How can I change to a Raw BARF diet?

We sell and stock a wide range of raw dog food and each have a different recipe, some have additional ingredients, others are made to assist the DIY BARF enthusiast who wants to make their own food but using some of the core componants of a raw diet to ensure they are fulfilling their dog's nutritional requirements, other foods are engineered to support the dog who is have health difficulties and has been advised by a vet to follow a more specific diet.

One thing that is common throughout all of our foods and formulas is that they have a high meat content, they are all made using fresh human grade quality ingredients including 100% British meats.

The transition for either a dog or cat to a natural raw diet should be a gradual, phased transition usually spanning between 7-10 days. This is important for the wellbeing of your dog or cat and it will assist in avoiding periods of excessive wind, diarrhea or constipation.

A gradual transition is recommended due to the following factors:

  • The enzymes required to break down a high protein, raw meat and bone diet differ to those needed to break down a high carbohydrate diet that has been processed (such as kibble). The pancreas needs time to adapt to both the amount and type of enzymes that it nagturally produces when the dog's diet is changed from one to the other.

  • Gut flora is different for dogs fed predominantly on a meat and bones diet, compared to a high starch and carbohydrate based diet. It takes several weeks for the gut flora to re-stabilise following a major diet change. Gut bacteria are responsible for the production of particular key nutrients and are also responsible for the production of gas in the bowel.

  • Stomach Ph is generally higher (more alkaline) in dogs that are fed on a high carbohydrate processed diet in comparison to dogs and cats who are fed on a predominantly raw meat and high protein diet, which causes a strong acid stomach. (Itoh et al. 1980, Sagawa et al., 2009)

  • It is not just the process of digestion, but also the speed in which the food types are digested which differ considerably. Raw meat and bone is digested much faster than processed food, which is high in carbohydrates. (Lonsdale, 2001)

Should I also feed by dog kibble

At dogfoods4u we do not support feeding a dog both raw and processed kibble food on an ongoing basis.

The two different foods change the dog's digestion, both speed and method of digestion and then compromise the dog's digestion and ability to digest the food to

ensure they are gaining the nutrients they need. Kibble is also widely considered responsible for a decline in the healthy teeth of dogs whilst a raw diet is responsible for natural teeth cleaning, leaving healthier teeth. Kibble foods do not offer the same texture of a raw diet, often starchy and grain based

A plan for introducing a raw diet that we recommend

To begin with start your dog on one protein source (single meat, eg. Chicken Formula) for three weeks.

This will allow your dog’s digestive system to adapt & helps you to identify if your dog has a particular intolerance to a certain protein. Ensure that over time you introduce a range of different proteins to your dog's diet in order to maintain variety in their diet.

Easing your dog into a high protein biologically appropriate raw meat and bone diet is easy and convenient. Simply follow the steps below:

  • Day 1 - Gradually transition your dog on to one of the complete formula foods over a 7-10 day period, whereby you replace a small spoonful of your dog or cat's current food with a small spoonful of raw formula, gradually increasing the amount of raw and decreasing the current food until fully transitioned over. The spoon size will depend on the size of dog or cat, for example, a teaspoon for a x small dog and a tablespoon for a larger dog. 

  • Day 2 Onwards - Following on from day 1, each subsequent day more of the raw diet should be added until full transition is achieved. 

Things worth considering;

  • If your dog has a loose stool at any stage, we recommend reducing the amount of raw food for three days to stabilise the stool prior returning to increasing the raw food levels. If your dog is elderly or dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end stage cancers, animals on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would recommend you get expert help prior to beginning the transition to a raw diet.

  • For the first month of feeding raw, digestive enzymes and probiotics can be added to the diet for dogs or cats that have any dietary issues or that have been prone to diarrhoea or constipation.

Dogs Still Hungry?

A few dog owners report that their dogs who have been on a high carbohydrate diet for a long time and they switch the diet to a higher protein low carbohydrate diet too quickly their dog can initially appear hungry as their body have been adapted to carbohydrate as the main source of instant calories.

Adding a small amount of additional carbohydrate initially in the form of for example sweet potato. Soluble fibre foods can also help by making your dog feel fuller, the addition of slices of butternut squash, a few carrot sticks between meals can help to bridge this gap (Don't though add grain based carbs such as rice or pasta). In addition most kibbles are fed in a relatively large volumes compared to a raw diet to provide the same number of calories and again in the early days of converting your dog to raw food feeding the smaller volume can leave some dogs not feeling full enough. This is where feeding raw bones (once the dog has settled on raw food) can keep them occupied and help bridge this gap while the stomach volume adapts. It is important to be careful at this point, that you are not misinterpreting a dog who now relishes his food as hunger. With many kibble diets dogs do not rush to the bowl and eat with relish unless there is a lot of feeding competition from other dogs. This can be very different when feeding dogs a high quality raw natural diet. A dog wanting the food without having to be tempted with a little bit of this and that is what we all want for our dogs. Make sure you monitor your dogs weight in the early months of feeding raw, to be sure that you have the amount right (note the feeding guides are simply guides and amounts fed are dependent on numerous factors). Most importantly enjoy seeing your dog loving his food!

My dog's on a prescription diet, can they transition to a raw diet?

Most prescription diets are a tweaked poor quality diet, usually removing a particular aspect but often not adding anything.

We are not vets and the information and recommendations we provide are based on the details given to us by the various manufacturers of the products we stock, we will always look to evidence our recommendations but would always recommend you to seek the advice of a Raw supporting vet registered with RFVS (

We have a range of quality support formulas in most of our brands including in Nutriment and Natural Instinct. For further support in choosing a support diet, call us on 0800 0096428 or email us.


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