Changeover to Species Appropriate Raw Food diet, often referred to as SARF.
When our carnivore companions eat diets with high carbohydrate, high plant protein and lower meat protein, it has been found that the acidity level of the stomach begins to decrease (gastric acidity relates to meat protein), and the stomach becomes progressively more alkaline (PH 4 and above). In this less acidic environment, several key issues arise;
- 1. With the altered PH, gastric digestion and emptying slows down
2. With the altered PH, food bacteria and contaminants are not destroyed as effectively
3. With the altered PH, raw bones and bone material is not softened and broken down effectively (digestive enzymes loose function) and this can result in obstruction.
These problems become apparent when a dog that is fed a highly processed diet is offered a raw bone, or a meal of raw meat. Because the stomach acidity is directly dictated by the meat protein content of the diet, these dogs already have a less acidic stomach, which is not able to soften and breakdown raw bone material, nor is the stomach PH able to cope with a load of bacteria. The result can be a sudden “rejection” of the bone and/or meat, in the form of vomiting, or it can take the form of a bout of acute gastroenteritis, from an overgrowth of bacteria, or it may result in a bone obstruction in the stomach. With the delayed gastric emptying effect, any bacteria that do survive are now, also able to grow up into much larger numbers, and this effect is continued in the large bowel, with further fermentation of the plant fiber, and a delay in overall gut transit time (12 to 24 hrs) – this can also result in constipation from excessive water re-absorption, or in very loose stools from the over production of short chain fatty acids in the colon.
The problem is that it takes from 7-10 days on a meat based diet for the gastric acidity levels to drop down to the natural (preferred) PH 2 level, so it is not possible for the body to quickly accommodate to such diet changes. (Dr. Jeannie Thomason)
Please note the following procedures are general guidelines but they should get you thinking in the right direction and help you make a decision as to how you will go about the changeover process.
This changeover can be quick, straightforward and trouble free but you need to consider dog or cats current diet. If they have had some experience of eating a variety of home produced foods, cooked or raw, it will tend to be easier and less likely they will suffer from any tummy upset, diarrhea or vomiting. However with a dried food/kibble diet the change can be much more dramatic for their system.
We use and suggest 2 methods of ‘changeover’ to the SARF diet, “Quick ” (this is the preferred and in most cases the easiest) and “Slow.” (We do advise you follow our guide to help with the changeover to a SARF (Species Appropriate Raw Food) diet to help make it as smoothly as possible and as mentioned we always prefer to use the quick changeover, very rarely do we have to use the slow changeover procedure)
We advise following our 8-week program that sure4pets guide you through and recommend you follow, before your dog/cat move onto the mixed boxes (BRONZE/SILVER/GOLD) to try and help reduce the risks of any sickness/diarrhoea, this is a guide to increases the chances of a smooth change-over.
With dogs older than around 17 months old, It is strongly recommend to fast them for between 24-36 hrs, this allows us to fully empty the digestive system of any of the synthetic “food” creating a little bit of hunger (you may experience some vomiting-yellow bile) but the main reason is to allow the digestive system to rest which allows the body to focus on healing/cleansing itself from any chemical additives and preservatives from the food, flea, worm and vaccination treatments, this detox can also help to re-set the immune system and boost’s the body’s metabolism. To learn more about the health benefits of fasting and how it works please see our fasting page.
We do not advise fasting a puppy (under the age of 17 months old) for any period, at the same time please understand their is a huge difference in you fasting the dog and them not wanting to eat, please don’t get too concerned if your puppy isn’t eating the amount recommended or if they miss a meal, providing that their body condition is within the ideal band and they are acting normal, they are healthy and happy.
Once this 8-week program is complete you can then move onto having any of the mixed boxes, remembering that in order to feed a complete and balanced SARF diet we need to be feeding a minimum of 5-7 varying meat types.
It is usually normal for some dogs when changing over to experience diarrhea and or a small amount of vomiting of undigested food. This is due to the fact that it can take a while for the good bacteria to build up in an animals digestive tract especially if he/she has always been on dry food or has taken antibiotics or been medication.
Whenever diarrhea appears it usually indicates that the colon is attempting to remove toxins or other irritants by flushing them out quickly. Remember that diarrhea is a symptom, not a disorder unto itself.
ALL our raw minces or chunks can be kept in the fridge up to 4 days and refrozen up to 4 times! This means nothing should really ever be wasted and thrown away.
To defrost the minces, you can either leave it in the fridge overnight which will take about 24hrs, on a windowsill or counter which will take a few hours, preferably in a closed container. Or if you ever forget to defrost your dog’s food and you’re rushing, you can fill your dog bowl will hot tap water and place the bag of meat in it and change the water after 10-15 mins and the mince will be defrosted in about 20-30 mins.
We advise starting with chicken as it’s an easily digestible protein source, feeding this for a week – then providing there are no symptoms of sickness and or diarrhoea (which can occur as mentioned) then moving on to Turkey, followed by Duck, chicken & beef, chicken & lamb, beef, lamb and Rabbit, providing everything has been okay, we can then start with mixed boxes.
More often than not the changeover is smooth and easy, this said, for some dogs this isn’t the case, we do find some dogs have favourite meat types and will refuse anything else you offer, what you need to remember is that in order to feed a complete and balanced species appropriate raw food diet we need to be feeding 5-7 different variations (each meat type provides the body with something different nutritionally) so if your dog is only eating between 1 -4 meat types the diet is only balanced. See our (Frequently Asked Questions) FAQ for more information on this.
Please note: Calculator > dogs weight in kg x 2.5-3% ( for adult and healthy weight dog ) = amount of food in grams
If you have any questions or queries throughout this changeover please don’t hesitate to contact us:
Phone: 01226 639150
This is very easy, make the change today!! Yesterday your hard working dog was eating dried food/kibble or tinned food. Today they are eating SARF.
Before making the quick changeover, you will need to consider whether your dog is suited to this method. The quick changeover is the most preferred, simplest, most trouble free and successful method for dogs particularly young and or healthy dogs.
When using this method you need to allow your dog at least 24-48 hours without any solid food, by doing this you are giving their digestive system a rest, this encourages a deeper healing (ALWAYS ENSURE THEY HAVE PLENTY OF FRESH DRINKING WATER) giving them this detox time without any solid foods or treats of any kind for the full 24 hours will be the most beneficial. If you prefer, you can also split their daily food requirement into two or three smaller meals. The quality of water given during the detox and at any time is paramount as over 60% of the body is made up of water, We recommend the Acilis water.
Please note you should never fast a puppy under the age of 12 months/1 year old.
In some cases your dog may experience diarrhea and or a small amount of vomiting, this may include undigested food this is normal, it can take a while for the good bacteria to build up in the dogs digestive tract, especially if they have always been fed dried biscuits and or been given regular antibiotics or medication.
Diarrhea shows us that the colon is trying to quickly flush out toxins and or other irritants, remember diarrhea is a symptom and not a disorder.
This changeover method should not take any longer than 1 to 2 weeks, depending on your dogs circumstances but in extreme cases can take up to 1 month.
You can feed one meal of a SARF diet followed by one meal of their old food, gradually reducing their old food. If there are no problems early on in this method it is a positive indication that they have a strong and healthy digestive system and you could continue with the Quick Changeover method.
Some People suggest feeding dried/kibble and raw food together (as one meal) to phase through the changeover, we advise against this as kibble food not only takes longer to digest but feeding both together can often result in the increase of vomiting and diarrhoea as it alters the stomach acidity, also 40% of all kibble foods are made of starch, it’s the starch that binds and holds the kibble together, but starch is converted to sugar in the body.
Puppies generally require up to 10% of their body weight.
Fully grown dogs:
2% if your dog is overweight
2.5% – 3% to maintain ideal weight
5% to fatten an underweight dog
See the below table for a few examples:
(please note these figures are based on fully grown dogs)
|If your dog weighs:||You should feed (either in 1 or two meals) per day:|
|5kg||125g – 150g|
|10kg||250g – 300g|
|15kg||375g – 450g|
|20kg||500g – 600g|
|25kg||625g – 750g|
|30kg||750g – 900g|
Remember these are guidelines and the % of food you feed is also determined by the level of exercise and activity your dog receives.You may have to adjust the amounts up or down to get the right balance but you will achieve this in no time and your pet/s will be eating the way they are born to.