This article is written by ProDog Raw, multi award winning providers of Raw Dog Food in the UK.
One of the most common questions asked when dog owners are looking to change to a fresh, raw dog food diet is will their dogs accept and like eating raw food? A natural, raw diet is currently less common and well-recognised than traditional canned and dry dog foods therefore it is to be expected that people may be reluctant to make the switch. They may believe that their dog has seemingly enjoyed canned food or kibble for many years and we have also found personally that a degree of squeamishness can hold prospective customers back.
A lot of this can be traced back to the apprehension that surrounds the concept of serving raw meat, bone and organs. In our experience, we have found all of these concerns to be unfounded as it is extremely rare to find a dog that does not emphatically enjoy a delicious, species appropriate meal. There are many vegetarian and vegan dog owners that appreciate their dogs are naturally carnivorous and a raw diet is the best choice for them – so they purchase and serve their ready prepared raw recipe with no issues. In fact, the founder and CEO of ProDog Raw herself is a veggie just to prove the point!
Raw Diets Do Not Pose a Risk to Dog Health
Another common reservation about switching a dog to a raw diet is a misconception that it is somehow unhygienic with increased risk of bacterial infection or parasites. A quality raw diet will consist of human grade ingredients, so the perception this may increase the risk of your dog contracting worms or other parasites – is simply not true. Dogs are scavengers by nature. They therefore have a much higher gut pH balance than that of humans, so their stomach acid is extremely potent and ideally suited as a first line of defence against bacteria or other pathogens. Quality raw food suppliers such as ProDog Raw, not only lab test batch by batch for any nasties, they also freeze down all products before sale, in line with strict DEFRA regulations. This dramatically increases safety even further.
Dogs Love Switching to a Raw Dog Food Diet
Dogs are famous for being indiscriminate feeders who will eat pretty much anything that looks or smells appealing to them, given the opportunity. Their strong sense of smell means that attractive smells are more often than not the reason that they want to eat certain foods. Most dogs will find the scent of raw meat extremely captivating to them, being how they would naturally choose to feed in the wild.
Making the Switch to a Raw Diet
Dogs can be very similar to humans and they can appear to be fussy eaters. It’s not unheard of for dogs to turn their nose up at new food that they are not familiar with or only eat food that has been prepared in a way that they are used to. Sudden changes in diet can also cause upset stomachs in breeds prone to gastroenteritis. This needs to be taken into consideration but is not a reason as to why you shouldn’t feed your canine companion a fresh, clean, raw diet.
To achieve a slow switch over the course of approximately one to four weeks, all one has to do is to gradually mix the old and new feed. This usually takes between seven and ten days to work. Starting with a relatively small percentage of the new food to allow your dog to become accustomed to it. Gradually increase this until it accepts a whole portion of the new food. This is usually ideally suited for older dogs or those with a sensitive gut.
For a fast or rapid switch, this includes a day of fasting first and then the introduction of the new diet. The fast switch is more suitable for younger dogs or those that have no history of gastrointestinal issues. It is also not ideal to mix dry feed with raw in the same meal due to different digestion periods, so leave this option as a last resort.