How to Transition Your Dog or Cat to a New Food
- Your pet has a food allergy or sensitivity
- Your pet is entering a new life stage
- Your pet needs to lose or gain weight
- You're bringing a new pet home
- Your veterinarian has recommended a specific diet for your pet
- You want to give your pet more of a variety
Whatever the reason is for change, you should always consult with a veterinarian before transitioning your pet to a new diet. Dogs and cats can experience an upset stomach if you don't transition them to a new food gradually. Transitioning too quickly can lead to diarrhea, vomiting or even loss of appetite.
When transitioning to a new pet food, do so slowly over a period of about 7–10 days, mixing an increasing amount of new food with old food each day:
- Start with 75% old food mixed with 25% new food for approximately three days.
- Then mix 50% old with 50% new for approximately three days.
- Then 75% new, 25% old for approximately three days.
- Then 100% new.
Some pets may be easier to transition than others, and cats tend to be more finicky than dogs. Closely monitor your pet during the transition to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need. If you notice your pet refusing to eat the new food, or if your pet starts vomiting or has diarrhea or constipation, you should slow down the rate you are switching the food. If problems continue, consult with your veterinarian.
Pet Food Allergies
New Life Stage
As pets transition from puppies and kittens to adult dogs and cats, their nutritional needs change, and a diet less rich in calories, protein and fat is appropriate. Switching your pet to an adult formula can usually happen around one year of age, although it depends on their breed, their size and their sex. Smaller dog breeds tend to reach adulthood more quickly than larger dog breeds. Just to be safe, it's a good idea to consult your veterinarian before switching from a puppy or kitten formula to an adult formula.
A New Pet
There are more types of dog and cat foods available today than ever before, including dry, wet, moist, semi-moist, fresh and raw, but most important when choosing nutrition is providing a complete and balanced diet for your pet. Appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins are extremely important for your pet's overall health and well-being.
Once you have a brand and formula that is working great to keep your pet happy and healthy, you can start to mix things up to keep her interested in meal times. Wet food brands provide the most variety of flavors, but should only be a part of your pet's complete diet. Try blending two parts dry food to one part wet food, or try adding gravies or broths to dry food. You can also rotate different proteins within the same brand of food.
When it comes to a diet, appearances are everything and a shiny, silky coat, with no dry skin, is a good sign. Once you find a formula that your pet likes, it's a good idea to stay with it to avoid an upset stomach.