Q. 13 yo Dalmatian, suffers from colitis and arthritis. Vet recommended Chappie, and gave her all her life. Should we change it considering her problems?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Chappie was the original name of the product that is now known as Pedigree. Pedigree is considered a "grocery" style food, meaning it may not be as high quality or include higher quality ingredients as other products. However, the Pedigree line has expanded quite a bit in recent years and now offers many products tailored to dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.
If your dog has done well on the product, you may be able to just switch over to a variety that is geared more to your dog's needs such as a large breed senior formulation. Senior formulations often have added supplements to help with joint pain and arthritis later in life. However, if your dog has been experiencing problems with the food product, switching to a higher quality food such as one without grains may help. Higher quality foods will often have alternate grain sources to prevent digestive upset as well as higher quality meat cuts listed on the top of the ingredient list.
if you do decide to switch foods, the process should be done gradually over 7-9 days. For the first 2-3 days 25% new/ 75% old should be given, then 3 days of 50/50, and 2-3 days of 75% new / 25% old before finally switching over. This will help minimize any stomach upset from changing to a different food too quickly and allow the intestinal bacteria to adjust.