How to Make a Smooth Switch to a New Pet Food
You may have heard that switching your dog or cats' food to something new is a bad thing to do because it can make your pet sick. While a sensitive pet may have a few short-term digestive issues when moving to a new diet, there are some simple ways to make the transition painless for both you and your pet!
Loose stools that are caused by switching pet foods typically occur in dogs and cats fed the same diet day after day. Beneficial, or probiotic, bacteria live in your pet’s intestinal tract that help them achieve complete digestion and produce a nice, firm stool that is easy to clean up. When you switch foods, the good bacteria need a few days to a week to “recalibrate” to the new food. While no harm is done to your pet in the meantime, they might experience a brief bout of diarrhea for a few days.
Try these simple tips to make a seamless transition to a new pet food…
Method 1 – Do a “slow transition” when you have at least a few days-worth of your old pet food on-hand.
Over the course of a week or so, mix your new pet food with the old pet food in an increasing ratio over time. Start out by feeding 25% new food/75% old food for two days, then 50% new food/50% old food for two days, and then 75% new food/25% old food until the old food is gone.
Method 2 – Go for a “cold turkey transition” when all of your old pet food is gone.
We often have customers who come in to shop for a new food when their old food is all gone. While a quick transition to a new food may not be the easiest for some sensitive pets, it can still be done by easing your pet onto the new diet. On Day 1, feed about half of the recommended daily feeding per the pet food label – your dog or cat may be a little hungry, but they’ll make it okay! On Day 2, feed about three quarters of the recommended daily ration, and on Day 3, feed the full daily amount.
You can give your pet a boost in either of the transition methods described above (especially “cold turkey”) with a probiotic supplement. These pills or powders are packed with literally billions of beneficial bacteria that will help kick-start the dietary transition process. These supplements also work great for occasional use when your dog experiences diarrhea due to stress or other environmental or health-related issues (like being on antibiotics), too!