We make every dog’s transition unique
Lots of dog food companies use a one-size-fits-all “transition”. It’s often hidden on the back of the pack (if at all), and it doesn’t take into account your dog’s unique journey.
At ilume, we believe that a healthy transition should be personalised and you should follow your dog’s lead. Ours is facilitated in the ilume app, and importantly for us, it’s backed by science.
Science shows a need for a gradual transition to food
In terms of the science, the need for a transition period is well recognised. Clinical studies that assess dietary change in dogs usually recommend a 7-10 day adaptation period for the digestive system to adjust (1,2,3,4).
While these timelines are a handy guide, every dog is different, and so is every meal. Studies have shown that when you change your dog’s diet, the bacteria that live in your dog’s gut (known as their microbiome) are changing too.
This is because when the ratios of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fat) change, the bacteria needed to break them down also change.
For example, if your dog’s new food is higher in protein and lower in carbs, the bacteria that breaks down protein will increase, while those that break down carbs will decrease. This can also mean a change in your dog’s gut pH (5).
Taking it slowly, at your dog’s pace, is key
When you’re introducing new foods, you need to allow time for your dog’s gut bacteria to play catch up. If you swap between foods often, or make swift changes, you may think you’re offering variety - but your dog might see symptoms of an upset tummy, including diarrhoea and vomiting.
If your dog’s been eating kibble, they’ll likely have been eating a high carbohydrate diet. In this case, the microbiome will be proficient in breaking down carbs and fibre, but perhaps lower in microbes that support protein and fat digestion and absorption.
With ilume meals, you’re introducing a low-carb, high-protein, high-fat diet. Once your dog’s microbiome realises this, it switches up the bacteria from those that ferment carbohydrates to those that ferment protein and fat. This is a good thing, but like all good things, it takes time.
We personalise your dog’s transition
We’ve developed a transition program that lets your dog take the lead. For the first week or two, you’ll introduce our meals gradually, in combination with your old dog food. This is so your dog’s digestive system has time to adjust.
We start at Stage 1 (25% ilume, 75% old dog food) and help you ‘graduate’ at Stage 4 (100% ilume) - all in your dog’s own time.
Some dogs fly through it in 4 days, some take 14 days. It’s not a race and there’s no “right speed”. Every dog is different, which is why every ilume system is bespoke.
Guided by our science experts in-app
When you ilume with us, you’ll have the app to guide you through the transition process. This means you get to check-in with our Science Team using our guided chat.
They help you decide when it’s best for your dog to move up a stage and add more ilume food, or stay. Occasionally they recommend slowing down and moving back a stage, if an upset tummy appears.
All you have to do is answer a couple of ‘yes/no’ questions every other day.
Signs and symptoms we watch for
As we mentioned, there’s bound to be some digestive change during the period of microbiome adjustment. In most cases, this is totally normal and usually short-term, as the changes tend to resolve by themselves.
When we introduce ilume food, we look for changes in:
- Your dog’s bowel movements
- Poos may become softer than usual. This is normal. They’ll usually return to a healthy, firm state within a couple of days.
- Mild diarrhoea may also occur as the gut adjusts, so don’t stress. In most cases it only occurs once or twice and then settles. We will likely slow things down until your dog’s poo returns to normal.
- Ongoing diarrhoea is a concern and not usually related to transitioning. In this case, we recommend seeing your vet.
- Your dog’s energy levels
- Low energy can occur in some dogs, particularly if their digestive system is sensitive to change. You may even notice low mood, too.
- Your dog’s vomiting
- In rare cases, some dogs may vomit during transition. If it’s related to the change in food, it usually occurs once or twice and passes quickly.
- Ongoing vomiting with other symptoms such as fatigue, temperature or runny poos may mean an infection or other illness. In this case we recommend speaking with your vet.
Transitioning is about listening
By adjusting your dog’s serving size gradually and moving at their pace, we give their microbiome time to adjust. For us, this is what the ilume experience is all about - listening to your dog and opening up the lines of communication.
With a transition period that listens to your dog, and a team of experts who are on your side at every step, your dog will be iluming in no time.