It is normal for pets to be hesitant to try something unfamiliar to them. Not all pets will adapt to eating new diets the first time they are offered. The pet's age and present diet can be determining factors. Introducing a new diet to a pet can be a gradual process that requires patience and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you introduce a new diet to your pet:
Choose a high-quality diet: Make sure you are choosing a high-quality Exotic Nutrition staple diet that meets your pet's nutritional needs. For exmaple, omnivores require both animal protein and vegetables. Herbivores eat only vegetables and usually require free-choice hay.
Avoid feeding too many treats or junk food: Do not feed your pet junk food, including candy, chips, and other processed foods. These foods are not healthy for pets and can lead to health problems.
If your pet is completely avoiding a new food, that means it is not hungry enough to try the new diet. Keep in mind the size of your pet's stomach is often smaller than you think. Whatever your normal serving amount of food, cut that serving in half while your pet is transition to a new diet. This method will allow them to be hungrier and more willing to eat the foods available to them. It will also make it easier to recognize that your pet is indeed actually eating a minute amount, as well as save you money from wasted food. Animals are intelligent creatures, they will show persistence when offered an unknown diet, but they will never let themselves starve.
Make sure the new diet is the only food provided, otherwise they will fill up on the other food you are providing and never have a reason to try the new diet. The biggest mistake we hear from owners is that their pets aren’t getting accustomed to a new diet immediately, so they assume they will never enjoy it and just offer another food. From a realistic standpoint, pets will take time to get adjusted to a new diet if they have been used to eating something else - especially a fresh diet, a non-nutritious diet or treats. It is similar to convincing a child to eat their vegetables after months of letting them eat junk food. If they do not eat the new diet at first, do not succumb to giving them treats or anything else, this can lead to obesity and picky eating. Even one minuscule treat can discourage them to eat the new diet, thinking they will eventually be offered more of the treat if they keep withholding from the diet.
If you are feeding a pellet diet, the finished product is solid and very nutrient-dense. This finished pellet contains an extremely large amount of nutrition per volume. A 1 oz. dish full of an Exotic Nutrition pellet diet can provide as much nutrition as a 4 oz. dish full of an extruded pellet product. It may look like your pet is eating very little food, but these pellets are so dense that they are getting plenty to eat.
Start slowly: Introduce new foods slowly to your pet. Start with a small amount of the new food mixed with their regular diet. Gradually increase the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of their regular diet.
Week 1: Mix 25% new diet with 75% old diet.
Week 2: Mix 50% new diet with 50% old diet.
Week 3: Mix 75% new diet with 25% old diet.
Week 4: Your pet should now be switched over to 100% of the new diet.
Offer a variety of foods: If your pet won't eat their one staple diet, try offering a variety of high-quality foods to your pet to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need. If you introduce several different types of foods when your pet is young and avoid over-serving treats and junk food, they are less likely to be picky about their staple diet once they are older.
Monitor their weight: Keep an eye on your pet's weight and adjust their diet accordingly. If they are gaining too much weight, reduce the amount of food you are giving them. If they are losing weight, increase the amount of food.
Provide fresh water: Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water. We recommend providing two souces of water, a water bottle and a shallow dish.
Consult with a veterinarian: If you are unsure about how to introduce a new diet to your pet, or if you have any concerns about their health, consult with a veterinarian. They can provide you with personalized advice and guidance.
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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not able to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please contact an accredited veterinarian if you have a pet emergency.