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Gradual change of food?

Species: Dog
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Age: 1-2 years
Hello,
I reside in South Korea and I am the father of 3 cocker spaniels. Recently my cockers had to be boarded because I went away on vacation. The only boarding facilities here are at the vet's clinic. One cocker also had to be treated for a skin infection.

The vet determined that he has a food allergy to the protein and grains I was feeding him (duck). She started him on a hypoallergenic food that was specifically made for veterinarian's clinic and suggested I switch him to Canidae Salmon formula because of it being grain free and the fish can help him as well. I know the rule of thumb is to gradually switch him over time but while he was at the vet's he wasn't switched over gradually and now I am being told to feed him yet another kind. Should I go back to the food he was on with the allergies or try to find the food that the vet put him on and then switch from that gradually?

Any advice is greatly appreciated .

Thanks,
Proud father of three.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question! I'm not sure if I've had a question all the way from South Korea before. :)

I can understand why you would be confused about how rapidly to switch foods. We usually tell people to do a gradual switch of foods over a period of 5-7 days. However, I will make exceptions to this when I am putting a dog on a hypoallergenic food.

The reason why we do a gradual switch (with non-hypoallergenic foods) is because there could be some intestinal upset if the dog was at all sensitive to the food. However, with a hypoallergenic food it's extremely unlikely that the dog would be sensitive. Also, if we are switching a dog to hypoallergenic food then we believe that there is an allergy to the current food. Therefore, getting him off of the current food as quickly as possible is the best thing.

I have occasionally had a dog have some sensitivities even to the hypoallergenic foods, but usually I don't have a problem with switching as your vet has suggested.

Food trials can be frustrating! The best extra advice I can give is to be patient. Often the changes can take several weeks to see. Also, if you give any other food (i.e. treats or a different brand), even a small amount can induce allergies.

I hope things are improving soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your response.

But I am not putting him on a hypoallergenic food. The vet had him on a hypoallergenic food and suggested Canidae Salmon and grain free formula. Should i try to find that hypoallergenic formula and then switch gradually?

Thanks again
Proud father of three


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

The idea is still the same. If we are switching to a new food that should be easier on the intestines then we really don't need to do it gradually. There is probably no harm in doing a gradual switch. However, if you've already started the new food then I wouldn't go back to the old one now.

Another option is for you to give your vet's office a call. If the doctor had a specific idea in mind for how to switch the food then it's best to stick to her recommendations.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.