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Switching to Raw Is Easy!

Switching to Raw Is Easy!

By Susan Johnson • June 2002 Newsletter
This month we are proud to bring you a few words from a guest author, Susan Johnson! Susan has written the terrific book, “Switching to Raw,” which deals all the necessary aspects of starting a dog on a raw diet. It includes recipes, necessary equipment, menu planning and meal preparation and frequently asked questions.

Switching your dog to a raw food diet is one of the most important changes you can make in your dog’s life. The benefits to feeding this diet to your dogs far outweigh any additional time it may take you in the beginning as you are learning and developing a routine that works best for you. Dogs who have had lifelong digestive problems, allergies, ear infections, tartar-encrusted teeth, poor coat and general malaise all may improve dramatically within a matter of weeks. Some dogs may take a little longer and make require more tweaking of a basic raw diet, but in the end all will benefit.

Changing your dog’s diet from commercial dog food to one of whole fresh foods is quite easy. If you’ve made the choice to switch, a good place to begin is by purchasing some chicken wings or necks, a few leafy green vegetables and some yogurt. When you are ready to switch, I recommend a partial fast on the first day and feeding only watered down yogurt. Then, on day two, you will be ready to feed a few chicken necks the next morning. If all goes well with the morning chicken necks, feed a few more necks or a chicken wing or two in the evening. Continue with chicken wings and necks for a couple of days before adding some of those leafy green vegetables.
To add vegetables, you must first run them through a juicer or blender to puree them up. You are aiming for a consistency similar to that of applesauce or even smoother. After you have pulped your veggies, add them to some yogurt and a raw egg or some raw hamburger. If your dog needs a little enticing to eat veggies, try adding some canned salmon or mackerel. The important thing to remember here is don’t feed too much and don’t feed too many different foods to start. Over time, you can add a wider variety of whole raw foods to your dog’s diet. Most dogs switch very easily, but some can be a little tougher. Either way, all will end up benefiting from your choice to switch to raw.
If you didn’t use probiotics and/or digestive enzymes when you fed a commercial kibble diet or prior to switching to a raw natural diet, I do recommend using them for the first several weeks after beginning to feed a raw diet. Dogs that have compromised immune systems or other health issues will benefit from the continued use of both probiotics and digestive enzymes.
As you continue feeding raw, you may want to begin searching for bulk sources of raw meaty bones and a variety of different meats. Buying meat in bulk is much more economical, especially if you have large dogs or several dogs. Buying meat in bulk, however, you will find that additional freezer space will be become necessary. Additionally, time is valuable to all of us and investing into a good juicer or food processor will save you valuable time when pulping your veggies.
It’s also important that after you have gotten started with the diet and you feel more comfortable with it, you continue your education so you can understand the importance of supplements and which ones may be beneficial for your dog’s individual needs.
Feeding a raw diet isn’t hard, but it isn’t as convenient as feeding kibble. However, I believe there is a great deal of satisfaction knowing you are feeding your dog what his body craves and needs. Additionally, after you have been feeding the raw diet for a while, you will begin to notice some changes in your dog, such as a shinier coat, cleaner teeth, better smelling breath and body, and more stamina and energy, and that is when you will know you made the right decision. When you watch your dog pick up a raw chicken wing for the first time in its life and you realize they know what to do with it, it is amazing! So if and when you have moments of doubt, just remember, switching your dog to raw is the single most important change you can make in your dog’s life.
You can do it. Switching to raw is easy!
By Susan K. Johnson
[Note: For more information on Susan K. Johnson’s book, “Switching to Raw” go to her website www.switchingtoraw.com or email her directly at Birchrun5@aol.com – Lew]
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