How To Transition
How to Transition to Raw Feeding – Adult Dogs
Congratulations on making the decision to move your dog onto a raw food diet!
A raw diet is high in protein, whereas most dry foods are high in carbohydrates. Due to the different enzymes and pH levels required to digest proteins and carbohydrates it may take up to a couple of weeks before your dog’s digestive system has fully adapted. Transitioning to a raw diet can be done in one of two ways – cold turkey or a gradual introduction. Most raw feeders advocate the cold turkey switch, over mixing raw and dry food, due to the different digestive enzymes needed to adequately digest a raw diet versus a dry food diet.
Cold Turkey Transition
Transitioning cold turkey is easy – at the dog’s next meal feed it raw. Some people choose to fast their dog the day prior to transitioning, however this is not required.
- Week 1 – feed ¼ raw and ¾ existing diet
- Week 2 – feed ½ raw and ½ existing diet
- Week 3 – feed ¾ raw and ¼ existing diet
- Week 4 – feed raw exclusively
Whether you choose to go the cold turkey or gradual introduction method, GO SLOWLY! The biggest “mistake” people make when moving to a raw diet is trying to introduce to much variety at once. This may cause stomach upsets such as vomiting and diarrhoea. At this stage, the focus is on converting your dog’s digestive system to raw. Monitoring your dog at feeding and pooping time helps you determine how your dog is progressing with the change. Some dogs will adapt quickly to a raw diet and you will be able to progress at a faster rate. Other dogs (particularly if fed dry food for a long time) will take time before their digestive system adapts to raw diet.
- Start by choosing a protein source that is readily available in your area. If feeding a premade product choose one with only one protein type in the ingredients.
- Feed a portion of muscle meat and edible bone suitable for your sized dog, for the first meal or two. If your dog does not eat within 20 minutes remove the food and refeed it for the next meal.
- Check your dog’s poop. You are looking for poop that is not too loose and not too firm. If poop is too firm decrease the amount of bone being fed.
- Repeat this process for at least a couple of days. When your dog is managing well you can slowly introduce other cuts of muscle meat and edible bone from the same protein source.
- When stools are consistent you can introduce another protein source. Follow the same method of slowly introducing the muscle meat and edible bone. Some dogs may reject one protein source and love another.
- Once your dog is consuming at least three different protein sources you can introduce organ meats. Liver is vital to a balanced raw diet, so start by introducing a small amount of liver (from any animal source). Liver is rich and can cause diarrhea if too much is introduced too quickly. Continue to increase the amount until 5-7% of total meal is reached.
- Repeat the process for other organs.
- Continue to monitor dog poop. If too loose, increase bone content. If too hard, decrease bone content and include more organs.