Making the Switch to a Raw Diet

There are several ways to switch to a natural raw diet .The following general guidelines and specific ideas should get you thinking in the right direction and help you make a decision as to how you will go about the switch with your pet(s). The switch can be rapid, straightforward and trouble free. An important factor to consider is the diet you are switching your pet from. Where a pet has some experience of eating a variety of home produced foods, both cooked and raw, there is usually more acceptance and less likelihood of gastrointestinal upset on the part of the pet. With kibble fed pets, the change is much more dramatic for their system. There are two general methods of making the switch to better nutrition, "Rapid " and "Slow."

Rapid Switch

This is the simplest way to make the switch. You simply go ahead and do it! Yesterday you fed your pet kibble or canned pet food, today you begin to feed the BARF DIET™. Before using the rapid switch, you need to consider whether your pet is suited to a quick transfer of diet. The general experience and consensus is, that the rapid switch is the preferred, simplest, most trouble free and most successful method for dogs particularly young and healthy dogs with a relatively normal gastrointestinal system.

The rapid switch with pets that are older, pets with digestive problems or impaired immune systems may not be appropriate. Many older pets that have been kibble fed all their lives (and some younger ones for that matter) cannot tolerate both raw food and kibble together in their digestive tract. That combination can result in diarrhea or vomiting or both. In this case we have no choice, it has to be the rapid switch.

It can be helpful to allow your pet a one or even a two-day fast prior to making the transfer. This allows for a small amount of detoxification and also brings to your assistance a mighty ally, hunger! When you begin feeding the BARF DIET™, you may divide the daily amount into two or three small meals.

Slow Switch

This method of switching your pet can take from one to four weeks, or up to six months, depending on the circumstances. Some pets never make the switch completely, as many pet owners leave their pet suspended between kibble and raw, "just to be sure they don’t leave any important nutrients out." Not a great idea!

There are four basic ways to go about the slow switch.

1) You can offer one meal of the BARF DIET™ followed by one meal of the old food, and gradually feed fewer meals of the old type. If your pet accepts this method with no problems it is a fair indication that he has a very robust digestive system and would have handled the rapid switch extremely well.

2) The second way to go about it is to offer both types of food at the same time, and gradually offer less and less of the old food and more of the new food. E.g. some kibble and a chicken wing in the same bowl. Twenty five percent of the new food for a few days, fifty percent for a few days, seventy five percent for a few days then one hundred percent. On the other hand, some pets may develop gastrointestinal upset as they cannot tolerate these two vastly different types of food in their digestive system at the same time.

3) The third slow switch method is to physically break the old and new food down and combine the two foods into a homogeneous mass. This way you can start out with small amounts of the new and gradually decrease the old over time. This works well with a pet that is reluctant to try the new fare.

4) Those pet owners who have always fed a home made but cooked diet may decide to introduce the new food in a cooked state, and gradually feed it in a more raw state. Dog owners whose dog is suffering from some an immune deficient state can cook the BARF DIET™. Cooking is not recommended for normal, healthy dogs.