Diet change affects different animals in different ways, so it's important to manage it carefully and gradually - even if your pet appears to like the new food. This also helps reduce the chance of stomach upsets.
Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, so they may need help changing foods, especially if they're used to having just a single type.
Here are some suggestions to help ease the transition:
- Introduce only about 10% of the new food mixed in with old food at first, then increase the proportion by 10% each day until you reach 100% new food
- Some dogs may prefer their dry food with a little warm water added to soften it. Most cats will not like water added to dry food
- You can change the texture of canned food by adding a small amount of warm water to soften it and make it easier to mix the old and new food types together
- Avoid serving foods chilled
- Most animals prefer canned food slightly warm, as it can improve the smell and feel in the mouth, so try warming it to body temperature (but no hotter)
- For very fussy eaters, try hand feeding the new food as a treat. This will reinforce the positive bond between the owner, pet and the new food
- Don't be tempted to add human food tidbits to the new diet. Most animals will end up eating the human food instead and this can develop into a bad habit long term
- Keep a bowl of clean fresh water available at all times
- No animal should be starved whilst trying to introduce a new food
- If you are really struggling with your pet's transition to its new food, speak to your veterinary surgeon or nurse to see if they have any extra behaviour tips to help you
Introducing a food for the first time
To speak to an experienced nutritional consultant, call Hill's Pet Nutrition Customer Service on (AU) 1800 679 932 or (NZ) 0800 344 577.