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Pet Education

How do I transition my dog or cat to a new food?

Most pets require 7-10 days to adjust to a new food because their intestinal tracts contain unique bacteria and enzymes that need to adapt to the proper digestion of a new food. It is recommended that dogs and cats eat a combination of dry and canned food every day. Their bodies are made of 75% water and they rarely drink enough water to support excellent hydration and organ function. I recommend that 25 to 50% of their daily calories come from canned food. You can feed it all at one time during the day or break it up into 2 meals…whatever is easiest for you.

Follow these guidelines for either dry, canned or preferably a combination of Halo food*:

Days 1-3 75% old food, 25% Halo (if feeding a combo: 50% canned and 50% dry)
Days 4-5 50% old food, 50% Halo (if feeding a combo: 50% canned and 50% dry)
Days 6-7 25% old food, 75% Halo (if feeding a combo: 25-50% canned and 50-75% dry)
Days 8+ 100% Halo (25-50% canned and 50-75% dry Halo)

*If you have a pet with a sensitive stomach, transition them even more slowly (over 2 to 3 weeks) to avoid digestive upset.

If your dog or cat experiences digestive upset during the transition (poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or soft stool, etc), return to the new food amount that was not causing problems and keep them there for a few more days before continuing with the diet change. Once your pet is eating all Halo, you can change between the flavors if you would like. There is no need for a transition period between flavors.

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, ,is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and other leading institutions. She is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Donna has written and lectured extensively on topics including nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney failure and respiratory disease. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets, her TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and her widely-quoted pet health advice in print and on radio.  Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service, www.SpectorDVM.com.


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