Raw dog food can offer numerous health benefits and provide a more natural diet than kibble or canned foods. Many pet owners are now turning to raw diets. As they look for alternatives that will give their furry family members the nutrition they need.
But before you make the switch to raw dog food, it’s important to understand: how to switch to raw dog food.
Today, I will discuss with you: what type of stage you can adapt to switch your dog’s diet to a raw diet, and what things you can expect while switching period.
Along with all these, some useful tips will give you a more clear view and help you during the transition period. In this blog, you get a personal view of mine, when I switched my dog’s diet to a raw diet.
How to Transition to Raw Dog Food Diet?
Switching your dog to a raw food diet can be a daunting task. Especially when you are new to the concept. So, it’s important to understand that raw diets are not for every dog and owner – you have to be overcareful while doing this transition.!
As we know, raw food diets have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential that accordingly, you do the switch.
Well, recently, I have also switched my dogs’ food to a raw diet. So, here I am sharing my experience to help you out regarding how to transition to a raw dog food diet.
Here are the three types or stages which you can use for your dog’s transition period.
1. Immediate Transition
One of the basic and simple transition types or switching processes is immediate transition. In this process, all you need to do is simply offer raw dog food to your furry pal, and remove his earlier commercial dog food.
This is possible if you are raising a puppy or just turning an adult dog. It’s easy to divert their mind or make them convenient to switch to another diet.
One more benefit is that during this stage of life, their body will not react negatively. This is because their digestive system and metabolism work effectively when they are young. There are fewer chances that their body is contaminated with several diseases compared to seniors hood.
This immediate transition is possible if you are raising a puppy or just turning an adult dog. But can a puppy eat adult dog food during this transition period?
2. Transition Gradually With Time
The second type or stage transitions gradually with time. This process is mostly for senior dogs who have lived their life eating commercial food. So, it;’s become a little tricky to make them switch to a raw diet. In this process, all you need to do is offer him 50% raw food and a 50 % commercial diet.
But, do not mix it, offer it in a separate bowl and let them decide which one they want to have. This is because if you will mix it then it will lead to health issues for them as raw and kibble together take more time in digestion and can create health issues for them.
With time, your furry pal will make up his mind. You will get to know whether he is interested in eating raw food or not through his body language.
3. Slow Transition
The third step is a slow transition to raw dog food. In this process, all you need to do is offer one commercial real and another one raw food. There’s a possibility that he will not eat at first, but then gradually he will try to eat in small proportions.
Slowly, with time, you can shift to a fully raw diet and stop feeding him commercial food. This process can take more time, you need to be calm enough to handle the situation.
One more thing, feeding both types of meals can increase the chances of stomach upset issues. As we have an idea, some dogs do suffer from weak immune system issues, which lead to gastrointestinal issues for them in future.
What to Expect When Switching Dog to Raw Food?
Now, the next step, you need to look after is: how your dog’s body reacts after the switching of diet. It’s natural if your dog’s body reacts to the switch or change in diet, no need to worry about it.
As we have an idea, that raw diet should be handled carefully or else there are chances of contamination. Further, UK government website states, uncooked meat can be infected with bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and E. coli that can cause harm to your furry pal.
So, you need to be extra careful while feeding raw food to your furry pal. This is because you can feed them a raw diet, but with proper care.
Here, are the three most expected things you can observe in your furry pal during the transition to raw dog food.
One more thing, I have also personally experienced these factors in my furry pal so no need to worry about it, it’s natural. Let’s explore this in detail.
Detoxification is one of the natural process you will notice in your dog’s body during the transition period. In this process, as the diet changes, the body flushes out the toxins and clean the internal organ for better living.
A few symptoms which indicated your furry pal’s body is experiencing detoxication are as follows:
- Loose stool
- Mucous stool
- Runny eyes
- Excretion through ears
- Hair fall
- Coat shine decreases
These are the few signs that you will notice during the switching period. The hair fall, and reduction in coat shine, don’t mean they will not get the new one, in fact, a healthy coat will come once the transition period is over.
Once your dog is on a raw diet, his body will stop showing these signs. But, even after a few days, you are noticing such symptoms in your dog. It is recommended to consult the vet to get confirmation whether they are facing any other severe health problems or not.
“Well, you can feed raw food to your dog, but need to be extra careful while feeding them a raw diet. It is because there are higher chances of contamination of pathogens in raw food, which could make your furry pal sick if not handled carefully. That’s why vets discourage feeding a raw diet to dogs if raw foods are not washed or cleaned properly, it can lead to severe health issues for your canine.”
2. Water Intake Reduces
Another thing you expect to see during the transition period is that your furry pal will consume less water. In other words, his water intake ratio will gradually decrease with time as the raw diet consumption will increase.
On a natural diet, your dog requires less water because their raw food is already dense with moisture. So they don’t need extra water consumption to keep themselves hydrated all day.
Earlier, senior dogs used to consume commercial food. It was filled with fillers, that demanded more water in their body. Hence, it was recommended to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
3. Change in Stool
One of the thing or body behaviour you will notice during the transition period is the change in stool. Let me tell you, if your furry pal is experiencing a change in stool, then it’s a good sign. Because his body is reacting to the switch in his diet.
There are chances, your furry pal may experience frequent visits to the washroom, or might face stomach upset issues. This is because their body is adapting to new food which does not include any filler or carbohydrates, it’s just a direct nutrient from the food.
Nothing to worry about it! Just like we try some new dishes, our body reacts differently. Similarly, when you switch your dog’s food brand, or entirely from dry to wet or like offering raw food, etc… You will notice the initial few days his digestive system will take time to set, then it’s good to go situation.
Tips for Easy Transition to Raw Dog Food
So far, we have covered different types of transition stages, and how your furry pal’s body might react during the transition period. To make the switching process easier, I have done some footwork and experiments. And I concluded a few points, which will help you make an easy transition to raw dog food.
Here, are a few tips for an easy transition to raw dog food:
- You need to be calm enough to carry out the switching process to raw dog food.
- While serving, make sure that it is at room temperature, and that you are not just directly feeding from the freezer.
- One thing, which benefits me, is that I used my furry pal’s favourite meat. For an easy switch, you can offer his favourite meat in raw form. This will increase the chances that he will take interest in raw food.
- Don’t force your dog to eat raw food. If you force him, there is a higher chance he will not agree to eat raw dog food.
- Offer him raw food when he has not eaten anything for a very long time, and look for food.
- Offer him fresh raw food, so he might take interest in his meal.
- Always place a water bowl near his plate. If he doesn’t like the taste of raw food, at least he can have water and doesn’t just puke.
From my experience, I have concluded these few tips, which surely will help you in an easy transition to raw dog food. Do try out these tips and let me know if that worked for you or not.
Always place a water bowl near his plate. If he doesn’t like the taste of raw food, at least he can have water and doesn’t just puke. Also, be sure to store any leftover dry dog food properly and use within its expiration date. Dry dog food can usually last 6-12 months unopened, but how long does dry dog food last once opened?
Note:- UK government website has provided a pamphlet on pet food handling safety.
One of the ways, you can start the transition process is by slowly introducing him to raw food. Like, while feeding him, keep 80% old dog food and 20% raw food. Then, slowly with time, increase the proportion of raw food and vice versa. This will help you in the easy switch from kibble to raw dog food.
If raw food is unopened and frozen, then it can remain in the house freezer for up to nine months. But, once, you have opened it and defrosted it, then it should be finished within three days because then it increases the chances of contamination of raw food. It’s recommended not to refreeze the defrosted items.
It solely depends on your furry pal’s digestive system. It has been noticed that few dogs easily adapt to the transition to a raw diet. While there are some whose body is not able to adapt to it and displayed few stomach-related symptoms. Either way, it’s good if your dog’s body detox while switching to raw because it’s eliminating toxins from his body.
Well, you can feed raw food to your dog, but need to be extra careful while feeding them a raw diet. It is because there are higher chances of contamination of pathogens in raw food, which could make your furry pal sick if not handled carefully. That’s why vets discourage feeding a raw diet to dogs if raw foods are not washed or cleaned properly, it can lead to severe health issues for your canine.
Yes, you can mix raw and kibble together, and then serve it to your furry pal. It is considered safe unless your dog’s stomach is able to digest it. As we know, dogs’ stomachs are more acidic than humans. So, their digestive system is able to break down the raw food and digest it quickly, but kibble and raw should be mixed in limited proportions only then it’s safe to feed them.
Well, It’s a Wrap!
Now, you know pretty much about how to switch to raw dog food, and what are the things or symptoms you can expect from your dog’s body, during the transition period. And you have also got a fair idea regarding the tips for an easy transition.
Now you are full of ample amount of knowledge. One more thing, no one knows better about your dog than you do. So, you know very well which easy trick you need to pick for the switching process, and you are good to go.
Additionally, always ensure that raw meat is properly handled and stored according to guidelines set by regulatory agencies such as the GOV.UK or Food Standard Agency in order to prevent potential bacterial contamination.
All in all, if done correctly and with caution, then transitioning will be easy.
While raw diets have benefits, don't forget to also research highly-rated best dry dog food uk as an alternative
- Raw diets for dogs and cats: a review, with particular reference to microbiological hazards. (2019, April 26). Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1111/jsap.13000
- Freeman, L. M. (2013, December 1). Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat–based diets for dogs and cats. AVMA. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.243.11.1549
- Team, C. N. (2016, September 30). Raw Diets: A Healthy Choice or a Raw Deal? Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School. https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2016/01/raw-diets-a-healthy-choice-or-a-raw-deal/