Puppy weaned on raw, transitioning off?

Hi, so we have a lovely 10 week old cavapoochon puppy who’s been weaned on raw food and we are currently feeding him raw complete minces from DAF as per the breeder’s advice. He was weaned on a raw diet.

He seems to do well on this food and mostly like it, although I would say he’s not super into it - he’s generally food motivated and responds well to treats but he’s not obsessed with them. Often we’ll put his food down (we’re feeding him 3 x per day) and he will check it out but won’t gobble it up, so after 10 mins we put it back in the fridge till his next meal time

Anyway - as much as we like and support the benefits of raw feeding, we also live in a flat with one small kitchen: one fridge, one worksurface and one sink. It feels really hard to maintain proper hygiene. We keep his food in special containers and only serve his meals in his crate, but he goes in and gets mouthfuls of stuff and drags it out onto the floor, gets blood/juice all over his face and paws, and then patters around the flat, plays with it and then licks us. It’s not practical or healthy to shampoo his face and paws twice a day, I think?!

We’ve been washing our hands and clothes pretty strictly but my partner and I have both had upset stomachs at least once since we brought him home.

We also don’t really know how to manage a balanced raw diet beyond feeding him the pre-prepared complete minces. And would love to be able to encourage him training wise by hand feeding his meals (which seems totally impractical with a handful of raw mince) or putting part of his daily allowance in Kongs etc, which would then help with crate training - also impractical with raw minces, and so far he has shown zero interest in peanut butter, goats milk yoghurt, etc.

Should we consider moving away from raw to a high (highest) quality alternative diet eg Orijen or Akela? How should we approach the transition

  • phasing new food in or sudden switch from raw to not-raw? I don’t want to upset his little tum when potty training is going so well! We just want the best for our pup but it seems like there’s pros and cons to everything.

Agh - so hard - all advice welcome!!

Folk that want to feed raw make it work…even when factors make it more difficult for some owners than.

If you want to stop feeding raw you will justify it…Indeed from your post it looks like you have already decided to quit feeding same.

By far easiest way to switch would be to move to cold pressed as this can be fed with raw and the ratios gradually adjusted.

Your feedng seems a massive drama & nightmare.

3 dogs under same roof here all on raw and the youngest on it from 8 weeks (now 9 months).

Our feeding is like this…

When we want to feed the dogs we take food from fridge, place into 3 bowls and put same on floor…dogs then eat food.The bowls get a rinse & we defrost before putting food in fridge &/or later feeding. That’s it !

I have never fed a dog in its crate.

A dog with a healthy appetite should eat it’s food in one sitting. If mone started messing with food it would be taken away…I have never had blood and raw meat from the bowl dragged around and played with.

Over the years I have fed various barf completes including prey model…Personally my choice is not to feed the raw brand you mentioned.

Either try another brand or switch to cold pressed…or a dry extruded kibble if you really want to do so.

You mention shampooing paws and face, more frequent clothing washes, hand feeding meals & potty training…Not wishIng to offend but these remarks and general tone of your post make me suspect you may be over complicating matters. I understand you want to love & care for your new arrival but It’s a puppy not a baby. Over fussing can sometimes make dogs over fussy.

Training wirh treats is simple…just drop a bit off allowance if excess feeding causes pup to look overweight or maybe have loose stools…None of our 3 have been fat as pups…if pounds pile on then just ease off total food a bit.

If you get stressed when feeding then the dog may pick up on this…possibly this is already hapenning and punis anxious or joining in with all the playful drama.

Try to relax a bit, feed something you and pup get on with and keep things sensible but simple.

Good luck.

Hello and welcome to the forum avellana86. From the description of your living arrangements it sounds as if raw feeding is not suitable for you. As Coaster has said, cold pressed food is a good option if you want to give dry food. However, assuming that your dog is a small breed, dry food per se might be troublesome because many of them come in larger bag sizes, minimum 5kg so you would have to find somewhere to store it (preferably cool). It might be worth considering products that can be bought in store, as and when needed.

Convenient to serve raw food: Natures Menu sell raw food nuggets which are ideal for smaller breeds. They require very little handling - you just take out the amount needed for each meal and they thaw quite quickly. They are widely available in pet supplies shops including Pets at Home.

Wet food: Wet food would be a practical option because high quality varieties have a similar composition to raw and should not upset your pup’s digestion. Possibly one that has a low to average carbohydrate content would suit in view of the fact that pup has been on a raw diet. Here are a few suggestions:
Natures Menu, Forthglade, Naturo, Wainwright’s (Pets at Home), Naturediet but there are more.

You can search for these using the Dog Food Directory - type of food - wet. I have just done a search using the filter for wet food, clearly labelled and no red ingredients. I set the ratings slider to 4.0 to 5.0 stars because it is equivalent to most raw foods. The search returned six pages.

**Fresh food: **There are a very few fresh food products on the market at the moment but they tend to be a bit more costly. Different Dog and Butternut Box require some freezer space and need to be bought online but the former is available in a few pet supply shops. Freshpet is available in some Asda and Tesco stores and is sold in chubs.

I agree re the natures menu raw nuggets…take feed amount from freezer as they otherwise thaw quickly into one mass.

Re wet complete…I have fed the wainwright’s grain free trays. Easy to store and feed and dog concerned seemed ok on it for the time.used, (months not weeks).

Re dry extruded kibble…I have fed a few lastly Akela which was ok. Milles Wolf heart (variety means composition can vary significantly between products). Simpsons grain free worth a look. Acana and Orijen …you pay for it crossing the Atlantic. Majority of uk branded kibble is made by 2 mass producers so the actual manufacturer choice is a lot smaller than some may think. Skinners in suffolk have there own mill & once told me they can batch audit trail specific bag ingredients to individual ships. Some significant variation in quality depending on price point.

Re cold pressed…Never fed it but if I was looking to do so sourcing by mail order…my choice would be grain free choices from…
Lupo 24/10
Markus Muhle seem to make the majority of CP products that are typically sourced by mail order in the UK.

Forthglade Cold pressed is more shop available but I haven’t researched it in detail as in my view there are more cost effective choices out there.

Another good dog food is a food called pure dog food re hydrating it with warm water and is like a casserole . It comes in a small box so good to try. it can also be used with raw.
Raw is not for every one, :o
One thing I would add is I would not feed your puppy by hand, put meals down and if they do not eat it by a certain time them put them back in the fridge, by hand feeding you are making it hard for yourself. A puppy will not starve and will eat when they are hungry.
The pure food has lots of positive reviews . may be worth a try. I hope that you can sort out the feeding for your new bundle of fun. :slight_smile:

Hello and welcome to the forum. I think whatever you decide to feed you need to feel comfortable with your decision and it sounds like raw feeding is quite stressful for you.

Although I do feed raw myself, it is not completely raw. I add some home cooked and I give small bits of kibble or plain unsalted rice cake pieces as training treats. I don’t give the dry stuff at the same time as meals and haven’t had any problems. I wouldn’t really want to hand feed raw and I wouldn’t worry too much about giving extra to meal portions. i just keep an eye on weight. If it starts to creep up I reduce the raw portion and add oats cooked in water or more veg for a while.
Hopefully your pup will not be too sensitive. I am all for a varied diet but some dogs don’t cope well with changes. It is just a case of seeing what suits him and what suits you and your circumstances best.

Thanks everyone for the helpful responses. We are probably overthinking things and being overly anxious but he’s our first dog and there’s so much to think about!

We have started him on a trial of Guru cold pressed grain free blend (Full On Feast) which so far he seems to like, in fact he seems to prefer to his raw food, and his tummy is fine so far. We’ll mix his food 50/50 with this for a few days to see how he gets on.

Apart from upset tummy is there anything else we should watch out for?

We also have a trial of Tails.com puppy food on its way. I know they have a poor rating on here, but I think this is only for their generic kibble? We opted for grain free / hypoallergenic and his ‘personalised blend’ (I realise this is marketing speak!) is: Total meat content 67%; chicken 66.3%, beet pulp, brown rice, maize, whole dried egg, salmon oil 1%, dried yeast, prebiotic (fos), beta glucans, potassium chloride, yucca extract, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulphate, nucleotides (from yeast), natural preservative (rosemary extract)

We had already ordered this before doing more research so not prioritising this over a higher quality food. Looks like Millie’s Wolfheart would be a good option if we go down the dry food route?

Thanks again and will update once he’s a few more days in :slight_smile:

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sounds like good progress, when you give the dried extruded food do not give with the raw food as the dried food is slower to digest and can give an upset tummy.
I found with my dog he could not digest the dried extruded food, it gave him tummy problems he does best on raw. :slight_smile:


Firstly …Thanks for replying & with an update. So many new members fail to do this.

Personally I feel decent cold pressed is a better choice than dry extruded. If the dog gets on with guru you could stick with that or maybe look at other cold pressed foods…most have acceptable composition but not all. Cetainly there are CP foods cheaper per kg than Guru that review ok for the needs of many.

As for the dry extruded you have mentioned. Personally I would avoid &/or dispose. It shouldn’t be fed alongside raw or CP products meaning that any change would have to be instant and maybe after skipping a meal.

In terms of visible outer appearance…most dogs will seem fine on most foods…assuming they eat them. The long term effects of feeding a lesser food may only show in that longer term. A happy dog after initial feeding is not repesenative of the bigger long term picture.

Seeing a video on you tube comparing dry extruded kibble breaking down in water compared to CP will be eye opening…I suggest you do a search. (There is one for farm foods and one for guru if you search online…personally I would definitrly chose guru out of the 2 given a choice). I have seen my Lab vomit whole dry extruded kibble still hard and many hours after feeding time…that alone is enough reason for me not to feed it !

As for how much you fuss…you should settle down a bit as time goes on. Sorting the food positively is a major step.

Feel free to start other threads if you want advice on other ownership issues. Food is just one part of thr jigsaw of reponsible and enjoyable dog ownership.


Avellana86 - you made a good choice with the cold pressed food. Coaster has given you useful advice and I concur with what he has said. You might find that stools are larger with cold pressed food but they should be firm. It’s easy to overfeed when using this type of food because it is dense. The amount in the bowl can look small. There is a need to be careful in giving the right quantity. Re the Tails food - I think it’s best to stick with what you have rather than risking upsetting pup with another change.


Hi all,

Thanks once again for the helpful advice! Digby is almost 6 months old now and growing well. We successfully transitioned him to the Guru cold pressed food and he has done well on it. He seemed to get a bit bored after a while so we started mixing in a teaspoon of Lily’s Kitchen tinned food and a bit of hot water to make it smell more appealing. We’ve also gone through a bag of the non grain free recipe (chicken, brown rice and fish) and he was pretty keen on that. Fortunately his digestion seems pretty robust and we haven’t come across anything that upsets his stomach (so far).

I’ve been reading quite a bit online about the latest FDA updates on DCM and avoiding “BEG” (boutique, exotic and grain free) diets and am trying to form an objective view rather than jumping straight on the conveniently placed Purina/Hills bandwagon… The most balance thing I’ve read (on Whole Dog Journal) suggests that we might want to move away from Guru as the chicken recipe has sweet potato, potato and peas as the 4th, 5th, and 6th ingredients (as well as 28% brown rice as 2nd ingredient) and the duck recipe is 30% sweet potato and potato (2nd and 3rd in list). Looking at their website again I think we fell for the marketing and apparent simplicity of it but there’s really nothing on there to back up their health claims and only one mention of the recipes having any input from a nutritionist. Their customer services response was pretty underwhelming and uninformed.

I’m also pretty skeptical of the furore around DCM and grain free foods. The FDA “study” naming and shaming brands based on raw owner-reported data with no normalisation for sales volume or other factors taken into account… pretty shabby “science” for such a sensitive issue IMO. So don’t want to make a knee jerk reaction. Any views on where to go from here? hold tight, supplement Guru, switch to another brand of cold pressed or something else entirely?

(FWIW I will ask my vet for advice but they weren’t very helpful the first time round so not holding out for great advice on this.)

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So far Gentle (chicken flavour) appears to be the only cold pressed food that does not have potatoes and/or peas as a major ingredient…

Thank you for the feedback. Did you try Guru Surf and Turf? That has brown rice and a small amount of sweet potato but no white potato. As you say, Gentle Chicken has brown rice. The Markus Muhle range might be worth looking at, particularly NaturNah.