Many pet owners are moving away from dry kibble, which they believe to be unhealthy or unnatural for their pets, and transitioning into soft food or raw meat diets. In addition, many dogs prefer these diets, which smell better, are easier to chew and provide them with more meat. However, dry kibble helps scrape plaque off your dog's teeth, and if you switch your dog's diet, you must account for this by providing your dog with another means of cleaning its teeth and strengthening its jaw.
Select a diet that will provide the proper nutrients for your dog. For example, a large dog will have to consume a lot of canned food to get the nutrients provided in dry food because there is a lot of water in canned food. However, he may require much less of a home cooked or raw diet. Discuss any changes with your veterinarian.
Wean your dog onto the new diet slowly. Add 1/4 of the new diet to 3/4 of the old diet for the first week. Add 1/2 of the new diet and 1/2 of the old diet for the second week. Add 3/4 of the new diet and 1/4 of the old diet for the third week, before eliminating the old diet altogether. If switching to soft food of the same protein and brand, this step is not necessary.
Supplement the new diet, if necessary. If switching to a raw diet, you may need to add a pet supplement, which provides dogs with the essential vitamins, such as A, C, D and E. You should also add Omega-3, in the form of a capsule or oil, such as coconut or salmon oil. Don't forget fruits and vegetables. Dogs are omnivores, so add ground vegetables or fruits to each meal.
Provide your dog with a means to clean his teeth. There are many ways to do this: raw bones, such as turkey necks; dental chews available at your local pet store; raw apples or a regular dental routine. If you choose to brush your dog's teeth daily, purchase a dog-specific toothpaste, as human toothpaste can be harmful. If you choose to supplement your dog's diet with dental chews, bones or apples, you only need to do this once or twice a week.
Items You Will Need
- Raw bones
- Toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images