Are you planning to switch your dog from kibble to a raw diet?
Is it best to do a slow transition by mixing the old food with the new for several days? Or is it best to just switch over right away?
You can do either.
There are pros and cons to both.
You’ll have to decide what’s best for your own dog.
My recommendation is to do a slow transition when switching to a commercial raw dog food brand like Balanced Blends and to do a fast transition when switching to a homemade raw diet using grocery store meat such as chicken quarters.
Let me explain.
How to Switch a Dog From Kibble to Raw
Option #1: Slow Transition to Raw
Best when switching from kibble to a commercial raw diet because commercial raw dog food brands tend to have less bacteria than grocery store meat.
The slow transition is what most vets seem to recommend in my experience. It’s also what most commercial raw dog food brands recommend.
If you buy a frozen, pre-made raw dog food brand such as Balanced Blends, the back of the bag will most likely have a recommendation for a slow transition like:
- feed 75% old food and 25% new for 5 days,
- then 50/50 for 5 more days,
- then 75/25 for a few days and eventually 100% raw
The slow transition seems to work well, especially when feeding a commercial raw brand.
Option #2: Fast Transition to Raw
Best when switching from kibble to a homemade raw diet.
This is a good option if you are concerned about your dog running into digestive troubles from trying to digest the two types of food – kibble and raw dog food. Dogs normally digest raw food faster than kibble and some end up getting sick when the two are mixed.
If you do the quick transition, I recommend you fast your dog for about 18 hours. This is to make sure the kibble is out of his system. Then, give him a small raw meal.
If all goes well, feed him another raw meal in about 12 hours. After that, continue to feed 100% raw but stick to the same protein for at least a week. You don’t want to introduce too many new foods at once.
Why is the fast transition best when switching to homemade raw?
Grocery store meat tends to have more bacteria on it than commercial raw dog food because raw dog food companies have to go through some strict regulations for controlling bacteria. Grocery store meat, on the other hand, is obviously intended for cooking so there’s less concern about bacteria.
When the raw grocery store meat (and extra bacteria) is mixed with kibble sometimes it makes the dog sick because the kibble causes everything to sit in the gut longer, giving the bacteria more time to grow.
The bacteria on the meat is generally no big deal for dogs, but sometimes problems occur when the food is mixed with kibble.
Not sure whether to feed commercial raw or homemade raw?
I recommend you start with a commercial raw brand (like Balanced Blends) for a month or two and then tackle the homemade option if you’re up for it.
I know store-bought raw dog food is expensive (around $250 a month for my 70-pound dog!), but it’s just so much easier and less stress for beginners than trying to make the food yourself.
That’s just my opinion. You can certainly do whatever you want!
(I’ll be reviewing a new raw brand called Balanced Blends at the end of the month and they’ll be offering a pretty nice discount so stay tuned!)
What if my dog gets sick from raw food?
When a dog gets sick after switching to raw food it’s usually because:
- the change was too fast or
- the dog’s stomach is upset from the combination of the two types of foods
Dogs rarely get sick from the actual raw meat unless their immune systems are already weakened or they have other health problems.
See my post, Will my dog get sick from raw meat?
So, to summarize:
When switching your dog to a raw diet, I recommend you slowly transition them by mixing kibble with a frozen raw brand. Then, if you choose you want to make the food yourself, switch from commercial raw to homemade raw after a month or two.
But enough from me. I want to hear what’s worked for you!
Let me know in the comments! I know not everyone will agree with my take on this.
How did you switch your dog to raw?