Should I Switch Up My Dog’s Food?
Variety is the spice of life so we say. And for humans that may be true. We tend to be discontented creatures, getting bored easily and always looking for the next new thing. I mean, look at how people line up to get the new iPhone as soon as it comes out, even though their current phone is perfectly fine.
And we definitely don’t like to eat the same thing all the time. How often do you say, “I am tired of chicken?” Or, “Stew again?” That’s just the way we are.
But dogs – and most animals – are creatures of habit. They like routine. How often does your dog trainer remind you be consistent when it comes to training – rules of the house, cues and even when you let your dog out to go to the bathroom? They do best with routines. They shed certain times of the year and want to mate in others. And their bodies are made to eat very specific foods, which does not include a lot of variety. After all, there are only so many things in nature that are edible for your dog.
Why do you think you have to change your dog’s food so slowly? It’s because their digestive system is not made for variety and diversity. Unlike us. We can eat something totally new, and as long as we are not allergic to it, we process it just fine.
If your dog lived in the wild like his genetically different ancestors, he would only have what was in his habitat to eat and that he could catch/kill. That would most likely amount to a handful of protein sources and a couple types of roughage. The reason we think dogs need variety is because we like to anthropomorphize animals and we figure if we get bored, they must as well.
But look at a horse. Horses really only eat hay and grass their entire lives. Maybe a bit of grain. Some don’t even get grass because they have health issues or live where it doesn’t grow. Those horses only eat hay and possibly grain. Yet they nicker and come running when it’s time for their meal. Twice or three times a day. Every day. For their entire lives, which for some horses means 30+ years. They clearly don’t get tired or bored of their meal.
Think about your dog who wants you to throw that ball over and over. And over. And over. Animals just don’t “get bored” in the same sense that we do.
What About Type of Food – can one product suit all dogs?
This goes back to a point made earlier about your dog’s digestive system. While different breeds of dogs look very different, we must remember they are the same species with the same digestive system, with maybe a few minor differences from dog to dog. Barring any type of medical issue or allergies, all dogs were created to digest the same type of diet. As long as the dog food that you are feeding is in-line with that diet, it is suitable for your dog.
Of course, there are exceptions, like large breed puppies that need the correct calcium/phosphorus levels. And dogs with genetic health issues. But for the vast majority of dogs, one type of food is just fine. Just remember to read the ingredients, choose a high-quality, well-balanced, All-life stage food and, if switching, do so slowly. After that, your dog will be very happy – as long as you aren’t late with dinner.