Switching Diets for Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Birds

Wellness : Nutrition

Purina Animal Nutrition Logo

Purina Animal Nutrition

Do you ever think that you should be providing more variety in your pet’s diet so that it is more like yours?

Actually, introducing a new diet to your pet can lead to gastrointestinal upset or cause unintentional stress. The benefits of switching to a Purina® diet will be noticed quickly, but the process of switching should be slow.
Species such as guinea pigs and rabbits have a very delicate digestive system that relies on a consistent diet. Guinea pigs and rabbits are herbivores (plant eaters) that have an extensive microbe population in their ceca. Ceca are small pouches found at the beginning of their large intestines that contain bacteria that help digest high-fiber ingredients, such as alfalfa or timothy hay. This delicate ecosystem of microbes must be “fed” appropriately to ensure a healthy gut. Changing guinea pig food and switching rabbit food immediately, or providing too many treats at one time, can cause a disruption to this ecosystem and lead to gastrointestinal upset.
Pets such as birds and guinea pigs are very finicky eaters. Birds especially are very attuned to the shape, size, and color of their food. Switching a bird’s food abruptly may lead to digestive upset, or worse, your bird will stop eating completely. Never fear though, you can change your pet’s diet; you just need to do it the right way: SLOWLY!
You should take 7 to 10 days to switch your animal to a new diet. Follow the guidelines below to help slowly transition your pet onto its new feed. Remember to monitor the weight, behavior, and appearance of your animal throughout the process. If your pet backs off or stops eating completely, go back a step and allow it more time to adjust to the new diet.

Guide for switching pet food

Each animal is different; the recommendations below are just a guide.
Day   1:     100% old diet
Day   2:     90% old diet / 10% Purina® Diet
Day   3:     80% old diet / 20% Purina® Diet
Day   4:     70% old diet / 30% Purina® Diet
Day   5:     60% old diet / 40% Purina® Diet
Day   6:     50% old diet/ 50% Purina® Diet
Day   7:     40% old diet / 60% Purina® Diet
Day   8:     30% old diet / 70% Purina® Diet
Day   9:     20% old diet / 80% Purina® Diet
Day 10:     10% old diet / 90% Purina® Diet
Day 11:     100% Purina® Diet