There are many reasons why you may want to change your pets' food: age, food sensitivities, and pickiness just to name a few. There are instances where your pet may have an iron stomach, but in most cases it is better to be safe than sorry. Some cats refuse to eat new food because it smells different, so adding the new food a little bit at a time can "trick" your kitty into believing the new food is safe and fun to eat! Some foods, like Fromm, are designed to seamlessly switch from flavor to flavor, but if you're switching brands a transition is recommended. Whether you are switching from dry to dry, dry to wet, or to raw, here are some guidelines to go by...
When it comes to switching dry food brands, it only takes 7-10 days! It should look a little something like this:
- Days 1-3: 75% old, 25% new
- Days 3-7: 50% old, 50% new
- Days 7-10: 25% old, 75% new
With picky cats and dogs, you may have to go for a slower approach, but the above transition will help with any tummy upsets. If at any time the stool seems loose, throw in some pumpkin puree, it is a fantastic source of fiber that will help firm things up.
Switching from dry to wet is a little bit different. Why would you want to switch to wet food? In the case of cats especially, wet food has lower carbohydrate levels, which is great for them! Cats have no need for those extra carbs in dry food, so it just hangs out on their body, not really being used for anything. Feeding high carb foods has been linked to some digestive problems, obesity, and diabetes in our feline friends. The extra moisture will help with overall body function and stool production in both dogs and cats. First, try to see if your pet likes the wet food, if so awesome! Use the same transition timeline as the dry to dry food. If not, gradually increase over a period of 2 months, but you can do it, we believe in you!
- If you are free feeding your pet, stop. Feeding on a schedule (like 2 times a day) will make your pets more excited for meal time, thus more open for new tastes and textures.
- Offer both the canned and the dry separately. Give them 30 minutes to eat, then take the foods away.
- If the wet food continues to be snubbed, it is time to reduce the dry food while increasing the wet food offered.
- Here are some tips and ticks: try different textures, some pets prefer stews, while others prefer pate. You can try warming the food to about the body temperature of your pet. Try putting some wet food on the kibble, or some kibble on top of the wet food. Enhance the flavor of the wet food by adding their favorite snack on top. Put a little bit of the wet food on their nose or paw so they have to lick it off and experience the delicious taste. Exercising your pet before dinner time can also stimulate appetite.
- If your cat absolutely refuses the food in a whole 18 hours, give them a small amount of dry food. Not eating anything in 24 hours can be detrimental for their health.
- Be determined and don't give up! They will come around eventually! If not, use us as a resource, we will help you through it.
Let's talk about raw food now! A lot of owners are intimidated by feeding raw food, but it is definitely not as overwhelming as it may seem. Luckily there are a slew of brands that offer holistic diets, so you don't have to worry about making your own: Primal, Stella & Chewy's, and Steve's Real Food are just a few we like! Most of these products come frozen or freeze dried. You just have to let the frozen thaw over night before feeding, easy peasy! Not all GI tracts are created equal, we recommend about a 1 1/2 to 2 week transition period, but sometimes it can take a little bit longer for your fuzzy friend to adjust, and get the proper gut bacteria diversity. A transition would look something like this:
- Day 1: 90% old food, 10% new food
- Day 2: 80% old food, 20% new food
- Day 3: 70% old food, 30% new food
- Day 4: 60% old food, 40% new food
- Day 5: 50% old food, 50% new food
- Day 6: 40% old food, 60% new food
- Day 7: 30% old food, 70% new food
- Day 8: 20% old food, 80% new food
- Day 9: 10% old food, 90% new food
- Day 10: 100% new food
The same tips and tricks that are applied with a wet food transition can be used with a raw food transition. With that being said, each pet is a little different, these are general rules that work out great for most. We at Urban Tails are here to help you navigate the transition period! Feel free to contact us with any questions, or stop by the store!