Many kibble fed pets start getting picky about the food they eat and this can make the switch to raw difficult. Processed pet foods contain addictive ingredients to cover up the taste of the poor quality ingredients. Addictive ingredients can include MSG (listed as hydrolyzed protein), table sugar, table salt, sweet tasting propylene glycol (a derivative of antifreeze), and other spices and chemicals. If your pet is addicted to kibble and you want to switch him it might help you to compare his kibble to junk food. Junk food is not healthy to feeds every meal and it’s really not necessary to feed it at all. You can make the switch – its up to you to be strong and firm for your pet. Don’t forget that your pet is not going to stumble upon a food they just can’t resist if it’s not in your home.
Making The Change From Kibble To Raw
There are many other reasons why your pet might be resistant to change. Here are some solutions to common problems:
What the heck is in my bowl?
Sometimes pets don’t recognize new foods as food. Many pets are picky about a certain consistency or texture of a food and when a new food varies from what they’re used to they won’t even try it -even if it smells delicious. In many cases making a new food look similar to their old food makes it more appealing to them during transition. Forming new foods into balls or pellets so it looks like kibble, or adding water, or mashing a food to match a consistency can help get your pet started.
Caviar or Grits?
Many pets care more about consistency then flavor. If you’ve noticed that your pet prefers a certain type of food try a different food in the same consistency but a different flavor.
Some options to adjust consistency include:
- Making a Pate’: make any food into a pate’ consistency by adding a small amount of water and letting it soak.
- Making a Chunky mix: Try temporarily adding chunky food blends into the food that you desire to switch your pet to. Try different soaking times or try lightly cooking the new food the first few times you feed it.
- Making a Crunchy: Try balling up small amounts of food, or adding dry Ziwi Peak or NRG, or slightly cooking a blend to get your pet to transition.
- Pay attention to the temperature: Many pets don’t like their food too warm or cold. Make sure that if you have a picky eater you take note of your pets preferences to temperature. Don’t forget that sometimes you have to check their teeth to make sure they don’t have a dental problem that needs attention that is causing their pickiness.
- Pay attention to freshness: Many pets can tell once a food has been open for a period of time and no longer want to eat it. There are many reasons for this. With dry food the oils can go rancid after a period of time. With canned food oxygen may begin to break down chemicals used to denature the food and metal/plastics leach into the food over even short periods of time. With dehydrated and raw food they tend to get slightly crunchy around the edges, leaving a partially crunchy and partially squishy texture that some pets don’t like. If your pet doesn’t like their food if it’s been open for more then one meal consider making each meal fresh or switching to a different brand.<
Steak and Eggs, Please?
You may have created a monster. It’s very common for pet owners to worry when their pets don’t eat. Sometimes your pets prefer the attention of your worry over their food. Many owners offer their pets enticements to get them to eat. Enticements given after you pet has snubbed their food just teaches himm that snubbing his food means tastier treats. The more you baby your pet through eating, the pickier he’ll be in the future.
Bringing out the Dinnerware
Some pets have poor vision and a deep or round bowl makes them nervous because it’s dark and hard for them to see into. Many cats, and some dogs, don’t like their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl and an oval shaped bowl or plate is the only thing that will make them comfortable eating.
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A bit of Trickery
Your pet might feel anxiety and pressure about eating a new food. Often times if you put the food in an area that they don’t normally eat, he will feel it was his idea and try it.
My dish stinks
There could be something wrong with their food. Pets have the ability to smell far better than you do. They can smell when a food has an unacceptable odor so perhaps there is a problem with the food that you don’t know about. It never hurts to take a food back to the store, even if you’re not returning it, and ask the people there who have regular interaction with the product if it looks and smells how they would expect it to and also ask if they have heard of any problems with the brand. Asking questions is the quickest way to diagnose problems with your pet.
Their food might make them not feel well. Sometimes pets get an upset stomach or abdominal pain without vomiting or diarrhea. Pancreatic issues, stress and anxiety, H.pylori, and many other common issues can cause your pet to snub his food simply because he associates eating with a feeling of sickness. Adding Goat Milk, Microflora or Optagest is a great option to help with this problem.
No thanks, I already ate
Many pets don’t ever get a chance to develop an appetite when they are free fed. While it’s hard for humans to understand, dogs shouldn’t nibble on small amounts of food throughout the day like humans do. Physiologically it’s healthiest for dogs to eat once or twice a day and continued feeding can cause pH imbalances, kidney problems, metabolic problems and poor digestion. Additionally, if your pet is free fed it could take you longer to notice if your pet is sick or if there is a problem with his food that needs to be addressed.
Extra tips for switching
I recommend you feed dry or canned food separately from dehydrated or raw meals because they digest at different rates. When transitioning, it’s ok to mix foods and incrementally increase the new food if needed. For long term use however, you should feed dry or canned at one meal and dehydrated or raw at the other meal.
To start, make his meal 75% old food and 25% new food. You’ll know it’s time to increase your dog’s ratio of new food when he has solid stool. Increase the new food by another 25% in a few days or when you see that your pet is tolerating the change in diet. Some pets may take three days to transition and some may take three weeks. Observe your dog’s reaction to the new food and increase according to what you think is best, based on his tolerance. Look for firm stools before you make any new changes. If he is really sensitive to the change, add only 10% new food. Adding probiotics to his food will also help the sensitive pet to transition more easily.
When switching from a highly processed food such as kibble or canned, to a dehydrated raw or raw food there may be some detoxifying and clean up of accumulated food debris. Your pets stool volume may temporarily increase or they may develop diarrhea. This is actually a healthy response by the digestive system as long as you transition slowly enough and supplement properly to prevent severe diarrhea.
Processed food leaves “residue” in the system… material that is neither absorbed nor passed due to inefficient digestion. Dehydrated or raw food is optimally absorbed and what minor material that is not utilized by the body passes through, eliminating a major burden on the digestive system and consequently the immune systems. This in turn creates a healthy environment in the gut and makes it less susceptible to parasites and bacteria, which live in the mucus sludge of the colon.