Pet Foods are Not Created Equal: The Right Way to Introduce New Food Options

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Pet Foods are Not Created Equal: The Right Way to Introduce New Food Options

People switch foods all the time, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that your pet should switch foods every once and a while as well. Unlike humans, however, pet’s stomachs can’t handle constant changes to their diet, so these switches must be handled strategically. 

One thing to keep in mind during this transition is that if you abruptly change food on your pet, you can upset their digestive system, oftentimes causing diarrhea, bloating and discomfort. That’s why we wanted to share a few pointers for changing pet foods in a slow and safe manner.

Here are some tips for incorporating new foods into your pet’s diets, broken down by the specific needs for both cats and dogs:

Introducing new food for dogs:

For dogs, we suggest slowly introducing new food throughout a two-week timeframe. Each day throughout the span of two weeks, you should increase the amount of new food and decrease the older food on a daily basis until your pet can safely consume their new meal in its entirety.

Introducing new food for cats:

Is it any surprise that cats are more sensitive and picky than dogs when adopting new food options? If new food is introduced all at once overnight, cats can become ill and stop eating all together. Instead of adding more and more of the new food each day like you would for dogs, we recommend adding a little new food and keeping that amount for about 2-4 days. After the initial switch, add a little more and keep that amount for another few days until the new food has been officially transitioned.

Even if you take the recommended precautions, there are still some pets that will experience discomfort. Rest assured that there are a few at-home remedies to help with loose stools or discomfort until you can visit your vet

  • Serve your pet meals of bland chicken and rice.

This mixture should consist of about 20 percent chicken and 80 percent rice and should be fed twice a day or as often as your pet eats.

  • Add yogurt to the new food throughout the transition process.

Yogurt has healthy bacteria that helps calm down irritated digestive systems. Mix some plain, non-Greek yogurt with your pet’s new food as you introduce it at mealtime.

Adopting a new food into your pet’s routine can be a bigger undertaking than you might expect, so please know that Los Banos Veterinary Clinic is here to help! If you have any questions or if your pet displays symptoms of diarrhea or discomfort for two or more days, despite trying the at-home remedies, please give us a call!

Our staff is also very knowledgeable about food options, so please let us know if we can help you in choosing which foods are best suited for your pet’s needs. 

Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014