How to switch your dog to raw food
The decision to introduce your pet to raw food can be quite overwhelming. In fact, many people are hesitant to introduce their pets to B.A.R.F because of the perception that it is more expensive than kibble. It even gets more complicated when you think of the supplements, the meat to bone ratios, how much to feed as well as the veggies among other things.
If you are planning to get your dog started on raw food, your biggest concern should be how to ensure a smooth transition rather than whether it is a good decision. Here are some guidelines to get you started.
The switch from kibble to B.A.R.F should be gradual. That is, while you may have the temptation to surprise your pet with a variety of good stuff, he may not be adequately prepared to handle it. This is particularly true for middle aged and older dogs. You will do well to consider introducing them to turkey or chicken necks first before adding bland veggies and a bit of lean minced meat over time.
Keep in mind that the veggies don't need to be pulped with a juicer, food processor or blender since you are aiming to generate something similar to vegetable matter that is in the stomach of prey animals. Remember, dogs cannot digest cellulose hence crushing veggies enables them to get the nutrients. On the other hand, cooking them not only destroys the cell walls but also the enzymes and nutrients. You may also consider fasting your dog for a day before starting it on B.A.R.F diet in order to stimulate some hunger and interest in the new food.
It should take around 2 weeks for your dog to fully adopt the new food, you'll probably have some tantrums, hesitation and flat our refusal to eat but be strong and work with your dog. In the end they will adapt, it just takes them a little longer to get them out of a routine.
Pick a raw meaty bone that is suitable for your dog
It is important to understand your dog as well as the kind of meaty bone that they can handle. For instance, a chicken thigh is ideal for a Chihuahua while a turkey carcass chunk is recommended for a Golden Retriever. Even then, you may also want to take into account budgetary factors hence begin with raw food that is relatively inexpensive yet easy to get like chicken gradually embracing other kinds of meats and foods. Remember, you do not have to introduce your dog to a wide variety to achieve balance too soon as this can result in a rough transition characterized by undue misery like diarrhea for your pet.
Should you feed kibble at the same time as raw food?
While it is possible to give your pet both B.A.R.F and kibble, this topic is highly debated. We've seen research on both sides of the fence that indicate you should and you shouldn't. The main theory is raw food and kibble are digested differently hence most people recommend they are not fed together. From our perspective its really up to the dog - test and see what works for them. We've been successful with exchanging one meal for raw instead of kibble, but we've also seen success with a gradual percentage shift of kibble to raw in a single meal.
It is easier to introduce puppies to raw food
A majority of puppies tends to take raw food readily compared to older pets. As such, it is easier to switch them to raw food. Alternatively, if the puppies are new to their surrounding you can let them adjust before introducing them to raw food. Ultimately, if you are searching for a puppy you can consider going for a naturally rearing breeder feeding their dogs on raw food and vaccinates them. Keep in mind that not all naturally rearing breeders feed their dogs on prey-model raw food so you will need to dig deeper for them.
In conclusion, getting your dog started on raw food is a gradual process that involves introduction of different foods at different stages. Ultimately, it is possible to make a switch from kibble to raw food successfully it just requires patience!
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