Hello you lovely Pet Parent you 😀
When moving Roscoe from dry food to raw, I read next to nothing about transitioning dogs from kibble to raw food—relying instead on what I’d picked up along the way.
I could say it was because I wanted to understand what would happen to the many people who buy things without first going into full research mode.
But really it’s because I am one of those many who go to the instructions afterwards.
A doing learner – do that, see what happens, then adjust/read the instructions.
(Which drives Andy and Hannah, the analytical learners of the team, absolutely bonkers.)
Here’s what happened when I dove straight in…
Diary of a Roscoe
Roscoe is fed our Bounce and Bella grain-free food once a day after our evening meal.
He’s not a greedy dog, so we don’t measure out the kibble, just pop it in his bowl, walk away and try to remember to pick it up after he’s done (often there’s some remaining).
Day One – Arrival
A box arrived with 16 raw food meals frozen in a recyclable bag.
Four different meat meals (variety is important because different meats offer different levels of nutrients).
16 packs of 500g meant we immediately ran out of freezer space and had to pop quite a few in the fridge – which caused an issue a few days later (see below).
We left one out on the side to feed that evening.
Day One – Feeding Time
It was a Friday night, and we were due to feed Roscoe and then sit with some music, a few gins, and Rummikub games at the kitchen table.
I was very worried about how he would react; he’s a fussy fella (ironic, seeing as he almost lives in a treat shop). So we gave him two-thirds of his usual kibble amount (ish). Gave it half an hour or so after he’d finished that and then a third (ish) of his raw amount.
We gave it to him and walked away.
And he wolfed it down.
Then throughout the night, he kept coming up to us, thanking us with nudges and stroking demands.
We’d never seen the like – what a lovely, lovely evening, and that wasn’t just the gin talking.
Success was ours!
It couldn’t be that easy, could it?
But lucky for you, I’m here to make mistakes, so you don’t have to…
#1 Lesson Learned – Prepare freezer space (we now cope fine)
#2 Lesson Learned – Unless your dog has a particularly sensitive digestion, it’s easiest to swap from dry to raw in one go.
We gave him half of his kibble (he ate a bit but not much), waited half an hour or so and gave him half his raw.
He ate most but not quite all of his raw.
#3 Lesson Learned – Hot days naturally dampen appetites.
We got over-excited and gave him his full measure of raw food and popped a raw egg in too.
Roscoe ate it all.
I wander around the house with my hands in the air proclaiming victory!
#4 Lesson Learned – Many a slip twixt cup and lip…
We gave him the chicken version from the excess bags that had to go in the fridge.
He ate none of it.
I get old bloke grumpy. One of the kids probably gets told off.
#5 Lesson Learned – Don’t leave the food in the fridge too long (read the label)
#6 Lesson Learned – Our dog’s sense of smell is utterly awesome; Roscoe rightly didn’t trust the chicken.
#7 Lesson Learned – Do not be afraid of letting your dog go a day without food. It’s only humans and our animals that eat regular meals. Once a day feeding is recommended for adult dogs because it allows the system cleaning time. If feeding more than once a day, a seventh-day fast-day is recommended.
I have time to reflect and realise our mistake.
In the morning, I threw out the remaining couple of bags from the fridge and replaced them with some new ones from the freezer.
Gill comes home from work in the evening, also having reflected, and threw out all the new bags in the fridge, believing them to be the old ones.
All the raw is now frozen.
We reluctantly decided to give Roscoe some kibble because he didn’t eat the day before.
#8 Lesson Learned – Defrosting is easier than you think – it’s just like mince – defrost in warm water for 30-40 mins.
Back to raw. Roscoe eats less than one-quarter of his dinner.
We worry that we’ve put him off with the chicken foul-up.
#9 Lesson Learned – We were in the habit of making Roscoe sit and look at us before allowing him his dinner. We’ve since learned that it can make a dog nervous about eating, and we’ve stopped doing that.
#10 Lesson Learned – We gave him his food and hovered around him, fretting and watching. We now know to place the dish down, turn our backs, walk away and not look at him again. When he turns up in front of us we take his bowl away, whatever amount he has eaten. If he’s being fussy he gets no more food or treats until his next meal the next day.
We reduced the amount we gave him today to about half (our thinking being not to over-face him).
He refused it.
We took it away.
Waited half an hour.
We put it back, walked away nervously and hid in the front room.
Roscoe hovered around it, apparently not eating.
My son wandered downstairs, walked up to Roscoe, pointed at the food and said, “Eat your dinner”. Roscoe ate his dinner. Very odd but effective.
#11 Lesson Learned – We got lucky there. As in Lesson # 10, we should really have taken his food away until the next day.
We put a similar amount of food down as yesterday, BUT he gets it before our dinner (we never do that, and yet today we did).
He refuses his food.
We take away his food until the next day.
#12 Lesson Learned – Feed your dog after you’ve fed yourself. They naturally expect us to be getting the good stuff and will hold out for a taste. Also, if you’re cooking fish, veg etc., they can get some leftovers with their food to supplement.
#13 Lesson Learned – No dog with food available will ever starve unless, of course, there’s a genuine medical condition. However, being a fussy furry fella is not a medical condition – Roscoe!
Roscoe gets yesterday’s refused food from the fridge.
We put it down and walk away.
Roscoe eats it up and cleans the bowl.
We increase his food amount by some more – our aim is to gradually raise the food amount to the recommended 2% of body weight.
He eats it all.
Roscoe is still a bit below his 2% of body weight recommended food amount.
However, every dog is different, and that’s a mere guideline.
He’s not an active dog; he’s nearly seven, he’s not a greedy dog, and he looks absolutely fine looking at him. So I’m absolutely fine with him eating a bit less.
We now mix in our freshly cooked leftovers such as veg and fish and add a raw egg once or twice a week.
And he loves it.
We made the changeover to raw much trickier than it needed to be.
Hopefully, our mistakes mean when it comes to taking the plunge, you’ll know what to expect and how to deal with it.
That’s it for this week – have yourself a lovely weekend – we all deserve it!
Were you intrigued by our diary of a Roscoe? Well, for more information on our raw dog food line, you can check this out here: https://shop.bounceandbella.co.uk/collections/raw-dog-food