Growing up, nutrition is an important part of our early education. We know that humans need to eat plenty of protein, vegies, fruits, and grains in order to get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that we need. But you might not know that your pet also needs a varied diet in order to stay happy and healthy.

Since our pets are so deeply food-driven, we can easily get complacent with their overall nutritional needs – they’re clearly really happy eating dry kibble! And, no matter what the marketing says, there is no single food on the market that is truly nutritionally complete. It’s sadly just not possible. So in this blog, we’re going to break down the benefits of a varied diet, as well as some easy tips for incorporating new foods into your pet’s daily meals.

The Benefits


The biggest and clearest benefit of changing up your pet’s diet regularly is that you’ll be ensuring their nutritional wellbeing. Like us, cats and dogs need unique balances of proteins, vitamins, and minerals in order to stay healthy. Cats are obligate carnivores, in that they don’t produce amylase and therefore cannot break down carbohydrates like us or dogs can.

Also, where we need to obtain 9 amino acids from our diet for proper cellular function (why they are called “essential”), cats have 11. Taurine, for example, is vital for a cat’s eye and heart health, but is only found in meat, especially fish, poultry, and organs. This means if your cat eats a heavily plant-based diet, you will find their eyes or heart deteriorating at a younger age, not to mention a host of other problems.

Dogs, on the other hand, are facultative carnivores, meaning a dog can “survive” on a plant-based diet, but in no way would it “thrive” or remotely ever choose to do that. Where they might produce amylase and can break down carbohydrates easily, they are poor synthesisers of arginine and taurine, especially Retrievers and Newfoundlands. A mixture of raw or cooked meats, vegetables, fish, and carbohydrates fulfils every requirement a dog’s diet has – though in particular, fibre is often overlooked in our dogs’ diets, so adding cooked rice or pumpkin can be a great way to bring that vital nutrient back up.


Sometimes when an animal eats a very stable diet for a long time, their body can begin to reject new things. This is a food intolerance, which can subsequently make it much harder than normal to vary your pet’s diet, and can make them very sick when you try to do so. As with all the advice we give on this blog, it’s always best to consult with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet, or if you notice them behaving unusually after you do.

Weight Control

Different foods have different balances of nutrient densities, meaning some foods can be more filling, but with lower nutrient levels and vice versa. If your pet’s diet is too far on one end of the scale, their weight can fluctuate dangerously, leading to a number of other health problems. By varying their diet regularly, you’re able to completely avoid this issue, as a varied diet means a broader range of nutrient densities, and your pet will be able to easily maintain a healthy weight.


Like we said earlier, our pets are very food-driven. This means they love getting to experience new flavours and textures, just like many of us! Of course, there are some pets who are picky eaters, but even they can’t resist some yummy chicken or sardines (in spring water, with the bones removed!). Some pets even go the other way, where they get bored with eating the same meal day after day, so changing things up every now and then might be the only way to give them the nutrients they need!

How To Change Up Your Pet’s Diet

When you’re introducing new foods to your pet, it’s always best to start slow and simple. Introduce one new thing at a time and monitor how your pet behaves for a few days before adding any more. Some pets may be particularly picky, some pets may have easily upset stomachs, some pets might grow lethargic from their calorie intake changing. It’s best to make sure your pet is behaving normally before changing anything too drastically, and if they’re not, take them to the vet ASAP.

Treats are also a great way to add some of the harder-to-find nutrients to your pet’s diet. Green Lip mussels and sardines, for example, are a great source of omega fatty acids, and they’re small and tasty enough that they make perfect treats.

If you’re not making their food yourself (and believe us, we know that having that much time is a luxury!) be sure to carefully research and talk with your vet to find the right combination of wet, dry, and fresh foods for your pet’s particular needs. Some breeds need different nutrients, and underlying conditions or medications can alter the ways foods are processed by your pet’s body. 

Varying your pet’s diet isn’t something we think about often, but it can be one of the most effective ways to keep your pet happy and healthy for longer. If you’re thinking about varying your pet’s diet soon, have a chat with your vet to learn more about your pet’s nutritional needs, then head over to our cat food and dog food ranges to find everything your pet needs!