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How to Transition Your Dog to a Raw Diet

Updated: 5 days ago

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So you've taken the plunge and decided to switch your dog to a raw food diet.

There are various theories about how to transition your dog to a raw diet and the important thing to realise is that isn't a 'one size fits all' approach.

a terrier dog looking at the camera

We look at your two main options and explain how to transition and avoid any issues.

You have two main methods available to change your dog's diet from wet or dry food to a raw diet - Immediate or Gradual.

Immediate Transition

The Cold Turkey Approach

Firstly, let's look at the immediate approach. Many experts advocate a straight and immediate swap of foods.

As feeding both dry and raw foods together can put unnecessary strain on your dog’s digestive system an immediate swap can be the simplest solution.

raw and dried dog foods side by side

An immediate transition is perfect for puppies and young dogs with a young healthy digestive system. Most dogs transitioning on to a raw diet find that they have very few short-term side effects.

But it's worth keep a diary of any noticeable differences including weight changes, changes in stools, bad breath and maybe some vomiting.

Persevere, but contact your vet if you are concerned.

Gradual Transition

Slow and Steady wins the race

The second option is to transition gradually over a period of time.

Start by calculating your dog's daily raw food ration using a website feeding calculator.

For the first week, offer 50% existing food and 50% new raw food in separate meals.

Don’t mix the raw and dry foods together as they are digested differently. Dry dog food can take up to 16 hours to digest while raw dog food only takes 4-6 hours.

Feeding both together should be avoided. So feed the 50% existing food and 50% new raw food meals as far apart as possible (ideally 12 hours apart), to help digestion.

If after a week your dog's digestive system is happy with the raw food, gradually increase the percentage of raw food over the next week.

After 2 weeks you should be feeding 100% raw for each meal but this can be extended if you feel you need to.

The gradual transition is perfect for older dogs as their age makes them more susceptible to dietary changes.

All four raw dog food suppliers we tested provide detailed transition guides and advice and are always happy to answer questions if you give them call.

Better still, some even offer transition hampers or bundles made up of pre-selected raw dog foods to help with a smooth transition.

RECOMMENDED READ Best Raw Dog Foods Review

If you're interested, check out our full and in-depth review of four of the best Raw Dog Food companies in the UK today - Paleo Ridge, ProDog Raw, Bella & Duke and Natures Menu.

Trust your instinct,you know your dog best, so choose a transition method which suits you and your dog.