Choosing to feed a raw balanced diet is the best decision you can make for your dogs heath. If your dog isn't used to eating raw food, it's important to change their diet slowly to minimise digestive stress.
While it may take a few days, their bodies are designed to be eating raw food and they’ll be much healthier as a result. Remember that raw food is the natural diet for your dog!
So what is the best way to make the transition?
HOW TO TRANSITION
Most healthy dogs need about 5-10 days for their digestive system to adapt to a new diet. Puppies are faster and older dogs need more time. The important thing is that all dogs are different, and you need to go at your own dogs pace.
Start by feeding a small amount initially, about 25% of the intended feeding portion. Slowly increase that each day, while reducing the amount of their old food. For a healthy dog, after 3-4 days you could be feeding 50/50 new and old food.
It’s also a good idea to limit treats during the transition period, especially if they are grain based. You can instead use some of your new raw food instead! Also make sure they have access to lots of fresh water.
If you have a picky eater, don’t worry! Fast them for 24 hours before trying the new food, to make them extra excited about dinner. You can also try feeding them in a new area, the novelty will make meal time more fun.
WHAT TO EXPECT
As you might expect, changing the diet is also going to change their poos. It’s not uncommon to have sloppy or mucusy poos during the transition period. If this happens, slow down the transition, feed a little less raw food and wait for the poos to normalise. You can then slowly increase the amount of raw food from there.
Once you are feeding all raw and your dog has fully adjusted, you should find smaller, firmer poos that turn white and then ash in a few days. So much better!
When changing to a balanced raw diet your dog may go through a detoxification process as they excrete all the junk from their bodies. This is normal if you’ve been feeding dry food for a sustained period of time. Your dog may lose their old dead hair (they'll be replaced with shiny new ones), and may also excrete excess ear wax.
Finally, your dog will drink less water. This is because like meat, Whoa Nelly! is mostly moisture - about 72% compared to 6% for dry kibble. Real food is moisture rich, and is much more easily digested.
As always, if you have any concerns please talk to your vet!