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The primary reason to switch your dog to a raw diet has to do with the fact that it's the way your dog would have eaten in the wild. It's more natural, and will provide your dog with more essential nutrients than the average commercial dog food. Not only do you have control of all the ingredients (instead of struggling to read a long list of ingredients from a bag), but your dog can more easily absorb the nutrients that come from those ingredients.
For example, dogs absorb about 50% of nutrients derived from commercial preservative-free dog food, where they absorb closer to 95% of nutrients from a balanced raw diet. (Source: Canine Raw Food Diet Basics, by Dr. Tamara Hebbler). Plus, your dog will love you for it!
The Cons Of Dry Food
The Pros Of Raw Food
A raw diet means exactly that, raw food. You might be wondering if raw meat can potentially harm your dog, but the answer is no. Dog's bodies are designed to digest raw meat, and their teeth are designed to grind raw bones into a digestible powder. For optimum health, your dog will need a well-rounded diet with a variety of meat, no grains, and some vegetables.
It's generally recommended to have your dog fast once a week to help detoxify his liver. Have him fast for about 12 hours, and then gradually increase the time to 24 hours for larger dogs. Supply plenty of fresh, cool water during fasting time. (Source: Canine Raw Food Diet Basics, by Dr. Tamara Hebbler)
Now that you know what to feed your dog, you might be wondering how to transition him to a raw diet.
The Cold Turkey Method
The cold turkey method is probably the most simple method out there to switch your dog to a raw diet, however, it should only be used for healthy dogs who aren't particularly picky about what they eat. Simply feed your dog his regular food one day, and switch to a raw diet the next. However, the gradual method (listed below) might yield the best results.
The Gradual Method
To transition your dog gradually, begin substituting his commercial dog food with raw food slowly over a week's time. Start by substituting about 1/8 of your current dog food with raw food. Double the amount every 3 meals or so until your dog is eating completely raw. If your dog seems okay with the raw food, there's no need to do any more.
Your dog will love his new, raw diet. Have you ever tried a raw diet for your dog? What were your experiences with it?
Also read: Cat Food: The Basics Of Feeding Your Cat A Raw Diet, or Give Your Dogs Barf On The Barf Diet for more information about raw diets for your pets.