Switching To Raw – How?

While its true that people need to do their research before deciding to switch to a raw diet, once that decision is made, the rest should be easy.  That seems to not always be true.  Stress seems to rule the day when it comes to actually switching our dogs over.  Being told through the years that its imperative that we pick one brand of kibble and never stray from that brand day in and day out, has caused a glitch in our thought processes.  In reality its not hard, won’t cause any undue trauma to your puppy, dog, kitten or cat, and doesn’t take but a moment of time.

Puppies as young as this 6 week old baby are old enough to get on a raw diet

Many people want to do what I’ll call “The Gradual Switch”.   I remember always being told that you must ease your dog from one nameless kibble to another by adding one piece of kibble A and taking away one piece of kibble B each day for 1000 years.  Apparently this is the only way to avoid killing our dogs by switching their food so quickly that they…I don’t know, spontaneously combust?  But seriously – the gradual switch is not absolutely necessary.  Period.  End of sentence.  If you want to do it that way, sure, you could.  Back in the day when I switched my dogs over, I still had a half of a bag of kibble left.  Admittedly, I was a little nervous (I’d heard the same spontaneous combustion stories you see) and began their raw transition by feeding kibble in the morning and raw at night until the bag of kibble was gone.  I told myself it was because I didn’t want to waste the kibble but….truthfully I did have a little trepidation.  Over the years I have fostered many dogs – adults, puppies, large ones, small ones – and none having been fed raw prior to coming to my home.  Since I have never had any kibble in the house since that last half bag, I’ve never again done the gradual switch…

Which leads me to the way that I DO switch dogs to raw – the method known as “Cold Turkey”.  Its the practice of bringing the dog or puppy into your house and when its dinnertime giving them their first raw meal – no kibble included.  What’s more, it works.  My method is definitely constructed – I start slowly and without much variety initially and work up to normal raw feeding as we go.  I also give a probiotic at the time I am switching to help their nutritionally deprived bodies deal with all that usable food.  Have I ever seen the dread “dire rear”?  Certainly but if I do it is short lived and hardly a blip on the screen of life and 90% of the time I see nothing but a positive change in stool from their last kibble poop to their first raw poop.

Toy breeds can be switched just the same way as larger dogs – dogs are dogs no matter their size!

The method, in a nutshell, is easy.  I start with something like Beef or Tripe – basic.  I stick with it for at least 4-6 days giving their system time to adjust.  Then I pick my next protein source, often Turkey.  Same time frame, move on to the next protien source.  Occasionally I vary it – start with chicken backs or necks and move on from there.  In this manner I have switched 8 week old puppies as well as 10 year old adults and all those in between.  There isn’t an age too young to switch a puppy and if a dog is in decent health there isn’t an age too old.  Within a couple of weeks you will be feeding a full variety of things all done without having to do the “gradual switch”.  Have no fear and rejoice in the fact that it will be that much more quickly that the kibble poops go away forever!