Transitioning to Raw Pet Food

Transitioning to Raw Pet Food

Transitioning a pet’s food using a gradual or a cold turkey approach depends on the individual animal and their specific needs. Select a method below to determine the best route for your pet.

Gradual Transition

*Recommended for most pets Ideal for:

Sensitive pets: For pets with a history of digestive sensitivity, a gradual transition may prevent digestive upset like gas, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Senior pets: Older pets may have more delicate digestive systems, and a gradual change can be gentler.

Long-time-kibble-feed pets: For pets that have been eating dry, highly processed food for a long time, especially if lacking variety, their systems may have an adjustment period when introduced to the drastically different, nutritionally dense raw food diet.

Gradual Transitioning Schedule

Every pet will transition a little differently, and it can take up to six weeks until your pet is eating an exclusively raw diet. Start by replacing a small portion of their usual diet with raw food and see how that goes. Then, keep adding a little more raw food to each meal as you slowly decrease the amount of their previous food. The process can take a few days to six weeks for dogs, and for cats, it can take up to a year (finicky little dears). You can adjust the transition speed depending on how your pet is responding.
Day 1 – 3 Feed 25% Steve’s and 75% old food Day 4 – 6 Feed 50% Steve’s and 50% old food Day 7 – 9 Feed 75% Steve’s and 25% old food Day 10+ Feed 100% Steve’s 🎉

Instant Transition

Ideal for:

Healthy Dogs and Puppies/Kittens: healthy, young pets generally have resilient digestive systems and can adapt quickly to changes in their diet. Cold turkey transitions may suit them, especially if no signs of gastrointestinal sensitivity or pre-existing health issues exist.

Pets Not Doing Well on Current Diet: If your pet isn’t tolerating the food he is eating now or refusing it altogether, there is no sense in continuing to try to feed it.

Instant Transitioning Schedule

Switching to raw pet food in 1 day by fasting your pet, and then replacing your pet’s current food with 100% Steve’s Real Food.

Day 1

Fast your pet for a meal before feeding raw.

Day 2

Feed 100% Steve’s Real Food at room temperature. 

Tips for Transitioning to Raw Feeding

If you are transitioning your cat or dog for the first time, here are some tips and tricks to help eliminate tummy upset or convince a picky eater.

Start with a Protein Your Pet Likes

We always recommend a rotational feeding, but it’s best to start with a protein that you know your pet does well on. If you are currently feeding a beef-based diet your pet likes, start with our beef diet. Once your pet eats raw consistently, we recommend trying new proteins when you restock on food to provide a well-rounded diet.

Add a Tasty Topper

Top their Steve’s meal with something that gets them excited such as a freeze-dried treat, a raw egg, fish oil, cottage cheese, crushed anchovies in water, raw goat milk, bone broth, etc. We have even seen success with cat parents crumbling some freeze-dried raw cat food over their cats’ current diet to get their kitty to try it.

Add a Probiotic – Try Protein Bites

Protein Bites are our freeze-dried, fermented treats for dogs and cats, and they’re packed with prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics to support gut health. You could also try something like raw goat milk or kefir.

Start with Freeze-Dried Raw

If your pet is only familiar with dry food, they may prefer the texture of our freeze-dried diet. You can also use freeze-dried food as a treat to introduce them to raw.

Try Warming it up

Your pet may prefer the food at room temperature or slightly warmed. After thawing the frozen food in an air-tight container overnight, leave the thawed food on the counter for 30-60 minutes or add a little hot water to warm it up. This will bring out the aroma and increase palatability.

Try Raw at Different Consistencies

If you have a cat who is used to a Pâté – they may prefer a thawed patty or to have you mash the nuggets. If they’re used to gravy – they may prefer nuggets with additional moisture added, and if they’re used to kibble – try hand-feeding some freeze-dried.

Don’t Leave Food Out All the Time

Serving food at dedicated mealtimes allows pets to get hungry enough to be willing to branch out and try new food. However, you don’t want to play hardball – especially with cats, as withholding food from cats for long periods can have serious health consequences.

Make Mealtime Engaging

Turn feeding time into a positive experience by asking your dog to perform a task to “earn” his meal or hiding freeze-dried food around the house for your cat to hunt. There are several fun ways to feed outside of the standard bowl. 

Treat-First Approach

Use the raw food as a treat to test the waters with your pet. Increase the amount of raw treats and continue to monitor the pet for several days, and if stools remain consistent, you can start feeding all raw. Remember to adjust for the extra calories so you aren’t accidentally overfeeding.

Stay Positive

A human’s attitude helps! Stay positive and encourage your pet so they know the new food is a good thing. Transitioning to a raw diet may take time, and it’s normal for pets to be cautious at first. Be patient, persistent, and willing to adapt based on your pet’s preferences and comfort level.

Dog laying on floor with bag and bowl of food

What to Expect After Transitioning to Raw Pet Food

After transitioning to a new diet, your pet may experience a adjustment period, and below are a few temporary symptoms owners may notice:
  • Mild Digestive Upset: Some pets, especially those not used to diet changes, may experience temporary symptoms including gas and loose stools, as their digestive system adapts to the fresh food.
  • Increased Hunger: raw diets are more nutrient-dense compared to processed foods. While your pet may seem hungrier due to the lack of fillers they’ve been used to, they will adjust and increased hunger will become less noticeable within a week or so.
  • Water Intake: the higher moisture content in raw food may cause them to drink less because they get more moisture from their food.
If you encounter persistent issues or have any questions, we are here to help!

Benefits of Transitioning to Raw Pet Food

When transitioning pets to a raw diet, pet parents may observe various changes in their animals. It’s important to note that individual responses can vary, and these changes may not occur in all pets. Here are some potential benefits that pet parents might notice:
Dalmatian at play