Easy guide for switching healthy or sick dogs to a raw diet
In the past week or two I have had more time to go through questions in my mailbox and I’ve noticed that one of the most common questions is about how to switch puppies or adult dogs to a raw diet.
If you are still feeding kibble, I gather you have your own reasons and I don’t want you to feel badly. At the same time, if you intuitively feel that a diet as nature intended makes more sense than heavily processed heated food made with ingredients of untraceable origin, the next question is how to make the switch.
But before we dive right into this, let’s take a look at human nutrition and health. We live in times where many people are trying to eat healthy wholesome foods, and most of us are able to adjust to a change towards a healthier diet quite easily and quickly.
When it comes to healthy eating, and perhaps even losing a few pounds, there is one misconception that I hear people talking about. Most people believe that exercise is the main way to lose weight, but it has been confirmed that overindulgence is almost impossible to make up for with exercise.
Also, many people restrict their whole fruit intake because they are concerned about fructose from fruit, but fruit is actually not a common cause of weight gain. Most whole fruit contains a lot of water and fibre which is helpful in preventing the high glucose surge in the body that occurs when we eat things like candy, white flour baked goods, sugary soda or even fruit juice that is missing the whole food components and fibre.
But getting back to switching puppies and adult dogs to raw food.
I often hear new puppy “parents” say that the breeder told them to keep their puppy on kibble to provide complete nutrition, or to make sure their puppy doesn’t get digestive upset. Such concerns are not only unfounded, in fact, it’s quite the opposite as I have seen hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other bone and cartilage deformities occurring mainly in puppies fed kibble.
Processed food is about ten times as calorie dense as raw food which means that puppies consume a greater number of calories per feeding. This unnaturally high caloric intake combined with species inappropriate ingredients, such as grains, leads to fast growth and weaker bones and joints.
This situation can be compared to over-fertilizing a plant which will make it grow tall, but structurally weak.
Some people may object that hip dysplasia and other bone and joint deformities are the result of genetics, but this isn’t exactly correct. Genes are only a small part in the evolution of these problems. It is epigenetic (non DNA) factors that play a role, such as species inappropriate food, excessive calorie density, and nutrient deficiencies that make a huge difference.
Good news for those of you if you feed kibble and want to switch
If you have been thinking about switching your puppy to a raw diet, you can do so as soon they start eating solid food. If you are a breeder, you can give puppies raw blended meat and vegetables while they are still nursing, and you can also let them chew and gnaw on bones which also helps their teeth and nervous system development.
Fast or gradual switch?
There is really no need to gradually introduce your puppy, or even your adult dog, to a raw diet unless your dog has been diagnosed with a condition that compromises the digestive tract and the immune system. Only in such cases should you make the switch gradually by stopping the kibble, introducing cooked meat and vegetables, and eventually feeding 100% raw.
Note: If you do not feel comfortable with raw meat, cook it and add raw blended or chopped veggies.
Bones should only be fed raw, click here for more info.
If you are concerned about bacteria in meat, you can learn more by clicking here.
If your dog has had diarrhea, click here.
You can learn more about how to feed a natural raw or cooked diet by watching this short video.
To create healthy recipes for your dog or to learn how much food to feed, refer to the Recipe Maker — a tool that is free for every caring dog lover, which I am sure you are!
The Recipe Maker will help you build balanced meals with the ingredients of your choice, and it does all the math for you when it comes to the essential supplements and their dosages to make your pup’s diet complete.
To summarize, all you need to do is copy nature. Wild canine puppies switch from milk to raw food by learning from their parents. They never eat processed food or cook their food.
I know you are here because you love your dog and want to make sure that you do all you can to keep them healthy longer.
It makes me happy to know that I can help. 🐶❤️
About the author
Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.