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Starting On Raw Food - A Must Read

As pet owners, we want to provide the best nutrition for our furry friends. Transitioning your dog from their current diet to a raw food diet can be a big change, but it's one that can greatly benefit their overall health and well-being. Here are some tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible.


1. Assess Your Dog's Health

Before making any dietary changes, it's crucial to assess your dog's current health status. Consider any physical or environmental factors that may influence the transition.

A dog whose primary diet is processed dry food will have different gut flora in comparison to a dog on a fresh food diet, it's important we allow time for the gut flora to adjust to new foods slowly.

Even if your dog has previously consumed raw food, it's still advisable to transition to any new foods for overall health and well-being.

If your dog has any health conditions or concerns, consult your vet before making dietary changes.


2. Start With Cooked Food If Needed

For dogs accustomed to dry food, starting with a cooked loaf before transitioning to raw food can help their gut adjust smoothly. Remember that transitioning to a fresh food diet takes time and patience. Monitor your dog's health and well-being throughout the process for optimal results.

Once fully transitioned to cooked, we can then transition onto the raw food!

3. Take It Slow - Transitioning 

Gradual transition minimises digestive upset. Introduce the new food gradually, starting with primarily the old food and slowly increasing the proportion of the new food. Adjust the transition period based on your dog's response. For example:

Table 1: Transitioning onto New Foods




80% current food being fed

20% The Natural Canine Raw food

50% current food being fed 50% The Natural Canine Raw food
20% current food being fed 
80% The Natural Canine Raw food
100% The Natural Canine Raw food

 However, remember to read your dog's response and adjust the transition period accordingly.


4. Calculate How Much To Feed

The amount of raw food to feed your dog depends on their body weight, activity level, and age. Generally, feeding 2-3% (2.5% to simplify) of their body weight per day maintains their current weight. Monitor your dog's weight and adjust the diet accordingly to avoid weight loss or gain. This is a guide, raw feeding is about feeding the dog in front of you.

For example, a 20kg dog with moderate activity levels should be fed 500g of raw food. This calculation includes treats and bones intake, so if you are feeding treats or bones, cut down meal time portions. 

It's crucial to note that puppies need much more food than adult dogs, and the amount varies depending on their weight and age. 

 Click here to find out Feeding Guidelines for puppies.


5. Serving Suggestions - Feeding the fussy 

When serving raw food, several factors can affect your dog's enthusiasm during mealtime. Here are some pointers we always recommend to enhance feeding times:

Warming the Food: Consider heating the raw food in a microwave to make it more appealing to your dog. Serving raw meat directly from the fridge can be unappetizing and may not sit well on your pet's stomach, especially if they are sensitive to cold temperatures.

Portion Control: Ensure you are feeding the right amounts to your dog, taking into account all treats and bones included in their daily intake. It's also important to prevent access to other food sources, such as cat food, which can disrupt their balanced diet.

Enrichment Bowls/Toys: Make mealtime fun and engaging by incorporating enrichment tools. Explore options like Liki Mats, slow feeding bowls, or Toppls/Kong toys to provide mental stimulation and encourage your dog to work for their food.

For larger breeds, consider elevating their bowls off the ground at feeding time to avoid bloat.


6. Add In Pre and Probiotics

Enhance the transition by adding pre and probiotics to your dog's diet. Our InsideOut product is designed to support digestive health in dogs. Pre-biotics provide a food source for beneficial gut bacteria, while probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria directly. This combination improves overall gut health, making the transition easier. Pre and probiotics also support the immune system, nutrient absorption, and skin and coat health.

Click here to shop InsideOut Pre & Probiotics

If you don't have a prebiotic product, consider adding a small amount of Natural Greek Yogurt (no added sugar) to your pet's meals 2-3 times per week.

7. Keep It Simple

When introducing a new diet, it is advised to avoid complicating your dog's meals with too many ingredients at once. Stick to simple meal plans such as BARF or Prey mixes and limit anything else going into the bowl, such as meal toppers. Start with proteins your dog already eats, gradually incorporating a wider variety over time. Include a mixture of red and white meats, as well as fish, to provide different nutritional benefits. 


8. Check your Food Safety Hygiene 

Maintain proper storage, handling, and preparation of your pet's food. Refer to our Storage and Handling Guidelines for detailed instructions. 

Storage and Handling Guidelines (Click here)


9. Intolerances and Sensitivities 

As we specialise in Raw Mixes, we have a lot of customer come to us seeking recommendations for products suitable for their pets. 

Your pet may have an intolerance or sensitivity to particular proteins, so keep in mind you may need to try eliminating some proteins, and monitor for improvements.

If your pet experiences considerable yeast infections, itching, scratching, or any other health concerns this could be down to a number of factors. We recommend consulting a nutritionist or vet for any concerns you may have.


10. Be Mindful of 'Richer Proteins' 

It's important to gradually transition dogs to 'rich proteins' that include meats with varying fat content, such as Kangaroo, Wallaby, Lamb, or Duck. These proteins can pose a digestion challenge for some dogs, especially if they have primarily consumed milder proteins in the past. By introducing these proteins slowly and in small amounts, you allow your dog's digestive system to adapt, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.

Don't be deterred from introducing these rich proteins as they can offer unique benefits. Incorporating a variety of proteins in your dog's diet helps provides a broader spectrum of essential nutrients for their overall health. As you transition, closely monitor your dog's response and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns.


By following these tips, you can successfully transition your dog to a raw food diet, enhancing their health and well-being. At The Natural Canine, we're dedicated to providing premium pet products to support your pet's nutrition journey.

Contact us to learn more about our offerings and make the switch to a healthier diet for your beloved furry companion.


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