Feeding your pet is often a lot more involved than we think. Not only do we need to ensure that we feed the right a healthy and nutritious diet, but we also need to pay attention to how much we feed and what additional treats we provide. Doing so can help us to keep our animal healthy for as long as possible.
However, sometimes a feeding formula that has been working well for your pet for some time needs to change, and when this happens, it can mean a total diet overhaul for your beloved animal.
There are multiple reasons why your pet may suddenly need to go on a different diet, such as:
- Your pet needs to lose weight
- Your pet has developed food intolerances and in order to identify exactly what is causing your animal to have an allergic reaction, our veterinarian may put him on a specific diet.
- Your pet has a medical condition that would benefit from a change to his diet
- Your animal is moving from one life stage to another – such as from adult to senior – and would benefit from different nutrition in his diet
Whether temporary or permanent, moving your pet on to a new diet requires much greater planning and preparation than simply swapping his usual brand of food for an alternative.
Whatever the reason for your pet’s special diet may be, it will likely require you to implement a number of changes. These could include changes to:
- The type of food he eats (wet/dry)
- The brand of food
- The appeal of food (for example, if your pet has shown to be intolerant to fish-based foods, the alternatives offered are unlikely to replicate the smell/flavor)
- The portion sizes you offer
- The times of day you give your pet food
However, in most instances, the most difficult element of the process is switching your pet’s old, preferred food for his new, healthier alternative.
The most important thing to remember about implementing any new diet is that, in most circumstances, the changes you introduce should be gradual and not a huge shock to his system. All veterinarians agree that this is the safest way to start any animal on a new diet.
However, you should also take the advice of our vet firmly on board. Although normally a gradual switch to your pet’s new diet is recommended, there may be medical circumstances that dictate that a sudden changeover is best for the health of your pet. Our vet has the education, training and experience to make the best call on behalf of your animal.
One of the best ways to change over the brand of food you are giving your pet is to devise a formula whereby you make up the portion size using percentages of both the old and new foods. For example, you may start by giving 80% of the old food alongside 20% of the new. This allows your pet to experience the new scent and taste alongside the familiarity of the one they are used to. Then over the coming days, increase the percentage of the new food and decrease the amount offered of the old.
Unless your pet appears to be made ill from their new diet, you may have to face off with him over his new food and/or routine. Animals can be very stubborn, and it tugs at owner’s heartstrings when you see that your pet hasn’t eaten their lunch because they are holding out for a tastier alternative. However, it is important to be persistent and do everything that you can to get your furbaby to adopt the new diet as this will benefit him most in the long run.
When it comes to pet diets, one size does in no way fit all. If you are concerned about your pet and believe a dietary change may be in order, or if our vet has already recommended a new diet for your animal, always ask and contact a professional for further device on how best to implement these important changes to his lifestyle.