Transitioning to a raw diet
Helping your pet move on to the best food ever!
…You have probably already heard about the many benefits of a raw food diet, but here are a few anyway:
- improved appetite,
- strengthened immune system,
- superior dental health,
- silkier fur and smoother skin,
- easier to avoid allergies
- no grain, starches or sugars so can avoid nasty yeast infections
- smaller, more manageable poos and less wind problems
- stable energy levels… the list goes on.
In store, we have everything in our freezers that you will need to transition your pet onto a raw food diet. We have over 60 varieties and several different tures. Defrost overnight in the fridge, spoon into a bowl – simple!
When we talk about ‘transitioning’ to raw, we actually mean taking a few days to allow your dog or cat to adapt gently. So to be clear, although they transition over a week, day one starts with 100% raw food – but just pure meat. The 10% bone and 10% offal in standard raw food can wait a few days.
Therefore, ‘transitioning’ does not mean continuing with less and less of their old dry or wet food.
There is a handy feeding guide based on age and weight at the bottom of this page.
Make a clean break?
It is recommended that most dogs and cats make a clean break from high-carbohydrate processed foods and start on high-protein raw food straight away. For dogs over 7 years old you may feel more comfortable introducing raw more gradually but if you do, avoid mixing together in the same meal as the acidity levels are different. Many owners move away from their old pet food to raw immediately, whatever the animal’s age.
Whether you are feeding your dog or cat raw, tinned or dried food, please consider supplementing their diet with probiotics. vets and nutritionists widely recommend this. 70% of a dog’s immune system is in the gut. Therefore the healthier the gut, the better they are at fighting disease and digesting their food. Probiotics also help balance the yeast in the gut, easing nasty yeast infections that make skin, paws and ears sore. Tasty frozen Kefir Paws from Alexander Natural are one option – feed once a day frozen. Alternatively, mix Tummy Tastic powder from Proflax into their food. A tub will last a while. You can introduce probiotics at the same time as starting a raw food diet.
Here are the 2 simple steps to transitioning to raw:
The First Step – For the first 5 days, feed 100% raw meat. Most owners choose 100% pure Green Beef Tripe as it’s very nutritious and easy on the stomach. It comes in packs already frozen. Just defrost overnight in the fridge and spoon into a bowl, just like you will with the standard food later on. We have alternatives if your pet needs to avoid beef – please get in touch so we can discuss.
During these first 5 days, expect loose and dark coloured stools as your dog or cat will go through a detox process. 95% of pets absolutely love tripe, by the way. We humans can find it a bit smelly but don’t worry, there’s a change to a different food after 5 days.
Here are 2 popular 100% Green Beef Tripe products that we sell:
- Dougie’s Green Beef Tripe 560g – www.wild-tails.com/product/doug-green-beef-tripe
- Reggie’s Raw Green Beef Tripe 500g – www.wild-tails.com/product/beef-tripe-mince-500g
Did you know? As your vet will tell you, itchiness could be a sign of an allergy to a certain meat. Soft poos or vomiting could be a sign of an intolerance. Many owners use the transition to raw as a way of identifying an allergy to chicken or an intolerance to beef (for example) through a process of elimination, resulting in a much happier pet!
The Second Step – Over the next 2 days you can introduce a standard raw food which has 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% offal. We have found that some dogs love the quite smelly pure Green Beef Tripe so much that they don’t want to change! Many customers have found that if, over a few days, they mix in more and more of the standard food, then their dog doesn’t realise that you are slowly finishing off the pure Green Beef Tripe. Sneaky!
Expect lighter colour stools now that bone has been introduced, especially if you’re now trying a light meat like Duck or Turkey. They will be smaller and easier to pick up. Don’t be surprised if your dogs take a little longer to go to the toilet. More solid poos are actually good for the health of their anal glands.
Here are a few popular choices for the first standard raw food which has the all-important bone and offal… but remember! If you suspect that your dog has an allergy (itchy skin or ears, biting paws or tails or can have dark, very loose poos) but don’t know what they are allergic to yet, then start by avoiding chicken.
Here are 2 popular standard foods:
- Smooth texture – Dougie’s Duck 560g
- Chunky mince texture – Totally Natural Duck & Tripe 1kg
Did you know? Pets on a healthy raw food diet don’t poo so much and they drink less water as there’s natural moisture in their food. Owners also happily report that the air smells fresher… if you see what we mean!
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE NOW TRANSITIONED YOUR PET ONTO A HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE, RAW FOOD DIET.
After transitioning, we recommend that you support your pet’s health and appetite even further by introducing different meats and extra goodies.
Different meats – Feeding a variety of different meats is a great way of ensuring your pet has different nutrients in their diet. Your pet may find meal-time more interesting too. However, introduce different ‘standard’ foods slowly. Stick to a ‘standard’ food for 3 to 4 days. Let them get used to the new meat before changing again.
Oily fish – In time, after 3 or 4 new meats have been introduced, you can start to introduce oily fish, with all its fantastic health benefits! We recommend starting small with sprats as a treat or you can start with a ‘standard’ food mince that has some oily fish. It is recommended that fish comprises 15% of your dog or cat’s overall diet.
Adding Goodies to the Standard Food to make it a Complete Food
We have a number of Complete meals in stock that have been developed by vets and nutritionists to provide a full, healthy all-in-one meal. Nurture Them Naturally and Cotswold Raw are 2 brands that have many ‘Complete’, Organic meals to choose from. They are based on the standard components of meat, bone and offal but also have vegetables and superfoods to provide extra health benefits.
However, you may prefer to add goodies to the standard raw food yourself. Here are a few things that you could add:
Raw egg – After fish has been introduced, it’s time to introduce raw egg, complete with broken-up shell (just like their cousins eat in the wild). If your pet is fussy and leaves the shell, we also stock finely crushed egg shell that can be mixed in easily. Eggs should be fed twice a week for an average sized dog and one every other week for a cat. Chicken, duck, goose and quail eggs are all fine unless you have discovered that there is an intolerance to one of them of course.
Superfoods – There are some fantastic supplementary products that can be added in small amounts to your dog’s dinner. Here are a few popular examples:
- Salmon Oil – REFILLS for their Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Wild Tails now can refill your bottles, saving plastic and saving money.
- Dorwest Easy Green – an easy, great source of vitamins and fibre that is easier for pets to digest than vegetables themselves. Only a small amount is needed per day.
- Dougie’s Spirulina – a real superfood – very nutritious with a soothing effect on irritable skin
Fruit and vegetables – You may also wish to add mixed fruits and/or vegetables to your pet’s food in small amounts. However, there are definitely ones that we all need to avoid feeding to our cats and dogs as they could be deadly!
According to the American Kennel Club, NEVER feed them these:
- avocado and…
- avoid tomatoes too, just to be on the safe side.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE FEEDING?
These guidelines are for puppies up to an age of approximately 9-12 months. However, we suggest continuing to assess the puppy’s weight until they are at least 68 weeks. For large breed puppies, they can be used up to 24 months. Because young dogs are constantly growing, they need a higher percentage of food than adult dogs. The easiest way to work out how much to feed your puppy is to feed a percentage of its body weight. We recommend re-weighing and re-assessing every 2 weeks. We have a full size dog weighing scale available in store to use if you wish.
As a guideline, we’d suggest:
|Age||Percentage (per day)|
36 + weeks
These percentages are a guide only.
Adult dogs and senior dogs…
As a general rule, adult dogs should be fed around 2-4% of their ideal adult weight depending on activity levels. Most dogs are closer to 2% than 4%.
For senior dogs, we’d recommend feeding approximately 1-3% of their ideal adult weight.
We have a separate guide for cats so please get in touch.