind changing foods that was an ordeal! But after many years his gutt seems to have gotten much stronger, and i do cold turkey changes now with no issues.
Same with fosters, some can have diareah for a week due to the food changes, others have no problem whatsoever
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Agree with the above it can depend on the dog. Just precautioning that if trying it for the first time, you may want to wean to avoid potential upset, especially if the first time switching.
I am a rotation feeder-I rotate my girls' food daily, meaning they get a different food for every meal.
They have no problems switching foods at all.
It's not a problem for us. Funny thing, it never even was a consideration until I got internet. LOL. In olden days of previous dogs we fed whatever was cheap when we needed food (the cats too) supplemented with table scraps. In hindsight, yes, the fact we switched frequently and they always had a varied diet probably helped. FWIW I would switch slowly with a new animal with an unknown dietary history. With my latest feral kittens I made it a point to introduce many new foods to them, there's nothing worse than a finicky cat.
I think they can have issues because a dog's digestive tract is shorter than ours. That's why you should never give human enteric coated meds to a dog. They pass out of the body before the coating is breached and absorbed by the animal.
With a shorter digestive tract, they are more prone to stomach upset that may be caused by switching foods too quickly. Having said that, I never do a long switch, but I generally don't make any switches anymore.
♣ Laura ♣
From what I understand, the longer time in the digestive tract the more time the body has to get used to it and break it down. That's what I was told, anyway.
♣ Laura ♣