How do I select the right food for my dog?

Original Question: Our dog is 9-years-old and we have been feeding him Iams ProActive 1- 6 years old dog food. We just had him checked and he is very healthy and active and had not gained weight in the last 2 or 3 years. She weighs 91 lbs. Our question is, should we gradually change the adult food and which one would you recommend? Thank you. - Alice & Rob

How do I select the right food for my dog? May 26, 2017

Hi Alice & Rob,

I get this type of question a lot where I’m asked for a food recommendation. The most interesting thing is that veterinarians can never truly answer this question. It really depends on your individual pet and how he processes the food item. For example, I will have a lot of people tell me that they’re going to start feeding their pet lamb and rice diet because their dog is allergic to a lot of ingredients. But what happens if the dog is allergic to lamb? The response is not going to go very well.

In general, I recommend that people select a food that addresses a current or future medical issue that their pet may have. So in your case, the issues of concern are or could be obesity and future arthritic issues. So I would choose a food that is calorie restricted to maintain an ideal body condition and one that may have glucosamines added to help prevent joint issues.

When we want to feed our pets a new food we need to take it slow. I would recommend that you switch to the new food over the course of 2-3 weeks. The first day, I would literally just add a few of the new kibbles to the existing diet, then by about 7-10 days later you feed half the old food and half the new food, then progress until you’re on the new food 100%. Do this slowly and don’t change anything else about the diet such as adding a new treat. Be sure to monitor the stools very carefully throughout the process. Monitor your pet for other things that might indicate they could be sensitive to that item, such as itchy, vomiting, lethargy, behavioural change, excessive water intake, excessive urination, or anything else that just seems odd. If there are no changes that you can identify then I would consider discontinuing the new diet and addressing the issue with your veterinarian if it’s serious enough or persists.  I would recommend consulting with your veterinarian about new dietary options for your dog. I encourage you to have a look at our video, What Kind of Food Should I Feed My Dog or Cat?” for more information about this topic.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Dr. Clayton Greenway

Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

Related Q&A

  • Do you recommend a stool test for my dog who is on a raw food diet?
  • Answered by: Dennis Chmiel, DVM, MBA
  • Nov 25, 2020
  • Do small or large breed dogs have more problems with their teeth?
  • Answered by: Jeanne Perrone, MS, CVT, VTS (Dentistry)
  • Sep 5, 2020
  • How do dogs contract leptospirosis and how can it be prevented?
  • Answered by: Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc
  • Jun 21, 2019
  • What is the best diet to feed a dog?
  • Answered by: Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc
  • Jun 21, 2019