These recommendations can be used for any complete raw food diet.

Transitioning is the most essential element of a healthy change from dry kibble or canned wet food to a raw diet. We recommend making this transition slowly. Allow a minimum of one week for your pet’s digestive system to properly adjust from a highly processed diet to a new diet of human-grade raw foods.

For days 1-3, begin by mixing the raw food into your pet’s current food at a ratio that your pet will tolerate; you can start with as little as ¼ complete raw diet to ¾ of your pet’s current food.

Your pet may show some adversity to the temperature of the raw food when served directly from the refrigerator. To warm raw foods, place the feeding portion into a zip-seal, water-tight bag and temper in a bowl of warm water. Do not use water that is too hot, as this will potentially cook the food and reduce the enzymatic properties, as well as deplete the nutrient values of the raw foods.

If your pet accepts the raw food diet during days 1-3, feed your pet a raw food diet only for the morning meal and their current food for the evening meal for days 4-7. When your pet has transitioned successfully (consuming raw foods readily, and healthy, firm stools), you can begin feeding a raw food diet for both meals.

Many pets will transition quickly and consume the raw food with vigor. To determine how your pet’s system is accepting the new diet, monitor your pet’s stool. On a raw diet, your pet’s stool size will be greatly reduced. Stools will become small, firm and void of any offensive odor. If your pet’s stool is soft or loose as a result of the transition, introduce the raw food more slowly.

Pets that have digestive issues and/or gastrointestinal disorders should be transitioned more slowly. We recommend the addition of a digestive enzyme to aid with the transition for pets with severe digestive and/or gastrointestinal upset.

Raw food diets can be fed as a supplemental to a quality kibble as well.

Portions

The increased digestibility of raw foods means you will feed less.

We suggest feeding 2-3% of your pet’s body weight daily in a raw food diet.

Our feeding calculator is an estimate. Factors such as level of activity, age, health, metabolism and breed affect feeding quantities, so adjust the feeding quantities accordingly.

Tips on finding the correct feeding percentages of food weight to body weight:

1.5%     Weight Loss
2.0%     Non-Active
2.5%    Maintain Current Weight
3.0%    Slight Weight Gain
3.5%     Significant Weight Gain
4.0%     Kittens/Puppies (8 weeks – 1 year)
4.5-8.0%   Kittens/Puppies (4-8 weeks)
4.0-8.0%   Pregnant/Lactating

Weigh Frequently
Weigh your pet on a regular basis so you can calculate an accurate feeding amount based on your pet’s current weight.

Puppies and Kittens
For puppies and kittens, we recommend a feeding percentage of 6% of body weight to start. Adjust the feeding percentage up or down as necessary according to their growth:

Puppies 
In the wild, when puppies reach 4-5 weeks of age, the mother dog will naturally begin to regurgitate some of her raw foods for her puppies to consume. Thus, when domestically reared puppies reach approximately 4-5 weeks of age, you can begin introducing them to raw diets. Puppies should be fed one to two small (1-2 teaspoons) raw-food meals daily in conjunction with either the milk they consume from nursing and/or other foods you may be supplementing. Puppies should always be fed from separate bowls, as competitive feeding can promote overeating and indigestion. Gradually increase the quantity of raw diet every 2-3 days until 8 weeks of age, when the puppies are consuming two tablespoons of raw diet twice daily. At this point (8 weeks), the puppies should be fully weaned and can be fed a complete raw diet and raw meaty bones. Puppies 8 weeks of age and older should be fed approximately 4-8% of their body weight daily in raw diet foods. Factors such as breed, overall health and level of activity play a part in the necessary feeding quantities of all puppies. Please be sure to monitor your puppy’s dietary needs and adjust the feeding quantities accordingly.

 Kittens 

At 4-5 weeks of age, you can begin to introduce your kitten a raw diet. Kittens should be fed one to two small (1 teaspoon) raw food meals daily in conjunction with either the milk they consume from nursing and/or other foods you may be supplementing. Gradually increase the quantity of a raw diet every 2-3 days until at 8 weeks of age, when the kittens are consuming two tablespoons of a raw diet twice daily. At this point (8 weeks), the kittens should be fully weaned and can be fed a diet solely of raw food diet and raw meaty bones. Kittens 8 weeks of age and older should be fed approximately 4-8% of their body weight daily in a raw food diet. Factors such as breed, overall health and level of activity play a part in the necessary feeding quantities of all kittens. Please be sure to monitor your kitten’s dietary needs and adjust the feeding quantities accordingly.

Raw Meaty Bones

Dogs and cats have a set of solid molars and extremely strong jaws that enable them to crush and chew raw meaty bones such as necks, backs, wings, ribs and carcasses. Through the consumption of such bones, they are able to acquire an easily assimilated, natural form of calcium essential to skeletal health.

Raw meaty bones can be fed up to 30% of your pet’s daily ration. If you choose to supplement your animal’s diet with raw meaty bones, use Primal’s Feeding Calculator http://www.primalpetfoods.com/education/calc  to see how much to feed and buy. Raw meaty bones can be completely consumed. Always monitor your pet when feeding raw meaty bones.

Thawing

It is important to serve frozen raw foods only when completely thawed. Frozen foods can be difficult for animals to digest. Never microwave any pet food. Microwaves cause the fat molecules to radically change, making proteins and fats less digestible, and ultimately they can become harmful to your pet’s long-term health. To simplify the handling and feeding of our raw frozen products, try staging a few containers of a day’s worth of food in your freezer. When you use the last of the thawed product from your refrigerator, simply grab a portioned container and place it in your refrigerator to thaw for your pet’s next feeding.

Standard Thawing: 
2 lb. Chubs will thaw within 18-24 hours in the refrigerator.
5 lb. Chubs will thaw within 24-36 hours in the refrigerator.
Nuggets/Medallions will thaw within 6-10 hours in the refrigerator.
Patties will thaw within 6-10 hours in the refrigerator.

Quick Thaw Tips

To quickly thaw chubs, plug up and fill your kitchen sink with cold water. Place chub into the water and let thaw. Using this method, the chub with thaw completely within 2 hours. If you prefer to portion the chub for individual feedings, you can thaw for 10 minutes in your sink, remove and slice into patties using a sharp, serrated knife. Patties can then be refrozen and thawed as necessary. To quickly thaw our nuggets and patties, place the appropriate number of nuggets or patties per feeding into a zip-seal, water-tight bag. Plug up and fill your kitchen sink with cold water. Place the bag with nuggets into the sink and let thaw completely. Using this method, nuggets will thaw within 30 minutes.

Detoxification

As you begin to introduce your pet to this new diet, you may notice changes in physical appearance. Do not be alarmed. This is simply the natural process by which pets heal themselves by eliminating toxins from the body. Discharge from the eyes, excess wax in the ears, loss of coat, minor skin rashes and soft, loose stool are just a few of the common signs. By gradually transitioning raw foods, you will allow your pet’s body to adjust properly. We suggest consulting the pet’s practitioner during the transition process.

Fasting

Another important component in feeding your pet a raw diet is the process of fasting. This age-old practice used to aid digestion and cleanse toxins is common among animals in the wild. We suggest fasting your adult pet one day per week, from breakfast to breakfast. The necessary amount of fasting time will vary from animal to animal. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh, purified water and extra love and attention to your companion throughout the fasting day. Fasting is an optional component of feeding a raw diet and is not crucial to your pet’s overall long-term health.

(information courtesy of  http://www.primalpetfoods.com/

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