Switching your dog to raw diet is the best decision you can make to provide them with a healthy diet they were designed to thrive on. While transitioning your dog to a raw diet, it is important to take it slow and gradually, or else can be problematic. Follow these guidelines when switching your dog to a raw diet, but remember every dog is different.
Transitioning From Kibble To Raw:
When transitioning your dog from a processed kibble diet to a natural raw diet, there are many things to keep in mind. If your dog has been on a highly processed diet, switching to raw will come as a slight shock to their digestive system. Your dog will need time for their stomach to detoxify the built up toxins from a processed diet and adjust to their new diet. This is easily accomplished by decreasing the amounts of current kibble and adding in raw dog food until the former food is completely replaced.
Due to the slight shock to their digestive system, your dog may experience a temporary upset stomach or soft stool, as the body adjusts to the new food. To help with this, we recommend sticking to one type of protein in your dog’s meals for at least the first week, and possible longer if they have diarrhea after 7 days. Remember, this is new to them so they make take some time to acclimate to their new diet. Once your dog has adjusted to the first source of protein, you can introduce the next — again giving them at least a week to adjust. When you’ve established a raw diet after a couple months, you can mix things up with different meats each day.
Follow These Guidelines When Transitioning Your Dog From Kibble To A Raw Diet:
First, select a protein familiar to your dog & thaw in your fridge for 24-48 hours before feeding.
Phase 1: Begin the transition by first feeding 20% of raw dog food & 80% of the old food for 3-5 days.
Phase 2: Next, move onto 50% raw dog food & 50% old dog food for another 3-5 days.
Phase 3: Then you can advance to 80% raw dog food & 20% old dog food for another 3-5 days.
Phase 4: Finally, feeding 100% raw dog food!
Transitioning From Cooked Food To Raw:
When switching your dog from a fresh cooked diet to a raw diet should be done slowly as well, although it will be a much quicker transition process. Your dog is not eating processed kibble, but their stomach and digestive tract will still need time to adjust to their new diet. Also, many cooked diets have fillers such as pasta and rice included which your dog will need to detox. We recommend following our slow and gradual transition guidelines and adjust as needed.
Transitioning From Another Raw Brand To Cali Raw:
Remember, any time you are changing your dog’s food it needs to be done with care. When transitioning from one brand of raw dog food to another, we suggest doing so slowly and gradually as well. Your dog’s digestive tract is already adjusted to a raw diet but since different brands have different recipes, the ingredients and ratios may vary.
Things To Consider When Transitioning To Raw For Specific Life Stages:
Since puppies don’t have the long term negative effects of a processed diet, they are likely to adjust to their new diet much quicker than adult dogs. Puppies have a healthier digestive system, making the transition process much quicker. With puppies you can change their diet cold turkey, or slow and gradually but it may take a couple days instead of a couple weeks.
If your dog has a healthy digestive system, they may be able to transition much quicker as well. We still do suggest starting slow, monitoring their stool, and adjust as needed.
Due to their age and possible health issues, we suggest moving slower when transitioning a senior dog to a natural raw diet. They are less robust, and their digestive system is much more fragile and sensitive to change.You may need to extend the transition process for several weeks or months. Remember, if your senior dog has been eating processed foods their entire life they need a more gradual switch to detox the harmful built up toxins in their stomach.
Things to Expect During The Transition Period:
Since your dog was on a processed diet, they may experience a detoxification period when first transitioning to a natural raw diet. This will take place through the bowels and their skin. Your dog may experience the following symptoms:
- Runny eyes
- Dry skin
- Excess shedding
- Mucus coating your dog's poop
- Skin conditions may briefly worsen
All of these symptoms are completely normal when transitioning to a raw diet. While this may worry some pet owners, this is actually a positive thing. Many people call this getting “unsick”. Your dog will be purging toxins that have build up from a processed diet. These symptoms should resolve themselves once new cells replace the old unhealthy one!
Another “side effect” you may notice when transitioning your dog to a raw diet is their daily water intake may decrease. Dogs on a natural raw diet will drink much less water than dogs who eat a processed diet because their new food is moisture dense. Your dog will be receiving their water intake through the food they are eating.
One of the first things you may recognize when switching your dog to a raw diet is their stool will change. This is a benefit for all! During the transition period, your dog may experience changes in how frequently they go to the bathroom. They also may experience a temporary upset stomach or soft stool as the body adjusts to the new food. Once the transition period is over, their stool will be smaller and firmer! This is due to the absence of fillers, carbohydrates, and other foreign ingredients.
Additional Transition Tips:
- Fast your dog for one full meal prior to introducing a new diet. This resets and detoxifies their digestive system before switching foods.
- Serve at room temperature.
- Always provide your dog with clean, filtered drinking water.
- Keep it simple during the transition. Do not add any additional supplements or treats.
- For finicky pups, we recommend you start by serving their first few meals lightly cooked for 6-7 minutes in a pan on low heat to enhance the flavors and aromas.
- For dogs with highly sensitive stomachs, we recommend prepping their stomach with either goats milk or slippery elm.
Now that you are ready to transition your dog to a raw diet, keep in mind that nobody knows your dog better than you! There is no “correct”’ way to transition your dog to a raw diet. Just like humans, every dog is different. We recommend using these general transition guidelines but adjust as needed. Your dog trusts you and will be encouraged by your positivity as well. Remember, it is a slow and gradual process, but will result in a healthier, happier dog!
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