How do I get started and make the switch from kibble to raw food?

Getting started is simple by keeping things simple. The switch can be made fairly easily by fasting your dog for at least 24 hours (12 hours for toy breeds) before introducing it to raw food. Do not be tempted to mix kibble with raw food.

It is recommended that you start feeding one protein source i.e. chicken blend (consisting of muscle meat, bones and organs) and continue feeding the same protein so your dog’s digestive system can build up the appropriate enzymes for digestion and becomes accustomed to raw food. After a couple of weeks, you can then introduce other raw foods i.e. chicken dinner which includes fruit and veggies. You can also add some dairy i.e. eggs, yogurt or kefir to your dog’s diet too.

Once your dog has made the switch to raw and you have consistently fed one protein source, you can introduce other protein sources so that your dog has a balanced diet. Make sure to feed raw meaty bones in addition to the prepared blends so that your dog can relieve its innate urge to chew and clean its teeth and gums simultaneously. Always supervise your dog when feeding raw meaty bones and practice safe food handling with raw products.

If you have an older dog which has eaten kibble its entire life, it is important to keep things simple at the beginning with one protein source so your dog’s digestive system can adjust. You can also consult your vet when making the switch.


What changes should I expect to see when making the switch to raw food?

You may see various changes, the most notable being a change to your dog’s stool. Stool will be smaller and a lot less offensive in odour as raw food is more easily digested and absorbed by the body (kibble contains fillers which result in large, foul-smelling stool).

If your dog is straining to eliminate or if its stool is very hard and light in colour from too much bone, you can add some veggies and fruit to its diet. Stool should be firm and formed. You may occasionally see your dog’s stool covered in a slimy mucous which is normal. If your dog has diarrhea, it could be from introducing something new to its diet and this should stop after a day or two. If the diarrhea persists and you feel it is not from introducing a new food, you can seek help from your local holistic veterinarian to rule out any possibility of parasites or infection.

Other common changes from switching to a raw diet may include excess discharge from eyes, ears and nose. This should pass relatively quickly as the body goes through a detoxification process adjusting from a processed diet to a natural diet. Ear infections, goopy eyes, skin conditions can be remedied with the switch to a raw diet.

You may see your dog drink less water which is common on a raw diet. Kibble-eaters consume large amounts of water.

You should expect the condition of your dog’s eyes, ears, teeth and gums, coat, joints and overall energy to improve resulting in fewer visits to your vet and a happier and healthier animal.


How much food should I measure to feed?

This really depends on the weight, activity level, age and breed of your dog. As a guideline, you would feed adult dogs 2%-3% of their ideal body weight. For growing puppies, you can feed from 6%-10% of their weight.

By checking your dog’s ribs and waistline, you will be able to tell if it needs more or less food. You should be able to feel the ribs and see a waistline.


Do I need to give supplements?

If you are rotating protein sources and feeding your dog a varied diet including muscle meats, bones, organs, veggies and dairy, you will not need supplements. If you wish to add supplements to provide additional essential fatty acids you can try adding fish oils or kelp but it is recommended instead to feed various animal parts such as brains, eyes and stomachs. This can be simply achieved by feeding salmon heads and tripe as these contain essential fatty acids which are not readily available and cannot be produced by the body.


Why did my dog vomit?

Vomiting yellow bile and pieces of undigested bones may occur but should not be regular occurrence. Supervise your dog when giving raw meaty bones and do not let your dog attempt to crush or ingest any weight-bearing bones i.e. beef marrow bones, as these bones are too dense and can fracture teeth or cause indigestion.


Should I be afraid of salmonella? How do I handle feeding the raw food?

You should be practicing safe handling of raw food with your dog as you would practice safe handling when preparing for a weekend BBQ. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw food and wash any items that have come in contact with the product. You can wash with hot water and an anti-bacterial soap and/or you can disinfect items i.e. countertops and bowls, with undiluted white vinegar. A dog’s stomach acids are stronger than ours so you should not be worried that your dog will get salmonella from eating raw food. It is recommended to feed raw meaty bones frozen either in a crate or outside so you reduce the risk of spreading raw food around your home. Wash up feeding bowls after your dogs has finished.


How long can I keep raw food in the fridge?

You’d be surprised how much dogs like rancid-smelling food...after all they love to scavenge! Ideally, you would thaw raw blends in the refrigerator and serve over 1-3 days, however, if you find that a little remaining food smells like it’s going ‘off’, it’s OK to give your dog. Raw meaty bones however, can be fed frozen.


Where can I buy Congo Raw dog food?

We supply Toronto and the GTA, see our Where to Buy page to see our list of local suppliers.