Many pet parents resist changing their pet’s food for fear that their pet will get sick. At Groovy, we are big fans of changing your pet’s diet more frequently as a way to keep your pet’s immune system strong and their digestive tract in good shape. How often should you change? We recommend you change your pet’s food at least once per year. More often if you and your pet can tolerate the change.
Why change your pet’s food?
Even though most commercial pet foods are labeled “complete and balanced diets,” some foods are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, or perhaps your pet is not able to utilize all the nutrients in a certain kind or brand of pet food. Furthermore, overexposure to the same food ingredients, day in and day out, could cause your pet to build up an intolerance or even an allergy to his food. By rotating your pet’s diet, you expose your pet to a wider variety of ingredients, and therefore, give him more opportunities to get all the nutrients he needs for optimum health over a period of time. When you are comfortable changing your pet’s food, it is much easier to make a switch should it ever become necessary to do so.
Slow Transition for Sensitive Tummies – 12 to 14 days
If you have had bad experiences in the past when you changed your pet’s food, chances are his tummy is sensitive. It doesn’t mean you can’t change foods, it just means you need to go slow. A slow transition to new food gives your pet’s digestive tract time to get used to the new food. Using the same “volume” of food you feed to your pet, follow this easy food transition guideline:
Days 1-5: 75% old food / 25% new food
Days 6-9: 50% old / 50% new
Days 10-13: 25% old / 75% new
Day 14: all new food
Normal Transition – 7 Days
If your pet has never shown signs of sensitive tummy in the past, then you can follow a normal one week transition to his new food…
Days 1-2: 75% old food / 25% new food
Days 3-4: 50% old / 50% new
Days 5-6: 25% old / 75% new
Day 7: all new food
When you increase the percentage of new food, if you notice loose stools or diarrhea, slow down and move at a more gradual pace. If you don’t notice any loose stools at all, you can speed up the pace. Adding canned pumpkin or plain yogurt to your pet’s diet during transition can also help keep your pet’s stool nice and firm through his transition to new food.
Although many pet parents go “cold turkey” when switching their pet’s food, it is not recommended. Your pet’s digestive system is more delicate than ours, and a complete and total change in food could upset your pet’s system. This is especially true with cats.
So, mix it up. Let your pet try some new flavors! Experiment and see what your pet likes best. Rotation diets work great for finicky eaters.