How to Transition Your Dog to Gently Cooked or Raw Fresh Food
Posted by NutriCanine
So, you've finally made the switch to fresh food for you pup. Congratulations on taking this important step - you're now on your way happier, healthier dog. Not sure what to do next?
In this simple-to-follow guide, we're going to cover everything you need to know about starting your dog's new fresh diet, including:
- How to transition your dog to a gently cooked or raw diet
- How to store and serve NutriCanine pre-portioned meals
- What to expect when switching to a raw diet
- Raw food safety tips
How to Transition Your Dog to a Gently Cooked Diet
If you’ve already been feeding your pup gently cooked food, there’s no transition period necessary.
If your dog is new to gently cooked food, we recommend starting by introducing their new gently cooked meals slowly, feeding your dog small, room-temperature portions of their new meals with their old food. The ratio should be approximately 25% gently cooked food and 75% kibble/their old food. After two days of successful feeding, increase the ratio to 50% gently cooked and 50% old food. After two more days of successful feeding, increase to 75% gently cooked and 25% old food. When two more days of successful feeding have passed, your dog is ready to eat 100% gently cooked food.
During the first week, pay extra attention to your dog's stool. You will likely notice a difference in the amount and consistency. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal. If you see a looser consistency than usual, just stick with the same percentage of their old food and gently cooked food for an extra day or two. For example, if you start to notice watery stool on day 4, keep feeding them 50% old food and 50% gently cooked food for days 5 and 6. After a couple of days, you will see their stool get firmer as they adjust to their new, fresh food.
How to Transition Your Dog to a Raw Diet
There are two different methods of switching your dog from a kibble, cooked food or another raw brand to a new raw diet: the Immediate Method and the Gradual Method.
The Immediate Method (Recommended for Dogs Over 1 Year Old)
To see the best results in the shortest amount of time, we recommend transitioning your dog with the Immediate Method. This involves fasting your dog for 12 to 24 hours (yes, 24 hours is preferred), then introducing their first new raw meal at their next feeding.
Fasting your dog (that means no food, no treats, just water) allows their digestive system to rest and reset, and it helps to boost their immune system. After fasting, your dog will also be hungrier, more interested in eating and more adaptable to their new raw diet.
The Gradual Method
Though it can be more time-consuming, the Gradual Method is an option for pet owners who prefer not to fast their dog. It involves introducing the new raw diet slowly by feeding your dog small portions of raw food with their kibble or cooked meals.
To do this, mix a small amount of room-temperature raw food with your dog's kibble or cooked food. The ratio should be approximately 25% raw food and 75% kibble/old food. After two days of successful feeding, increase the ratio to 50% raw food and 50% old food. After two more days of successful feeding, increase to 75% raw food and 25% old food. When two more days of successful feeding have passed, your dog is ready to eat 100% of their new raw meals.
During the first week, pay extra attention to your dog's stool. You will likely notice a difference in the amount and consistency. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal. If you see a looser consistency than usual, just stick with the same percentage of their old food and new raw food for an extra day or two. For example, if you start to notice watery stool on day 4, keep feeding them 50% old food and 50% new raw food for days 5 and 6. After a couple of days, you will see their stool get firmer as they adjust to a raw diet.
NutriCanine Fresh Food Options
If, for any reason, you want to exclude a certain recipe from future orders, send us an email at email@example.com and we’d be happy to adjust your meal plan. Additionally, if your dog is a picky eater, has a sensitive stomach, or a hard time transitioning to raw, our gently cooked recipes might be a better fit. If you’d like to switch your dog to a gently cooked meal plan, send us an email and we’ll adjust your plan accordingly.
How to Store and Serve NutriCanine Pre-Portioned Fresh-Food Meals
A label on the outside of your box will indicate how many pre-portioned packs to serve your dog per day. Once thawed, it’s chow time! Just open, pour and serve.
We recommend keeping your pup’s meals in the freezer and moving one day’s worth of meal packs to the fridge 24 hours before serving. An easy trick is, when you feed your dog a thawed meal each day, move a meal from the freezer to the fridge for the following day.
If your dog is new to gently cooked or raw food, before feeding your dog their first NutriCanine meal, we recommend removing it from the refrigerator and letting it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, since some dogs may react negatively to a cold meal in the early stages of their transition. To be on the safe side, we recommend feeding your dog room temperature meals for at least five days before feeding them directly from the refrigerator.
What to Expect When Switching to a Raw Diet
The first few times that you put a bowl of raw food in front of your pet, they may seem unsure or uneasy about it. This is normal and common in dogs who are new to being fed a raw diet. Think of a baby discovering a new vegetable – it can be unsettling at first because it's new and different, even though vegetables are good for us. Your dog is the same way.
Changes to Stool
One major bonus to feeding your dog a raw diet is that they will have stool that’s much firmer, smaller and has less of an odour, making it generally easier to pick up as a result. The reason why is simple: with NutriCanine raw meals, your dog doesn’t eat anything it can’t process or use (like the fillers you find in kibble), resulting in very little waste.
During the first week of serving NutriCanine raw meals, pay extra attention to your dog's stool. If your pup is switching over from kibble or cooked food, you will likely notice a difference in the amount, consistency and colour – especially when switching to a new protein. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal. After a week or two, you will see their stool looking more firm as they adjust to their new diet.
Raw Food Safety Tips
Following the same food safety practices you would for yourself is key to having a safe and healthy environment with any raw meat. Once you receive your NutriCanine meal box, take the meal packs out of the insulated box and place the meals in the freezer. Avoid repeated thawing and refreezing.
When you feed your pet raw food, use stainless steel bowls and utensils that are easy to wash with warm water and soap. Be sure to wash all surfaces that come in contact with any raw meat.
If you have any other questions about transitioning or feeding your pup your new NutriCanine fresh gently cooked or raw meals that are not answered here, please visit the FAQs on nutricanine.ca or reach out to our customer service team at (416) 726-1311 or firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
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