It’s a choice we all face at some point. How can we improve the food we’re feeding our furry friends without breaking the bank?
Chances are, you’ve put quite a bit of thought into your choice of pet food. Whether your decision is a result of experimentation or a trusted recommendation, there are always different options to consider.
If you’re happy with your choice and routine, why change?
Changes in diet can offer healthy improvements
While a decent quality kibble can be a good foundation for a healthy diet, there are always ways to improve. Offering variety or different forms of food are two of the most common methods for switching up daily meals.
Offering a variety of foods can strengthen the immune system, increase energy, and improve the appearance of skin & coat. Feeding a variety of good quality foods allows our pets to utilize a broader spectrum of nutrients.
Variety can also help keep food sensitivities from developing. These sensitivities can develop over time when a single food is fed for years without any variety.
Mixing up our pets’ feeding routine doesn’t have to be overly complicated
While there are a seemingly unlimited numbers of food varieties available, we can keep our choices simple. Some of the easiest ways to vary the daily diet include rotation and supplementation.
For kibble eaters, rotation can be as simple as changing the formula each time a new bag of food is purchased. Some “experts” recommend sticking with a single manufacturer when rotating formulas. Other “experts” feel it best to change manufacturers as well as formula.
Either way, the idea is to change the protein source of the food to introduce more variety.
Sticking with a trusted manufacturer and varying proteins is simpler than hopping between manufacturers. But different manufacturers offer more variety between formulas.
It’s up to you how much thought to put into the process. It’s also up to you to monitor the results.
Will switching foods cause problems?
Many of us have been brought up to believe that we should never switch our pet’s food until there’s a compelling reason to do so. We’re told that switching can be difficult and lead to digestive issues.
There can be some truth to this, particularly when your pet has become accustomed to a single food. Ironically, the longer a pet has been fed a single food, the more challenging it can be to make a change. Our pets’ digestive systems can become accustomed to a particular type of diet and need some adjustment when a change is first made. Just think back to the first time you ate an exotic meal!
Even if a sudden change results in a temporary digestive upset, that may not be reason enough to keep variety away from the bowl. On the contrary, it provides a strong incentive to offer as much variety as possible to avoid digestive issues over time. What better way to ensure tolerance of different diets than to introduce them as part of a regular routine?
Rotating kibble is not the only way to switch things up
If you’ve considered the benefits of raw food but have been put off by the cost, take heart. There’s nothing to stop you from using raw food as a supplement, rather than a sole diet.
This gives you some of the benefits of raw food (live enzymes, minimal processing, cleaner teeth) while allowing you to control your costs. The simplest way to supplement with raw is to use one of the many brands that come in small pieces- nuggets, cubes or medallions. This makes your supplementation as simple as counting out a few pieces and adding them to the bowl.
If you choose to use raw as a supplement, be sure to adjust the kibble portion being fed. If you simply add raw food without reducing the kibble amount, you’ll most likely begin to notice some weight gain.
Like the idea of adding raw but don’t want to deal with thawing and freezing? Freeze-dried or dehydrated options can offer similar nutritional benefits as raw with less preparation steps. Some manufacturers offer freeze-dried versions of their smaller pieces, which takes the thawing step out of your feeding routine. Keep in mind that a freeze-dried food will cost a bit more than its raw equivalent.
Mixes provide even more flexible options
You can get most of the nutritional benefits of raw coupled with the convenience of freeze-dried when considering some of the mixes now available.
These foods don’t require thawing- simply add water, wait a few minutes and feed. You can mix up a few days at a time and store the unused portion in the refrigerator. Or, mix up one meal at a time if you’re on the run or traveling.
Mixes are available in either a freeze-dried form or dehydrated. The nutritional differences are minimal, with the difference mainly in the form of processing. Both are equally convenient to prepare and use. The options available continue to grow, with the most popular choices coming from Grandma Lucy’s, Honest Kitchen, and Sojos.
Not ready for a full change but looking for variety?
Using frozen food or a mix as a supplement is a great way to introduce variety to your pet’s meals without having to manage a full rotational feeding regimen. Whether you choose to add one of the raw or lightly cooked options, you’ll be improving the daily diet.
It’s fairly simple to settle on a supplemental feeding approach with these whole food options. We’ll be happy to talk you through the options that may best fit your needs. If you prefer, just ask and we can develop and manage a rotational approach as part of your personalized delivery schedule!