DogNation Home DogNation Home

Switching to a Raw Dog Food Diet

If you are reading this, chances are you have decided raw dog food is right for your canine friend. Now you might be wondering how to go about switching your dog from the commercial kibble or wet dog food she has been getting to the more nutritious raw dog food diet. Well, it really is not that complicated, but let's explore some of the tips to make the switch successful.

Should you do the switch cold turkey, just do it, or should you make the transition in a slower, more deliberate way? This really depends on your dog, but in general, most commercial raw dog food makers recommend the slow transition, while most of the raw food diet practicers advocate to just get rid of the kibble and start feeding raw immediately. Whichever way you choose, watch your dog, observe her stools and go from there. Let's go into a little more detail on the switching methods just discussed.

Transitioning to Raw, Slow Method

As discussed earlier, the slow transitioning method is recommended by commercial raw dog food suppliers, and it may be necessary for your dog, too. Some dogs are just plain stubborn when it comes to switching what they are eating. They have been eating the same old kibble for years, so why change? Some even say that this is because of all the addictive additives commonly added to commercial dog food, such as MSGs, sugar, salt, and propylene glycol (a derivative of antifreeze). Or she might just be freaked out by the change in consistency. There are additional things that can be done for this problem, but that will have to be another article.

Transitioning using the slow method is simply substituting the raw dog food for some of the original dog food, slowly increasing the proportion of raw to kibble. Start with 75% kibble or wet dog food and 25% raw. Then go to a 50/50 mixture, then a 25% original and 75% raw, and finally throw away the rest of the kibble. Your dog is now a raw fed dog!

The timing of each stage for your dog will vary. Most dogs transition well with the proportions adjusted every 2 or 3 days. Some can be changed more rapidly, while others require more time to adjust. The easiest way to determine this is to keep an eye on your dog, in particular her stools. If she gets diarhea, you might want to slow down and let her adjust. Note, however, that as discussed later, diarhea may be normal as her body cleanses itself.

Transitioning to Raw, Fast Method

Most Raw Feeding practicers prefer that the switch to a raw dog food diet be done Cold Turkey. Stop feeding the kibble, and start right into the raw meat and bones. After all, they ask "why continue to poison your dog with commercial kibble?" They also point out that because a raw dog food diet is so completely different than the kibble, the digestive system of your dog may find it difficult to deal with the two types of food.

This is by far the easiest method for you, as there is no portioning to deal with. If your dog is young, she will have no problem with the cold turkey method, and the cleansing process can begin all the sooner.

Older dogs and dogs with pre-existing digestive issues, however, may have difficulty adjusting to the new diet introduced all at once. Again, let your dog show which method is most appropriate.

When switching your dog cold turkey, it is recommended you fast her for 24 hours before making the switch. This will serve two purposes. First, the day of fasting will allow the remaining kibble in her system to digest, making the switch easier on the digestive track. Second, your dog will be hungrier when given her first serving of raw food, so she will more readily eat this new, strange looking and smelling meal.


After making the decision to switch your dog to a raw dog food diet, you are once again faced with a decision: whether to switch all at once or a more controlled, slow mixing of diets. With the potential of harmful ingredients in commercial dog foods, it is recommended the cold turkey switch be used, but some dogs will have a hard time adjusting. Whichever way you choose to go, your dog will be better and healthier for it.

Visitor Comments

This is your chance to add your feedback. Have you already switched your dog to raw? How did you do it, and do you have any tips for our other readers? Or, are you contemplating the switch and have more questions to help you decide? Please add your feedback on raw dog foods here.

Add Comment

* Required information
Captcha Image

Comments (0)

No comments yet. Be the first!

Random Dog Quote

Happiness is a warm puppy.
Charles M. Schulz

Site Navigation

Best Friend's Friend Rescue/Shelter Contest
I made the pledge!