If you have decided that the raw diet is right for you but have questions on how to begin, we hope that we can help guide you. The recommended guidelines for raw (BARF diet) consists of 70-80% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% offal (kidneys, pancreas, or spleen), 5% liver and vegetables, fruit and supplements. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be as many of the the raw food brands make a fully balanced raw meal. So you don’t need to worry about adding the proper proportions to your pupper’s meal. We recommend starting off with a balanced raw meal. They key is to read the ingredients and look for the following.
- – Protein
- – Bone or Egg Shells
- – Liver and Offal
- – Vegetables, fruit
- – Omegas (oils)
- – Mineral Supplements (kelp)
There are raw foods out there that are made for owners that like to supplement their own veggies, offal, oils and minerals. These meals will usually say “base” or “pure”. These blends are can be the just the protein and bones or even just the pure protein. We suggest to read the ingredients list on these “base/pure” blends so you are aware of what needs to be supplemented.
The size and portions that raw comes in may be the most confusing part of the transition. You will find medallions, pucks, patties, bricks, blocks and even pillows of raw. This variety is great for owners as everyone will be able to find a serving portion that fits their pet’s daily requirement and the owner’s needs. If you like to make your own food and save money then the larger bulk pillow or bricks will be perfect. Recommended for larger dogs over 75lbs. The smaller portions such as medallions are meant for the smaller dog or if you want to thaw the raw quickly. You need only to remove the portion you need a couple hours before feeding time. The downside is generally the more proportioned the raw the higher the price point.
How to Transition your dog to raw.
Fast/Cold Turkey vs Gradual Method
There are two ways to transition your dog to a 100% raw diet. The Fast/Cold Turkey method is the easiest and less fuss method. Great for dogs that have a tolerant stomach or are not fussy. For dogs that have sensitive stomachs or are more finicky the gradual method may be the way to go.
The fast method is just that.
- Fast your dog for 12 hours overnight. This ensures that all the kibble is out of the system, and you will also have a hungry dog eager to eat. Thaw your raw food during this time too.
- Feed ½ daily serving of raw to your pup. If they reject the food take it away and reintroduce it 5 minutes later.
You can also add pumpkin or probiotics such as raw goat’s milk or tripe to help your dog transition. The probiotics are bacteria that will help with digestion.
- Feed the second ½ of your dog’s daily serving in the PM.
The Gradual Method
In this method you replace a portion your dog’s daily meal with raw over the course of 1 or 2 weeks. This is a good method if you have a dog that is prone to diarrhea at the slightest change in diet. It is recommended to feed your dog on kibble in the AM and replace the dinner serving with raw. Over the week(s) and every 2 or 3 days you increase the amount of raw and decease the amount of kibble.
Example if your dog should eat 2 cups of kibble/day or 1 lb of raw/day. The transition will look like the following. (This is hypothetical and just for you to visualize please replace with your timeline and recommended daily feeding amounts)
Day 1-3 AM meal 1 ½ cups of kibble PM Meal ¼ lb of raw
Day 4-5 AM meal 1 cup kibble PM Meal ½ lb of raw
Day 6-8 AM meal ½ cup kibble PM meal ¾ lb of raw
Day 8-10 Am meal ½ raw PM meal ½ lb of raw you are fully transitioned
In this method adding probiotics can help too. Again, you will be on poop watch. If the stools are solid and firm then it’s safe to move to the next increase.