Transitioning your dog to a raw diet


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 the specific diet. 

After further research into a dog's 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.
  • Feeding kibble and fresh - There has been a long debate over the mixing of raw and kibble, if a completely raw diet isn't right, compatible, or suitable then it has been proven that simply replacing 20% of your dogs' dry food diet with fresh ingredients will reduce their risk of cancer and degenerative disease.
         — Dr Anna Hielm-Björkman - PI, DVM, PhD, CVA
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • 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. 
      • Giving your dog bones – 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.

      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










































      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.

      The most important factor when changing your dog's diet is looking at the dog's individual and specific needs whilst taking into account your dog's current diet, breed, weight, history, age, health and illnesses, and activity levels. Even with siblings from the same litter, there will be distinct characters, health issues, energy levels and special requirements to take into consideration.

      The goal will be to create a balanced and nutritionally beneficial diet that fits your dog's health requirements and supports long term good health. Using our intelligent software and guidelines from the NRC and FEDAIF a complete nutritional breakdown will be provided along with a custom meal plan and recipe, suggested alternatives and supplement advice.

      Advice on your current kibble and which would be the best kibble to provide a healthier diet for your dog and switching 20% of your dog's food with a fresh rotational supplement to promote gut health, immune system, joints and bones and decrease the risk of degenerative diseases.

      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


      Leave a comment

      All blog comments are checked prior to publishing