Dogs don't talk so can't tell us when they feel sick, have a stomachache, are nauseous or have trouble digesting food. We notice these disorders only when they already have overwhelmed our furry friend. We believe that no dog owner wants to make their pet feel sick, so it is especially important to alter your dog's eating habits carefully and responsibly.
Different foods - different levels of stomach acid pH levels
Naturally, dogs that have been fed dry food have more alkaline (higher pH) in their stomach acid. Dry food is heat-treated several times and easily broken down in the system. And so the entire digestive tract adapts to dry foods, so the pH of stomach acid rises, and digestive enzymes simply disappear.
However, alkaline stomach acid is not sufficient when feeding your pet raw meat, raw vegetables and seeds. A lower pH level (about pH 2) and certain digestive enzymes are crucial for the body to digest the food.
Understandably, it may take more time to change the diet for dogs who have been fed dry food for longer. It is the reason why we do not recommend mixing the RAW food with dry food, as this puts a strain on the digestive tract to adapt to ever-changing food.
Methods for switching the diet
There are two most commonly recommended ways to change your pet's diet.
The first one is the starvation diet.
The pet does not eat anything for 24 hours: no treats, no bones, etc. Provide fresh drinking water only. After 24 hours, offer new RAW food to your dog.
The transition with a starvation diet can be applied to adult dogs and healthy dogs. We don't recommend it for seniors or dogs with serious health problems, young puppies and dogs that have only eaten dry food for a very long time.
Second,the most popular way to switch to a RAW diet is to change your pet's diet gradually. With this method, the diet changes in a little over a week.:
- On day 1, the daily portion consists of regular food and a small amount of new food.
- For 2-3 days, the daily portion consists of 75% regular food and 25% new food.
- For 4-5 days, the daily portion consists of 50% regular food and 50% new food.
- On days 6-7, the daily portion consists of 25% regular food and 75% new food.
- And from day 8, the whole portion consists only of new food.
A friend for a smooth transition - natural probiotics and apple cider vinegar
Use probiotics to aid your dog's adaptation to the new diet. We highly recommend choosing natural probiotics instead of synthetic ones. They will not irritate the body and will not cause any unpleasant reactions. The ZENOO team recommends choosing kefir, natural yogurt or sauerkraut. They will help restore the intestinal microflora and stimulate the development of the necessary enzymes.
Also, the use of apple cider vinegar during the transition period can facilitate the entire process. Apple cider vinegar lowers the pH level of the digestive tract and helps the body to start digesting new foods with more ease.
Possible side effects during the transition period
Don't be concerned if your puppy has softer stool or vomits in the first few days. The body experiences stress due to a change in diet, and without being able to digest new substances, the digestive system recognizes new food as antibodies and tries to remove it from the system. Therefore, such signs are completely natural during the transition period. They stop when the diet consists of only new food.