When you first move your dog from dry or canned food to raw food, there are some changes you might notice as your pup gets used to their new diet.
Do not be concerned!
Both issues discussed below are completely normal and simply the first step towards a happier, healthier dog!
In the initial days and weeks after switching to raw, one of the first things many pet parents notice (apart from the shinier coat!) is that their dog isn’t drinking as much water as they used to.
Especially now that the weather is getting hotter, this can lead to some understandable concerns.
However, DON’T WORRY!
Dogs on a raw diet generally don’t drink as much water. Here’s why:
All meats and produce naturally contain a certain percentage of water - in the case of muscle meat, about 75%. The cooking process obviously reduces this a lot. On a raw diet, your dog accesses most of the natural water content, resulting in them needing to drink less!
If eating dry kibble, a dog requires a lot of extra water to rehydrate and process those nasty nuggets. Think of you eating Weetabix without the milk!
The high levels of sodium and other preservatives in most commercial dog foods also leads to a thirsty puppy
Cut these out and they’ll spend less time at the water dish - and at the toilet!
Of course, always make sure plenty of clean, fresh drinking water is available. If they’re thirsty, they’ll drink, if not, they won’t - simple!
But drinking less when on a raw diet is exactly as nature intended.
Okay, so it’s not the cutest or most glamorous side of pet parenting, but awareness of your pup’s poop is an important part of the deal.
First, as with any dietary change, switching to raw is likely to lead to a change in your dog’s stools. They may become looser and runnier but this is entirely normal and usually passes within a few days.
In the long-term, dogs on a raw diet produce smaller, firmer and less odourful stools. They're much easier to clean up and indicate that your dog is actually using the food you're putting into them... so it’s definitely worth making it through those first few days!
Your dog's stools are also a good indicator of general health and a regular ‘poop patrol’ can help you identify any potential health issues early - as well as monitoring dietary balance.
Here’s a quick guide:
Small, firm stool (light brown / whiteish): This is the ideal poop for your dog to have and the one you will encounter most when feeding raw. It’s easy to pick up and doesn’t smell bad. This is an indicator of how little waste material is produced from a raw diet - your dog is accessing and using all the nutrients it needs!
Large, soft stool (chocolate brown): These are the kind that, if stepped in, follow you everywhere - yuck! The large volume, wet texture and offensive scent marks this one out as a ‘kibble poop’. The dog can't digest the large % of carbohydrates, fillers and preservatives present in the food and it passes straight though them. It also means they’re not getting the nutrients they need
White, chalky stool: With some exceptions, this is usually a sign that there is too much bone in the diet. About 10% bone in their diet is the general recommendation, so if you notice these stools, ease back a little on marrow bone treats. Maybe replace with lamb necks or sardines - they’ll be just as happy, trust us!
Loose, tar-like stool (dark brown in colour): This is quite a common one and indicates that there may be too much organ meat in the diet. Again, about 10% organ meat is optimal (a maximum of 5% of this being liver). Any more and you could be left with these stinky reminders. While our meal ranges are balanced, be careful about feeding store-bought liver treats or jerky as these are a common cause
Mucus in the stool: A small amount of mucus is normal. If you notice a lot more than usual, make sure to keep monitoring. This can occur when a dog is transitioning from a poor diet and, again, usually passes after a few days. However, if it doesn’t, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Excess mucus can be a symptom of colitis, stress, inflammation, parasites or even cancer so please don’t leave it too long before seeking veterinary attention
Blood in the stool: While worrying to see, this is usually just a minor problem - but a problem nonetheless and it’s best to go to your vet. If possible, arm yourself with information to assist their diagnosis. Note the colour of the blood - bright red indicates it’s coming from the lower intestines, while a darker colour means it’s from higher up the GI tract. A raw diet will not increase the probability of blood in the stool so if you notice some and it hasn’t passed after 24 hours, please seek medical attention
So… now that that’s out of the way, we apologise if you sat down for a casual read while eating!
However, responsible pet ownership also includes the messier aspect of things and it’s best to be fully informed - for your sake as well as theirs!
Rest assured that all our food is 100% natural, made with all human-grade ingredients and designed with balance in mind. If you’re still undecided about switching to raw, maybe the positive poop benefits will clinch the deal for you!
Check out by weight ranges above if you're not sure how much you should be feeding!