Health and Nutrition

How to Switch to the Raw Food Diet for Dogs who are Picky Eaters

– By the author of Going Rawr! – Maggie Rhines

To get some dogs to switch to a raw food diet will challenge your creativity. But you know you need to persevere because it’s for the good of your dog. Fortunately, there are some tips out there to help you help your dog adjust to this new and healthier diet.

Here are 7 tips from Maggie Rhines’ “Going Rawr! Dog Lover’s Compendium” to help you encourage your picky eater onto raw food:

  1. Adjust your feeding schedule. — Some dogs are more open to trying new food when they are on a set feeding schedule. Other than being used to being fed and eating at a certain time, you are also certain that they are hungry by the time you give them food.
  2. Regulate how much food your dog is getting. — If the problem is getting your dog to finish his serving of food, you may want to re-examine how much food you are actually giving him. It may be too much for him to consume. One way to help your dog finish his food is to set a certain amount of time for him to eat. Say you only give him 20 minutes to finish his food. After that, take away his food bowl. With a raw food diet, you don’t want to leave food lying around as this will allow bacteria to grow on the food and could cause stomach upset when your dog consumes the contaminated food. This is another reason why you want to get your dog into the habit of eating his entire meal at once.
  3. Lay off on the treats. — If your dog is often disinterested in his food, it could be time to examine what food your dog is getting outside of his meals. Does he get to eat when he comes to you while you are preparing his food? What about when the family sits down for dinner, does he get a bite as well? Treats should be used as rewards for good behavior and not something that is given routinely throughout the day. This turns treats into snacks, which can spoil your dog’s appetite during meal time. So if your dog seems full during meal times, check if unscheduled snacking could be to blame.
  4. Variety is the spice of life. — When feeding your dog raw food, variety is key to keeping him interested. If you are feeding him the same kind of food all the time, it won’t be a surprise if there comes a time when he’s just not that interested in the same old thing. Planning a varied meal doesn’t have to be complicated. You can rotate his meals every 3 days. Serve different kinds of meat or different kinds of fruits and vegetables to keep him excited during meal times.
  5. Make it fun. — Just like with young children, sometimes dogs need a little stimulation to encourage them to try new foods. You can experiment with various activities and different kinds of toys that dispense food. Or you can take his food (for example, raw meaty bones or whole carcasses) and dangle it a bit in front of him.
  6. Maybe he’s not feeling well. — When you’ve tried different methods and your dog is still not eating, it could be a sign that your dog is not feeling well. If his lack of appetite is accompanied by a general lack of interest in any activity, you would do well to keep an eye on him and if the behavior persists, have him checked by a vet.
  7. Do the slow switch method. — Some dogs just need more time to adjust to a raw food diet especially after being so used to a different type of food for a long time. To facilitate his adjustment, you might want to consider doing the slow switch method. What you do is you mix his old diet with the new diet, gradually increasing the proportion of the new diet, until such time when you are feeding him just raw food. This will allow him to acquire a taste for raw food at a less stressful pace.

Introducing the raw food diet to your dog isn’t always as easy as just giving him raw meaty bones to munch on. There are a lot of things to consider, especially if your dog is the sensitive/picky eater type.

If you have a dog or a puppy that you want to raise on a raw food diet, you can purchase Maggie Rhines’ E-book: “Going Rawr! Dog Lover’s Compendium”. Her expert tips and guidance will go a long way in helping you make the transition as easy and as pleasant as possible for both you and your pet!

Note: This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.

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