Q: Do you recommend mixing my dog’s current kibble diet in with the raw patties?
This question comes up a lot when consumers are just starting to switch their pet to the raw diet and for those who want to continue feeding a healthy, raw diet but are also watching the dog food budget. Maybe it is because they have more than one dog or perhaps they are trying to sustain large or giant breed dogs. So to settle it once and for all – the answer is no … and maybe.
I give you the NO answer if your dog has or has had a history of digestive disorders. It simply may not be the best course of action to combine the two diets in the same meal. The reason is that each diet is digested and absorbed quite differently. The ingredient utilization and the time needed to digest a raw diet is significantly faster (about 4-6 hours) while a cooked diet which can take 8-12 hours to go from mouth to tail. This sends a confusing message to the stomach and it may lead to further digestion problems such as diarrhea and vomiting if both diets are in the digestive tract at the same time.
The “MAYBE” answer comes if you separate the feeding schedule and incorporate a split-feeding regimen. To put it simply, a split-feeding regimen would consist of the raw meat diet (such as our BARF Diet patties or nuggets) being fed in the morning and a dry, grain-free kibble at night. This gives the body time to react differently to the two different types of diets. If given this additional time, the pancreas should produce enough digestive enzymes to properly digest the drastically different types of food.
When dogs and cats can successfully digest the combination of foods in this manner, it is at least 50% better than doing nothing than only feeding kibble – an inferior food choice. I would however never recommend doing a split-feeding schedule with dogs or cats that are on heavy doses of antibiotics, steroids, or any other drug that may depress the immune system or cause gastrointestinal upset.
One final recommendation: Feeding a 100% raw meat diet is always my first choice. However, I always suggest that if you are just starting on the raw diet or you want to try the split feeding model, that you also incorporate PROBIOTIC and Alaskan Naturals Salmon Oil. This powerful combination of probiotics, vitamins, and minerals will ensure conversion success and also eliminate the majority of problems with potentially sick animals by naturally improving digestion and providing additional immune system support.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”.