7 Tips for Switching Your Dog to a Raw Food Diet

There are numerous benefits of switching your dog to a raw food diet. Many dogs who are raw fed have more energy, are more attentive, have healthier skin and coats, better breath, and firmer stools to name a few. If you’ve been hearing more and more good things about raw feeding for dogs, you might be eager to make the switch. The good news is that whether you are switching from kibble, canned food, or cooked food, most dogs transition to raw feeding quite easily. 

Raw Feeding Basics:

What is raw food for dogs? It’s exactly what it says on the tin – raw feeding is feeding your dog food that’s uncooked, just as nature intended. Before they became domesticated, dogs would survive on an evolutionary diet consisting of raw and meaty bones, and vegetable scraps. So, what is raw dog food in this day and age? In modern times, dogs on this diet tend to eat a range of muscle meat, often still on the bone, whole and ground bones, raw eggs, organ meat like kidneys and livers, some fruits and vegetables, and some dairy, like yoghurt. 

It’s certainly not as easy as scooping out a bowl full of kibble, however, dog food brands like Bella and Duke provide pre-prepared, nutritious raw dog meals tailored to your dog to make feeding and reaping the benefits of a raw diet easier than ever. Rather than preparing your own food, you can have a balanced diet delivered straight to your door.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog:

Getting the balance right is essential when switching to a raw food diet for your dog. Dog owners need to make sure that they are balancing the right amount of nutrients for their dog’s diet. For this reason, it’s sensible to buy high-quality food from a reputable brand, so you know your dog has everything he needs for optimum health. 

Making the Switch:

There are several ways to transition your dog from kibble or canned food onto raw. The easiest way for most dogs is to do a straight swap and keep things simple. Ideally, you should feed your dog the last meal of their old food in the evening and wait at least twelve hours before feeding them their first raw food meal the next morning. On the other hand, some dogs might find this approach challenging. In this case, phasing it in would be the best option. Begin by offering raw food as a treat and slowly build up the amount that you give them while monitoring how they respond. 

What to Expect:

There are certain characteristics of switching to a raw food diet for dogs that are to be expected. For example, you will usually find that after switching to a raw food diet, your dog will drink less water. This is absolutely normal and no cause for concern. Since raw food has much more natural fluid and less salt and carbohydrates compared to kibble and other processed dog food, your dog’s water requirements will decrease. 

Detox Side Effects:

When switching from one diet to another, your dog might experience some side effects. These are usually minor and should pose no cause for concern. Most of the time, any side effects will go away on their own after a short amount of time once your dog’s body has adapted to their new diet. Your dog might experience a short bout of constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting, or bad breath. Most dogs will not experience any side effects, but if yours does, keep a close eye on them and monitor their symptoms. There is usually no need to pay a visit to the vet unless your dog develops symptoms that are worsening over time, or not going away on their own. 

Helping Your Dog Make the Switch:

Adding certain things to your dog’s food can make it easier for them to make the switch to a raw diet both physically and mentally. Psyllium husk powder is a soluble fibre which can be added to your dog’s meals in order to help reduce any inflammation naturally. You can also add gently steamed, pureed veggies to your dog’s food bowl to help them get some extra fibre in their diet; this is a great addition if your dog is suffering from constipation as a side effect of making the switch. Bone broth is another great addition to your dog’s food if they are reluctant to eat it, as it adds warmth and aroma that makes it harder to resist. 

If Your Dog Won’t Eat the Food:

Most dogs will clean their plate, but if you have a fussy pooch who’s refusing to eat raw food, don’t worry. If they leave their food, don’t fuss – simply take the food away. You might find it helpful to quickly flash-fry the food at the next mealtime, to release tasty-smelling juices that will entice your dog to try it. Some dogs will also benefit from being able to scavenge for the food. 

Making the switch to raw food has many health benefits for your dog but keep these tips in mind to ensure that everything goes smoothly. 

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