Making The Switch To Raw Dog Food

Two Methods For Switching To Raw Dog Food

There are two methods for how to switch your dog to a raw diet. One is an immediate switch to raw and the other is a more gradual switch.  Which you should choose depends completely on your dog and their tolerance for varying foods.

Immediate

The easiest, and our preferred method, is to simply feed raw instead.  Basically, instead of whatever you were feeding before, you just feed the appropriate amount of raw.  A fast of 24-48 hours can be beneficial in preparing your dog for the switch.  If you feed your dog once a day, the 24 hour fast is a daily occurrence anyway.

Gradual

You can offer your pet some meals of the old food and some meals of the new raw dog food and over time, increase the amount of raw meals until there is no more of the old dog food offered.  Alternatively, you can feed the new foods (without the bone) in cooked state to get the dog used to new flavors.  Then, begin feeding them the raw dog food with the bone included.

 

Things to Remember When Switching to Raw Dog Food

Separate Raw & Cooked Food

When switching between raw and cooked, it is helpful to know that many dogs cannot tolerate both at the same time.  It will cause indigestion, diarrhea, or vomiting.  For example, my dog tolerates both raw and cooked foods independently, but if fed raw and cooked within a two hour period, will vomit.  Outside of this time period, I can switch types of food often without any problems if I choose to.

Don’t Assume Your Dog Knows What To Do

Dogs who have been feed kibble their whole life don’t just know how to break down a chicken.  This can lead to anything from a messy kitchen floor to a choking dog.  When I first began feeding raw food, I chose to use chicken wings because of their small size compared to my large breed dog.  I also used a meat tenderizer to smash the bones and prevent them from becoming lodged in her throat.  She had to learn to chew raw bones thoroughly so we gradually worked up in size until could handle larger bones.  Now, I favor using a meat grinder to make the majority of my homemade raw dog food and occasionally, give her whole chicken thighs so she can break down some bones.   (If your dog’s teeth are in rough shape, you should consider ground raw food because breaking down bones can scrape plaque off teeth, which may cause heart problems if it enters the blood stream.)

Raw Fed Poop is Different

Sorry for the grossness, but don’t become alarmed if your dog begins pooping differently.  Raw poop is different from kibble poop.  The good news is that there is often much less poop from a raw fed dog.  It is often small and dark and then will turn white and crumble after a few days outside.  Much different from kibble poop.

 

We love homemade raw food for our dog.  If you’re thinking about switching your dog to a raw food diet, please keep these things in mind and give your dog a chance to adjust and detox if they need it.

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