How to Transition Your Dog From Kibble to Raw Food
Switching from kibble to a raw diet can sound overwhelming at first, especially if your pup already has an established diet. However, the benefits of changing from kibble to raw food make it all worth it in the long term. If you’re ready to make the switch, here’s some advice that can help the transition to raw feeding go smoothly.
Transitioning to Raw 101
You might think your dog will instantly jump at the opportunity to eat fresh, raw food. But that’s not always the case. Many dogs are accustomed to their dry food and might turn their noses up at a raw meal because it looks different, feels different, and, believe or not, doesn’t have the same intense aroma as kibble. (Kibble manufacturers use spray-on flavors with enhanced scents to entice dogs.)
That’s why it’s important to be patient during the change from kibble to raw food. Your dog has always eaten one type of food and now you're presenting them with something totally different. Give them some time to "learn" that what you're feeding them is actually food they'll want to eat. You can make their meals more enticing with a little cheese, a sprinkling of their favorite treat, an egg, canned sardines (in water), low-sodium bone broth, goat's milk, or other appetizing flavors. One of our favorite tricks? Try lightly searing the meat, which releases delicious aromas. Over time, gradually reduce how much you sear the food until your dog starts eating their meals completely raw.
Another key component to successfully transitioning your dog to raw is to do it slowly over a 10-day period. You should start by making your pet’s meal 75% of their old pet food and 25% new raw food. Then increase the amount of new food by 25% every few days. For example: Days 1-3: Feed 25% raw, 75% of their previous food. Days 4-6: Feed 50% raw, 50% of their previous food. Days 7-9: Feed 75% raw, 25% of their previous food. By day 10, you should be able to feed 100% raw.
Please note that not all dogs transition at the same rate. Some dogs may transition quickly without any digestive issues and some may require a longer transition period. Don't get discouraged if your dog ends up in the latter category.
Introducing raw dog food in small amounts is best if your pet has a sensitive stomach. This way you can closely monitor their reaction to the new food. It also allows you to experiment with different feeding proportions of kibble and raw food if you’re not making a complete transition.
At We Feed Raw, we give every new customer a transition box and detailed instructions with their first order. This includes everything you need to transition your dog to a raw diet over a 10-day period.
What to Expect During The Transition
When switching a pet over from kibble to a raw food diet, their body might begin the process of expelling toxins and impurities as it adjusts to the consumption of proper nutrients. This so-called “detox” may last a couple of days, one week, one month, several months, or in some cases, not even at all.
Common symptoms of detox include vomiting, loose stools, bad breath, and flatulence. For loose stools, you can add some plain canned organic pumpkin (nothing added) to their meals, which will help to firm up stools and regulate the digestive system. We also recommend adding a good pre/probiotic to their meals before and during the transition. Just remember that your dog's digestive system was designed to process a raw meat-based diet and the detox is a normal part of the transition process.
As your dog switches from kibble to raw food, you might notice changes in stool. Your pup may be pooping less because most of the food they are currently ingesting is being digested and properly used by the body, resulting in less waste. The bone content in your pet's new diet also accounts for it turning white in some cases.
Mucus-covered stools can appear at any time, no matter how long a dog has been on the raw diet, and is generally no reason for concern. When first switching to a raw diet, this may be a sign that the digestive tract is ridding junk from its system.
Drinking Less Water
The raw diet is about 70% moisture and is low in sodium. Because kibble has had the water removed, dogs constantly have to drink to stay properly hydrated. And while they'll most certainly drink less on the raw diet, it's still important to always provide your pet with access to fresh, clean water.
Every Dog is Different
At the end of the day, every dog is different. Some may adapt to the raw diet almost immediately without a problem. Others may need more time and experience digestive symptoms as their body adjusts to the raw food.
Whatever the case, We Feed Raw is here to help with our unique transition plan and high-quality pre-made raw meals for pets.
Want to get a custom meal plan for your furry friend? Get started today.