What makes a good transition plan?
Posted by Nathan Pearce on
Read this article to learn best practices for creating your pet’s transition plan. We understand that all animals are unique, and we’re here to help you determine the best plan for your furfam.
NOTE: This guide does not replace the advice of your vet!
In the previous article, Why Transition?, we introduced the idea of a Transition Plan and the value of helpful tools like a Pet Food Log. That’s about as complicated as this is going to get.
- a log to track progress
- a plan for the gradual introduction of the new food
This is self-explanatory if you download the Balanced Blends pet food log here. Also, it can be used to share progress and results with your vet.
You may recognize the following diagram from the Balanced Blends website:
This is an excellent starting point, and while it may work for many, please don’t be surprised or disappointed if you need to improvise a little to be successful. Using the above diagram as a base-line we can now get started:
Mark these incremental changes on a calendar. In addition to helping you keep track, it will also help plan thawing times. For maximum freshness we recommend you don’t thaw more than 2 days in advance. Read more about this in our Handling/Preparing Blogs.
With each incremental change in ratio, e.g. from 25% Balanced Blends to 50%, your pet may approach the food with caution and take some extra time to sniff it. This is fine and expected, and just what they would do in the wild to check everything is satisfactory before eating.
If you encounter the situation where they don’t accept the food after an increment, simply return to the previous one. For example, if they resist the switch to 50% Balanced Blends and 50% old food, simply repeat the previous 25% Balanced Blends quantity for an additional 3 – 4 days before trying 50% again. This extra time to accept the change may be all they require. You may also wish extend the transition times based on earlier experiences.
Last point on adjusting - we recommend a pencil if you’re using a paper calendar! Makes adaptation easier. :)
The behavior mentioned in the previous step is very natural for animals. However, what can add hesitation to their approach, and significantly delay progress, is how you behave around them during feeding. Both cats and dogs are super sensitive to any anxiety during the provision of food. For best results, ensure you follow the same routines and do so with confidence. Avoid lingering with worry about whether they will like it or not.
We’d love to hear your experiences with transitioning. Please share with us any tips that helped you so that we can share and help others. You can do so via the Contact Form with the Subject: “Transitioning Tips”.
Below is list of helpful transition tips we’ve collected and used ourselves:
- Stop free feeding and implement set meal times 2-3 times a day.
- Introduce your cat to high protein canned food so they can get used to the texture. Slowly incorporate raw food along with canned food.
- Let your cat go a little hungry and then offer him/her the raw diet (DO NOT withhold food for more than 24 hours).
- Provide a comfortable and safe place for them to eat.
- Be confident! Your cat can sense their parent's distress, which might make you and your cat doubtful of the switch.
- Try hand feeding the raw food to your cat (make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards!).
- Warm up the food slightly using a microwave or water bath, as some cats prefer this. (Note: do not cook!)
- Attract your cat by sprinkling enticing food on the raw formula:
- Nutritional Yeast (Powder)
- Bonito Flakes (for cats)
- Parmesan Cheese
- Meat Treats.
- Be confident! Dogs can sense their parent's distress which might make them (and you) doubtful of the switch.
- Provide your dog a comfortable place to eat during the transition.
- Warm up the food slightly as some dogs prefer this. (Note: do not cook!)
- Try hand feeding the raw food to your dog.
- Attract your dog by sprinkling enticing food on the raw formula:
- Nutritional Yeast (Powder)
- Parmesan cheese
- Meat treats
In the following article in this series I’ll share the ups and downs of my personal experience in transitioning my cats, Angelo & Cam.