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Is it okay to mix dog food brands?
In short, it is not recommended to do this. This disrupts the balance of food that can affect the metabolic and skeletal systems of your pet.
This idea is definitely tempting. After all, let’s say you want to switch your puppy’s dog food to Hill’s Science Diet. Maybe the brand is more inexpensive or you’ve done your research and you really like the product and possible health benefits. But you have some leftover Iams dog food. What do you do? Can you mix it? There are going to be plenty of situations like this when it comes to dog ownership.
The answer to this quite simply, is no. And this not only with different brands (Blue Buffalo to Purina) but also different products within the same line (puppy vs adult vs senior etc). You should be very careful with what you feed your hound, especially if they have a specific health issue.
Why is this? The integrity of the nutrient panel for dog food should always be balanced. If you mix two different foods, there will be too much of some nutrients while too little of others. This will disrupt the balance of food. This will not show up the next day in an adult dog, but your dog’s health will deteriorate and perhaps even affect reproductive capability. So be aware.
What would be a big concern is if you accidentally mixed a brand with a health specification with one that didn’t have it. For example, lets say your pup has diabetes. Your old food is a blend for diabetics. However, your friend gives you a bag of dog food that isn’t designed for dog diabetics. You fail to notice. This could result in an unfortunate situation that put your dog’s health at serious risk.
So your best bet is to to finish all the kibble you have of your old brand before switching to a new one. This is actually the easiest option as you won’t have to measure anything out, or are your risk of any serious careless mistakes. Your dog might even enjoy his food more this way.
Also remember, different products of the same brand (puppy vs senior) are also affected by this rule since they have different nutrients. For example, often the calcium is different between different life stages. So it’s recommend that you don’t mix this either (if you have Hill’s Science Puppy and Hill’s Science Senior, don’t mix it!).
Let’s say you MUST mix dog food brands. Perhaps money is tight this month (after all, having a dog as a pet is expensive.) What must you do? First, be very aware if there is a specific nutritional requirement. Like in the previous example, a diabetic dog must eat a certain type of food. Second, make sure your dog is compatible with both types of food. For example, both food bags should be puppy food if he is a puppy. Be sure to properly measure everything out so that your dog doesn’t overeat. Ask a veterinarian what the recommended caloric intake is and do the math. Some foods are more calorie dense than others. Lastly, do your best to not do it for the long term. Eventually, switch to one brand.
Now there are corner cases of course. Let’s say you received a large supply of dog food of a certain brand as a gift, but it’s not the brand you use for your puppy. If you want to save money by using it, you’ll have to switch completely (not mix it). Your only other option would be to return the food to the sender. This might not be easy to do because dog food tends to be quite bulky.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When is it okay to mix dog food brands?
This is always generally not recommended. Finish your supply of one brand before starting another. It’s that simple.
What will be the effects of mixing two food brands?
It will not show up immediately but your dog could develop some nutritional deficiencies.