New to raw dog food? Tips to get started
Published On: August 2, 2022

Are you new to the idea of feeding your dog a raw diet? If so, you may be wondering where to start. This article provides tips for making the switch to raw dog food in Ottawa, as well as advice on how to keep your dog healthy and happy while on a raw diet. So, whether you’re just getting started or are looking for ways to improve your current feeding routine, read on for some helpful tips! 

1. How many times a day should I feed my dog raw food? 

It depends on the size, age and activity level of your dog. Generally, an adult dog is usually fed 2 times per day while a puppy can range from somewhere between 2-4 times per day. 

Raw pet food is best for dogs because it contains all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Dogs are carnivores and their digestive system is designed to digest and absorb animal protein, bones and fat. Raw food provides these nutrients in a form that’s easy for them to digest, which is why it’s so beneficial for their health. 

2. Can you mix raw and kibble dog food? 

It is not recommended to mix raw and kibble dog food together, as dogs require different enzymes to digest meat/bone and to digest the high carb load in kibble-based food. However, there are a few situations where this may be required: 

  1. When a dog has a yeast problem – while switching a dog to a raw diet may eliminate most yeast problems, some dogs require a slower transition. A degrading kibble to raw ratio would be recommended in this case, as your dog adapts to their new regime. 
  2. When a dog needs to be food retrained. Some dogs are addicted to the high salt and/or sugars in kibble and/or they don’t realize that a raw diet is food.  

Ultimately, whether or not you mix raw and kibble dog food is up to you and what you think is best for your furry friend! 

3. Do dogs poop less on raw food? 

Owners of raw fed dogs have reported that their raw fed dog poops so much less then when their dog was on kibble. This is because raw food has little to no additives, and the dog is able to digest most if not all of the nutrients in their species appropriate diet. These same owners have also reported that while the poops are ¼ the size on raw then when the dog is fed kibble, the poop tends to disappear in about 1-4 days, so no poop to pick up. However, as each dog and their digestion is different, poop results may vary from dog to dog.    

4. Is it better to feed kibble or raw dog food? 

While there are pros and cons for both kibble diets and raw dog food diets, raw food diets are species appropriate, meaning that most raw dog food contains all of the nutrients that your dog needs to not only survive but to thrive. While kibble is generally cheaper, provides a “buffet style” meal plan in most cases, is easier to store than raw food, and has a very long shelf life, kibble often contains large amounts of fillers (such as corns, cereals, grains, and soy), artificial preservatives, coloring agents, and flavorings that can be harmful to most dogs. 

While raw dog food can be price compared with kibble, raw dog food comes in frozen packages (must be thawed to serve) and therefore needs to be handled as raw meat. In the fridge, raw food has a shorter shelf life than kibble, when thawed and refrigerated (3-5 days). In the freezer, depending on packaging, the frozen raw food can last for several months to years. 

5. Is it difficult to switch from kibble to raw pet food? 

When it comes to making the switch from kibble to raw pet food, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. While most dogs take to raw food right away, other dogs may need a bit more time to adjust, including those dogs that need a slower transition due to excess yeast and those that need to be retrained. Ultimately, it’s important to do what’s best for your pet.  

Switching dogs from kibble to raw can be quite easy in most cases. This process is called the “Cold Turkey Method”. For those that require additional time and training, it’s important to slowly introduce your pet to the new diet so that their digestive system can adjust. This method is called the “Slow Transition Method”.  

The slow transition method required mixing a small amount of raw food in with their kibble and gradually increase the proportion of raw food over time.  

6. Is feeding raw expensive? 

As with kibble, pet parents should price shop. Just like kibble, raw diets can be more or less expensive than others, and some can be more complete and balanced than others. Knowing the difference and research is key to success.  

However, many pet parents who feed raw to their dogs have noted immense health benefits of  feeding their pets raw food, such as improved digestion, reduced allergies, and increased energy and all around healthier, happier dogs. 

7. Are raw fed dogs skinny? 

All dogs, no matter what they eat, can be skinny, overweight, or at their ideal adult body weight. Just like humans, the quality of the food, the amounts served and the activity level of the dog will determine body sizes. There is no definitive answer to this question since there are a variety of factors that can affect a raw fed dog’s weight.  

When selecting a dog’s diet, it is always best to remember that dogs are carnivores, so their bodies are better equipped to digest and utilize nutrients from animal flesh, raw meaty bones and organs. On the other hand, kibble is typically made from plant ingredients like grains and corn, which aren’t as easily digested by dogs.  

8. When can you start giving your dog raw food? 

It is never too early or too late to start a raw dog food diet. It is always best to start a puppy on raw as soon as it is weaned from its mother. Even older dogs can benefit from a switch to their species appropriate diet. Whether you’re starting with puppies or adult dogs, they can all benefit from this type of nutritious diet. 

9. Can you warm up raw dog food? 

Different dog breeds and different dog personalities have different preferences. Some small dogs prefer their food slightly warmed up (because of the bone content, it is never recommended to cook raw dog food). Most dogs will prefer their raw dog food thawed, but not frozen. And in some exceptions, like huskies and dogs initially bred for cold climates, the food must be served frozen. Let your dog determine how they prefer their food served.  

10. Do raw fed dogs grow slower? 

In most cases, raw fed dogs will grow at a more even, steady pace than their kibble fed counterparts. This is because species appropriate diets provide a diet of meat, bones, organs meats and roughage, whereas kibbles contain high calorie dense foods in the form of corn, grains, rice, soy, by-products, additives and preservatives to name a few. Additionally, any meats in kibble are highly processed, making them more difficult to digest.  

With a raw dog food diet, raw fed dogs have fewer health problems, are happier, healthier and generally enjoy a better quality of life then their kibble fed counterparts.  

Raw dog food is a great way to ensure your dog gets the nutrients they need. Kibble, while popular, can be shown to be unhealthy and lead to health problems down the road. If you’re interested in switching your dog to a raw diet, talk to us or sign up for a free pet food consultation. We can help you get started and provide all the information you need about this healthy and nutritious option for your pet.