Have you ever stood in the pet food aisle, overwhelmed by the endless choices, and wondered if your dog might enjoy a little variety in his bowl?
Or perhaps you’ve pondered whether mixing brands could be the secret sauce to balancing your fur baby’s diet.
You can mix dog food brands, but it should be done carefully. Ensure the mix offers balanced nutrition, is the same life stage, and doesn’t cause overfeeding. Gradually transition to new brands to prevent digestive issues.
From the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ to the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts,’ we’re sniffing out the truth behind mixing dog food brands. Is it a culinary adventure or a recipe for trouble?
This article is like the canine version of a dinner party but with kibble and canned food instead of canapés and cocktails.
Let’s unleash the facts!
Can You Mix Dog Food Brands?
Mixing dog food brands is a practice adopted for three reasons. It is generally harmless and is even recommended in some situations, but there is one type of dog food mixing that isn’t advisable.
To elaborate on this, we must start with the three reasons people want to mix dog food brands:
- They are transitioning their dog to a new type of dog food
- They are trying to make food more palatable for their dog
- They’re trying to adjust their dog food expenses
Transitioning Your Dog To A Different Brand
Mixing two different dog food brands is an acceptable practice when switching your dog’s diet. Abrupt switches can be bad for your dog’s health.
Moreover, your dog might not be as receptive to his new diet. Mixing dog food brands for transitioning purposes follows these stages:
- 90% brand A (primary food) + 10% brand B (new brand)
- 80% brand A + 20% brand B
- 70% brand A + 30% brand B
- 50% brand A + 50% brand B
- 20% brand A + 80% brand B
- 10% brand A + 90% brand B
This type of food mixing is temporary until your dog gets used to his new food. It is often the recommended method of making transitions in your dog’s diet, especially if he starts to get bored with his food.
You can adjust the ratio and percentages of brands A and B in his food mixture.
The underlying principle is that the brand he is fond of must initially constitute most of the mix. You can reduce it gradually until it is practically non-existent.
Some dogs can transition to a different brand without any stomach problems quite quickly, whereas others may need a few weeks to transition over fully. It’s best to take things slowly to avoid any stomach upset.
To give your pet’s digestive system time to acclimatize, I advise gradually blending an increasing quantity of the new food into the old diet over at least one week.
Spreading out the switchover allows your dog to adjust and adapt to the new food.
Making Food More Palatable
The second reason is more specific to fussy eaters. If your dog doesn’t like to eat dry dog food, you might want to mix in some wet food. If he doesn’t like processed dog food, you might mix it with organic dog food.
The underlying principle, in this case, is that you disguise the taste of the food he isn’t fond of with food that he likes. This is a perfectly acceptable solution if both brands are high quality.
Pro tip! If you have a picky-eating dog and are on the fence about mixing dog food brands, there are many things you can add to kibble. Head to this article to learn more: 15 Tasty Toppers to Mix with Dry Dog Food to Tempt Your Dog.
Pro tip! Sometimes, I also add water to dry dog food to mix things up and change the aroma and palatability of the food. This makes the food into a yummy ‘gravy’ without additional expense.
Can You Mix Different Brands of Wet and Dry Food?
You can mix different wet and dry dog food brands as long as both brands offer healthy nutrition. You should not mix subpar dog food with high-quality dog food, regardless of whether it is dry or wet.
It is also not advisable to mix expired wet or dry dog food with an alternative.
Mixing dog food is not like mixing medicines. That’s why you don’t have to overthink potential complications and reactions.
Remember, dog food brands know that dogs might be eating any number of things before or after consuming their food.
That’s why dog food is generally free of ingredients that might cause an adverse reaction when co-consumed with other food.
Mixing can make it easy to overlook some problems with one or the other brand. And that should not happen.
Before you mix two brands of dog food, you need to ensure that they:
- Are nutritious
- Are not past their ‘use by’ dates
- Do not include anything that your dog is allergic to
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I often like to feed my German Shepherd cold-pressed dry food with a wet food topping.
Both types will be different brands of high-quality foods to ensure her canine nutritional needs are met.
Mixing For Budget
This type of dog food mixing is discouraged because subpar dog food is not nutritious when mixed with high-end dog food. It only brings down the nutritional density of good quality dog food.
It is particularly dangerous when, instead of mixing a cheap brand with an expensive one, dog owners mix expired food with fresh food. That makes the overall mix unhealthy.
How To Mix Dog Food Brands
In this section, I will cover the best practices of mixing dog food brands in chronological order so it forms a guide you can follow. These draw from my experience and my vet’s advice.
Find Different Brands That Reflect The Same Life Stage
Mixing dog food brands is easy once you acquire the right food. The first step is, therefore, the most crucial one. You must get two different dog food brands whose nutritional requirements reflect the same stage of development.
Please note that same-stage dog food doesn’t mean the same texture. You don’t need to get dog food that has the same texture or similar aroma. It should just be nutritionally adjacent to the dog food that your dog is used to.
If you’re getting just one new brand because you already have dog food at home, take down the following specifics of the brand you have at home and find another brand that matches them:
- Dog breed – The food brands should belong to the same category. The three broad categories are big-dog, medium-sized-dog, or small-dog food. Don’t mix Chihuahua dog food with German Shepherd food and vice-versa.
- Dog age – The food brands should broadly match the same category. Dog food is divided into puppy food, adult dog food, senior dog food, or food suitable for all life stages. Don’t mix puppy food with senior dog food and vice versa.
How to Mix Canned with Kibble
Mixing wet and dry dog food is a little more complex than adding water to kibble or mixing two servings of dry dog food. The complication comes from the different nutritional concentrations in canned and dry dog food. Here is how you can mix wet and dry dog food.
1. Use Food For The Same Dog Breed And Age
As covered earlier, it is crucial that big dogs eat food meant for big dogs and small dogs consume food formulated for small breeds. Both wet and dry options must be for the same breed type (large, medium, or small) and the same age range (puppy, adult, or senior).
2. Mix 1 Part Wet Dog Food With 3 Parts Dry Dog Food
Initially, the wet food should serve to moisten the dry food. It cannot overpower the crunchy dog food, or your dog might get suspicious and reject it.
Unlike water, wet dog food must go at the bottom of the dry food. This should not be confused with a topper, which is appetizing food that goes at the top of the bowl to get the dog to chew on his food.
3. Maintain or Increase the Wet Food Ratio
It is not mandatory to increase wet dog food beyond 25%. But if you want to increase your dog’s wet food intake, you can decrease the dry food in the right proportion so your dog doesn’t overeat.
Remember that a quarter cup of most dry dog food equals 3 ounces of wet dog food. And an average adult dog needs an ounce of wet dog food per pound of body weight.
Reading the serving suggestions and portion information on the package is also highly recommended. You must also factor in the number of meals you feed daily, body weight, metabolic rate, and exercise.
Biggest Dog Food Mixing Mistakes
Often, pet owners mix dog food experimentally. These experiments can be costly for pets. In this section, I point out a few mistakes you must avoid when mixing dog food brands.
- Do not mix expired dog food with fresh food – This can lower the overall freshness of the mixed food and can even make it unhealthy.
- Do not mix dog food randomly – Proportions matter, and different portions of wet and dry food are nutritionally equivalent. Random mixtures can starve your dog or contribute to his weight gain.
- Do not mix therapeutic food without consulting a vet – Therapeutic food needs to be carefully mixed with other food if it is supposed to be mixed in the first place. To avoid diluting its effectiveness, you must consult a vet.
- Do not mix dog food meant for different ages/sizes – Big dogs need big dog food, and small breeds need small breed food. The same applies to dog food formulated for different stages of a dog’s life. Both food A and B in the mixture should be individually appropriate for your dog.
Mixing two different brands of dog foods is perfectly fine. In fact, mixing different textures and aromas can make food more interesting for your dog.
However, you should ensure that both food types being mixed are appropriate for your dog and have excellent nutritional value. Above all, make sure that your dog actually likes the food he’s given.