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How to Switch A Dog From Kibble to Raw Dog Food

When transitioning your dog from kibble to raw, 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.

How to Switch a Dog From Kibble to Raw

My recommendation is to do a slow transition when switching to a commercial raw dog food brand like Darwin’s. Do a fast transition when switching to a homemade raw diet using grocery store meat such as chicken quarters.

Let me explain.

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.

How to switch a dog from kibble to raw

If you buy a frozen, pre-made raw dog food brand, 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.

Darwin's raw dog food

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.

I tend to feed homemade raw myself because it’s more affordable.

Should you feed your dog pre-made raw or homemade raw?

I recommend you start with a commercial raw brand like Darwin’s for a month or two and then tackle the homemade option if you’re up for it.

Darwin’s even offers a trial option for new customers. You can get 10 pounds of raw food for just $14.95. That’s up to 75% off! Learn more here.

Darwin's raw dog food

I know store-bought raw dog food is expensive, 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!

Switch a dog from dry dog food to raw

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.

My raw dog food ebook

I wrote a guide on how to feed homemade raw dog food, and it includes 10 easy recipes. Order it below, and I hope it helps!

Raw dog food Ebook


How did you switch your dog to raw?

Let me know in the comments!

Related posts:

Five real health concerns when feeding raw

Five easy tips for feeding raw dog food


Friday 27th of September 2019

I plan to get a papillon puppy, weaned to kibble, transition to raw, I'm concerned about fasting that many hours, what should I do?

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 27th of September 2019

I would just mix the two - kibble and raw - for a few weeks or at least a few days.


Saturday 23rd of April 2016

Hey, is it OK to feed 1/2raw and 1/2 kibble such as fromm or pure vita ( store-bought raw )

Thank you, you are much appreciated sending goodness… Janie

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 23rd of April 2016

Have you already been doing so with no issues? It seems to just depend on the dog. Some get upset tummies from the combo. Others seem to do just fine.


Tuesday 19th of April 2016

I prefer the fast transition mostly because of the difference in digestion time. But if your dog gets sick because of the fast transition, it is OK to go to the slow. Dogs are different in how they can tolerate the change.

Either way you transition, just do it! Your dog will appreciate it, and you will appreciate the new healthier dog!


Sunday 17th of April 2016

While our puppy was being boarded for puppy boot camp, I had them switch him to a raw beef diet. I don't think he got sick, and he took to it right away. I couldn't get him to eat his kibble. He hated it. It's a real joy to see your fur baby truly enjoy his meal!

Give my regards to Ace!!


Friday 15th of April 2016

We picked up our puppy from a pound and fed him homemade raw right away. I have no idea what he was fed before we got him but he took to raw like a champ.

Is Remy on kibble? Are you planning to switch him? Some people feed their dogs half and half and it works too.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 15th of April 2016

Remy is on kibble. Ideally I would like them both on raw but can't due to Ace's current health problems. Dry food for now.