Transitioning to a New Diet.

‘Food should always be fun, food should always be fun’….is the mantra I repeatedly tell myself when I try to introduce new foods and flavours to my 6 month old son. Some days it’s a success and I beam with undeserved pride, other days he clamps his mouth shut so tightly it takes all my self control and mantra chanting not to force the spoon through his little pursed lips. The simple fact is, it takes time, repetition, patience and sometimes a touch of trickery for children to get used to new foods and of course this is no different for many of our pets. While I’m a proven novice in getting human babies to try new foods, I am well versed in some valuable tips to help you successfully switch your fur baby onto a raw food diet, allowing them to garner all the wonderful health benefits that come with it.

When changing your pet onto any new diet, a slow transition is essential. This is particularly important if the change is from conventional kibble or canned to a raw food diet, as the gastrointestinal system needs time to adjust to the different macronutrient ratios and digestibility of the new food.  A good rule of thumb is to take 7-10 days to slowly change from the old to new food to help avoid any tummy upsets. Start with a sprinkle of your K9 Natural or Feline Natural on top of the old food and slowly progress to a full bowl. The best way to tell if your pet is tolerating the new diet is by keeping an eye on what is coming out the other end. It is not unusual for consistency, frequency and colour to all change during this transition period but it should reach a new ‘normal’ by day 7-10.

But what if you are the owner of a fussy eater who balks at the delicious new meal you are offering? This is not unusual as animals are creatures of habit and used to a certain food in their bowl every day. To coax your furry friend into trying the new food, firstly check the temperature. Food doesn’t smell or taste as great cold as it does warm so adding a little hot water to the meal and letting it sit to release its aromatic goodness before serving may help. Think of how the delectable wafts coming from a kitchen exponentially increase your appetite! If a warm meal doesn’t do the trick then adding an extra whiffy punch with a can of K9 Natural or Feline Natural Lamb Green Tripe is sure to get the hunger pangs going…. Albus literally dances in circles when I pop the lid on a tin but fair warning, this is best done and served outside if you don’t want to ruin your own desire for food!

Texture is also a BIG factor for many of our finicky friends, which is poignant as there are often significant differences between dry kibble or wet canned food and a new freeze-dried diet. For those that like it crunchy, consider sprinkling some crumbled K9 Natural Green Mussels or Feline Natural Freeze Dried Lamb Green Tripe over the top of the new diet to provide that textural bite. For the canned food lovers, simply soaking freeze-dried food for longer or mixing in some of the canned K9 Natural or Feline Natural products may just do the trick.

Finally, if your furry friend STILL isn’t interested sometimes it helps to play a little hard ball. For our canine companions, skipping a meal or two won’t do them any harm and the hunger will certainly entice them to try the new food you are offering and once they’ve tried it, that’s 90% of the battle won. Unfortunately things aren’t quite as easy with our feline family members as serious health issues can occur if they go on a hunger strike or you attempt to ‘starve’ them out. Instead, ensure they are not grazing throughout the day on their old food by giving them two half an hour windows to eat their meals and then removing the food. They will quickly learn to eat the food when it is placed down and will be genuinely hungry by the meal making them much more likely to try anything new you put in front of them.

Following these tips and tricks will have your fur baby transitioned and loving their new diet in no time. In fact, K9 Natural and Feline Natural are so confident your pet will love their food, they offer a palatability guarantee meaning your money back if they won’t eat it…. what’s not to love? And, whilst it might take a little time, remember food should ALWAYS be fun… Albus certainly thinks so when the K9 Natural comes out of the cupboard.

Written by Dr. Josie Gollan