Transitioning Dogs

Have you toyed with the idea of making the switch to raw for your pet, devoting countless hours (or wasted work days) researching raw diets for dogs? Does your pet suffer from an ailment that the veterinarian can’t seem to figure out? Many of our customers are out of options and open to consider a raw diet for their pet.

Well, don’t lose hope. Many of us have been there before and we’ve all had moments of panic and doubt when considering something new. Switching to raw is a big decision and you’re hesitant – this is your BABY and their health we’re talking about after all.

Whether you’re feeding our raw pet food, the BARF diet (dogs) or the prey model (cats) raw diet, there are some things to keep in mind to make the transition easier for you and your furry friend:

Different Flavors for Your Dog:

Before you start your dog may have a preference for a particular flavor of raw food, hence, we manufacture three flavors for dogs, all are edible by humans. These are; 1) Beef, 2) Chicken, and 3) Cornish Hen. We make smaller 1 oz containers so you can experiment throughout the transitioning process.

When Transitioning Project a Calm Assertive Energy.

Just like the advice we get from Ceasar on Dog Wisperer, when trying to influence your pets behavior we have to realize that your dog takes cues on how to behave from you. If you project a nervous or scared energy when introducing it to a raw diet your dog will sense your apprehension and be skeptical of his new meal. Be calm and confident so your dog knows there’s nothing to be unsure of. Make gestures of a rewarding nature to encourage your dogs cooperation.

Some Dogs need a little time to get adjusted to a New raw food diet.

Keep in mind that in transitioning to raw you will be changing what your dogs digestive system is used to as its source of protein. Your dog may react to being fed raw food for the first time by not being able to keep the new food down or refusing it. Raw food feels, looks and smells from their present food, and don’t forget, some commercial pet foods are sprayed with fats and other flavorings to make them more desirable to your dog. You may have to slowly transition you pet by only putting a very small amount mixed in with their normal food and slowly increasing by small amounts till you have completely transitioned them to 100% raw.  Our miniature schnauzer’s reaction to raw , since we did a complete substitution, was unsuccessful and she couldn’t keep it down - so wewent with plan B and mixed in raw with what she was used to eating in small amounts over 2 weeks. She is fine now and is thriving on her natural raw diet.  Make sure you’re dog has access to clean, fresh water throughout the “waiting” process.

What the heck is in my bowl?

Sometimes pets don’t recognize new foods as food. Many pets are picky about a certain consistency or texture of a food and when a new food varies from what they’re used to they won’t even try it -even if it smells delicious. In many cases making a new food look similar to their old food makes it more appealing to them during transition. Forming new foods into balls or pellets so it looks like kibble, or mashing a food to match a consistency can help get your pet started.

Your Dogs Pallet

Many pets care more about consistency then flavor. If you’ve noticed that your pet prefers a certain type of food try a different food in the same consistency but a different flavor. Some options to adjust consistency include:

  • Making a Pate’: make any food into a pate’ consistency by adding a small amount of water and letting it soak.
  • Making a Chunky mix: Try temporarily adding chunky food blends into the food that you desire to switch your pet to. Try different soaking times or try lightly cooking the new food the first few times you feed it.
  • Pay attention to the temperature: Many pets don’t like their food too warm or cold. Make sure that if you have a picky eater you take note of your pets preferences to temperature. Don’t forget that sometimes you have to check their teeth to make sure they don’t have a dental problem that needs attention that is causing their pickiness.
  • Pay attention to freshness: Many pets can tell once a food has been open for a period of time and no longer want to eat it. There are many reasons for this. With dry food the oils can go rancid after a period of time. With canned food oxygen may begin to break down chemicals used to denature the food and metal/plastics leach into the food over even short periods of time. With dehydrated and raw food they tend to get slightly crunchy around the edges, leaving a partially crunchy and partially squishy texture that some pets don’t like. If your pet doesn’t like their food if it’s been open for more then one meal consider making each meal fresh or switching to a different brand.

Understand that Your Dog Will Most Likely Go Through A Detox Period

Many dogs, especially those who have been eating kibble or commercial dog food for long periods of time, will go through a detoxification process. Your dogs may experience watery or mucus like diarrhea for a few days up to a week or two. Other symptoms could include excess shedding or runny eyes. This is completely normal as your pet’s body is purging itself of the toxins that have built up over time from the poor quality food. You can help speed the process by providing plenty of exercise and fresh water. Be advised, dogs on antibiotics or steroids may have a longer detox period. Always consult with your veterinarian if you believe your dog is experiencing abnormal symptoms from their new diet.

So you're ready to transition

Congratulations on choosing a diet that is biologically appropriate for your lovable canine friend! Feeding raw can seem like a daunting task, so here are some instructions and guidelines on making the transition easier on both of you!

  1. If thawing the product to portion out into individual feedings, please do so while the food is as cold as possible. Our products are safe to thaw, refreeze, and thaw again to feed because we maintain our production temperatures below 40 degrees, so that the meat stays safe for portioning. Some folks portion right away, others allow the container to sit in the refrigerator and just use the parts that are most thawed. The most effective way to portion semi thawed food is to separate into portions when ice crystals are still present.

    Some Dogs will prefer the food lukewarm, roughly the body temperature of fresh prey, while other dogs will eat the food while cold or even still frozen! If you would like to try to offer your companion the true carnivore experience and mimic a fresh kill, you may warm up a portion of the food under hot water, briefly in a plastic bag. Please, DO NOT MICROWAVE, as this will destroy the delicate proteins that are beneficial to your pet, and the heat will make the soft fresh bones become hard and splinter. Also, do not cook the food in any way. Gently warming the food up in a plastic bag under hot tap water is the safest way to heat up the food.

  2. Please keep any unused portion of the food frozen or refrigerated at all times. This is a raw meat diet for your pet and you should take the same precautions with it as you would with raw meat for your family. Keep refrigerated or frozen to keep the food fresh.
  3. Please wash all utensils and food bowls thoroughly with hot soapy water after each use. Be careful to sanitize all surfaces the food has come in contact with. Again, treat this product as if it were meat you were preparing for you and your family. Please wash hands thoroughly after use.
  4. After Your pet has had about 30 minutes to consume his meal, make sure you pick up what is left from his bowl and discard. If he did not eat much, you can cover and refrigerate any unused portions for up to 12 hours, but giving him a fresh bowl at the next meal time is recommended.
  5. Some dogs will require more time to transition than others, but here are some good starter tips:
  • Please expect to see some changes in your pet! The coat will be shiny, simply gleaming, and very soft to the touch (except for wire haired breeds). Skin problems that were a result of food allergies or intolerances will clear up. Runny nose and stinky ears have been known to clear up as well. Energy levels generally increase (except in very large breeds that tend to be lower energy to begin with). Sometimes the eating habits change as well, either increasing or decreasing in volume or frequency. You may both have to do a little adjusting. Do not be surprised if you see a decrease in volume in bowel movements and an increase in urine output (especially if your pet has formerly only known a kibble diet). Since the dog can utilize much more of the food in a raw diet than a canned or kibble diet, there is very little to eliminate from the body as waste. The resulting stools are smaller, firmer, and stink far less! The increased firmness also helps to keep the anal glands from getting backed up and needing to be expressed.
  • Enjoy your happy healthy pet! If you have any questions or problems along the way, please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to help you any way we can! Email us at, or call us at 716-462-5549. Please be patient as phone lines may be busy, but we will always do our best to help! Raw takes dedication, and we are dedicated to helping you make the transition