A new pet food should always be introduced gradually, even if your pet appears to like a new food. This will help reduce the chance of a stomach upset following a food change. Change to diet affect different animals in different ways, so it is more important to manage the change carefully. Some animals will be changing foods because it may be required to help manage a medical condition. For any of these animals it is important to follow any advice given by your vet. Appetite can be affected by disease, so speak to your vet to see whether there is any special feeding advice for your pet.
You might like to try some of the following suggestions to ease the transition between foods:
- Gradually introduce the food over a 2 week period. Introduce approximately 10% of the new food each day, mixed in with the old food. Increase the proportions by approximately 10% each day until you reach the full amount of the new food
- If you are using canned or wet food in pouches, warm the new food to body temperature, but no hotter. Most animals, especially cats, prefer canned food slightly warm as it can improve the smell and feel in the mouth
- Avoid feeding chilled foods
- You can change the texture of canned food by adding a small amount of warm water to soften it and make it easier to mix the old and new food types together
- Keep a bowl of clean fresh water available at all times
- Try adding warm water to dry food to soften it. Some dogs to prefer their dry food with water added. Most cats will not like water added to dry food
- Don’t be tempted to add human food titbits to the new diet. Most animals will end up wanting the human food instead and this can develop into a bad habit long term.
- For very fussy or finicky eaters, try hand feeding the new food as a treat. This will reinforce the positive bond between the owner, pet and the new food.
- No animal should be starved whilst trying to introduce a new food.
- If you are really struggling to change your pet’s food, speak to your vet or nurse to see if they have any extra behaviour tips to help you