Transitioning from kibble to raw food
For thousands of years, dogs have been living successfully off a natural prey diet (meat/bone/organ). The kibble trend began about sixty years ago- a blink of an eye in the history of humans owning pets. Since then, dog food companies have been compressing different ingredients into this “convenient” style of pet food. Regardless, a dog’s GI tract has not evolved to properly handle grains and processed food. Kibble is like “fast food” for pets, intended to allow them to survive, not thrive. A dog’s digestive system was never made to run on corn, wheat or other refined, processed ingredients, yet these are what are listed in most kibbles. A switch to raw food will increase your pet’s energy and quality of life. Improvements can be seen in their weight, teeth, even their stool, which will be smaller and look much healthier after starting our raw food diet.
Most dogs will be able to transition from kibble to our raw complete ground food with no problems. Occasionally, some dogs will have a bit of a digestive upset when first starting on raw food. Unless the dog has an intolerance to one of the proteins in the mix or has an unrelated medical issue like Giardia or Rotavirus, Pancreatitis, etc… things will settle down within a day or two. If there is tummy upset, offering a digestive enzyme with their raw food can help. It is not recommended that you mix the kibble and raw together – they digest at different rates and will likely cause stomach problems. If you would like to feed kibble and raw, it is recommended that you alternate meals (raw in the morning and kibble at dinner.)
If your adult dog is fed exclusively raw food, it is recommended that you serve your healthy adult dog 1 meal daily. They should be fed at the same time every day as this will regulate their digestive systems. Some people choose to feed two meals per day into adulthood and this is completely acceptable.
Pregnant/nursing females should be fed 3 times per day with vet advice on feeding amounts, which will increase as pregnancy progresses.
Puppies that are less than 6 months of age should be fed three times per day. Puppies over 6 months and up to one year old should be fed twice per day.
Transitioning your kitty to a raw food diet can be tricky. Some cats will take to raw food right away, while others need a slow transition. It’s probably unnecessary to say this, but your cat isn’t like a dog – they can’t skip meals like dogs, so no tough love allowed! If your cat goes off food, go back to square one and make sure they’re eating at each meal.
The first step is to find and transition to a good quality canned food from kibble. Once you have your cat off kibble and on canned only, start the transition over to raw food. Go at the speed your cat dictates – they’ll know what they’re ready for!
Some key things to remember with cats:
• Cats can’t skip meals or they can become seriously ill.
• Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need fresh meat by necessity. Cats do not require fruit or veg in their diets.
• Like dogs, cats need a variety of proteins to get the maximum benefits from raw.
• Cats are imprint eaters so they may not recognize raw food. This is why the transition period is needed, as we need to show them it’s food.
• Cats frequently have health issues from eating kibble due to the dehydrated nature of the product. In the wild, cats get most of their daily moisture requirement from their prey. This is why raw is the healthiest, most appropriate option for them.
• Cats should not be eating fish only; this can cause a vitamin B deficiency.
• Cats eat 3 – 4% of their healthy adult weight daily in raw food. Kittens need more.
• Cats can be lazy chewers, so when selecting treats, we recommend testing out smaller bags and avoiding chewy treats.
• Cats benefit from some whole food just like dogs. This can be added to their diet along with the ground meals.
For more information on feeding cats raw food, read this source. Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat!