I have five pets, two of which are dogs. My dogs are like family and in some cases more affable (and certainly less crazy) than some family members. I recently evaluated the contents of their food after the pet food scare, and I decided to make some changes. As always, I made a list of considerations, and decided to share it with you.
Things to Consider
When making a switch there are things relative to your pet that you must consider. For example, my dogs are very different in age, so their nutritional needs vary. My Pugsley is old and lean, while Mia is much younger with a pudgy waistline.
- Food sensitivity
- Goals (weight loss, weight gain, healing)
- Condition of teeth
- Company reputation
- AAFCO certification
AAFCO, www.aafco.org, has a full listing of what your dog food should and should not contain. Dogs have nutritional needs like people. The needs are heavy on meats and low or grains and never contain fillers.
Talk to the Pros
In addition to reading up on what your dog needs, talk to the professionals. Ask the pet store representative what they recommend. Also, call your vet or pet groomer for options and opinions.
After you have researched your options, and know your choices are AAFCO certified, contain the proper meat levels, are age appropriate, and body weight appropriate; then see if your local pet store will give you coupons, free samples, or sample sizes. If you are a loyal customer, none of these requests are out of line. You can also ask your veterinarian or pet groomer for samples, the companies always give them samples.
Slow and Steady
Do not switch up the food suddenly in one sitting. Once you have picked the food, begin to slowly put it in with the old dog food. Start with a handful size the first day, if all goes well then switch to half and half mixture for a few days, and then go for a full switch up.
After the dog food switch, keep an eye on your dog. Look for coat changes, weight changes, a grumpy disposition, uneaten food, and appetite fluctuations.
I talk to Mia and Pugsley, I travel with them, and Mia sleeps in my bed; I love my pets. What they eat matters as much as what I eat. I want them to be happy, so I make sure their food is the best one I could find for their needs.