Posted by Nathan Pearce on
In this article we:
- Consider dietary change from the pet’s perspective
- Understand how transitioning isn’t just for fussy pets; that it enables a smooth, trouble-free gut bacteria correction
- Learn how to best approach transitioning for success
Domestic pets can’t shop for themselves so it’s great that you’ve taken this admirable first step for them. Choosing a Species Balanced™ diet can be like the human-equivalent of switching from deep-fried chicken to a healthy, grilled chicken breast. Your pets want that kibble, as it’s covered in attractants. (Want to learn more? Click here) But you, the responsible pet owner, know they need an intervention. But pets are creatures of habit and like routine, so it’s important to begin their dietary transition well informed and with a transition plan.
A Pet’s Perspective
First, let’s take a moment to consider what your pet is going through with a change of diet. For animals, consistency equals a feeling of security. With routine they know what to expect, but without it they can become anxious and even unwell:
Cats: “Healthy cats were just as likely as chronically ill cats to refuse food, vomit frequently and leave waste outside their litter box in response to changes in their routine.” Ohio State University
Dogs: “…dogs worry! This is instinctual in a dog, just like many of their other behaviors, dating back to the days when they lived in packs, often using caves for shelter and security. And what they worry about most is "What's going to happen next?", Colin Glass, dog behavioral therapist and master trainer”
Change may cause your pet some worry, so here’s how to overcome those worries!
There are two key parts to transitioning: behavioral and biological.
You can help your pets through transition by being consistent and confident for them.
Be consistent. When transitioning to a Species Balanced™ diet, avoid changing any other part of the feeding routine. Maintain consistent time, location, and feeding dish for them.
Be confident. Animals are sensitive to behavioral cues. They pick up on tiny little things and will be affected by any anxiety you may have over a new food. Feed them just as you’ve always done and avoid hovering over them, for you may be signaling to your pets that there’s something to be concerned about.
If you’ve been feeding dry kibble or other highly-processed foods, then your pet’s “digestive flora” (aka ‘gut bacteria’) will also be going through a transition. Transitioning should be done slowly to allow your pet's digestive system to adjust to their new diet.
This includes those of us with pets that eat whatever falls into their bowls. Dogs, in particular, may scarf down food only to regurgitate it afterwards. Ensure you execute a plan that gives them time for their digestive system to correct itself, which can take a week or two.
It’s normal for your pet (dogs in particular) to go through a detox process, especially when switching from kibble. Normal experiences for the first couple of weeks may include loose stool, excess shedding, and runny eyes.
Having a transition plan and maintaining a food log can help the process. You can download a food log guide from Balanced Blends here and use it to create an overview of your transition journey. It’s also a very useful record to take it to your vet during the next checkup!
In the next article in this transitioning series we’ll look a little deeper into creating a transition plan.
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