A Beginners Guide to Switching Your Dog To Raw Food

By Dr. Dirk Dekens

If you’ve been thinking about switching your pet to a raw diet, but you are a beginner in the raw food department, here are some suggestions on the best way to transition.

Dogs and cats are different when it comes to their food preferences, so I’ll start with dogs first.

The ‘fast method’ of switching dogs to a raw food diet

You may know someone or have heard of dog owners who have instantly switched their dog from a kibble, canned, or homemade diet to raw food overnight, but I would not recommend this method. The reason I don’t recommend the fast method is it can lead to digestive problems, diarrhea and vomiting.

These problems could deter you from feeding a raw diet or lead to your vet recommending against feeding raw.

The ‘slow method’ of switching dogs to a raw diet

This is the method I prefer. Here’s how it works:

  1. Switch your pet from their current to a raw diet over 5-14 days
  2. Don’t combine raw and kibble or raw and canned in the same bowl.
  3. Start by giving its normal meal as usual and add a small meal of raw food during the day.
  4. Keeping adding a little bit more raw food day by day until one meal per day is raw
  5. Gradually continue adding raw food until all meals are raw diet

Can you feed your dog or cat a kibble and raw food diet permanently?

A raw diet can be a little more expensive, so if feeding one meal a day of kibble allows you to afford a semi-raw diet for your pet, then there is nothing wrong with that. Just remember to not mix the two. It is advisable to feed them one meal of JUST kibble and one meal of JUST raw food.

What is the best type of meat when you are switching your pet to a raw diet?

Choose one protein source when you are switching your pet to a raw diet. Keeping your pet’s diet to one type of meat, like chicken, beef, or bison will allow you to identify any allergies right away. If you find your pet is having an allergic reaction, such as itchy skin, when you switch them to a raw diet, try a new protein source.

I personally feed my dogs a raw diet and have written a few more blogs on the topic:

A Beginner’s Guide to Switching Your Cat to Raw Food

If you have questions or concerns about switching your pet to a raw food diet, please call our clinic in NW Calgary at 403-615-8016 to talk to one of our vets. We’d love to help you give your pet the benefit of a raw diet!