Look For Sourcing In Your Area
If your budget is tight, then you’ll have to become a DIY raw feeder, and that’s where you want to be anyway. I still feed my dogs some premade raw brands. However, most of the food I buy is from a local meat supplier and I mix their meals twice a month while watching a movie or listening to a book.
To get started, you’ll need to find sourcing in your area which may include:
- Look for a meat supplier, butcher, farmer, or hunter in your area make sure your local laws allow you to buy from hunters .
- Look to see if there is a raw food co-op in your area this is a group of people who buy in bulk together at discounted price.
- Check prices and connect with the meat manager at your local grocery store and Asian market.
Once you secure sourcing that meets your budget, you can move on transitioning your dog to raw feeding.
Four: Raw Diet Round Up
Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are best. Plastic bowls can harbor germs and excrete dangerous toxins.
Cooking a balanced diet that includes calcium may sometimes be necessary in seniors who are immune suppressed due to a particular disease or medication. Some vets also advocate feeding a high pressure pasteurized commercial product but most seniors handle raw diets very well.
Temperature, moisture and texture matter. Repetitive cold food damages stomach yin. This is why many Chinese say, do not put ice into beverages. Its easy to remove a thawed product from the refrigerator, spritz it with hot tap water and then serve. Take the cold edge off the food to mimic the warmth present in freshly killed prey.
The stomach environment is very warm. Its not meant to receive cold food. Seniors who have become yang deficient generally need warming foods as well. Foods have their own energetics, but it becomes warmer with heating or processing.
The addition of water needs to be just right. Extra water can aid digestion but the over dilution of stomach acids can inhibit digestion and even cause vomiting! Just the right amount of increased moisture can be of significant benefit to aging pets with compromised urinary tract health.
Many dogs, especially small breeds, are concerned about texture. You may need to experiment with different raw brands, different grinds or even the way you blend the breakfast or the dinner!
How Do I Make The Transition
The ideal for all dogs and cats, is that the transition is trouble free and there are no periods of excessive wind, diarrhoea, or constipation. In order to achieve this, the best way to transition dogs and cats from a high carbohydrate processed diet to a low carbohydrate, high protein raw meat and bone diet, is to do a gradual transition over 7-10 days.
Day 1 – This is the exciting start! Take a spoon, the size of which will depend on the size of your dog or cat. For example a teaspoon is recommended for a toy breed and a tablespoon for a large breed. Taking that spoon, replace a spoonful of your dog or cats current food with a spoonful of raw at each mealtime.
Day 2 Following on from day 1, continue to gradually increase the amount of spoonfuls of raw and decrease the amount of current food until your pets feeding bowl is full of yummy raw food!
Good to know
If your dog or cat has a loose stool at any stage, we recommend reducing the amount of raw food for three days to stabilise the stool before returning to increasing the raw food levels.
If your pet is elderly or dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end stage cancers, is on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would not recommend you begin the transition onto a raw diet without expert help from your vet.
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Bonus Step: Dont Forget The Toppings
There are many functional foods and supplements that senior dogs can benefit from. Here are some good options for common conditions in seniors:
Increase meat protein, eliminate starch, increase green fiber for satiety.
Same as for obesity, and utilize healthy fats to balance sugar and slow insulin release low glycemic veggies, pancreatic glandulars, gymnema, ocotea oil, Standard Process Diaplex.
Same as for obesity, with high antioxidant veggies, medicinal mushrooms, colostrum, Artemisinin, appropriate Chinese herbal formula.
Lean meats, no starch, no dairy, pancreatic glandulars, antioxidants such as dark leafy greens, cranberries, blueberries, Standard Process Vitanox no rancid fats.
Same as for cancer organic is best, avoid all toxins, cruciferous veggies, SP Livaplex or SP Canine Hepatic Support- adenosyl methionine, wheat germ oil .
Quality balanced, wet meat based diet with up to one third added blended vegetation, probiotics, glandular kidney support . Monitor BUN, creatinine, phosphorus, potassium, blood pressure.
Species appropriate diet, kelp, possibly appropriate iodine, glandulars.
Species appropriate diet, pumpkin, green beans, carrots, slippery elm.
Species appropriate diet, remove stress and toxins, adrenal support, pituitary support, liver support, Chinese herbal formula.
Creating A Balanced Raw
Maddie follows the 70:10:10:5:5 ratio. This ratio means a dogs bowl will be filled with 70% muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% vegetables, 5% liver and 5% other secreting organ.
A majority of the meat is red meat. She suggests meats such as lamb, bison, emu and duck.
Liver is a main staple, but other secreting organs to add include kidney, spleen, brain, pancreas or testicles.
Where to buy ingredients for raw diet for dogs
Most of the ingredients Maddie purchases come from local farms, local hunters and oriental markets. However, some items can be hard to find. For example, its been extremely hard for her to find emu. She buys some items from online sources such as Raw Feeding Miami or My Pet Carnivore.
Making the switch to a raw-fed diet
Maddie feels strongly about the benefits of a raw diet. As she states, I 100 percent think Max is healthier because of the switch in his diet. His food allergies are finally under control and his weight is at a steady rate. He is also more stable when it comes to his energy levels.
Maddies biggest take away is that raw feeding is not simply throwing food in a bowl and calling it good, as it takes time, space and math. However, the reward of feeding Max the raw diet correctly is worth it.
Social media and raw fed groups have helped Maddie learn about the diet, they encourage me. Without them I wouldnt have the sources I have now to get proper ingredients for Maxs new raw fed diet.
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New To Raw Let’s Get Started
Weve put together a host of helpful videos, articles and FAQs to help you transition your dog to a raw, natural diet.
Complete and Balanced Raw Nuggets
If youre new to raw, you might like to start with our no-fuss, complete and balanced raw nuggets. Available in lots of different and delicious flavours, packed with raw fruit, grain free options, chicken free options, vegetables and of course meat, theyre super easy to prepare. Just pour, thaw and feed.
Make your own with home prepare
Want to be able to create your dogs own unique raw meals? Choose from the vast selection of responsibly sourced raw ingredients, from meats and chews to mixers, fruit and veg in our Home Prepare range.
Raw not for you?
We know that raw feeding isnt for everyone, or every dog. Thats why weve put our natural, real meals into dry food, cans and pouches too. Cooked through minimal processing techniques to preserve all the natural goodness, every single recipe is packed with delicious natural ingredients and none of the nasties you might find in some other wet and dry pet foods.
Raw Dog Food Feeding Tips
Prior to feeding your pet raw food for the first time, we suggest fasting your dog for 12-24 hours. This gives their body time to digest any leftover food and clear out their gastrointestinal tract, helping allow for a smooth transition to a raw pet food diet.
Eating a cold meal quickly, early in transitioning stage may cause some dogs to throw up. To help ease the transition to a raw pet food diet, we recommend removing your pets meal portion from the fridge and letting it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before feeding. Each day leave the meal on the counter for 5 minutes less until you pet is eating the food straight from the refrigerator.
Patience may be the best piece of advice we can give you! The first few times you put a bowl of raw food in front of your pet, they may be unsure about it. This is totally normal! Raw dog food is very different compared to the kibble they might be used to. Give your dog 5 to 10 minutes to eat and put any leftovers in the fridge for their next meal. Although adding toppers to your dogs meal may be enticing, we dont recommend doing so as it can teach your dog to wait for something better to be offered.
The Key To Transition To Raw Dog Food Is Understanding How Food Interacts With Their Digestive Systems
Transitioning dogs from one type of dog food to another can result in digestive discomfort. This is true with any brand of dog food . It doesnt mean that the new dog food is better or worse than the previous one. It just means the gastrointestinal tract isnt accustomed to the new dog food.
The canine gastrointestinal tract is really at the center of transitioning to raw dog food. When dogs ratio of good-to-bad bacteria in their GI tract is in a healthy balance it is called symbiosis. When it is not, it is called dysbiosis.
One of the causes of dysbiosis is improper diet. If your dog has been on a diet of kibbles , then their GI tract may be compromised. Then transitioning to a new food may require a more gradual transition.
Senior dogs that have spent a longer period on processed food may find a quick change in their diet challenging. This is also true for dogs with digestive sensitivities. So, we will discuss approaches that may be more appropriate for the senior and digestive sensitive dogs.
Raw Dog Food Is Fatal To Dogs
All of our dogs are alive and well and I want to keep them that way. I recently learned that raw dog food is fatal. I was speaking with a veterinarian who works for an insurance company and she shared that feeding raw was dangerous and listed the risks. I was stunned. I’ve been putting my dogs in danger for all of these years?
- the bacteria in raw dog food can lead to serious health complications, AND DEATH
- raw bones can splinter, leading to illness, emergency surgery, AND DEATH
- the ability to feed a balanced diet is difficult and complicated and not doing so can lead to malnutrition, AND DEATH
- raw meat has high levels of parasites that can lead to illness AND DEATH
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The Treat First Switch
Day 1: Use the new raw food as a treat. Keep an eye on the condition of your dogs stool. Day 2 4: Increase the number of raw food treats over the next several days. Continue to monitor stools. Day 5: If the stool is normal, replace one whole meal of old food with the new food. Day 5 7: Do this for several more days. If the stools remain normal, stop the old food and feed the new food permanently.
The treat first switch is another simple approach. But be aware the potential for stomach-upset stills exists. Thats because youll be transitioning from treats to a full meal in one swoop.
Pros & Cons
Best suited for:
Dogs with sensitive digestive systems
Some dog owners choose to start at 1/4 to simplify things but if your dog is hypersensitive, start at 1/8th . Feel free to extend the transition time to two weeks or longer if you feel it will make it easier on your dog and your household.
Each day, youll offer less kibble and more raw foods.The ratios are adjustable for your dog. Consider the following as a starting point:
With this approach, we offer both types of food at the same time.
Day 1: feed 1/8th of the new food, 7/8th of the old food Day 2: feed 1/4th of the new food, 3/4th of the old food Day 3: feed 1/2 of the new food, 1/2 of the old food Day 4: feed 3/4th of the new food, 1/4th of the old food Day 5: feed 7/8th of the new food, 1/8th of the old food Day 6: feed 100% of the new food
Pros & Cons
Some People Believe The Transition To Raw Dog Food Should Happen Immediately
The cold turkey switch is also for confident dog owners.Why?Changing your dogs diet too quickly can result in diarrhea. Some dogs may be sick after a few days. This sends many concerned dog owners to the vets office.And because many vets are unsupportive of raw, they may blame raw.
But before using the cold turkey approach, you must determine if your dog is a fit for a quick transfer of diet. If not, diarrhea, digestive distress, and GI upset can occur.
A rapid switch is a simple, no-nonsense approach.
Pros & Cons
Best suited for:
Vets commonly misdiagnose the problem. They fault diarrhea or GI issues on the bacteria in raw food. When in reality, the sudden dietarychange sparked the problem.
Don’t get me wrong:
Many dogs do fine with a cold turkey switch. My dog was one of them, he was 4 months old when I switched him to raw.But for other dogs, it can be different. The experience may send their unprepared caregivers running for the hills. Panicked, pet parents return to processed foods.Back to the same old problemsAnd we dont want that.
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What To Do If Your Pet Is Picky Eater
For dogs, fasting for a short period is an option. However, cats do not do well with fasting so avoid this method with kitties. Here are some suggestions to encourage your finicky pet to eat:
Cooking boneless raw food meals can make it more aromatic and appetizing. If your pet is not interested in raw meat, he may not recognize it as food yet. Try searing it in a pan for a minute or two to release more of a scent to entice the appetite.
Cats naturally habituate on their food. It can be challenging to get them to try something new. Try wiping a bit of raw on their paw your cat will have to lick it off and will start to familiarize with the new flavor.
Serve the food at room temperature.
Put the food on a plate, not a bowl. This is especially helpful for cats, because their whiskers are very sensitive.
Thaw the food in small portions so you are always serving it fresh. This is especially important for cats who dont like old food.
Learn more about feeding picky pets: A Guide to Feeding Your Picky Cat
How To Transition Safely To A Raw Diet
If youre ready to make the switch from processed dog food to a raw diet, youre making an excellent choice for your beloved pet, but remember – good things take time.
Its important to prepare your dogs digestive system appropriately – and that means transitioning slowly and carefully. Be prepared for a slow transition of approximately 7-10 days.
On day 1, try filling your dogs food bowl with 75% old food and 25% new food. You can then slightly increase the ratio of new food every day, but the key here is to stick with a similar protein. If your dog has been eating beef dog roll and kibble, for instance, then choose a beef recipe .
Sticking with a single protein is what we call a single protein approach, and its effective because it gives your dogs gut flora a chance to adjust to the new diet. Once your dog is comfortable on the first protein, you can slowly start to introduce another, and so on.
Bone broth can also be helpful during the transition phase – its easy to make at home and is full of nutrients that ease inflammation, including glucosamine and chondroitin which are two of natures most powerful cartilage building blocks.
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Way To Transition A Dog To A Raw Food Diet
When I began feeding a raw food diet, I didn’t think I could switch straight away I was in several raw feeding groups, receiving contradictory information. So I returned to what I knew. When you start a dog on a new kibble, you slowly transition a dog from the old kibble to the new kibble. We’re told to mix the two together while gradually decreasing the old and increasing the new.
So this is what I did when transitioning from kibble to raw sort of.
Monitor Your Dog’s Stool
Four years later and I’m still monitoring my dogs’ poop because it tells me how my dogs are doing and what I need to change about their diet. Monitoring your dog’s stool during the transition to raw feeding will do the same. I love the idea of feeding my dogs a balanced raw diet, and I work hard to attain some balance. I follow the 80/10/5/5 while keeping in mind that my dogs have individual needs and what’s balanced for one dog may not be for another. So I don’t tear my hair out trying to make their diet perfect. Instead, I treat the 80/10/5/5 as a starting point.
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