If your pet isn’t thriving on his current food, it’s time to switch to something better. Know what signs to look for.
For those of us in the pet care business who are advocates for animal health and happiness, it’s frustrating to see how many animals are being fed mediocre or poor quality foods, with the expected poor result.
And it’s not only grocery or mid-priced foods that can fail to make your pet thrive. Even some high-quality pet foods can be wrong or become wrong for your individual pet. A food that’s working well on one pet may not be the right choice for your own companion. “One size fits all” does not work when it comes to pet food.
Check out the list of indications below that the food and treats or dog or cat eats aren’t working for him as they should. Any of these reasons from Animal Wellness Magazine is enough to consider kicking your food to the curb, but if your pet suffers from more than one, it’s definitely time to switch it up.
Signs that can signal the need for a food change
1. Food rejection or finicky behavior.
Your dog or cat starts being picky or even completely rejects a food that he’s eaten heartily in the past. A little fussiness isn’t reason to dump a food that has worked well, but if your pet constantly rejects the food, it’s time to consider a change.
2. Skin & coat problems
If your pet experiences any of these negative changes in skin and coat results, a change in food could solve the problem:
- Hair loss or excessive and constant shedding regardless of the season.
- A dull, lifeless, “stiff” or greasy coat.
- A sudden case of the “itches” that has him scratching all day and night.
- You start to see “hot spots” and other skin irritations, sores or patches of dryness, and your animal becomes obsessed with chewing and scratching these spots.
3. Energy dips and spikes
- Decreased energy levels – this could be food-related or signal more serious health problems.
- Excessive energy – yes, we want our pets to have high spirits! But if a dog or cat’s personality seems to change from “spirited but manageable” or “laid back and mellow” to “hyper and hard to control,” you need to examine and potentially reconsider your food and treat choices. High levels of carbohydrates from grains and other sources are not optimal energy sources for carnivores such as cats and dogs. High carbs in pets can cause the same hyperactivity as sugar in kids.
4. Stomach and stool problems
The draining symptoms of alternating diarrhea, constipation and vomiting are all potential signs of canine or feline irritable bowel disease (IBD). Pets experiencing IBD lose energy and vitality, and if it goes on for too long, it’s tough for affected animals to bounce back.
No food should cause these serious digestive problems. Less serious, but not to be ignored, are loose stools or changes in the color, size and consistency of the stool that persist more than a few days. This could indicate that something has changed in the food you’re using, or in your pet’s tolerance and proper digestion of the food.
What to know if you see any of these signs
Your food may be a mediocre quality, high carb food, in the category of most popular grocery brands. High carb foods are just not the way our carnivores are meant to eat. It ignores the carnivore’s innate biology. Replace low end grain- or carb-heavy kibble with meat-based foods and you’ll see a major improvement in your pet’s overall health, energy, appearance and maybe even his behavior. Putting only good things in your pets body helps bring out the best in him.
The pet food you buy may have been changed by the manufacturer. Foods can “change out from under you” because manufacturers may make changes to their product without updating the label for up to a year or longer. Some companies that are more concerned with their bottom line than your pet’s health may include the same, but lower quality ingredients. If the manufacturer switches to a lower grade, you won’t be able to tell by reading, only by feeding and seeing the results.
Your dog or cat could have developed a food allergy or sensitivity to one or more ingredients. A dog or cat can eat the same food for years and do well with it, but then start showing signs of sensitivities or allergies to the protein source or other ingredients. If a food that’s always worked well begins to cause skin and coat reactions, hot spots, or other allergic reactions, your animal may have developed an allergy. This is why we always recommend rotating your proteins!
Your animal is changing, not the food. Changes in your dog or cat’s body chemistry, metabolism, and digestive efficiency as they enter different life stages can also be the trigger that makes yesterday’s food wrong for tomorrow. Pay attention to the rhythm of your pet’s life stages, with particular attention to the transition between puppy or kitten and adult, and later in life from adult to senior status.
If your when your dog or cat’s food isn’t fulfilling his needs, it’s probably time to switch it up and find a healthy new partnership! Start by visiting Brookside Barkery & Bath. We’ll help you choose the diet that’s right for your pet, and you’ll soon have a healthier, happier companion.