Changing to a SARF™ Diet
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;
- With the altered pH, gastric digestion and emptying slows down
- With the altered pH, food bacteria and contaminants are not destroyed as effectively
- 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 fibre, 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) There are 2 versions of our 8-week program that sure4pets guide you through and recommend you follow, the first is to feed from 3 weeks to 6 months old, and the second is 6 months plus, before we advise that you feed your dog/s our mixed boxes (BRONZE/SILVER/GOLD) this helps to reduce the symptoms of detoxing, sickness/diarrhoea.
3 WEEKS TO 6 MONTHS
The following is what we recommend for the 8 week changeover, please note finer minces can be purchased for particularly smaller breeds of puppies if necessary.
Week 1. Chicken With Tripe
Week 2. Turkey With Tripe
Week 3. Duck With Tripe
Week 4. Beef With Chicken
Week 5. Chicken With Lamb
Week 6. Beef With Tripe
Week 7. Lamb With Lamb Tripe
Week 8. Rabbit
We do not advise fasting a puppy (under the age of 17 months old) for any period, at the same time please understand there 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.
Green tripe is very smelly and not everyone enjoys feeding it to their dog but it is strongly advised to feed it but it is essential for growing puppies as it’s balanced between phosphorus and calcium 1-1 which is the perfect ratio for bone development growth and structure, it’s also packed with trillions of bacteria so it’s great for building/boosting the immune system, tripe also offers benefits to an adult dog too and is recommended 1-2 times a week or 4 times a month.
6 MONTHS PLUS
The following is what we recommend for the 8 week changeover, for adult dogs.
Week 1. Chicken
Week 2. Turkey
Week 3. Duck
Week 4. Beef With Chicken
Week 5. Chicken With Lamb
Week 6. Beef
Week 7. Lamb
Week 8. Rabbit
For dogs older than 6 months we recommend this changeover method, with the exception that with dogs older than 17 months, we strongly recommend fasting them for between 24-36 hrs, this allows us to fully empty the digestive system of any of the synthetic, processed “food” creating a little bit of hunger, but the main reason is to allow the digestive/lymphatic (sewer system) to rest which allows the body to focus on healing/cleansing itself from any chemical additives and preservatives from synthetic the food fed before along with any flea, worm and vaccination treatments, it will also allow for any inflammation to settle (inflammation is at the route of all disease and illness).
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 which should approximately be mixed to 80% meat 10% bone 10% offal.
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.
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.
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.
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.