Cute Silkie Terrier dog next to a bowl of dog food.

Changing your dog’s food can change things inside your dog too!

Image: ©

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By submitting this form, you give CSIRO permission to publish your comments on our websites. Please make sure the comments are your own. For more information please see our terms and conditions.

Why choose the Double Helix magazine for your students?

Perfect for ages 8 – 14

Developed by experienced editors

Engaging and motivating

*84% of readers are more interested in science

Engaging students voice