If you get bored eating the same thing over and over, spare a thought for dogs. Many pet dogs eat the same thing every day, week after week. And a change in food can be abrupt – empty the old bag of dog food, and start with something brand new. But how long does it take a dog to adjust to a new diet?
A research team from the United States decided to investigate. They started the experiment by feeding dogs on dry kibble for 14 days. Then they changed the dogs’ food. Some of the dogs got canned food, which was high in protein and fat. The rest of the dogs got dry kibble with extra fibre. Then the researchers collected the dogs’ poo and did some experiments to see what changed, and how fast.
The researchers looked at bacteria and other microbes in the poo. These microscopic critters live in the gut and they help with digestion, but research suggests that they have many other benefits too. Looking at the chemicals from broken-down food, it only took about 2 days for the microbes to start responding to the new food. But it took at least 6 days for microbe numbers to find a new normal.
So what does all this mean? If you have a pet dog and you’re thinking of changing their food, those changes could have a big effect on your dog’s guts. It’s a good idea to mix new and old food for a week or so, to make the transition easier. You’ll give the microbes more time to get used to the new diet, and that might mean fewer farts and less doggy diarrhoea.
Although humans aren’t dogs, it’s still an idea to consider. Whether you’re going vegetarian, or planning a holiday with lots of exotic food, you can try easing into the change. It could help avoid embarrassing bathroom breaks!