Transitioning Your Pet to New Food
You choose to as a result of research or even recommendation
You have a new puppy or kitten
You are moving from a puppy or kitten diet to adult (12 months old)
You’ve adopted a new pet
Your vet has recommended a new diet
Due to dietary requirements or allergies
Your Pet is getting older
Your pet has weight issues
There are many mixed thoughts and feelings about what we should and shouldn’t feed our pets.
Many pet owners will seek advice from vets, pet stores and online then decide as to which path they
want to follow.
Along the way some owners may wish to change that path, this is where we may be able to help
with the transition.
You may want to change your dry food, change to wet food, change to a mix of dry and canned food
or even move to a raw diet.
The most important part of your decision is to choose a food that’s complete and balanced for your
pet and is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.
For many pet owner’s dry food is both convenient and, in most cases, provides the complete diet
that they are looking for when it comes to their pet’s nutrition. It can also be good for your pet’s
75% of old food mixed with 25% of new food for the first 3 days
50% old food with 50% of new food for next 2-3 days
75% of new food with 25% of old food for further 2-3 days
100% of new
This only generally applies if you have changed the brand of food. If you are just changing to a
different type of food within the same brand, you should just be able to mix both over a period of a couple of days.
Changing from Dry to Wet
Some pet parents may prefer to feed canned food over dry food. Whilst it may not be as convenient
as dry food, sometimes for more fussy eaters, this may be the preferred or only option.
There is a lot of variety on the market when you are considering a canned food diet and most are
nutritionally complete and balanced, so can be used independently or in addition to kibble.
However, don’t forget the old cliché of “you get what you pay for”. This can be applied to your pets’
food, especially when it comes to wet food. Some of the cheaper brands in the market are very
appealing to dogs and cats (they love them!), but the nutritional benefits and overall quality can
sometimes be very poor – some refer to them as the equivalent of our fast food!
These cheaper canned foods may result in soft stools, a dull coat and overall lethargy. They may also
lack all the nutritional elements that your pet needs, so you may witness some out of character
behaviour such as eating faeces or eating more grass than normal, as your pet is trying to source
their nutrients elsewhere.
However, on the flip side, one of the main benefits of feeding your pet a good quality wet food diet,
is that the food will contain a higher moisture content which will help your pet with hydration. Some
of our pets don’t drink enough water, so having a wet food diet will help them get some of the
additional water that they need.
The other benefits of a good quality canned food are that they generally contain more protein and less carbohydrates than dry food. Also ideal for more senior pets who have dental issues or limited teeth, as it doesn’t require any chewing!
Storing Canned Food
If your pet hasn’t eaten their wet food, it is advisable to not leave out for them any longer than a couple of hours, as it is fresh food and can become contaminated. Also, any left-over wet food should always be covered and stored in the fridge where it can be kept for 2 to 3 days.
As with kibble, when introducing pets to canned food, it will need to be transitioned over several days.
As a guide:
75% of dry food mixed with 25% of wet food for the first 2 days
50% of dry food with 50% of wet food for next 2 days
75% of wet food with 25% of dry food for further 2 days
100% of wet
Combining Wet and Dry
If you do choose to just feed a wet food diet, just be mindful that this could compromise your pet’s dental health. Introducing raw bones, dental treats or even brushing your pet’s teeth will help them keep nice and clean!
Sometimes a nice healthy change could just be to introduce canned food to a dry food diet or even vice versa. That way your pet gets the benefits of both!
For fussy eaters, this is a perfect compromise adding some wet food to dry food making it extra tasty and nutritional. This is a great tip if you have a new puppy or kitten and they are not too keen on eating just dry food, by mixing a little wet food in, their taste buds could be triggered!
Changing to a Raw Diet
For some pet parents, after some research, they may decide to move to a raw diet. Whilst there are many different thoughts around which food, we should feed our pets, as we previously mentioned the choice is yours.
When looking at raw food diets, just make sure that the one you choose is a complete diet with all the nutrients that your pet needs. Some pet owners may choose to add additional nutrients to raw food to boost the nutritional value.
There are raw diets on the market that refer to their food as being complete, and they generally make it easy to store their food in sealed packs and for some they provide a convenient frozen option. These complete diets can include ingredients such as eggs, organs, ground bones, veggies and fish making them a very yummy nutritional alternative!
As with canned food, many pets may find a raw diet a tasty alternative to dry food. However, just make sure the raw food you choose is of high quality, as with other low-price pet foods on the market, there will also be low quality raw foods too which should be avoided.
Some pet parents add additional food sources to raw food meals such as extra vegetables or rice, these food items will add bulk to your pet’s raw meal. By cooking and mashing up the veggies, this may make them a little easier for your pet to digest. Pumpkin and Sweet potato are great veggies to add to your pets’ diet, not only are they tasty they are a great form of fibre to help with your pet’s digestion.
Some pet parents find this type of diet gentle on the stomach for their pet to digest, and as with canned, it will also have a higher water content too. It is also lower in carbs, so some pet parents have reported that their pets’ weight has moved into a healthy range as a result of feeding raw.
Transitioning to Raw
As with any change of food, sometimes introducing a raw diet gradually, could be more beneficial for your pet. You could continue with the existing food but provide a small meal of raw during the day to avoid any stomach upsets.
Some pet parents find that by adding probiotics, this can also help transition your dog’s digestive system over to a raw diet.
Storing Raw Food
When handling raw food, it must be handled and stored as we would our own raw food. It is important that it is not left on the floor for too long, if your pet doesn’t eat the food then remove within an hour to avoid any contamination. Any excess raw food must be sealed in a container and stored correctly in the fridge.
As with canned food, if you decide to just feed raw if possible, it would be good to add in dental treats or raw bones, this way they keep their teeth cleaner.
Air Dried Raw Food
If you don’t want to handle or prepare raw meat but would like to provide the benefits of a raw diet, there is an alternative.
There are air dried raw foods on the market that provide the same nutritional value as the raw, but because they are dried, they can be kept in the pack that that they are purchased in and will not need to be stored in the fridge.
This alternative is also a great way to continue feeding raw food if you go away with your pet. These foods can also be used as a tasty nutritional treat for training or just treating your pet!
Freeze Dried Raw Food
Another option to raw in its raw form, is freeze dried raw food. This food is another convenient way to feed raw but keep the food on the shelf in a pack.
This food requires water to be added to create the meal. As with air dried raw food, this type of food is nutritional and is technically raw that has just been dried.
However, once water has been added and the food put down for your pet, as with raw food, it should not be left out for more than an hour.
There are many great pet foods available on the market and for some pets, certain food choices may benefit them from a health perspective especially if they suffer from skin or digestion issues or even want to lose a bit of weight.
Just make sure you do your research before changing your pets’ diet. If you are instore, our staff will be more than happy to walk through the choices available to you and your pet to make sure that mealtime is nutritional but more importantly the food is yummy and good for their tummies!
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or diet, make sure you consult your vet.