Mixing your pets food can be great for adding the spice of variety to their meals and encouraging a healthy balance. However it is very easy to get wrong which can have serious ramifications for you and your pet. Here we are to help brush up on those all-important facts.
Let’s get to it… is it ok to mix dog food brands?
Mixing pet food brands can be a tricky business. Different brands can vary considerably in their nutritional principles as well as in the specific dietary makeup ie protein/fat/fibre levels. If you stick to ‘complete’ diets then you can relax in the knowledge that they generally all conform to regulated levels. You can then confidently mix in percentages. i.e feed 50% of the recommended allowance of food A and 50% of the recommended allowance of food B should equal 100% of the nutrient profile required by your pet (of course you may choose to do 60:40, 70:30 or 80:20 the important thing is that you are working in percentages and not grams).
However many brands have diets formulated for specific life stages, activity levels or health concerns. Mixing foods across these categories should not be done without very careful analysis.
You can’t for example mix 50% puppy food with 50% senior food and feed it to an adult dog. The nutritional profiles of these formulations are too specific and you risk having a severe and potentially catastrophic impact on your pets health. Not just weight gain or loss but overexposure to certain vitamins and minerals or inversely deficiencies, all of which can be very serious.
The solution? Consult your vet (you’ll see a theme emerging here soon!). Your vet should be able to advise you on mixing food and which brands work with each other in order to provide your pup with a well-balanced meal.
Hold on, what about mixing wet and dry dog food?
Mixing dry and wet food is very popular, particularly for cats which benefit from the increased water content of a wet food but the convenience of a dry food to graze on.
Many people consider mixing in a wet food because palatability is an issue. There are two issues we can see with this:
- If your pet is a fussy eater. Ask yourself this question…. If I sprinkle my salad with crushed up bits of snickers am I more likely to eat the salad and will it encourage me to eat the salad next time? 9/10 the answer is no and it is the same for your pets. A fussy eater will simply eat the wet food off the top, thank you very much, and leave the (now soggy) biscuit to go to waste. You have also taught them that if they hold out for long enough you will add something that they would prefer to eat. Essentially you have rewarded their fussy behaviour. Our advice for fussy eaters is to find a good quality food that you believe in and know is perfectly balanced to keep them in the best of health and then BE STRONG! 😉
- Wet food should not be left out for more than 30-60 minutes to prevent bacterial growth. The convenience of dry food is that it can be left out all day. As soon as you add wet food onto dry food you drop it down to that 30-60 minute category and then if your fussy eater hasn’t touched it everything has to go in the bin. If you are mixing wet and dry food in your pets diet they should ideally be in separate bowls but then your fussy eaters are going to eat the wet and leave the dry. You just can’t win!
Our recommendation for fussy eaters is to manipulate the food you are feeding to make it more appealing rather than adding something too it. If a dry biscuit then adding a splash of warm water can make a form of gravy and heighten the aromas that are coming off the food.
If it is a wet diet warming it slightly (be careful with microwaves as they can result in hotspots in the food which can burn) has the same effect.
Therapeutic, grain-free and hypoallergenic dog food diets
Therapeutic diets are formulated specifically to prevent or delay the onset of many health conditions. Whether your mixing dry food with dry food or dry food with wet food, it is important that you don’t ‘counteract’ the benefits of the food your pet needs.
Always always consult your veterinarian if you wish to mix a therapeutic food.
So, what’s our stance on mixing food?
Variety is the spice of life and we don’t want to actively discourage you from enriching your pet with a bit of change. But if you want to mix then you should do a lot of careful research first. If this seems like too much hassle for you – then don’t mix. Rather, we suggest investing time into finding a well-balanced food for your pet which provides all the nutrition and taste they need.