How to Help Your Pet Change Food
Dogs and cats aren’t like humans. While we tend to have quite varied diets, our pets eat the same food day after day. There’s no harm in this - in fact, consistency is actually a big factor in ensuring that your pet stays healthy. Because they become accustomed to a specific diet, any deterrence from it can cause health problems to arise.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever change your pet’s food, however. On the contrary, if there is a healthier or more beneficial option out there for them, it should absolutely be implemented into their diet. The key is to do this slowly and gradually to avoid causing unwanted digestive issues or even diarrhoea. If you are considering changing your cat or dog’s diet, be sure to continue reading to discover the safest way to help your pet change food.
Why You Should Change Your Pet’s Diet
If you’re currently unsure about whether to introduce your pet to new food or not, there are a couple of situations and signs that you can look out for to clarify this for you.
Age specific food
It’s normal to switch your pet’s food based on their age. For example, at AATU we have a separate range of puppy food, made up of salmon, a product naturally high in the fatty acid Omega-3 which puppies need. Additionally, unlike our 80/20 variety for adult dogs, our puppy food contains a 5% higher meat content. While the average adult canine is active enough, puppies have an incredible amount of energy to burn off, and so require a higher amount of protein to remain happy and healthy.
Once your pup grows up, the nutrients and calories that their food contains - which need to be higher in younger years - would be unsuitable, and so a change to adult food would be required.
Similarly, this can occur once your dog - or cat - reaches its elderly phase of life. Many companies create a separate recipe for older pets, so that they can use ingredients that specifically cater to the problems elderly animals can encounter, such as arthritis and cardiac problems. At AATU however, we use a holistic recipe containing our Super 8 combination; you wouldn’t need to switch the diet of your pet as they get older, because their food already contains the necessary nutritional content.
It’s not benefiting your pet
Nobody knows your pet like you do. If you have noticed a change in your pet - and this can be anything from an alteration of their personality and attitude to the coarseness of their coat - it may be time to consider a new diet.
Unfortunately, some pet food companies don’t use nutritional products in their food; rather, they bulk out kibble with filler cereals or use GM products, animal derivatives or artificial flavours and preservatives. Many owners don’t know this, so if you didn’t you’re not alone - but it does mean you can often notice the aftereffects of a poor diet catching up on your cat or dog.
Signs that you should change your pet food
The simplest way of assessing the quality of your pet’s food is to read the ingredients listed on the packaging of your current product.
For dogs, grains and white potato are common allergens for pooches and can cause digestive problems. It’s often best to choose a hypoallergenic recipe for your pets. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean allergies won’t be encountered - it’s far less likely. You can always discuss any nutritional concerns you have with our customer services team, but the best person to query about your pet’s diet will always be the vet.
Similarly, the culprits we mentioned above - unnecessary fillers such as GM or artificial products and preservatives - should always be avoided, as should any listings of generic ‘meat, fish or poultry’. If the recipe isn’t specifying the meat used, it’s highly unlikely that it will be a quality cut of product.
Additionally, look out for any of the following in your pet:
- A lack of energy
- Differences in stool
- Coarse coats
- Flaky skin
These are all signs that your pet’s diet is not agreeing with them.
How to change your pet food
If you’ve made the decision to change your pet’s food for any of the above reasons, it’s important to do so slowly. As well as causing digestive problems, an abrupt switch to your pet’s food may put them off the product entirely, and make them unwilling to eat any of it in the future.
The transitional period is very important to ensure that your pet doesn’t reject the new diet entirely. It can be helpful to start by introducing your cat or dog to a very small amount of the new food separately; fill their bowl with their usual meal, but present them with a tiny portion of the new recipe. Don’t be surprised if they don’t eat it at first. They may prefer to give it a little sniff in this first instance.
Next, begin introducing the new product very slowly. When it comes to our own products, we always recommend beginning by offering a predominant amount of their old food. For example, on day 1, you would supplement their meal with 25% AATU.
You’d do the same on day 2, before increasing the amount to 50% on day 3. Our recommended transition is to increase the amount of AATU food by 25% every other day until your pet is eating 100% AATU.
Keep an eye on your pet
During the transitional period, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet and how they’re getting on with their new food - regardless of what the new product is.
If you notice any significant changes in your pet, such as the ones that we mentioned beforehand, it may be time to admit that the new diet simply isn’t agreeing with your cat or dog. In that case, it may be worth sampling a different flavour, or switching products altogether. The health of your dog or cat should always come first.
And remember, if there are ever any serious health concerns regarding your pet and their diet, contact your vet for a consultation.
If you have any experiences or tips of your own to share with your fellow pet owners, do get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And if you’ve decided to implement an AATU diet, make sure to let us know how your pet gets on.
It certainly worked for Bailey here: