Transition Guide for Dogs
There are certain factors to consider prior to transitioning to raw, during the transition, and after transitioning. Knowing what to expect will make the transitioning process smoother for both you and your dog.
- If your pet has a health issue, then any food changes should be done with the help of a professional, especially in cases of diabetes and other forms metabolic disease.
- Dogs that have been on a commercial diet for a number of years or senior dogs transitioning to raw are best started with a probiotic or a digestive enzyme supplement about 2 weeks prior to transitioning. The enzymes required to break down a raw diet vs. a processed diet are very different. The pancreas has to adapt. Raw goat milk can also ease this process.
- Consider adding a home-made or store-bought low sodium bone broth to your dog's meals at least 1 week prior to adding raw foods to their diet. The amount of bile needed to break down raw food is less because it is 65%-75% moisture. Their stomach will adjust, but this will help to ease the process.
- If your pet currently grazes on dry food all day, you will need to create set meal times so that your pet develops more of an appetite at the specified times.
- Focus on feeding one easily digestible protein source while you are making the switch such as chicken or turkey. Once your pet has fully transitioned, you can start to diversify their proteins - this is actually a necessity to ensure a proper balanced diet.
- A raw diet is higher in calories with less volume. Your pet may seem hungrier, but the stomach will adjust and these sensations will be less noticeable in a week or so.
- Your pet’s water consumption will naturally decrease, or may even go to zero for a little bit of time because they are getting hydration through their food
- Practice patience. Transitioning to a new raw food diet usually takes about 5-10 days, but may take up to 3 weeks because there are significant differences in the digestive process between raw and kibble.
- During the first 7 - 14 days, your pet may experience digestive upset including gas, loose stools, mucous in stool, and may vomit yellow or white phlegm. This is due to the vast difference in how kibble and raw food are digested (enzymes required, amount of bile required, etc.). The body needs time to adjust. As previously mentioned you can help ease the transition by adding probiotics and bone broth to your pet's diet prior transitioning.
- You will want to start introducing new proteins. It is ideal to rotate between 3-5 different proteins. The reason is that different proteins have different amino acid profiles - amino acids work together to provide the protein your pet needs to use, build and restore their muscle - and in order for your pet to get everything their body needs to maintain overall health, they need to eat a variety of proteins.
- Start adding a source of omega 3s, such as fish oil, because they support the heart, brain, kidney, and liver functions and decrease—or potentially prevent—gut, skin, and joint inflammation.
Your pet’s body shape may change, or your pet may lose some weight, monitor their body condition score often. Higher protein diets will promote lean muscle gain and fat loss.
The Two Types of Transitions
1. Immediate/Cold Turkey (Adult Dogs)
- Fast your dog for 12 to 24 hours after their last kibble meal.
- Offer 1/2 the serving of raw, wait 15 mins. before offering remaining portion.
- We suggest serving their meals at room temperature for the first few days, giving their stomach a chance to adjust. After that, you can feed straight from the fridge.
2. Gradual Transition
- Day 1 & 2 – 75% original food in A.M & 25% Raw P.M meal
- Day 3 & 4 – 50% original food A.M & 50% Raw P.M meal
- Day 5 & 6 – 25% original food A.M & 75% Raw P.M meal
- Day 7 Full raw
PORTION CALCULATORSUsually, a good rule of thumb is a ½ lb of food per 20 lbs of dog. If your dog needs to gain weight, add a ¼ lb of raw food per meal. If they need to lose weight, reduce by ¼ lb per meal.
There are calculators available on the supplier webpages depending on which brand of raw food you decide to feed.
Raw Performance Feeding Calculator: https://www.rawperformancedogfood.com/pages/feeding-calculator
Big Country Raw Feeding Calculator: https://bigcountryraw.ca/getting-started/cost-portion-calculator/
Tollden Farms Feeding Calculator: https://www.tolldenfarms.ca/learning-centre/feeding-calculator