There's been a lot of talk about the troubles of switching your pets food - how it can cause stomachupsetsand sometimes a messy change in elimination habits. But, you may have a good reason to switchyour pet'sfood to something new. You may have researched foods yourself, or someone recommended a foodthey'reusing. You can select from dry food, canned food, raw-frozen or freeze dried foods - there arecountlessoptions available.Although you may be eager to get your pet eating the new food you finally select, you should be awarethatchanging the diet too quickly could cause digestive problems for your pet. Your pet's body hasbecomeaccustomed to digesting the ingredients in the food they are presently eating. Even if you'reswitchingfrom a low-end brand to a top-of-the-line holistic diet, this transition needs to be doneslowly.Begin mixing the two foods at a ratio of 75% old food to 25% new food per meal for a minimum of about3days. If all goes well, you can then move to 50/50%. As long as you do not see any tummy upset orchangein the stools, move on to 75% new food to 25% old food after another 3 days. If at any time yousee diarrheaor other problems, stop and back up to the last level of blending that was successful.You can take aslong as a month to transition but most pets will do best with a time frame of about10 days.
- - Beginning the food transition over a weekend will allow you to be there to observe your pet's behaviorand"bathroom" needs.
- - Remember to keep their feeding schedule the same as before and try to keep the amount you feed a littlelowerthan normal for the first few meals.
- - Twice daily feeding is always best if your schedule allows for that.
When selecting a new food, try to keep the crude protein and crude fat levels as close to that of theformerdiet as possible. This will often make the transition much easier on the digestive tract. Ifyou arechanging foods because you suspect your pet is allergic to one of the ingredients in his orher presentdiet, it is still important to make the switch gradual at first.
We frequently receive customer inquiries asking for tasty pet foods that will satisfy a fussy or finickydog.Finicky eating habits can be the result of several factors and it's important to understand andruleout any health problems before pursuing a solution. If your pet has always had a good appetite,but suddenlyis refusing to eat, have your pet examined by your vet to rule out any dental problems,stomach or intestinalblockage or other illness that could cause a loss of appetite.The majority of dogs are hearty eaters although there are some dogs that just don't really seem to careaboutfood. It may be a genetic predisposition that causes a low food drive or it could be that yourdog isactually satiated and doesn't need to eat as frequently as you'd expect. Humans are accustomedto eating3 meals a day and we may expect our canine companions to require the same meal schedule.A normal, healthy adult dog should only be fed twice daily at the most and often the feeding recommendations on the pet food packagemaybe too high for your dog's individual caloric needs.By following some sensible tips, you can prevent your dog from becoming a finicky eater. 1. All family members should adhere to a feeding schedule and plan.If"Mom" sticks to the plan, but "Dad" thinks it's OK to feed your dog by hand from the dinner table,finickyeating habits may begin to form. 2. Stick to a schedule: Feed your dog at precise times of the day.Splitthe recommended daily feeding amount for your dog's age and weight into two meals, fed morningand evening.If you regularly offer your dog biscuits or treats, reduce the amount of dog food in each meal toaccommodatefor the additional calories of the treats. 3. Resist the urge to augment or supplement your dog's meal with"people food" or other goodies if he or she doesn't eatrightaway. Human foods can be too high in fat and spices for dogs and do not provide healthy nutrition.Also,your dog may learn to not eat in anticipation of having these tasty goodies added to his or hermeal. 4. Raise the temperature of the dog food by microwaving for a fewsecondsor adding warm water. When you increase the temperature of the food, aroma is increased as well,makingthe food more appealing for your dog. 5. Don't hover over your dog while he or she is trying to eat. Placethedog's food in a quiet area, free from distraction or feed the dog in his or her crate. 6. If the dog has not eaten in 15 to 20 minutes, remove the meal,takethe dog outside to eliminate, and offer the food again in another hour. Repeat this once or twiceandif the dog still will not eat, discard the food and withhold any treats or food until the next scheduledmealtime. 7. You may find that your dog prefers to nibble dry food in small portions over the course of several hours.Aslong as the dog has no issues with housebreaking, this method of free-feeding is not a problem formanydogs that are slow eaters.Carefully monitor your pet's weight to determineifhe or she is losing weight due to finicky eating habits. As long as your pet is eliminating normallyandnot losing weight, his or her food motivation level may simply be lower than another animal. Pet obesity is rampant in cats and dogs and forcing your pet to eat by addinggoodiesor treats, is not a healthy solution. Your pet may simply be satisfied consuming the calorieshe or sherequires even though it may not seem to match your meal schedule.
We hope these ideas prove helpful for you and your pet!
A few weeks ago, we talked about how much cat owners should be feeding theircats,and the best answer was, it's up to each individual cat and formula of food. When askingthe same questionabout how much you should feed your dog, the answer is pretty much the same. Eachdog's metabolism andactivity level varies - as can the caloric content and feeding recommendationsof each brand and formulaof dog food. Counting CaloriesOne of the best ways to determine how much food any creature needs, human, cat or dog, is to calculatethenumber of calories required for the size of the animal. That sounds simple enough but it's stilla bitchallenging. First you need to find out how many calories are in your dog's food. This is notsomethingnormally published on the label, but I was able to find the information on 7 out of 8 websitesfor somepopular dog foods I selected. Calories are normally posted as kcals per cup or can of pet food. How Many Calories Does Your Dog Need?There are formulas available that can help to determine how many calories your dog should consume perday.One such formula showed that an average 40lb dog should receive 732 calories per day while at rest,meaningthe dog doesn't walk, play, run or do anything. If that same 40lb dog engages in two 30 minutewalksper day, multiply 732 calories by three. What about the Feeding Guidelines?Manufacturers must post feeding guidelines on every bag or can of pet food. These guidelines show howmuchfood is recommended for the age/size of the pet. Typically the amounts are posted in cups, ouncesorcans per day. These guidelines can be used as a good starting point but should be closely monitoredbecausenot all dogs require the same amount of calories. Metabolic differences also play a huge rolein howmuch each individual dog needs to consume. Each manufacturer may also have their own gauge asto howmuch food they recommend. The daily recommended amounts for the four dry foods and four cannedfoodsI examined varied from 712 to over 1200 calories per day. The Scale Doesn't Lie.
The best way to determine how much your dog should be fed is to start by using the feeding guidelinesonyour brand of food, then weigh your dog every 2 - 4 weeks to determine if he or she is gaining, losingormaintaining a healthy weight. What is a healthy weight? Your vet can help you determine the bestweightfor your particular dog. After that, you can monitor your dog's body condition score regularlyto makesure he or she is not gaining or losing weight. You can read more about how to body condition score your pet
in this articlefromour blog.
If you research feeding human foods to pets online, you may find a lot of articles tellingyouhow dangerous this can be. While dangerous may be a bit extreme, the practice of feeding your petsfromthe table can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, diarrhea, and behavior problems. Table Scraps vs. People foodLet's first define what we're calling "table scraps" and "people food." Table scraps are just that;scraps.Foods that you would not eat yourself such as fat, gristle, bones or spoiled food should notbe fed toyour pets. Excess fats can cause pancreas problems and obesity. Bones can causechokingor intestinal blockages. Pets cannot tolerate spoiled or rotten food any better than you can.People food or leftovers may consist of cooked vegetables, lean meats, boiled rice or potato and aslongas these foods are not drenched in butter, gravy or seasoning, they are perfectly healthy foodsfor yourpets.If you would like to supplement your pet's dinner with some healthy, lean people food, add it into yourpet's regular meal. You should reduce the amount of pet food you're feeding whenaddingpeople food to keep the caloric content at an acceptable level. One ounce of lean beef can containasmuch as 94 calories.Avoid feeding your pet junk food like potato chips, pizza, French fries, etc. We all know that thesefoodsare not the best choices for our diets and we weigh two to three times that of a large dog andten timesas much as cat or small dog. If you want to give your pet a treat, opt for a healthy dog or cat treat instead.There are some people foods that a can be toxic if your pet consumes large quantities like onions, chocolate,grapes,and raisins. To read more about human foods that may be toxic to your pets, check out this articleonHoliday Food Hazards on our blog. Begging is a Tough Habit to BreakPets that are fed straight from the dinner table will quickly learn to beg. They may even begin to surfthecounter or table while your back is turned too. Some pets may begin snapping or jumping to grabfoodif they learn that they can beg for it. While you may find it endearing for Fluffy to rest hisdroolingmuzzle in your lap while you eat, it may not be as cute when Fluffy snatches a cookie out ofyour infant'shand!Teach your pets to stay clear of the table while you're eating. If you want to share a portion of thehealthierfoods on your plate, save some and mix into your pet's next meal, even if that meal won'tbe fed untilthe next morning. Finicky eating may followIf your pet gets used to always having people food added to his or her meals, you may find you haveapicky eater starting to develop. Some pets get so conditioned to owners augmenting their pet foodthatthey'll only eat the food if something is added. If you don't want this habit to form, you maywant toavoid offering any people food. Pets with medical conditions that require a prescription diet may not be able to indulge in havingpeoplefood added to their meals. Watch for Intestinal UpsetSome pets may not be able to tolerate even a small amount of human food. Even if you're offering someleanmeat or cooked vegetables, be sure to add very small portions until you're sure how your pet willtoleratethe food.It may make you feel like a big Grinch, to deprive your loving pet by not sharing your meal. For somepets,offering a special dog or cat-approved treat after your meal may beahealthier choice.