When animals eat commercial foods from a young age, they recognize the texture, taste, smell like something to eat. Because the raw diet is very different to the senses, it can be an unwelcome addition to the food bowl. Pets who are allowed to free feed on a commercial diet have this eating habit ingrained into them. The first step to switching a pet who free feeds is to create mealtimes and offer food twice or three times per day for 30-60 minutes. This will give their stomachs a chance to rest between feedings and increase hunger for when you offer new foods. Quick changes can be unwelcoming and can cause digestive upset so all changes should be done gradually.
When offering new foods to your pet, make transitions gradual. The most successful way to switch pets from dry food is to soak the food with either water or unsalted chicken broth. Next, try adding a good quality (holistic) canned food to the moistened dry food, one tablespoon at a time. Another method, if your pet does not like canned foods, is to cook a meal (with no bone) of your choice such as chicken breast or ground beef (drain excess fats from cooked red meats) and offer this in small portions either mixed with the moistened dry or by itself. You can decrease the cooking time until it is in an almost raw state and then mix the raw meals into the cooked meat. If an upset tummy happens, make your switch more gradually. There is no right or wrong time frame for switching. Go with what your pet tells you is right.
Other tips for switching from dry to raw:
-crushing dry food into power and sprinkle a small amount on top of raw to introduce familiar food smells
-feeding plain meat and then slowly adding other ingredients of the raw diet
-if your pet likes canned food, eliminate dry food and only offer canned mixed with a small amount of raw, increasing raw and decreasing canned over a 1-2 week period
Do not attempt to create a diet on your own. Balancing these individual ingredients should be done with the help of a professional. Cats and dogs have specific nutritional requirements and foods need to be balanced to reflect these. 3P offers pre-mixed diets and separate components for customizing raw meals.