Tip 91 – Switching pet foods – How to safely switch your pet’s food
Whether you are switching from a puppy/kitten food to an adult formula or switching to a new brand of pet food entirely, there are some steps that you should follow to ensure that the change is gradual and safe for your pet. Any abrupt change in diet may result in stomach upset and discomfort for your cat or dog and the diarrhea that ensues is neither pleasant for you or your pet. Gradually transitioning from one food to another over a seven day period will greatly reduce the risk of your pet developing a gastro-intestinal upset.
The Seven Day Plan to a Healthy Diet Change
The following example will be used to help illustrate the Seven Day Plan:
You are feeding your puppy 2 cups a day of his favourite puppy food brand and you wish to switch him over to an adult food. Here is what you should do to ensure that the change is smooth and gradual and least likely to cause sickness and diarrhea.
Day 1 – Feed 75% of your pet’s daily ration with your current brand and feed the remaining 25% with the brand that you wish to switch to. In our example this would mean feeding the puppy one and a half cups of puppy food and half a cup of adult food.
Day 2 – Same as Day 1.
Day 3 – Feed 50% of the daily ration with your current brand and fill the remaining 50% with the new brand that you are switching to. In our example, the puppy would be fed one cup of puppy food and one cup of adult food on this day.
Day 4 – Same as Day 3.
Day 5 – Only feed 25% of the daily ration with your current brand and fill the remaining 75% with the new food. On this day the puppy would get half a cup of puppy food and one and a half cups of adult food.
Day 6 – Same as Day 5.
Day 7 – Feed 100% of the daily ration with the new food. On this day the puppy would be fed two cups of adult food and the transition would be complete.
In most situations it is advisable to switch your pet from a puppy or kitten food to an adult formula around nine months of age to a year. Keeping your pet on a growth formula for too long can cause them to gain excess weight. Obesity in pets is just as serious as it is in humans and can lead to many health problems, such as cardiovascular and joint disease. Be aware that switching to an adult formula at nine months of age to one year may not be advisable in all situations. An exception to this rule of thumb is in large breed dogs, such as Great Danes. Puppies of these breeds typically need to be a fed a growth formula for a longer period of time. You should consult with your breeder or veterinarian for specific details related to your breed of choice. Switching your older pets to a specialized senior formula at seven years of age is also strongly recommended in most situations.
Diet and nutrition are an essential component of your pet’s health and wellness and feeding your pets a high quality food will help to ensure that they live a long and happy life. A wide assortment of prescription diets are also available to treat and control a variety of medical conditions in dogs and cats. Please consult your veterinarian about what food is appropriate to meet the needs of your particular furry friend. Although these diets may seem pricey in the short term, the cost they can save you on medical expenses down the road make them well worth the investment. Besides, who doesn’t want the very best for their beloved dog or cat?
By Melanie Youngs – Pets.ca writer