Most dogs do better when swithced cold turkey. We recommend waiting 12-24 hours from your dog's last meal before introducing their new raw diet. This will ensure their body has rid itself completely of any commercial food. Start off slow. The biggest mistake most "newbies" make is adding too much variety too soon! The result? A very rough transition that involves a lot of midnight trips outside. Pick one protein source and feed that for about a week (or more—it depends on your dog). Many people start with chicken because it is an easily digestible protein source that is relatively inexpensive. Make sure to pick a raw meaty bone that is suitable for your dog. If you have a Chihuahua try chicken feet. If you have a Golden Retriever try a chicken neck. One of the main points of a raw diet is to give your dog a much needed dental workout that cleans its teeth, prepares its digestive system for the incoming food, and satisfies the dog both mentally and physically. Work up the variety slowly. Do not worry about achieving "balance" with a wide variety of raw meaty bones and organs right away. Your pet is not going to suffer from eating one food source for a period of time the raw food source it will be eating is superior in quality to any kibble food and contains just what your pet needs nutritionally.
Once your pet is used to eating the raw meaty bones you are giving him try adding something new a little organ meat a new protein, bone or green tripe. Again take things slowly. Let your pet adjust to the new food for a while before adding another new food.
Initially, when switching your dog to raw, we recommend starting with 2% of their ideal adult body weight and splitting the daily amount as follows
over 6 months old – split into 2 meals per day
4-6 months old - split into 3 meals per day
under 4 months - split into 4 meals or more per day
Once your dog is established on raw then you can increase the amount of food to 2.5% or 3% of their ideal adult body weight. If your dog is very active, you may need to feed a little more than 3% or if your dog is less active you may need to feed a little less than 2% every dog is different. Watch your dog's weight and adjust accordingly. If they are too thin increase the amount you feed, if they gain to much weight decrease the amount.
Making the Switch
Puppies should receive about 2-3% of their ideal/expected ADULT weight split into 3 or more meals per day depending on age. If you do not know what their ideal adult weight may be, then feed between 6-10% of their current weight. When puppies are four to six months old, they require a great deal of food and a little extra edible bone as they are building their adult teeth. Do not let puppies get too thin at this important age as their energy demands are tremendous when cutting new teeth.
Try to avoid feeding cold raw food in the first week. I suggest bringing the food to room temperature by allowing it to sit out of your refrigerator for 1 hr before feeding. If fed too cold and eaten to quickly your dog my have trouble digesting and even possibly throw it up. Most dogs can tolerate cold raw food 2 weeks after the transition.