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Canine Transition Guide For All Life Stages

By: Priscilla Martinez

When beginning any diet plan we all tend to ask for the same thing, a guide. Our transition guide has been carefully put together by dedicated and passionate raw feeders with a combined feeding experience of over 50 years. It has been used to help thousands of pets transition successfully into a Prey Model Raw diet. Allow our experience to guide you and your pet through this amazing health transformation.

WE LIVE BY AND BREATHE THE SAYING “TOO MUCH, TOO SOON” AND WILL ENFORCE IT AS IT HELPS PREVENT ANY SETBACKS IN THE TRANSITION

Our guide encompasses the transition from kibble to raw in all life stages of canines, including puppies that have been weaned to kibble or any food other than raw.  Let us go over a few important details:

  • Puppies that are 8-12wks should begin with 24-48 hours of boneless, lean, ground white meat. After these initial days introduce complete blends that include bone and organs. After a few days of consistently well formed poops complete grinds of red meats can be introduced.

  • For puppies older than 12wks it is not recommended to start with complete balanced meals. Doing so can cause GI upsets and even food reactions. However, puppies do tend to adjust a lot quicker, so transition for puppies 12weeks and older is done in about half the time as young adults or adult dogs. Follow the guide below but keep progressing forward as long as poops are well formed.

  • ​When feeding senior and geriatric dogs take into consideration that their gut biome has aged as well. The older the dog when switching, the more they can have problems with denser bones even without skin. These dogs do better with softer bones like necks, feet, and chopped up frames of small birds. Some older dogs can also have problems with too much fat in the diet, especially if they have become sedentary.

  • In all dog ages, the speed of the transition is dependent on the consistency of the poops. You read that right, in this group we avidly poop watch. Well formed poops after the introduction of a new item, or increase of new item, is the green light to continue through the steps.

Let’s get started, shall we?!

Before feeding raw, STOP feeding kibble and wet food, and STOP adding fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds if you have been including them in the diet. We DO NOT recommend starting with any premade/complete meals until transition is complete.  Due to the carbohydrate content in kibble the stomach pH will not be low enough to break down bone properly. For this reason we suggest boneless, skinless meat for the first 24-48hrs. This will give the stomach pH time to acclimate to its new diet and be ready for raw meaty bone digestion. 

*If at any point you encounter any issues such as, but not limited to, itching, redness, or diarrhea please stop immediately and seek our guidance*

How Much to Feed:

Most Adult dogs eat around 2% to 3% of their ideal adult weight per day. Active/working/athletic dogs can be started at 3%. If weight needs to be shed, begin at 2% of current weight. We recommend, at a minimum, a weekly weigh-in during transition to avoid sudden loss or gain of weight, and to determine if the dog is maintaining weight. Small breed dogs should be fed starting at 3%.

We recommend feeding puppies based on current age and weight (see chart below). It is important to weigh your growing puppy weekly in order to adjust to their growing needs, appetite included. Pay extra attention to growth spurts as they will require extra food during that period. 

Use our handy Raw Feeding Calculators for the math!

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STEP 1: For the first 24-48hrs feed boneless, skinless chicken, turkey, pork (loin ONLY), rabbit or you can start with green tripe. After 24-48hrs if poops are well formed (even if soft) you may begin to introduce soft bones (at the full 10%) such as chicken necks, chicken feet, chicken breast w/ribs or a form of ground (soft) bone. Small puppies and dogs should have their bones smashed to help encourage chewing.

At the end of the week you may start to introduce the more slightly dense form of bones (omit for senior and geriatric dogs) such as thighs, drumsticks, etc. Adjust bone percentage if necessary, too soft of a poop means adjust for more bone and too hard or dry adjust for less.

For more info on RMBs see our Raw Meaty Bone guide

STEP 2: Continue your introduction of bone along with your starter protein. This will allow more room for adjustment to be ready to start a new protein for step 3. Introduce, in small doses, an Omega-3 oil of your choice from our recommended selection. This will allow for the balance of Omega-6, build the skin microbiome, and help address any skin issues like itching or redness. Build up to the daily recommended amount over the next week. See our guide on Omega 3 oils for amounts.

STEP 3: Now it is time to introduce another protein such as beef, lamb, any of the remaining starter protein options, or whatever is easily accessible to you. To introduce the new protein properly you need to phase out the first one through the week a little bit at a time. You may continue using the same RMB or you can choose to introduce the RMB of the new protein. DO NOT FEED dense bones like beef bones. By the end of the week the new protein should have replaced the first one entirely.

STEP 4-5: For these next two weeks you should be introducing new proteins in the same fashion from step 3. A new protein for one week then another for the next week. The goal is to have successfully introduced 3-4 proteins.

Remember the more RED meats the better!

STEP 6: If you have made it to the following steps with no issues you may begin to introduce liver. Use only the liver of a protein you have successfully introduced. We suggest doing so EXTREMELY slow as liver is jam-packed with nutrients and can cause loose stool if introduced too quickly. Start with the smallest sliver maybe the size of a fingernail and work your way up to the 5%, only increasing when the poops are well and formed. This could possibly take longer than a week. Please do not rush this step.

STEP 7: Time to introduce your other secreting organ content such as kidney, spleen, etc. Introduce the same way as you did the liver. NEVER feed extra liver to compensate for the missing second secreting organ.

​LAST STEP: You're at the last step of transition and it is time to start introducing fish and eggs. Still remember to introduce each slowly, one at a time, as to avoid any stomach upset. Stop feeding any Omega-3 oils at this point of transition. Eggs are recommended to be fed 3-4 times a week. Fish is fed weekly. All fresh caught AND store bought fish (does not apply to tinned fish) should be frozen for 3 weeks to kill any parasites. Introduce fish allowance over several days until the entire recommended amount is fed.

Find the right amount of fish to feed in our Fish Feeding Guide.

​CONGRATULATIONS your dog is now officially PMR fed!!!

From this point forward you will continue to introduce new proteins and new organs in the same manner. The bigger the variety of the diet the easier to maintain a balanced diet. It will be a joyous moment every time you find a rare item to feed and we are all excited to see each of you sharing that excitement. We look forward to seeing those “First fully transitioned” bowls!!!

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