Dr. Ashley Gallagher
Many of us are vigilant with what type of food our dogs and cats eat, especially if they start to lose interest in their food. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can use to reinvigorate your pet's eating habits, including mixing pet foods. Before you begin, here are some dos and don'ts for mixing pet foods:
1. Do consider mixing pet foods with different shapes, textures and aromas
The shape, texture and aroma are among the most important pet food attributes that entice your dog or cat's appetite. Try to shake things up a bit by offering your pet a mix of foods with different shapes, textures and/or aromas. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover how much your dog or cat will enjoy the adventure that is eating again.
2. Don't begin mixing pet foods without first consulting your veterinarian.
Many pet foods are formulated with a specific life stage, lifestyle and sometimes even health condition in mind. Mixing foods willy-nilly without taking this into consideration can inadvertently impact your pet negatively, including causing undesired weight gain, overexposure to certain vitamins and minerals, etc. Forgo the guesswork and go to the expert — your veterinarian.
3. Do consider adding water to dry kibble.
There are plenty of dogs and cats that love their dry kibble. But if your pet has begun showing less interest in the food, it may be time to add a little "gravy." It's real simple, too. Just take about a ¼ cup of filtered water and add it to the top of the bowl of kibble in order to moisten and enhance the flavor of the pet food. Cats often stand to benefit the most from doing this, as they frequently have issues with dehydration. Consult your vet if your pet would benefit from adding water to your pet's diet.
4. Do consider mixing canned and dry pet food.
Adding canned food to dry food is another way to increase the moisture content and enhance the flavor of the meal, while allowing you the flexibility of buying different types of food that fit your budget. Talk to your veterinarian about complementing your dry dog food or dry cat food with a canned food that compliments his or her dietary needs as well as the appropriate ratio of dry to wet food to provide for each meal.
5. Don't mix therapeutic pet foods with other foods without first consulting your veterinarian.
The science behind pet foods continues to evolve and one huge benefit for our pets is therapeutic diets. Therapeutic diets are created specifically to prevent or delay the onset of many health conditions. However, it's important that you not add anything to a therapeutic diet without first consulting your vet. It may have the adverse effect of diluting the precise formulation and perhaps even counteracting the intended benefits for your pet.