Ask any animal owner, switching a pet’s food can be one of the most frustrating tasks you will face in the special relationship you have with your animal companion. While this is a chore for any animal, because of a dogs refined palette and intense range of smell, it may be harder than you think for him or her to move on from that food that they’ve known for so long.
While some dogs have more sensitive stomach than others. Regardless of this fact, for all dogs, constant and sudden changes in their diet has proven to lead to digestive issues.
On the market today, with the while range of options including organic, whole grain, high protein, and more. Adding in the variable of wet and dry with the hundreds of flavors available, the possibility of finding the perfect food for your K-9 may seem downright intimidating. Just look at all these options you have today.
Let’s start with some of the tips that helped me and my dog move from one food to the next without a paw of objection waved in the air. After all, some of you may know, my dog Mimi has quite a sensitive stomach
Along the way throughout your animals life, there will be many times where a diet change can be called for. This change can be brought on by simple factors like brand discontinuation or a change in a foods consumer popularity or rating, but the most common reason is for the benefit of health. This is most commonly done when a puppy matures into an adult although in more serious cases instructed by a veterinarian due to obesity or dietary disease. Lets get started on how to make this process as painless as possible.
Know What You’re Buying
The type of food to switch to and the benefits you stand to gain will rely greatly on the type of food you pick for your pet. With a little research you can easily figure out which dog food is the best to keep your friend happy and healthy. For example, if skin and hair are an issue, keep a lookout for foods high in natural oils such as sunflower and flax-seed or if you have an older dog with weaker teeth and digestion then wet dog food may be the right choice for you.
Routine For Well-Being- A healthy routine feeding schedule is a definite way to improve your dog’s health both mentally and physically. Most vets agree that one or two feedings a day is sufficient for overall health of most dogs, however, some dogs like work or competition animals can eat up to three times a day and remain in good health. Establishing a routine makes it easier to switch foods by allowing your dog to know when their meal time is and that what is in their bowl is for them. Introducing a new food at an odd time can confuse them into thinking that this is a treat or snack rather than their new staple diet.
If your dog is a picky eater to begin with like mine was and you struggled finding a brand that they liked the first time then an abrupt change to a new food isn’t a good way to go. Instead, over time, introduce the new food mixed in to the older version with increased amounts over time. Not only will this mask the taste but this will allow their system and gastrointestinal tract to adjust to the food as well preventing sickness.
20% new food and 80% old food
40% new food and 60% old food
60% new food and 40% old food
80% new food and 20% old food
100% new food
The Hunger Is Real
When changing a dog’s diet make sure when its time to feed them that they’re hungry. My dog was an expert for weeks at begging for treats from me and then eating the bare minimum of actual food. Limit their treats and allow plenty of exercise and play time to ensure that your canine is hungry at meal time. This greatly reduces the chance that they will refuse this new type of food in front of them.
Fresh Is Always Better
Just like with our own food it’s important to keep your pet’s food, wet or dry, as fresh as possible. Doing this will ensure that the flavor, texture, and nutrients stay intact and more beneficial for your dog. Pay attention to “best by” dates on packaging and avoid ones that don’t have that labeling. The more fresh and flavorful a food is will lead to an easier acceptance of a new food in their diet. Store dog food in a cool dry place and in an airtight container to keep maximum freshness of food.
Remember, while keeping all these things in mind are good when switching your pet to a new diet but nothing can beat the sound advice from your veterinarian. With these tips and a little patience switching food can be a walk in the dog park.