Starting Your Senior Dog On A Raw Diet: The Complete Guide
Is It Safe To Start Your Senior Dog On A Raw Diet?
Yes! It is absolutely safe to start your senior dog on a raw diet. So many people believe that it is too late because their dog may be in the later years of his or her life, but it is always the right time to start feeding raw. Across the board in all dogs, senior dogs being no exception, raw diets improve general health, strengthen immune systems, increase happiness, ease digestion, and can even lengthen lifespans. Your senior furry family member may not be the young pup that they used to be, but switching to a raw feeding diet may help put some of that “puppy-pep” back in their step.
Before making the transition to raw, there are some important things to consider. Because your old dog has external factors like habits, diets, and a lifestyle they’re already used to, transitioning a senior dog is a slightly different process than switching a 2 or 4-year-old dog over to a completely raw diet. Keep reading to get help with the process and how to transition your dog over to a raw diet!
Why Is Starting Your Senior Dog On A Raw Diet Smart?
Your senior dog was MADE for a raw diet. Did you know dogs are direct descendants of the gray wolf, Canis lupus? By observing how wolves eat their prey, we understand how dogs should eat. The ancestral diet consists of both fresh kills, and sometimes a rotting carcass. Wolves avoid unnatural foods; their consumption is typically full of meat, organs, and bones. Which provides a proportional makeup of the prey. All of this is essential for the health of both dogs and wolves. From this, we developed a hypothesis of what is the best nutrition for canines.
Scientific research and empirical experiments have proven raw pet food is the best diet for both dogs and cats. Don’t just take our word for it though, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a prominent Australian veterinarian specialist, agrees that raw diets for our pets are best. He was even willing to endorse BJ’s Raw Pet Food as healthy and an excellent raw pet food source when we reached out to him.
How To Transition Your Senior Dog To A Raw Diet
Step 1: Get Their Gut Ready
For the sake of your dog’s digestive system, you are going to want to make this transition slowly over several weeks. They will need time to adjust from the dry kibble diet to an all-natural, raw dog food diet. Giving them probiotics is an important part of this process as well. After many years of eating kibble, your senior dog’s digestive system will need some assistance. BJ’s Raw Pet Food offers great blends that include living probiotics, like the Raw Paw blend. In addition to mixes, we also offer kefir raw goat milk, which is one of the best sources of probiotics that is out there for your furry companion. Adding this to your dog’s kibble food before ever transitioning will set them up for a smoother switch.
Step 2: Add Raw To Their Dry Food Over Time
After 3-5 days of adding probiotics to their dry food, you can begin mixing in small amounts of raw food to their kibble or canned food meals. Your dog may absolutely love raw, and you may be tempted to give them an entire meal of it right away, we do not recommend doing that. Because a senior dog’s digestive system is so accustomed to kibble or canned food, it will take longer for it to adjust to processing raw food and absorbing all the extra nutrients. Shocking your dog’s digestive system with an entire meal of raw pet food too early could cause very loose stool and stomach discomfort.
Take it easy and commit to transitioning with your senior dog over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. This will be best for them, even if they seem ready to eat a completely raw meal after several days. Do not be surprised if you see any loose stools or upset stomachs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it can take a little while for an average dog’s body to get used to the raw food. BJ’s advises pushing past this for the first two weeks of a transition. We suggest tapering the meal proportions week to week. Week one could be 1/4 raw to 3/4 kibble/canned, then week two could be 1/2 raw to 1/2 kibble/canned, week three could be 3/4 raw to 1/4 kibble/canned, and whole raw meals after that. This would be a gradual and manageable way to start your senior dog on a raw diet.
Extra Tips For Starting Your Senior Dog On A Raw Diet:
You can give small, bite-size amounts of raw to your senior dog throughout the day as a treat to help them get more and more accustomed to their new raw diet as well. Ultimately, it is all about what is doing what is best for them and helping them enjoy the process along the way.
Changing your pet’s diet could lead to food aversion. You may want to try changing your pet’s dish entirely—a new one as a first step. Switching from plastic to stainless steel can help this process.
You might want to elevate your pet’s dish if your dog suffers from arthritis, joint pain, or pain from simply stooping over. This can be another way to make the transition more pleasant for your pet.
Raw Dog Food Is Higher In Protein Than Kibble Or Canned Dog Food
As natural-born carnivores, dogs and wolves crave a high-quality protein diet than overly processed kibble and bits – canned food. The majority of the ingredients in canned and dry kibble are not organic and depleted of proper nutrients.
Why do canines need protein, why do they crave it? What is beneficial from your dog consuming a high-protein diet? An expert stated it is more advantageous for senior dogs to consume a higher protein diet than a lower. Transitioning to a raw diet will help maintain and build lean muscle mass and improve your dog’s digestive and immune systems. These functions are incredibly important, especially as your dog ages, they will enjoy their later years more if they are healthier due to a proper raw diet. To help break down the high-protein, we suggest you add a form of digestive enzymes, probiotics, supplements, or veggies to your pet’s meals. BJ’s Raw Goat Milk is packed with all of these and will keep your dog happy and healthy!
This transition is a gradual process for your older dog; some results will take time for you to see, such as shinier coats, but here are some things you may see immediately
- Fewer bowel movements and smaller volumes because your dog is absorbing all the much-needed nutrients.
- You may notice a decrease in water consumption because the diet will not dehydrate your dog like the unnatural products they eat.
- Your furry loved one will likely show an increased level of energy!
Special Health Considerations For Senior Dogs And Raw Diets
Perhaps, you have a diabetic pet, where it is crucial to feed them; it may complicate administering their medication properly. Also, senior pets typically become selective as their appetite changes. When it comes to diabetic pets, it is wise to have pre-portioned servings based on your dog’s size and weight. It is critical to feed your pets twice daily, once in the morning and evening, while taking insulin. The raw pet food is 100 % balanced nutrition filled with organic, natural ingredients with no fillers or artificial ingredients. Once you have consulted with your vet, arrange a personalized meal plan based on your dog’s individual needs. Then, please look at our feeding calculator to ensure the right amount for your furry loved one.
We’re Here To Help You Start Your Senior Dog On A Raw Diet
We’re here to support pet parents just like you that want to make the best decisions possible for their furry family members. We have lots of options when it comes to food mixes and supplements. Feel free to contact us with your questions. We can help you start your senior dog on a raw diet and make sure that the transition is a walk in the park!