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Getting Results Out of Samples

How to get ideal results out of dehydrated food samples:

The Honest Kitchen Perfect Form prevents diarrhea during sampling or transitioning to new foods. The product is available in 5.5oz tins. It is inexpensive and incredibly effective.

Important points to remember:

  1. Consistency makes a big difference. The first time you make a sample it may not have a consistency, texture, or temperature that your pet really likes, so it’s important to try it a few times in a few different ways.

  2. If your pet doesn’t switch often you must use small amounts for sampling.

  3. Just because your pet didn’t a food when you “tried it before”, doesn’t mean they won’t like it now. Just like people, pets sometimes change their preferences.

  4. Sometimes picky eating is a behavioral problem. Read “How to Convert Your Picky Eater” to learn how you may be unknowingly contributing to your pets picky ways. Or for additional tips on how to get them to try new things (especially cats).

  5. Offering samples BEFORE a meal ensures they’ll eat it because they’re hungry. (Which is best). Offering samples AFTER a meal usually ensures they’ll eat it because they like it (in the case of health its important to remember that you don’t give your toddler only cheesy poofs because that’s what they like. You also make them eat things they don’t love because that’s what’s best for them.)

What NOT to do:

– Do NOT use any sample all at once

– Do NOT use any sample to replace a meal

– Do NOT mix any sample into your pets current food or other food (unless you plan to continue to feed that food, too)

– Do NOT offer samples to more than one pet at a time. Each pet should be offered samples in an area isolated from other pets so competitive eating is absent.

– Do not assume that your pet won’t like a sample because it is the flavor of something else they didn’t like in the past – Consider that if you go to a salad bar buffet with a friend you will each pick a different assortment of ingredients for your salad based on your preferences. In many cases it’s the combination of ingredients in a product that your pet doesn’t love, not a single ingredient. Therefore, while your pet may not of liked a product that had a particular meat base in the past it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether or not they’ll like a different product, with a different base, that has the same meat base.

Do NOT microwave samples, especially Raw Foods – To create a complete diet for dogs and cats the diet must contain healthy minerals which are naturally sourced from bone. Ground raw bone is small enough (and naturally pliable) to not affect your pet when consumed raw. However, bone heats significantly faster than meat when microwaved and can cause a variety of concerns including burning your pets mouth if given too soon, and creating brittle and sharp bone fragments that could potentially be dangerous if fed. If you need to warm your pets’ food for any reason we recommend warming it on the stove or in a bowl of cool to warm (but not hot… so you maintain the raw enzyme and probiotic nutrition) water.

What TO do if your pet IS a picky eater:

  1. Get yourself sticky notes or paper plates

  2. If you got sticky notes – write the name of each product on its own sticky note. If you got paper plates – write the name of each product in a circle around the plate

  3. Make up a 1/8 to ¼ of each of your samples. Put ALL of the prepared samples out at the same time, in their labeled spots on a single plate. (Or make them all up at once and keep them in the fridge to try and try again for up to 4 days)

  4. Usually your pet will choose one (or more) foods that they really like. Once your pet has chosen one (or a few) you have remaining sample to try it again at the next meal. At the next meal only offer the foods that your pet chose at the first trial, as well as any Honest Kitchen that they didn’t try the first round (in the “gravy” stage).

  5. It is ideal to try each sample two to three times before committing to it. If your pet is really picky you can try the samples cold, warm, hot, thick, watered down, in other locations, in new bowls, in solidarity, etc.  For more tips on how to get your pet to try new things see:

What to do if your pet is NOT a picky eater:

  1. Make up ¼ – ½ of the sample pack of YOUR favorite product… the one you most want your pet to eat and only offer one type of samples at a time.

  2. If your pet likes it then you may commit to that food. If they don’t like it, put the sample in the fridge and try it again after the next meal. This offers your pet the opportunity to try it again later and also gives the product the opportunity to thicken to a different, possibly more likable consistency.

  3. If your pet likes it you know you must pre-make your food in enough time to allow it thicken for your pet. If your pet doesn’t like it, mix it with another product that has more consistency such as raw meat nibbles (Vital Essentials, OC Raw, K9 Naturals, etc) or Ziwi Peak or K9 Naturals Freeze Dried. If your pet likes it you can commit to that blend. If they don’t like it, dump it and try a different flavor of the product.

Important notes on samples:

1) Raw Foods are good thawed out in the refrigerator for 4 days.

2) Raw Foods take 15-40 minutes to thaw, depending on the surface area of your food. If you are thawing small medallions they will thaw much faster than 1+lb chubs.

3) Do NOT microwave your samples

4) Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried foods are good in the refrigerator once rehydrated for 4 days

5) To rehydrated dehydrated or freeze-dried foods add an equal amount or more of water.

6) Soaking times for dehydrated foods are around 20-30 minutes. Soaking times on freeze-dried foods is around 40-50 minutes. However, the texture of the food will change (thicken) the longer it soaks. You may soak for a longer or shorter time to adjust the consistency if your pet doesn’t like it at the 30-minute soak time. Some brands do not rehydrate well such as Ziwi Peak and Smack. These can be fed dry.

7) We recommend soaking kibble if it is a good quality brand (with a ethical sourcing and recall history… to see a list of brands that do and don’t fit this criteria please visit our blog page at . If you have a kibble you are able to soak, we recommend soaking it for 4 or more hours. If you are refrigerating kibble we recommend throwing it away after 2 days.

8) If you’d like to try mixing samples that’s fine too. Many pets like a little crunch in their foods. Mixing foods like Ziwi Peak, Smack or Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried in with any soft, rehydrated freeze-dried, soaked dehydrated or raw food can make the meal a little more fun for some pets.

Read “Long Term Effects of Dry Foods on Pets” for information about why you shouldn’t feed dry kibble foods.

Read “Myth’s about Pet Foods” for common myths about dry, dehydrated, canned and raw foods.

– by Chelsea Kent, co-founder of Hero’s Pets

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