Transitioning Dogs with Health Issues
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Note: If your animal is ill, consult with your veterinarian about the best way to start.
Transitioning Pets with a Compromised Immune System
Many things can disrupt the healthy function of your dog’s or cat’s immune system, including disease, chronic stress, medications (such as antibiotics), and even vaccines.
If your pet has a compromised immune system, we recommend lightly cooking Darwin’s Meals by sautéing in a pan over medium to medium-high heat for 8-12 minutes to minimize any risks associated with feeding raw foods. Remember not overcook as the bones can become brittle.
In addition, it is always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian before making the switch if you have concerns about their health, such as if your pet suffers from a disease that results in abnormal function of their immune system.
Using Supplements to Help with the Transition
Dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive disorders may benefit from the addition of supplements to their diet prior to and during the transition. These can be used daily for the first 4-6 weeks.
Digestive enzymes aid in the digestion of foods and help with nutrient absorption. These are important during the transition stage of the diet because the dog’s system needs time to begin producing the enzymes required for digestion of raw foods.
Probiotics are residential gut microflora or “good bacteria” supplements that balance and neutralize “bad bacteria” and help promote effective digestion and a healthy digestive tract.
Prebiotics provide food for resident microflora. A small dose will provide resident bacteria with the food they need to flourish.
Adding kefir or yogurt to your dog’s meal can be a source for some probiotics, provided your dog can tolerate dairy. If your dog is sensitive to dairy, goat dairy products are typically tolerated more easily than cow dairy and provide a wider range of beneficial bacteria.
Help Your Dog Eat Slower to Reduce Digestive Issues
Digestive upsets or vomiting immediately following a meal can be caused by eating too quickly. To prevent your dog from gulping down his food, slow them down by placing a clean rock or other object too large for them to swallow in the middle of their food bowl or plate so the food is spread out. There are also feeding dishes sold specifically for this purpose.
Help Regulate Your Dog with Digestive Issues
If your pet is experiencing runny/loose stools, constipation or vomiting at times other than after meals, slow down the transition process and add cooked pumpkin (canned or fresh) to their meals. Use 1-2 tablespoons per cup of food. Pumpkin is unique in that it helps with both loose stools as well as constipation.