Let's put aside, for a moment what we have been told by the pet food industry and think about canine biological and behavioral genetics.
Do canines need to slowly transition between food in the wild?
Is it in their biological makeup to only be given one food source?
When a wild dog eats a field mouse it is eating the mouse’s coat, muscle, ligament, bone… and, of course, the undigested portion of what the mouse recently ate. Right?
OK, so now suppose the dog ate a fish, or a bird, or rabbit for its next meal - do you think it would get sick?
Do you think that canines as a species were only meant to eat the same thing each day and to slowly transition between food sources?
No of course not!
Canines would have never survived!
Matter of fact, you would be hard pressed to find any species that must slowly transition between food sources, even after a long season or several seasons of limited food supply.
So how did this myth come about?
No one knows exactly, but one clue could be that its written on all commercial pet food products....and pet food manufactures surely do not want to encourage change away from their brand. Why would they want to make it appear easy for consumers to change brands. Right?
But here is another thing to think about…. these same pet food manufactures usually produce dog treats, edible chews and now dental chews . Right? ( ever looked at wolves teeth on you tube?- even old ones - clean and sharp - and not a dental chew in sight..but thats another post).
So Is there danger in giving these snacks ? Why is the transition warning only on food? mmmm
Are there warnings about transition or combining different treats? Nope
Most manufacturers have many, many, different types of treats. Its a huge industry!
As a matter of fact, the manufacturers encourage giving your dog all different types of treats, and there is never a warning to do it slowly.
In fairness, they do state that the treat should not exceed a set amount of caloric intake - but most people pay absolutely no heed to that.
I know when we do client questioners at Aunt Lyn's to record the dogs diet before we make wellness changes, most people give anywhere between 10-20 treats a day - on average!
Think about that. That equals a 1-2 cups of food it's a meal or two!
Is there EVER a warning to slowly transition. NOPE
How about diarrhea concerns ? NOPE
In addition, most dog owners slip their dogs (right or wrong) many of the foods they are eating....cheese, a bit of pizza, yogurt, a chicken nugget from their kids left overs and/or a special meal on holidays like thanksgiving.....on and on.
They never slowly transition to prepare the dog for these meals.
*We will address treating and health in another article- but for now lets stick with the transitioning...
So back to the original question that my clients ask most often, "Should you slowly transition to a natural diet?"
In my opinion, the answer is “no".
And I actually believe that not switching directly, with dogs who have had a history of “gurgles", "stomach issues”, "diarrhea" can prolong and complicate those very issues. That's when we see problem- when clients mix.
Canines that are having tummy issues on kibble are more in need of a FAST switch to a natural diet. A canine stomach enzymes were made to break down bone and ligament.
That's how their biological make up was created! (Our bodies were not made up that way…lol.)
Now, while some dogs have adjusted to a non natural diet (least outwardly we will get to the long term repercussions of kibble in another post)
But for dogs with a history of " gurgles" and diarrhea issues , they exhibit warning signs due to the kibble ingestion- its what we humans would call acid reflux.
Their bodies ,often at times-are looking for the bone and still secreting the amounts of enzymes that would be needed to break down bone.
Hence the loud GURGLES - sour breath and bouts of diarrhea. These dogs ABOVE ALL do NOT do well with slow transitioning.
Frankly we have yet to run into any issues from a person jumping into a Home Cooked ( nutritionally canine specific) or RAW diet for their dog.
We have seen issues on occasion with those people that insist on mixing commercial with natural.
We advise those who do not want to jump into RAW, to test it out . Not for the dogs sake but more to calm their fears- to the dog its kibble thats not natural. LOL
So we suggest giving a raw chicken wing or leg depending on the dogs size- midday - so the stomach has processed the morning kibble.
In closing we at Aunt Lyns recommend simply switching and not confusing the stomach by mixing commercial and natural diet, which we have seen cause issues rather than prevent them.
Also, a natural diet does not have to mean jumping into a raw diet initially. It could mean cooking and making your own dog food at first.
Anything that gets your dog away from processed and commercially mass produced HELPS.
Also whether Home cooked or Raw - canines do not have the same dietary needs humans do. Grains ( including whole and process flours) - most Vegetables - Milk Products, have little to no nutritional value and to much over time can cause issues.
Recently grain/corn/corn oil and cornstarch - these fillers build up in canines and their inability to digest them, has been linked to sebaceous cysts. We will post more as further research comes out.
Anyway-should you choose to cook - remember that bone is needed and we encourage you to read about AUNT LYN'S Stop the Scoots Calcium Supplement product which was developed to give your canine the calcium needed when feeding a non raw diet.
If you have further questions about your pup in particular - you can book a free conciliation and discuss your dog and questions you have regarding diet here : Speak with Aunt Lyn
About Aunt Lyn:
Aunt Lyn has been in dog care service for over two decades.