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Tips for Switching Your Pet’s Food

Sometimes your dog or cat needs to make a diet change. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we often recommend switching to a different brand or type of food because your pet needs to lose or gain weight or has another health issue that requires another type of diet. Another reason you would have to switch your pet’s food is the brand may discontinue the type of food that your dog or cat prefers, or your local store stops carrying that entire brand, which you couldn’t find in your town anywhere else. You have probably noticed that your pet can be picky, especially when it comes to a new food, so it can help to know a few tricks to make this change easier for all of you. We would like to share some tips with you to successfully switch your pet’s food.

Mix the new food with the old food, and increase the amount of the new food each day for a week.

Tips for Switching Your Pet's Food Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

If you have ever had to make changes to your own diet, you know it can have an affect on your digestive system. Your pet’s digestive system is just like yours, and even the tiniest and most subtle differences in diet can cause in the bacteria that helps digest food properly. To keep these changes from causing nausea, vomiting, and other stomach ailments, you should slowly add the new food to the old food. Each day, you will increase the amount of new food until your pet’s food is completely made up with the new food. We recommend that you mix the old and new foods for a week. According to Vet Street, if the new diet has more fat or has changed the amount of dietary fiber than your pet is used to eating, your pet could suffer from gas, diarrhea, and soft stools.

Think about the best time and place to begin the diet change.

If your dog or cat is sick and is just returning home from the animal hospital, it is not really the best time to change his or her diet. Your pet associates how he or she is feeling at the time when being offered a new food, and if your dog or cat is physically ill at that time, he or she could develop a food aversion and refuse the new food. We recommend starting the change after your pet has recovered. You should offer the new food in a quiet place where your pet is alone with just the new food. If you have other pets, keep them away as you start this diet change process.

Pay attention to your pet’s weight.

The vets at 5 Points Animal Hospital will tell you exactly how much you should be feeding the new food to your pet as well as if your pet needs to stay at the same weight or gain or lose weight. If we feel your dog or cat needs to lose weight, we will tell you how much weight should be lost each week and how to adjust the diet so this can happen, Do not be alarmed if you notice that your pet is eating less after you have changed foods because this is normal. If your dog or cat needs to gain weight, however, you do need to let us know how much your pet is eating so we can decide if we should make changes to your pet’s diet or not.

Feeding your pet the right food can make a big difference in his or her health. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital if you notice your dog or cat not eating enough or eating too much food. We are here to help you with your pet’s diet and health.

January Is National Train Your Dog Month

We begin each year with resolutions to make improvements in our life, and, very often, at least one of these resolutions has to do with our pets, including training your dog. Since so many families adopt or purchase a new puppy over the holidays, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) started a campaign to make the public aware of the importance of dog socialization and training and dedicated the month of January as National Train Your Dog Month in 2010. of At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we celebrate along with APDT, and as part of our commitment to this campaign, we wanted to tell you more about how important socialization is in the training process of your puppy.
January Is National Train Your Dog Month Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Socialization includes so much more than people and other animals.

When you think of dog socialization, you probably just think about getting your puppy together with the other members of your family, your friends, and other dogs and cats. However, socialization includes places, things, and activities. Your new puppy will be very curious and eager to explore the world. Whenever possible, you should bring your dog along when you to visit friends and family. If you have kids who play outdoor sports, bring the puppy with you to watch the games. You will also want to take advantage of nearby parks for walks with your dog. Your new pet will also take some time getting used to everything about your home. Certain appliances may startle your dog at first, but as your dog gets used to your family’s and home’s daily routines and habits, he will become more comfortable.

Socialization requires positive thinking.

In order to keep this process stress-free for you and your new dog, APDT has some tips for safe socialization.

A positive attitude equals fun for your puppy.

Allow your puppy to explore on his own. You can give your dog opportunities to take his time to approach new things.

Be respectful of your puppy. If your puppy seems afraid of something or is reluctant to do a certain thing, do not push or force him to do it. You can try to help your dog overcome his fear by laughing at the object or doing the action yourself.

Use common sense, but remember to stay positive. You want everything your new puppy experiences to be good and happy. If you think a person or experience may upset your dog, avoid these situations.

Studies have proven that well-socialized dogs are more secure and confident. To find out more information about getting started on training your new puppy, contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital. Take advantage of National Train Your Dog Month and start socializing and training your dog properly.

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