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Transitioning your dog to a raw diet

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my dog has an upset tummy on raw food

Which raw feed model do I follow for my dog?

You have 3 options –

  1. Whole prey model – Meat, bone and offal
  2. Homemade BARF (Biologically appropriate raw food) – Meat, bone, offal, fruit & vegetables
  3. Ready created BARF (Biologically appropriate raw food) – Raw meals created and sold to you.

If you are unsure of what these models involve, to help you we have written a blog with explanations on each - 'BARF vs Whole prey - which to choose?'.

It’s great to have options! But what is right for us?

The route we chose at the beginning of Yianni's raw diet journey was to buy ready created BARF from a reputable company.

It was the best for us as we were able to start Yianni on the diet we wanted for him while we looked at how we would make it ourselves. We had always planned to make our own raw meals for Yianni as we wanted to know the quality of all the ingredients and create recipes to give him a varied, supplement specific diet. 

After further research into a dogs daily food requirements, we decided to take the leap and try making it ourselves! We were surprised at how easy and fun it was!

We have so much to talk about regarding doing it yourself that we can't fit it in this blog, so please check out our Homemade BARF meal guide blog, along with our recipes. 

We do also give Yianni whole prey to eat as we can see how much he loves it and to be honest, we love to watch him use his natural instincts to eat it! The only downfall to this is the mess it can leave, so make sure to use a feeding mat or provide an area that you can clean after! This is where training came in for Yianni as he had to stay in that area to eat. Luckily he was very quick to train and has never taken his food out of the area we give him his food.

Some points to be aware of:

  • When to seek professional advice - If your dog is dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end-stage cancers, animals on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would recommend you get expert help prior to beginning the transition to a raw diet.
  • Start with one meat - We would suggest starting your dog on one type of meat for the first few weeks, while they adapt to digesting different food.
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    • When you make the switch, ensure that you only feed raw! - When you have started the change to a raw diet, it is important to not mix raw and processed foods together as you can set your dog up for some unhappy (and even dangerous) consequences. This includes not giving your dog "human food"!
    • Hygiene – Act as if you were preparing food for yourself, that’s the beauty of it. We would also say to wash their bowl after every feed.
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      • Loose stools - When you are in the first stages of the switch, your dog will likely experience some loose stools. This is because their stomachs are experiencing a change and going through a detox. The processed foods which have become stuck in the stomach walls are now breaking away. With Yianni, this only lasted 2-3 days and then he was going to the toilet as he should be on a raw diet. We have read so many different stories on the length of time dogs have taken to adjust as each dog is different and have different factors like age, weight and the quality of ingredients in their previous diet.
      • Remember to give fish as part of their diet! – Fish is such an important ingredient as it is full of omega 3, protein and a natural source of essential fatty acids. As long as the fish is not smoked in any way and you do your homework on what fish you can feed. We also would advise when you buy the fish you put it in the freezer for a week or two, this is to kill any parasites and bacteria.
        can i feed my dog raw fish?
          • When making the change to raw - We started Yianni on a fresh day instead of the middle of the day but there is no set time to implement the change. We have spoken to dog owners which have made the change in the afternoon after feeding processed food in the morning and the process their dog went through was no different to us. 
          • The first time you give your dog a bone!MAKE SURE THE BONE IS NOT COOKED! Cooked bones cause damage to your dog as they splinter. Make sure to always supervise when giving bones.

          Please follow the link for Dr Joao Munoz-Doran who presented the findings at the First Joint Congress for Evolutionary Biology in Ottawa, Canada. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18767817

          How much to feed?

          You need to feed approx. 2-3% of their expected adult body weight (if still growing) per day or of their ideal adult body weight (if they have stopped growing) per day.

          2% would perhaps be for a dog with low exercise or overweight. 3%+ would be for a dog with high exercise daily, perhaps sports dogs and also puppies. Somewhere around 2.5% suits most average adult dogs. Large breeds have slower metabolisms so they tend to need the lower % and small breeds have a high metabolism so often need far more than 3% even. Puppies need 2-3% of their ideal body weight.

          Below is an Adult feeding guide:

          Weight of dog

          Feeding at 2% of body weight

          Feeding at 2.5% of body weight

          Feeding at 3% of body weight

          5KG

          100g

          125g

          150g

          10kg

          200g

          250g

          300g

          15kg

          300g

          375g

          450g

          20kg

          400g

          500g

          600g

          25kg

          500g

          625g

          750g

          30kg

          600g

          750g

          900g

          35kg

          700g

          875g

          1050g

          40kg

          800g

          1000g

          1200g

          45kg

          900g

          1125g

          1350g

          50kg

          1000g

          1250g

          1500g

           

          After a while, you may not agree with this feeding chart and decide to feed more or less as we did with Yianni. We think that this information is great as a guide but every dog is different and after a while you know from the look of them if they could do with a little less or a little more.

          We do like to add to any raw diet blog if your dog is dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end-stage cancers, animals on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would recommend you get expert help prior to beginning the transition to a raw diet.

          Love from the Aurora Pets family x

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