This should be a frequent question to ask when making a major diet change for your dog. There really isn’t much of a change when switching between heat processed kibble diets because they are all produced basically the same. When switching to a raw meat based diet however, you can expect to see some changes occur. The changes will noticeably be connected to the digestion cycle of the dog and with changes in water consumption. The digestion cycle for raw food is noticeably different than consuming a heat processed kibble diet. The raw food diet is absorbed and utilized in the body in about one half the time. This is one of the reasons why there is significantly less toxin buildup when eating the raw food. There is less time to ferment in the GI track and build up toxins and excess gas. The true advantage in this rapid exit from mouth to tail is evident in the stool volume and stool consistency. You can expect to see about a 30% reduction in stool volume, a reduction in stool odor due to a more complete digestion cycle, and a white,dry stool consistency. The color change is due to the fact that all that remains in the stool is the remaining ash and fiber- thus a color change is inevitable.
It is always best to introduce the diet slowly if there is evidence of a previous GI upset, or an immune system challenge that has been triggered by antibiotics, steroids, vaccinations, or similar medical treatments. In the majority of conversions that make the fast conversion (about 90% of our new customers) the switch is made without complications. If the occasional vomiting or diarrhea happens then it is best to back off and restart using the slower conversion method. I usually suggest that a probiotic and enzyme supplement (BARF PLUS) be used for the first 30 to 60 days. This will help to regulate the intestinal flora to accept the new raw meat formulation. If your dog has a history if GI complications you will be amazed to see the difference this diet can make in how they process their food internally.
Another major change you can expect to see is the reduction in the consumption of drinking water. The reason for this is because the raw meat diet is 68 to 70% moisture (water) and that means that the animal is consuming and getting the moisture it needs from the food source rather than from his drinking water. This allows for a much better utilization of the water needs and thus requires much less water from outside sources. You will be amazed to see the difference this makes and the result is far less bloat as a result. This is really important in larger breed dogs that require larger volumes of food to get their caloric needs met. This is one reason why we sell a lot of product to the larger breed dogs. It is especially important when trying to satisfy the energy requirements for performing animals that require larger volumes of food.
Many new raw food guardians see an increase in activity levels as well. I think it relates to human food consumption and how we all feel when we have eaten a healthy meal compared to a fast food calorie glut. It again relates to putting the right fuel in the tank in order to get the best performance level.
Therefore, you now have three good reasons to consider a change of diet to a more appropriate feed for your animal.