Do I Need To Add Probiotics To My Dogs Raw Food
Dogs that have been on a diet of kibble for a long time or who have a history of sensitive stomachs can benefit from the addition of probiotic or digestive enzyme supplements. These supplements support the microflora that are naturally present in a dogs gut, enhancing digestion, the absorption of nutrients, and helping boost their immune system. While probiotic or digestive enzyme supplements are great for all dogs to help keep their gastrointestinal tracts healthy, many puppies and young dogs can transition to a raw pet food diet easily without the addition of these enzymes.
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 Choose A Dog Food
Choosing an appropriate diet for your dog is a complicated process. The sheer number of dog food options available is overwhelming. Unfortunately, there is no one diet that is best for every dog. Just like humans, dogs are individuals and their dietary needs vary depending on factors such as age, health, and personal preferences.
To make the process even more complicated, there are also a lot of myths about dog food on the internet. Many people fall victim to advertising campaigns or scare tactics warning them away from commercial dog foods. Fortunately, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association has published a guide entitled The Savvy Dog Owners Guide: Nutrition on the Internet to help pet owners decipher fact from fiction when doing their own research about dog food.
Learning how to read a pet food label can also help demystify the process of choosing a dog food. The information on a pet food label is guided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is responsible for establishing definitions for many of the terms you will find on a bag of dog food. Understanding these labeling requirements can make it easier to identify which products are best for your dog. Look for the words complete and balanced diet on the label.
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S To Transition A Dog To Raw Dog Food
Yesterday, I received a message from Amari Washington about transitioning his two American Bullies, 55 pounds each, to raw dog food. Although I’ve shared about transitioning my dogs several times, I haven’t put my thoughts in one post. Today, I’m going to share five tips on transitioning a dog to raw dog food.
Keep in mind that this is one person’s method and it may not work for everyone .
Bonus: For Specific Health Issues
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. Your veterinarian may need to be involved since lab work and/or medication changes may be required to monitor your pets progress so its very important your vet is a part of the process.
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.
Start With A Quality Premade Raw Brand
I’m a fan girl of Darwin’s Natural Pet Food this is the brand that helped me transition my dogs to raw in 2013. A customer service representative from Darwin’s Pet will walk you through setting up your first order and best practices for introducing raw to your pet. This is the easiest way to transition because the balancing, sourcing, and delivery are taken care of for you. Of course, you’ll pay for that amazing service too.
I actually started with a hybrid diet of raw in the morning and kibble in the evening, then went to full raw, then worked towards DIY raw feeding.
Hybrid diets allow you to take your time transitioning to raw.
Also Check: Dr Pol Cat Food Reviews
What If I Plan To Supplement Kibble With Raw Dog Food Instead Of Feed 100% Raw
Our recommendation would be to feed at least 50% of your dog’s diet in raw food. You can mix the two foods for each meal or provide one in the morning and the other at night. Either way, it is essential to stay consistent daily once you’ve transitioned your dog.
In this case of supplementing kibble with raw food, your transition will only be a 2- step process getting to that 50% raw & 50% kibble ratio.
We think that once you see the changes & improvements in your dog’s allergies, digestion, oral health, weight management & more, you’ll want to get them on a 100% raw diet eventually.
So You Want To Get Your Dog On A Raw
Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank
It seems like every week a commercial pet food is outed as containing actual poison. First it was a euthanasia drug that popped up in the mass-market foods on the cheaper end of the spectrum. No surprise, I thought, rather smugly. If you feed your dog garbage, what do you expect? Then it was discovered that the stuff I was spending over $200 per month on contained both arsenic and BPAs in potentially harmful amounts. If even the most expensive kibbles contain poison, what are you supposed to feed your dog?
This is how I figured out how to feed my dogs healthy raw food, and do it without going broke.
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.
Adult Dog Feeding Guide
One rule of thumb is to feed 2-4% of the pets body weight. Smaller dogs will require a higher percentage of their body weight, while larger dogs will require a smaller percentage of their body weight. The daily portion should be split between morning and night.
- a 10 lb. dog will eat about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. per week or about 10 lbs per month
- a 25 lb. dog will eat about 5 lbs per week or about 20 lbs per month
- a 50 lb. dog will eat about 8 lbs per week or about 32 lbs per month
- a 75 lb. dog will eat about 10-1/2 lbs per week or about 42 lbs per month
- a 100 lb. dog will eat about 13-1/2 lbs per week or about 54 lbs per month
Remember that these are guidelines. Food needs vary by activity level, metabolic rate, age, breed, outdoor temperature and other variables. Observe your pet closely and increase or reduce food quantity as needed for proper weight. Always consult your integrative veterinarian, especially for puppies and pregnant or nursing dogs.
How Often Should I Feed My Adult Dog?
There are several options for pet owners regarding daily feeding frequency.
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Avoid Mixing Dry With Raw
Its best to keep dry meals and raw meals separate during the switch. This helps to maximize digestion of both types of food as raw foods are digested within 1 – 3 hours, compared to kibble that takes up to between 7 – 9 hours to be fully digested. As a result, its best to feed raw in the morning, and kibble at night. However, to get the most out of the raw diet we recommend eliminating dry food completely once your pet is on raw.
How To Transition To Raw Feeding Pups
Raw feeding pups is very similar to raw feeding adult dogs. Only two things need to change the amount you feed and the frequency you feed. Pups need to be fed more food, more often. Until six months of age pups should be fed three times per day. From six months of age you can move to two feeds per day.
The ideal growth rate for a puppy is slow. There is no competition to reach an adult size the slower your pup grows the more likely they are to develop a sound, healthy bone structure and have less growth-related health issues in the future.
Transitioning puppies to a raw diet can be easier than transitioning adult dogs due to their natural curiosity and reduced chance of them having formed a strong association to kibble. It is recommended that you do not attempt to feed both kibble and raw to a puppy as the difference in digestive enzymes and pH can be difficult for a pups system to manage. You are less likely to have any adverse effects if you do a cold turkey switch.
Some raw feeders advocate using a method of feeding that calculates the expected adult weight of the puppy and suggests feeding 2% of this expected weight each day in food. This method fails to take into consideration the huge range of variables that contribute to a dogs final size. The adult size of mixed breed pups and rescue dogs of unknown lineage can be difficult to predict. Even pups from the same litter often grow to different sizes!
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No Thanks I Already Ate
Many pets dont ever get a chance to develop an appetite when they are free fed. While its hard for humans to understand, dogs shouldnt nibble on small amounts of food throughout the day like humans do. Physiologically its healthiest for dogs to eat once or twice a day and continued feeding can cause pH imbalances, kidney problems, metabolic problems and poor digestion. Additionally, if your pet is free fed it could take you longer to notice if your pet is sick or if there is a problem with his food that needs to be addressed.
What If My Dog Is Refusing Meals
There can be various reasons your dog is refusing their new meal. If only we could read dog’s minds we could know the exact reason, but with these tips we hope to help you introduce raw and get your dog comfortable with their new diet!
First, consider some reasons your dog may be refusing their meal:
- This is a new diet! They need some time to get comfortable and realize this is their new food. If your dog has been eating kibble their whole life they might be confused and need some time to adjust. Rest assure, most dogs LOVE raw food.
- Your dog might not be hungry. We recommend fasting your dog for 12-24 hours before introducing raw food.
- Is your dog stressed? If your dog has new surroundings, changes in the household, or other reason to have them stressed this can cause a loss in appetite.
- Are you being enthusiastic about their new diet? Dog’s trust their owners, and if the owner is nervous and unsure, the dog can feel it! Be positive and patient and show your dog this is a good change!
Tips For Picky Eaters:
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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.
This Is A Good Choice For Pet Owners Who Have Always Fed A Homemade Cooked Diet But Who Want To Transition To Raw
How fast you transition from cooked to raw depends on how your dog is handling it. You many need to extend this transition schedule.If your dog has issues with a decrease in cooking, wait until digestive upset resolves before moving to the next step. You can wait it out at the current level or return to the previous level for a few days.If youre unsure how long to cook a percentage of your dogs daily serving, time how long it takes to cook through on the first day. Then, use that time frame as a guideline for reducing cooking on subsequent days.Only cook meat, NEVER edible bone. Cooked bone is prone to splintering and should not be fed to dogs.With that said, you can cook a premade, ground raw dog food if the bone in that formula is small enough. Dr. Peter Dobias says, In this situation, you can cook packaged meat with ground bone in it. The ground bone fragments must be smaller than 1/2 cm . Such small fragments of cooked bone do not pose a threat to your dog if fed mixed in the rest of the meat. If youre unsure, ask your raw food manufacturer. I know a lot of premade raw brands will, like Darwins, for example will instruct new customers to initially cook their food
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Can You Switch Between Raw And Kibble
Yes, you can transition your dog from raw to kibble. However, switching your dogs diet frequently is not recommended as it can lead to an upset stomach. Some raw feeding dog owners do prefer kibble while on vacation, or in other scenarios, but this will depend upon the individual dogs tolerance to dietary changes.
In order to avoid an upset stomach if you are looking to temporarily switch your dog to kibble from raw food, you should try and plan for a transition to kibble before going on vacation .
A few days before leaving on your trip, start to mix kibble in with your dogs raw food. Add more and more kibble until its time for vacation, and your dog is eating 100% kibble.
Going on a vacation with you, or being boarded while you are on vacation without your dog, are both already situations where a dog may be more likely to develop an upset stomach due to stress.
Thus, if you know in advance, its best to switch slowly to set your dogs GI tract up for success.
The same is true for transitioning back to raw from kibble take it slow.
Its generally not recommended you switch your dog between raw and kibble on a regular basis, especially if there isnt a reason .
This is true for any dog food, not just raw, homemade, and kibble, as not all dogs can handle the sudden transition without an upset stomach.
Or perhaps this one is also of interest: Do Dogs Get Bored of Their Food? Answered!