Published on March 1st, 2017 | by Debbie Martin0
Mixing your pet’s food: The Dos and Don’ts
Mixing your pet’s food, The Dos and Don’ts. Variety is important in building up an appetite. A lack of variety, on the other hand, will have the inverse effect. This much should be obvious. We humans often find ourselves salivating when we smell something we think we might like to eat. In this way donut stands, chip shops and burger vans are able to tempt us into buying their produce on an impulse.
But no matter how much we enjoy our favourite foods, we would be far less inclined to eat said foods if these were the only foods available. Even the staunchest fried-chicken enthusiast would tire of the stuff if they were forced to eat it every day. The same is true of cats and dogs, who in many cases have to eat the same thing day in, day out, for years on end.
Clearly, some variety is in order. In this article, we will explore what to do and what not to do, when mixing your pet’s food.
Do mix foods with different properties
If your pet takes no pleasure in eating, they will be far less inclined to eat. Why not instead make things interesting for them? There are number of ways this can be done.
There are all manner of different types of pet food available. Your cat or dog might have their own particular favourite brand. They might even have a favourite flavour within that brand. This does not mean that they would wish to eat only that flavour exclusively. Try giving them something different now and again.
Certain foodstuffs feel different inside a pet’s mouth. This is another source of variety, which pets doubtless appreciate. Give them something crunchy and something soft.
Some foods smell a great deal more strongly than others. Kippers, for example, have a very potent aroma, while biscuits do not. As well as varying in strength, foods also vary in the quality of their smell. Cats and dogs have a very keen sense of smell and so this quality is of particular importance.
Do add water to dried food
One of the main problems with dried pet food is that it is too – well – dry. For some pets, this is not much of a concern. For others, it is hugely problematic. The latter category must therefore be persuaded. A common means of making dried food more appealing to your pet is an extremely straightforward one; simply add a little bit of water. You do not need to add a great deal of it – a splash will, in most cases, suffice.
Adding a little extra water is of particular importance to pets suffering from dehydration. If you find that your pet’s skin is all dried out and that they are constantly scratching, then you might want to consider ways of getting more moisture into their diet. This is particularly true of cats. If this is particularly severe, however, then a little bit of water will not suffice. Which leads us rather neatly to the next piece of advice.
Do talk to your vet
Many pet foods are designed with a specific sort of animal in mind – a supermarket shelf may contain food geared toward kittens, younger cats and older cats, for example. Some of them may even be geared toward animals who suffer from specific conditions.
Getting the balance wrong may yield undesirable results. Simply mixing foods at random can lead to weight gain and eventually obesity – it can also lead to an overabundance of certain minerals. Unfortunately, getting the balance right often relies on a huge amount of guesswork and trial and error. It is therefore best, in most cases, to seek the advice of an expert. Your vet will be able to provide you will exactly this sort of advice.
Do mix wet and dry foods
You might consider putting both wet and dried foods into the same bowl. This way a pet who exclusively eats only one variety of food can be encouraged to eat another. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to sample the mixture yourself, this can be an imprecise art. The best barometer of your success is your pet’s reaction. If they look up at you in disgust and walk away, then the experiment has failed. If they empty the bowl with relish, then you can regard the experiment as a resounding success.
Dried food can also be put into a separate plate, so that your pet might eat whenever it is feeling hungry throughout the day. If you return in the evening to find that the dried food bowl has remained relatively untouched, then you can be fairly sure that your pet does not like what they have been given. This needn’t necessarily mean that dried foods should be placed off the menu altogether; it simply means that you should consider another approach.
Your vet will be able to appraise you of the right ratio between the two – it might be that only a little bit of dried food is necessary to get the right nutritional benefits.
Don’t mix therapeutic foods with normal foods
Therapeutic foods are those designed to target the symptoms and development of specific conditions. They are of great benefit to certain sorts of pet. Unfortunately, these foods are costly, and so many pet owners are tempted to supplement these foods with the cheaper, more ordinary variety.
Almost without exception, producers of therapeutic foods will categorically advise their customers that such foods should not be mixed with the ordinary food bought at the supermarket. Foods designed for such purposes contain a very precise balance of nutrients, which can easily be upset by the introduction of outside foods. The benefits conferred by these foods can be thereby diluted. As well as this, mixing therapeutic foods can cause your pet to gain weight.
This advice is by no means exhaustive, however; there are many different sorts of therapeutic foods, and some allow for more flexibility than others. Your vet will be able to provide you with advice on what you can and cannot use to bulk up your pet’s diet.