8 steps for Switching a Kibble Fed Dog to a Raw Diet

When switching a kibble fed dog over to Raw, this is my general protocol. This is for an adult dog with no life threatening medical conditions. If your dog has a severe medical condition, you CAN still switch you will just need to modify some things and be more careful. Consulting a Naturopath or other RAW TRAINED Veterinary Professional is advisable in those situations. Switching a puppy is also a little different, so please watch for the “Switching a puppy” tips included if you have a puppy or a tiny toy breed.
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1. Educate yourself on raw feeding, the healing crisis, your pets medical conditions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
here are 2 articles about the healing crisis / Detox. http://www.thewholedog.org/artdetox.html
http://www.thewholedog.org/artHealingCrisis.html
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2. Fast for 24 hours minimum. Up to 48 hours is ideal(aka skipping one whole day of feeding). This gives the old stuff time to get out and starts the digestive juices producing more enzymes for proper digestion.  Make the switch cold turkey, do not mix kibble/canned/cooked food with raw food. One day you feed kibble, skip a day or at least 24 hours, and then feed a whole meal of raw. It is fine for a healthy adult dog to miss a whole day’s food. It will not hurt them, it may make YOU feel bad, but they will be fine.
Fasting will also ensure your  dog is truly hungry, so they will be more likely to dig right in to the raw. Just because your dog is a voracious kibble eater, does NOT mean he will take to raw right away, likewise, just because your pet is a  super picky eater, doesn’t mean she will automatically turn her nose up a  meaty chicken leg!
*PUPPY TIP* Do not fast a puppy or tiny toy breed. they are at a higher risk of hypoglycemia. Just feed them raw at the next meal when you decide to start them.
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3. Pick a meat/protein (beef, chicken, deer) Your next thing to do is pick what protein you are going to start with. Many people start with chicken, because it is usually easier to get, has edible bone included and it is relatively bland, so easy on the tummy.
If your dog has a chicken allergy it would be worth trying organic, free range chicken at some point, because most “allergies” are to the processed, denatured chicken or chicken meal used in most kibble, not to mention the unhealthy state of most factory farmed chickens that are used in pet food production!
Some prefer starting with Beef, which is fine, it does need to be balanced with edible bone.
I prefer to start off with green/raw tripe. It has all your enzymes and probiotic included to get your pet off to a great start and is perfectly balanced with the correct calcium/phosphorus ratio so no bone need be added. http://greentripe.com/description.htm
Deer/Venison is also a good alternative, same as beef, it must be properly balanced, Ca/Phos ratio with edible bone.
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4. Have a good probiotic & digestive enzyme supplement to give daily for about the first month or so or start off with grass fed organic tripe as your first protein.
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
 plant base Digestive Enzymes
PROBIOTICS
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5. What do I feed? RATIOS
Prey Model Raw is based on the 80/10/10 ratio. (I say 80/10/5/5)
80 % muscle meat- any muscle in the body, including stomach, heart & lungs
10% EDIBLE bone depending on your dog’s size, this will vary, for example- from quail (small chicken-like fowl) for toy dogs, to deer legs, beef ribs and such for extra large dogs. Also some dogs need more bone and some less so this amount can be tweaked as well.
5% LIVER the liver is a filter organ (along with the kidneys) so toxins can build up in feed stock that are exposed to toxins & chemicals, so it is better to spend a little extra in this area and get organic or free range/grass fed liver.
5% OTHER SECRETING ORGANS this includes: kidney, brain, reproductive, spleen, eyeball, pancreas, etc.
*PUPPY TIP* all dogs need the same proportions whether they are weaning or prime of life or elderly (unless a medical condition exists) and regardless of their size or breed. 

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6. What do I feed ? Protein sources.  Variety is key to successfully feeding PMR. If you provide your dog the correct ratios of meats from a variety of quality sources you will not need to supplement a healthy dog for anything.
Here is a list of suggestions of meats you can feed, but it is incomplete, because Im sure I will leave out some! basically any non-meat eating animal that is not full of toxins. Wild game(hunted or road killed) is fine as long as it is frozen for 2 weeks to kill parasites and is not rancid.
Beef(cow/ox), sheep/lamb, goat, venison/deer, horse, antelope, moose, bison, llama, ostrich, alpaca, pig, kangaroo, turkey, chicken, duck, wild fowl, rabbit, guinea pigs, mice/rat, squirrel, groundhog, beaver, fish-freshwater trout, bass, etc & sea fish-salmon, herring, sardines, whitefish, eggs etc.

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7.HOW MUCH?
As a general GUIDELINE, you feed 2-3 percent of your dogs IDEAL ADULT Weight (IAW) you will have to adjust this higher or lower depending on your dog’s metabolism, exersize and lifestyle.
*Please remember that the majority of dogs are overweight, this is very hard on their joints as well as their heart and other systems. People tend to want to not see the ribs but in many breeds, SLIGHTLY seeing the rib or at least being able to easily feel them! Ask your breeder or vet what is ideal for your dog.

For a FIT dog, start with 2.5%. If he gets chunky looking, gradually decrease the amount (over 1-4 weeks time) to 2% or lower if needed, same if he gets TOO thin, increase the amount gradually. This is something that may change throughout your dogs life, depending on health and circumstances.

You will need to adjust this if your dog is overweight (start at 2%)  or underweight (start at 3-4 %).
*Remember these are guidelines and you should feed to BODY CONDITION rather than weight only.
As example: a 50 pound dog @ 2.5%
50 X 0.025 = 1.25 pound (per day) DAILY TOTAL
you can break that down to ounces  1.25 X 16(ounces) = 20 ounces per day
20 ounces X .01(bone) = 2 Ounces of that
20 X .05(organ/liver) = 1 Ounce  of that
soa days meal would consist of 17 ounces muscle meat, 2 ounces bone, and 1 ounce liver and 1 ounce other organ.You can also figure that per week  just multiply each value by 7 or multiply the Daily total by 7 then do the calculations for the percentages. and the liver, bone & other organ can be fed daily or just on a few days per week as long as the amount is correct for the week.

*PUPPY TIP* puppies only ! they need 2-3 % of their Expected Adult Weight(EAW) or 5-10% of their Current Weight. They need to eat 3-6 times a day depending on age, so that amount would be divided by how many meals you will be feeding them.  Figure that with the same formulas you would use for an adult. As with adults, this is only a guideline. You will have to keep an eye on your pup and watch their body shape, also a puppy will tell you they are hungry!!
I let my puppies eat until they are full,  and they are perfect at self regulating, I have never had an overweight puppy. Also that sets up good habits for when they are adults. Of course you will have puppies from different situations and those few that will never stop eating, so if they are eating almost their whole day’s amount at breakfast, then you know you will have to control their intake a little more strictly.

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8.  Just do it. Once you make the decision, and are prepared with some raw meat for your dog, go for it!
Don’t put it off, don’t make excuses, the animal shelter or local rescue will be happy to take your donation of kibble, I am here for you if you have questions or an unexpected situation.
Just don’t forget to keep us updated and take before & after pictures, so you can tell your friends in a few weeks how AWESOME raw feeding is!!!!
By: Susan Moore Lewelling

 

DISCLAIMER: All information provided on this site & any advice given by Susan Lewelling is intended as educational/informational only and should not be considered as medical care advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian. Please use your good judgement when making health care choices for your pets.

All articles, pictures, and other content on this site is the property of Susan Lewelling, Nature’s Way Pets and East Tennessee Dingos or its original creator and reproduction is prohibited without express written permission. You are welcome to share a direct link to a page or article found on this site.

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I breed Naturally Reared UKC Carolina Dogs, I consult/coach natural rearing to carnivore pet owners, with a focus on Naturopathy and the Raw Diet. I live on a mini farm with my husband, dogs and goats and various fowl and in my spare time, I make all natural lotions and enjoy Barn Hunt trials with my dogs.

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Posted in Carnivore Nutrition, Natural Rearing, Raw Feeding

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