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Learn more about Detoxing :

This is healing time for your dog and allows them to remove unwanted chemicals and toxins from their body

When changing your dog over to their SARF diet (Species Appropriate Raw Food) they will begin a detoxification period, this can be quick with hardly any visual symptoms or it can last for several months and can honestly be a nightmare for you both, it is however necessary and means that they are on the road to recovery. The level of detoxing also depends on the age of the dog and how many toxins have entered the body.

When an animal’s body has taken in more toxins than it can filter out, for example when eating a nutritionally void diet day after day, being vaccinated, being treated with chemical pesticides, etc.; the body goes into a kind of “toxic overload”. As a result of this overload the body begins a detoxification process which can manifest in to symptoms like lethargy, painful joints and stiffness, bad breath, eye and ear discharges, skin rashes and infections and loose or watery stools. Eventually, if the intake of toxic substances is not lessened or stopped all together, life threatening degenerative diseases such as diabetes, liver disease and cancer will be created. All of these are in reality, the body’s healing response to toxic overload.

In some cases your dog may have appeared healthy without any real symptoms or any visible issues, before you changed them over to their SARF diet, but you must know and remember that 75-80% of health comes directly from a SARF diet, this is due to that fact that 75-80% of the immune system resides in the gut, the immune system is what protects the body against virus and bacteria, it also cleanses and heals the body too. A major part of the immune system is also the Lymphatic system, which consists of lymph, lymph vessels, lymph nodes and some organs, it plays an integral role in the immune functions of the body, it is the first line of defence against disease, this network of vessels and nodes transports and filters fluid containing antibodies and lymphocytes, it is a fluid system that is around twice times the size of the blood network, this lymph system is drained via the kidneys, colon and skin which is the biggest organ filter and often referred to as the third kidney and is very often used to remove unwanted, unneeded and unnecessary toxins along with old, damaged or diseased cells. So remember your dog is in a process of cleansing and ultimately healing.

When changing an adult dog over to their SARF diet (older than 17 months), we always advise a fasting/detoxing period of around 24 to 36 hrs, so no food or treats during this time, however you need to ensure that your dog has plenty of fresh water (filtered if possible) the reason for this is due to the fact that around 80% of the body is made up of water, so the quality of water we provide is also very important and will help flush/cleanse the body/lymphatic system of a large amount of these toxins, this quick detox can very often reduce the severity of the below symptoms and in some cases makes it less likely that they suffer from any of the below detox symptoms.

Symptoms That Show Your Dog May Be Detoxing!!

Mild Cleansing Effects

1: Coughing, with or without discharge.

2: Low fevers.

3: Clear or yellow Mucus discharge from the nose, throat (lungs, bronchi, etc.;Mucus may include blood)

4: Aches and pains (this may appear as stiffness or discomfort)

5: Mucus in Fecal matter.

6: Mucus in urine or stronger smelling urine.

7: loss of energy/lethargy.

8: Rashes and itching.

9: Minor Blood in Urine

Moderate Cleansing Effects:

  1. Vomiting/Diarrhoea – (green, bloody, mucus) – A normal reaction but can sometimes be prevented (see our Quick change over guide)
  2. Increased Doggy odour.
  3. Excessive Itching, leading to sores from scratching.
  4. Dry skin/dandruff
  5. Excessive tearing
  6. Smelly itchy ears
  7. Lethargy/sleeping more/Chronic fatigue.
  8. heavy discharge from the Kidneys (urine colour changes to brown, orange or dark yellow)
  9. Oozing of innumerable substances from the skin.
  10. heavy mucus discharge from the eyes/ears.
  11. High fever.
  12. Skin splitting where heavy toxins are present.

Severe Cleansing Effects:

1: Heavy black discharge from the bowels with diarrhoea

2: Excessive weight loss (this can result when a pancreatic weakness exists)

3: Tumors popping out around the body.

As a result from feeding commercial “food” and regular vaccination, flea and worming treatments, toxins build up and the above symptoms may appear, unfortunately the more they have received then potentially the more they will have stored, these toxins will then be released through their skin, eyes & ears.

This detox period can be disturbing and upsetting for both you and your dog but is necessary and is a path that leads to a much healthier happier life; on the other hand it can be straight forward with no visible symptoms at all. What you need to understand, is this will be the first opportunity their body/immune system has had to fight off the toxins that have been building up in their body and as their immune system strengthens this will cause the toxins to be forced out at the same time!! Although every dog will experience detoxing we don’t always see any symptoms at all.

If your dog is unfortunate to suffer from a severe detox also know as (Healing Crisis) at this stage you must be strong and allow your dog to battle through these symptoms and fully detox.


Fasting your dog for 24-36 hours is always recommended when switching a dog over to their Species Appropriate Raw Food (SARF) diet as it will give his digestive system a rest and encourage deeper healing. During the fast you may give him a Tablespoon of RAW local or Manuka honey in his filtered water or some bone broths, however, going without any solid foods (no ground meat, soft bones, etc) of any kind is the idea and for at least 24 hours will be the most beneficial.


We do not advise fasting a puppy for this period if they are under one year of age.

What To Avoid During A Healing Crisis:

The moderate to severe detox symptoms are also referred to as a “healing crisis” in these extreme cases it’s important to remember the following.

1: Ensure you keep your dog hydrated, this is equally important as large intakes of water will help the body flush any toxins. It’s also strongly recommended to use filtered water as already mentioned the quality of water is important as around 80% of the body is made up of water.

2: Don’t over do it if your dog is showing signs of a “healing crisis” (although exercise is good for getting the lymphatic system moving) the body/immune system needs all the energy it can get to cleanse and heal the body.

3: Avoid Herbicides and Pesticides (for me this is a must regardless of a healing crisis or not, these chemicals cause major disruption to a body)

If You Need To Slow The Changeover Down:

As you go through our 8 week changeover guide you will be introducing new meats, if you Fido experiences sickness and or diarrhea when be given something like Chicken & Beef (for example) go back to specific, single foods, for example chicken or turkey, it may even be that its duck that helps to slow down the detox and allow your dog to experience fewer symptoms. This will give their system a little more time to adapt to the new nutrients. This should improve the symptoms in a week or two. If no improvement is seen at all, and you are working with an older dog or a dog that had been diagnosed with chronic disease then you can ever so slightly heat the meats. Just warming the meat a little bit will sometimes and make it a bit easier on his compromised digestive system while the body further adapts to all the new nutrients.

You can use a number of natural topical products to help with soothing the skin, from  washes/gels regularly this will help sooth/cool their skin and remove any bacteria build up that’s causing the itching.

If you notice inflamed/irritated areas on their the skin, you can directly apply pure Grape Seed or Colloidal Silver by rubbing over the affected areas after once cleaned, you can also use it to clean dirt that’s built up in their ears, simply apply a few drops, massage in then use a cotton pad to clean where you can reach. We also have a number of other supplements that we are always adding to, which helps strengthen the immune system and can help speed up the detox by helping remove toxins. these can be found on our supplements page.

So what about unhealthy dogs that changeover to SARF, Dogs that really suffer with itchy skin/ear conditions, or that are so unhealthy your vet prescribed steroids to get rid of the problem?

It seems to me that Steroids just seem to mask a problem – they don’t seem to actually cure it, they can remove the symptoms and so it appears your dog’s itchy skin/bad ear problem is suppressed, but this is a high cost to pay when you consider that the very treatment your vet prescribed to ‘cure’ their condition is not a ‘cure’ at all and has now compromised the dog’s immune system, which could leave the dog in a very vulnerable state.

When a dog like this is swapped to a raw species specific diet, their body gets to work on removing the steroids (usually cortisone) from their system through this detoxification, and now that this has been removed, it can no longer suppress the condition it was initially prescribed for….. and so the condition presents itself again, very often even more aggressively and the owner, by now is disillusioned with the raw diet and believes that the swap has made his dog sick again, gives up and immediately plonks the poor dog back on the very thing which caused all this in the first place – commercial food

 Ann Ridyard

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