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How to find an alternative pet food

Approx. 3 minutes read

There may be any number of reasons you would need to change your furry friend’s food. Maybe there’s been a recall. Maybe the regular stock of food is no longer available or your chosen brand has become too expensive. Maybe Rex has just decided he’s had enough and variety is the spice of life. Whatever the reason, you need to find an alternative pet food. How do you go about it?

Study the ingredients

The nutritional value of your pet’s food determines his quality of life, so this is the most important factor when making a change. However, not all pets’ nutritional needs are the same, so prioritise your pet’s needs and then compare. Lots of high-quality proteins and some carbohydrates are the norm for most pets, but if your dog has an allergy to beef, dairy, chicken, egg, wheat, pork, soy – any of the common allergens – then obviously avoid pet foods containing those ingredients. Cat food should be mostly made up of quality proteins, so always check the label. If your pet has any food allergies or sensitivities, speak to your vet about the best way to substitute their food.

Match the kibble size and shape

Nutritional value may determine quality of life, but it doesn’t help your poor pup or puss if the food is uncomfortable to eat. Pellets that are too big may hurt your pet’s mouth, so make sure the kibble is the right size and density for your pet.

If you happen to find the right food, but the kibble size is the only problem, you can always pour a little hot water over the pellets to soften them.

Check the serving sizes

If you’re careful about your pet’s weight, check that the serving size of the new food matches the serving size of the old food, with the same energy and protein intake. Always check the label to ensure the switch is going to be as seamless and delicious for your pet as possible.

Check that Fido or Fluffy actually likes the flavour

Most pets… most pets… find most pet foods palatable. However, if yours is a fussy one with unique tastes, he might turn his little wet nose up at the food you’ve chosen. Ask your vet for a food sample, or buy the smallest size food bag to test your pet’s taste buds. If your pet agrees with your choice, stick with the new food and make the transition. If he does not, it’s back to the pawing board…

How to transition to the new food

During the transition from the old food to the new, your pet’s tummy might react sensitively to the change, despite your furry friend’s enthusiasm for a new taste experience. To minimise any reaction, don’t give Barkley any human food or treats he’s not used to – just focus on the transition. Most pet foods can be switched in the following ratios:

  • Day 1: 75% old food, 25% new food
  • Day 2: 50% old food, 50% new food
  • Day 3: 25% old food, 75% new food
  • Day 4: 100% new food – yay!

When you have selected the new pet food, check the packaging to see exactly how you should make the switch. Some brands recommend taking seven days to make the switch, with various ratios used per day.

Since your pet’s food is an incredibly important part of his quality of life, consult with your vet if you have any questions or concerns regarding changing his diet.

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