How to switch doggo to a raw food diet—and should you?

Feeding a raw dog food diet to your pooch has to be seen as a balancing act between traditional feeding and the new type of cereal diets, which are claimed to be scientifically balanced as far as the dog's nutritional needs are concerned.

As this type of diet is going against what we class as normal, a raw dog food diet is often frowned upon by traditional dog owners and also many vets. The problem is that many of them do not know the benefits if done properly.

So first of all, what are some potential issues with a raw dog food diet?

  • The storing of raw food to keep it fresh.
  • Where do you get a daily supply of good quality food?
  • Are there health risks to you and your family as far as feeding this type of raw dog food diet?
  • How much does raw meat and fish cost?
  • Is raw food classed a balance diet?
  • Because of restraints on our time does it require more time to organize and feed this raw dog food diet?
  • Are there dangers to the dog with feeding raw bones.
  • Is there scientific evidence that feeding a raw dog food diet is essential to the health of your dog?

Raw dog food precautions

  • Always wash your hands after handling raw foods.
  • Wash any utensils like boards and knifes after using to prepare raw food.
  • Sterilize work surfaces around your preparation area.

It has to be stressed that hygiene is very important in feeding a raw dog food diet, better to be safe than infecting you or your family with a life threatening disease.

There are for's and against's in feeding a raw dog food diet, but no one can make up your mind for you. You have to thoroughly research the subject before committing you and your dog to a drastic change in feeding habits.

Encouraging a picky dog onto raw food

Here are 7 tips from Maggie Rhines’ “Going Rawr! Dog Lover’s Compendium” which I thoroughly recommend -- her expert tips and guidance will go a long way in helping you make the transition as easy and as pleasant as possible for both you and your pet.

Adjust your feeding schedule.

Some dogs are more open to trying new food when they are on a set feeding schedule. Other than being used to being fed and eating at a certain time, you are also certain that they are hungry by the time you give them food.

Another way to improve your dog’s reception of a raw dog food diet is to schedule his feeding after a vigorous routine activity – say after his morning walk or a jog around the block. A good run will help him work up an appetite.

Regulate how much food your dog is getting.

If your problem is getting your dog to finish his serving of food, you may want to re-examine how much food you are actually giving him. It may be too much for him to consume. One way to help your dog finish his food and finish it quickly is to set a certain amount of time for him to eat. Say you only give him 20 minutes to finish his food. After that, take away his food bowl. That way, he’ll be encouraged to eat his food and to finish it quickly.

Another reason why you want to do this is because with a raw food diet, you don’t want to leave food lying around. This will allow bacteria to grow on your dog’s food, which could cause stomach upset when your dog consumes the contaminated food.

Lay off on the treats

If your dog is often disinterested in his food, it could be time to examine what food your dog is getting outside of his meals. Does he get to eat when he comes to you while you are preparing his food? What about when the family sits down for dinner, does he get a bite as well?

Treats are meant to be rewards for good behavior and should not be something you routinely give your pet every time. That will turn treats into snacks, which will only spoil your dog’s appetite during meal time. So if your dog seems full during meal times, check if unscheduled snacking could be to blame.

Variety is the spice of life

When feeding your dog raw food diet, variety is key to keeping him interested. If you are feeding him the same kind of food all the time, it won’t be a surprise if there comes a time when he’s just not that interested in the same old thing.

Planning a varied meal doesn’t have to be complicated. You can rotate his meals every 3 days. Serve different kinds of meat or different kinds of fruits and vegetables to keep him excited during meal times.

Make it fun

Just like with little kids, sometimes dogs need a little stimulation to encourage them to try and to eat new food. You can experiment with various activities and different kinds of toys that dispense food. Or you can take his food (for example, raw meaty bones or whole carcasses) and dangle it a bit in front of him. That could work to get his attention to try the new food.

Maybe he’s not feeling well

When you’ve tried different methods and your dog is still not eating, it could be a sign that your dog is not feeling well. If his lack of appetite is accompanied by a general lack of interest in any activity, you would do well to have him checked by a vet.

Do the slow switch method

Some dogs just need more time to adjust to raw food diet especially after being so used to a different type of food for a long time. To facilitate his adjustment, you might want to consider doing the slow switch method. What you do is you mix his old diet with the new diet, gradually increasing the proportion of the new diet, until such time when you are feeding him just raw food. This will allow him to acquire a taste for raw food at a less stressful pace.

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