How to Transition Your Pet to New Food



When your pet has a change in life stage, health, or just dietary needs, you may need to switch them to high quality pet food. Transitioning is easy once you’ve picked the best food for your pet. Read on to learn how to read a pet food packaging, feeding table, and transition to a new cat or dog food.

How to Read a Pet Food Packaging

Knowing how to read a pet food packaging is useful when picking out new food. Here are some key features of a pet food pack to check out:

Life Stage

All dog and cat foods will list the life stage the product is for. This is usually divided into puppy/kitten, adult, indoor/neutered, and senior stages. Other life stages or food types can include high-energy/working pets, pregnant and lactating diets, or prescribed veterinary diets.


Nutritional Breakdown

The nutritional breakdown tells you what ingredients are in the food, and the percentage of moisture, fat, proteins, carbohydrates, and micronutrients within. If you need to avoid a specific ingredient or feed a high or low protein diet, this breakdown shows you if the food is right for your dog or cat. For cats, a highly digestible, protein-based diet is beneficial, while dogs do better on a combination of digestible proteins and carbohydrates.


Feeding Table

The feeding table is a chart that shows you how much and how often to feed your dog or cat depending on their size and weight. This chart is a good starting point for feeding, but can be adjusted if your pet needs more or less food.

Other information on the pet food packaging includes the total weight of the food, manufacturer contact information, and benefits the food offers, such as protecting against a health issue or treating a specific dietary need.

How to Transition Cat Food

While there isn’t an exact cat food transition chart, there is an easy way to transition your cat to a new food. Start by offering a small amount of the new food in each of your cat’s meals. Over a progressive period of seven to nine days, you will gradually add in more new food, and less old food each meal. For cats, making the food moist or warming it up in the microwave to increase odor can entice them to eat the new food more readily. Probiotic supplements can also be added to the food to reduce digestive upset during the change.


How to Transition Dog Food

Transitioning dog food follows the same 7-9 day food transition as a cat’s. Start by offering about 25% of the new food mixed with 75% of the old over the first three days, then 50/50 the next three days, and finally the final 75% new, 25% old over the last three days. This slow transition reduces digestive upset and allows the gut flora to smoothly transition as well.

Picking out a new food can be daunting, but knowing how to transition your pet’s food and how to read a pet food packaging can help you make the right choice for your dog or cat.


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