Table of Contents:
What does a raw food diet for dogs really mean?
Why you might want to switch your dog’s food
How to choose the right food for your dog
What makes good quality raw dog food
Different ways to dish up a raw dog food diet
Switching your dog’s food, step by step
What to watch out for once your dog's eating raw
How to switch your dog to raw food FAQs
To sum it all up…
Raw dog food is having a moment. With more and more of us wanting to feed our families natural, responsibly sourced food, there’s a real rise in pet parents making the switch to raw food for their dogs. And even if it feels new to you, for dogs it’s a diet that goes right back to their roots, when their ancestors were hunters and foragers, eating raw all the time.
We really believe going raw is a hugely positive change with lots of benefits, so if you’re thinking of switching your dog’s food, we’re here to help. In today’s blog we’re looking at what raw feeding dogs really means, how to choose the right dinners for your dog, and how to switch your dog to raw food successfully (and easily!), in just a few days. Ready? Let’s take a look…
While switching your dog’s food over to raw means giving them plenty of high-quality, nutrient-rich raw meat, it’s about much more than that. It’s also about serving up a balanced diet with added fruits and vegetables, giving your four-legged friend a broad range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help them stay healthy, happy and strong.
There are lots of reasons you might be thinking about switching your dog’s food. Maybe you’ve got a new dog or puppy and you want to make your own choices about their diet, rather than sticking with what their previous home gave them. Maybe your dog’s getting older and their needs are changing. Maybe they’ve got specific nutritional issues, like needing to lose or gain weight. Or maybe you just want to improve their general wellbeing – after all, everyone feels better when they eat better.
Whatever your reasons, switching your dog’s food isn’t difficult, and we’re here to help. Yes, every dog’s different, and they can adjust to new things at different speeds, but we’re going to show you how to switch your dog to raw food gradually, so they’ll be loving their new dinners in no time.
When it comes to dog food, there’s a whole lot of choice out there. If you’re thinking of trying something new, the sheer volume of products and advice can feel overwhelming – we completely understand.
But here’s the thing. It’s your dog and it’s your choice. So do your research and make a confident decision that feels right for your four-legged friend, and realistic for you. Stick to reliable websites and up-to-date sources, explore the products you’re interested in and read those customer reviews. They’ll tell you what real pet parents think of the products, and how they’ve worked out for their dogs.
And of course, if you’ve got any concerns about your own dog’s individual needs, your vet’s always the best person to talk to, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
If you decide a raw diet is right for your dog, we recommend looking for brands that are transparent about their ingredients, picking products free from additives and artificial flavours or colours. A good quality raw dog food should be specially made for pets, and produced by manufacturers registered with UK Pet Food and DEFRA, so check brands’ websites to see which organisations they’re members of.
How much raw food your dog needs depends on a whole range of things, including their age, breed, size and lifestyle. To help you get started, we’ve put together some handy tips on how much to serve.
If you’d like to make your dog’s meals from scratch, make sure you include a high proportion of quality raw meat and offal from manufacturers registered with DEFRA and UK Pet Food. Balance it with suitable fruits and vegetables to give them a varied range of vitamins and minerals – there’s a guide to which fruit and veggies dogs can and can’t eat, right here. We also recommend adding a good quality pet multi-vitamin supplement to make sure you’ve got everything covered. If you’d like a head start, our Ready to Mix range is full of quality ingredients you can use as a base for your own raw recipes.
But that’s not the only way to serve a great raw food diet for dogs. Ready-made options like our raw nuggets are super convenient and give them a complete, balanced, nutrient-rich meal every time. They’re full of carefully chosen quality ingredients enriched with vitamins and minerals, free from sugars and additives, and really tasty too.
Wondering how to switch your dog to raw food? It’s surprisingly straightforward. We recommend doing it over a seven-day period to give your four-legged friend a bit of time to get used to their new dinners.
Each day, just swap one of your dog’s two usual meals for raw food, and keep the other one the same. For example, serve them up their regular breakfast and switch to raw at dinnertime. Do that for seven days and by day eight they’ll be ready to go raw for both meals. Simple.
If you feed your dog three or more times a day, start by replacing one of these meals with raw food. Do this for the first two days, keeping all of their other meals the same as before. On the third day, switch a second meal to raw. Keep going with this gradual approach, changing one more meal to raw every two days, until you’ve switched them over completely.
Here’s Mel, our expert in-house vet, with some quick, practical tips on how to switch your dog to raw food.
Anytime you change your dog’s diet or routine, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re adjusting well. The same’s true with switching your dog’s food to raw.
A lot of pet parents tell us they see really positive changes in their dogs once they’re eating a raw diet, including improved energy levels, eagerness to eat their dinner and generally improved happiness. But if your dog seems to be struggling, has an upset tummy or isn’t tucking into their new food, that doesn’t necessarily mean raw isn’t right for them. They might just need a little more time to make the change.
If you’ve noticed any of those things, we always recommend reducing the amount of raw dog food they’re eating, then gradually introducing it again. You’ll find some more tips to try in our FAQs section below.
Raw feeding dogs can be a safe, natural choice, but if you’ve got any concerns or you’ve tried our tips and your dog isn’t taking to their new food, it’s a good idea to talk things through with your vet.
Every dog’s different, but switching your dog’s food gradually over seven days usually works well.
Raw dog foods tend to contain small amounts of carbohydrates, because dogs don’t nutritionally need them. But if your dog’s used to the extra carbs in their old food, they might feel less full than usual. Try adding a handful of our Mighty Mixer to help them feel fuller for longer while they’re getting used to their new diet.
Dogs like their raw food fresh, and if it’s left out it can begin to go off, changing the taste and – importantly – making it less hygienic. Try to train your dog to eat their meals straight away, in one go, by always removing any food left after the dog has walked away from the bowl.
Every dog is different but many of our customers notice a change in their dog after switching to raw food in as little as a few days, including seeing their dogs pass much smaller, firmer and less smelly poos. Other benefits often follow shortly after, check out our testimonials page to see what our customers have found since making the switch. The main thing though is that their dogs are eating and enjoying high quality and nutritionally balanced food.
You might well see changes in your dog’s poo once they’re on a raw dog food diet. Lots of pet parents tell us that firmer, more pick-up-able poo is one of the first and most obvious changes they noticed.
No two dogs are the same, but many pet parents tell us that after a few months of raw feeding, dogs have shinier coats, healthier skin and fresher breath.
Whatever your reason for switching your dog’s food, if you’d like to give them a healthy, natural diet, raw feeding is a great way to go. Take your time, do your research and find foods with quality ingredients that feel right for your dog, and for you.
Don’t forget to go for a gradual change over seven days – and if you’d like some more advice on how to switch your dog to raw food, our fully trained advisors are always happy to help.