Transitioning Your Dog to Raw Food
Practical information to switch your dog or cat to Rawsome Dogs, 100% natural and customizable meal plans.
Every dog and cat is unique and there is no single “one size fits all” approach to transitioning your dog or cat from kibble (dry processed nuggets) to a more natural, holistic, raw meat-based diet. There are, however, some basic principles and techniques that apply in most cases:
- Be positive. Dogs and cats are very sensitive and can sense any apprehensions or skepticism you may be feeling about feeding raw food. Being confident will reassure your pet about your choice to change to a new diet.
- While variety is the key to outstanding health when feeding a fresh, raw meat-based diet; it’s best to start with one type of meat during your transition (preferably the same meat type you are currently feeding). This will make for and easier adjustment on your dog’s digestive system.
- Fast your dog or cat the night before beginning the transition to their customized meal plan. Your dog or cat will have a greater interest in the new food the next morning! This also gives their digestive system a chance to rest.
- Limit treats during the transition, especially flour and/or grain based treats in order to increase your dog or cat’s appetite for its meals.
- Provide access to plenty of clean water (preferably filtered).
Changes In Your Dog or Cat’s Stool
One of the additional benefits of switching your pet to a fresh food diet will quickly become apparent; you will see a significant reduction in the size and odor of your dog or cat’s stool. Stools from fresh-food fed dogs and cats tend to be smaller and firmer, as the dog or cat is absorbing more nutrients from the intake of the new food.
Some dogs will occasionally strain slightly at the hard stools. This is OK and even beneficial, as the harder stools help the dog or cat express its anal glands; reducing the likelihood of infection.
There may be some variation in the consistency of your dog or cat’s stool. This is also OK, although you should consult with your veterinarian if your dog or cat experiences prolonged diarrhea (soft stool is not diarrhea).
You may also occasionally see a film around your dog or cat’s stool, especially during transition. This is also OK and is evidence of detoxification, i.e., the dog or cat’s body cleansing itself of harmful toxins.
Detoxification: Getting “Unsick”
When switching your dog or cat to a healthier, natural fresh food diet, some dogs or cats (especially older ones who have been eating kibble for a long time) may experience a detoxification process.
Although expected, this condition may be a bit unnerving. You may see mucus coating your dog or cat’s stool, excess shedding, dry skin, runny eyes, or other symptoms. These symptoms do not mean that your pet is sick. In actuality, they are signs that your pal is getting “unsick,” as the dog or cat’s body purges itself of the various toxins that have built up over time.
The period of detoxification is temporary and will resolve itself with time (generally a week or two, but up to a couple months in some cases) as new cells must replace old ones in order for the detox process to be completed. You may be able to speed up the process with increased exercise and by having plenty of fresh filtered water available.
Please note: Dogs or cats that have been on steroids, antibiotics, or other long-term drugs, may experience prolonged detoxification periods. Although rare, you should always consult with your veterinarian if you believe your dog or cat is manifesting severe problems connected to the diet change.
Adding kefir or yoghurt to your dog or cat’s meal can be a source for some probiotics; provided your dog or cat tolerates dairy products well. Goat dairy products are typically tolerated more easily than cow dairy and provide a wider range of beneficial bacteria.
Pets prone to digestive upsets or vomiting immediately following a meal will benefit from preventing them from gulping down their food. Slow them down by placing a clean rock or other object in the middle of their food bowl or plate so that their new meal plan is spread out.
If your pet is experiencing runny/loose stools, constipation or vomiting at times other than after meals, cooked pumpkin (canned is ok) can be added to their meal. Our suggested amount is 1-2 tablespoons per cup of food. Pumpkin is unique in that it helps with both loose stools as well as constipation.
Keep in mind that switching to an all-natural, holistic, grain free, raw food diet is a lifestyle choice; one that your beloved pals will thank you for! However, as with any new change, there may be an adjustment period for your pet. It is important that you remain consistent in that transition period to support your pet. Rawsome Dogs is here every step of the way; stop in and see us or give us a call should any questions arise in the process. Congratulations on your decision to give your pet a healthier and longer life by feeding raw!