Changing Your Pet's Food

by Development User 30 apr

At some point in your pet’s life you are probably going to want to or need to change what you are feeding them. For example, puppies and kittens have different nutritional needs than active adult or senior pets. Or you may need to change their diet due to a health issue.  During the transition between two foods, your pet may experience gastrointestinal issues while their system adjusts to the new food.  

Some of the common symptoms your pet may experience are:

  • Loose or runny stools / diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal gas or flatulence
  • Weight loss

Excessive itching or scratching

Ideally, you would use the slow-switch method to change out the food. With this method, you introduce the new food over the course of about a week. This will allow your pet’s gut to get used to it, and may also help with finicky eaters.

  • Days 1-3: feed your pet 25% new food and 75% old food
  • Days 4-5: go with half new food and half old food
  • Days 6-7: feed 75% new food and 25% old food
  • Transition to 100% new food

If your pet has diarrhea during this time, don’t panic. As long as they are drinking water they should be fine. As with anything, if their symptoms worsen or they stop drinking water, see your vet.

Many times, it is not possible to use the slow switch method. This may occur because the food is no longer available, or in cases of rescued dogs, you simply don’t know what food they were eating before. When this happens, make sure to get the best food you can. The higher quality the food is, the less likely  your pet will have gastrointestinal issues. To ease any discomfort, you can use a product like Fruitables Switch. This is a proprietary blend of pumpkin and ginger designed to add to the new food. You can also use regular canned pumpkin.

Switching over felines:

Cats can be particularly finicky with their meals. When switching over, extend the slow switch method as much as possible. Unlike dogs, who can go days without eating with little to no side effects, cans can develop hepatic lipidosis, when they don’t get any calories for a few days. This disease is a life threatening liver disease. If your cat stops eating completely at any point, take them to the vet immediately

With so many food formulas available, it can be difficult to decide what the best option for your pet is. We carry both grain free and grain in foods with numerous sources of protein available. All the foods we carry are high quality, and we have a number of different price points. In order to help you determine what the best option is, we are always happy to schedule a nutritional evaluation by one of our trained staff and make a recommendation based on both your needs and the needs of your pets. These evaluations can be done in house or virtually by appointment. To schedule an evaluation, contact LaVel at 910-325-1728.