30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 1-2 – Transition to the New Dog Food

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 1-2 – Transition to the New Dog Food

It’s coming up for two weeks now since our initial nutrition visit at Pets at Home and we are almost entirely on the new food now. From now on I should be able to see if the new food makes any difference to how my dogs behave or look.

Why does it take so long, you might ask… well… changing dog food is a slow process. Dogs don’t take well to changes in food, so it can’t be done overnight. The balance of the bugs in their digestive tract need time to develop so that they can digest the new foods.

Most vets advise changing your dog food over a period of at least 7 days. You are starting with 75% of the meal in their old food and 25% in the new one and increase the new food as the days go by. To make things easier, Rachel (the lovely advisor from Pets at Home) suggested doing it over the 10 days period, increasing new food intake by 10% each day. We liked this plan and it seemed to us much easier, taking the complicated math calculation into consideration 😉

When changing your dog food it is very important to examine the maximum feeding guidelines very carefully. You have to know exactly how much your dog should be fed. And if you are feeding a mixed meal, such as adding fruit or veggies on a regular basic, this also has to be taken into account. Ideally you should put on paper everything your dog eats, count the total intake and reduce some of the main food to make space for all the additional bits and pieces.

Let’s take our Bunk as an example.

He eats dry kibbles mixed with:

+ He gets about 10 treats a day (doggie milky bones, quite small in size but he really likes them).

He weights 62kg and according to Arden Grange Senior feeding guide he supposed to get 670g of dry kibbles a day. This would be perfect if he didn’t eat anything else. Now, because he gets all these additional foods, his daily allowance of kibbles had to be reduced. Taking into consideration all the additional things he eats his daily amount of dry kibbles eaten has dropped to 420g. Quite a big difference, isn’t it?

I think this is the main reason why there are so many overweight dogs.

Normally we just look at the back of the food bag, make our calculations and then just stick to them. Most of us have never even considered reducing the amount to make “space” for all the extras we feed our pets.

To be honest I didn’t know that a carrot or some apples would have to be taken into consideration too, but they have to… they contain sugars and are not calorie free (I wish they were).

What do you feed your pets?

Do you feed just one brand of food or like to mix it up?

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home

Lilly and Bunk 30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home

Yesterday Lilly and Bunk were invited to our local Pets at Home for a nutrition consultation. To be honest I was expecting a few minutes chat and some general advice on what and how to feed my dogs, instead we spent there almost 2 hours. Yea… long time but it was actually really worth it.

We were met by the lovely Rachel and she had a lot of questions for us, mostly food related but not limited to it. In addition to taking a long and detailed feeding history Rachel checked the general health state of both dogs… it felt kind of like a dog MOT 😉 – ears, eyes, joints, skin, fur, nails etc…

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home - dog check up

Bunk scored a perfect 4 whilst Lilly only got 6-7 which means that she is overweight. It was hard for Rachel to determine her perfect weight because Lilly is a cross breed but in a bulk perspective she needs to drop a kg or two.

After all the “interrogations” were done we wandered into the food section to find a perfect match for both Lilly and Bunk. Currently they eat:

This wasn’t a bad diet in Rachel’s’ eyes but she had a few suggestions. First of all change lamb to a lower fatty meat based food, secondly put them both onto a senior food and third, make it a large breed food in order to get all the nutrition they need.

I actually didn’t know that lamb based food is considered a fatty one so this was something new for me. I also didn’t know that giant breeds should be changed onto a senior food much earlier than other dogs. Bunk is only 4.5 years old. Rachel suggested that he should eat senior from year 5 but doing it earlier isn’t going to hurt him, in fact the opposite, it can only help.

So we had our main components for the food all set, so it was a time to find the perfect dinner match for them.

Bunk picking up a new dinner...
Bunk picking up a new dinner…
Lilly searching for a perfect treat :-)
when Lilly was searching for a perfect treat 🙂

Pets at Home stock a lot of different brands. We looked at Wainwright’s and Burns, and Hills… At some point I asked “Shouldn’t you be recommending your own food?” I think Rachel wasn’t ready for this question but she answered me “If I thought that it will be good for your dogs I would. Every dog has a different dietary needs and not every food will be right for them. My job is not to push sales of our food, my job it to find the right food to match the needs of your dogs”. I loved the answer. Really at this point I could have given her a kiss!

Our perfect match!
Our perfect match!

Anyway… after a long discussion and detailed checking of the food contents we decided on Arden Grange Senior and NatureDiet Senior Lite. This is what Lilly and Bunk will be fed from now on… oh ok, I have to get them used to their new food, so I will be slowly adding some new food and mixing it with their current one.

I will update you on how they are doing on the new food shortly but for now I will leave you with this… if you have never had a nutritional consultation for your pet, you should book one. I think I am fairly well educated when it comes to dog food and pet care in general but during these 2 hours I did learn quite a lot of new and interesting facts.

Thank you Rachel, it was a pleasure. And we are all looking forward to meeting you again on the 26th of this month.

* Lilly and Bunk received a free consultation as well as advised dry food to last them for the duration of the challenge.