First belief is to switch over 100%, right away. Think of it in human terms. Would it affect you to switch from eating fast food and processed food, to a well balanced diet? Most people immediately see the benefits of a fresh, balanced healthy new diet. So if the dog is young and healthy, this is a great option. Some people prefer fasting them for 24 hours before switching.
Second belief is to switch over time. This is definitely recommended, especially if the dog is older, has health issues or has been on kibble for a long time. A good timeframe for transitioning is 2 weeks to a month. One would slowly increase raw food diet at a rate of 1/8 or a ¼ every 4 to 5 days, and decreasing kibble at the same rate.
Dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive disorders may benefit from digestive enzymes, probiotics or prebiotics. Some would recommend green tripe before transitioning into raw. Consult your veterinarian concerning the diet change.
Other tips on the transition:
- Eliminate treats during transition to raw dog food.
- Provide plenty of water.
- Smell and texture of the food make some transitions slow.
- Adding small amounts of canned sweet potato or pumpkin can help during transition. These will help with both diarrhea and constipation.
Changes in stool:
Firmer stools make the dog strain a little more, a benefit that helps express anal glands, reducing the chance of infection.
Consistency may be variable. If consistent and prolonged diarrhea, consult your vet. Sometimes probiotics help during the adjustment period. Also starting transition with green tripe is very helpful.
Film on stool. This is normal during the transition, as your dog detoxifies. Other things that are common are runny nose, runny eyes, etc. Most detoxification takes 2-6 weeks. Again, dependent on age and what your dog has been exposed to in the past (steroids, drugs, long term kibble feeding)
If you believe your dog is having prolonged issues, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian concerning the diet change.