BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food is another name for a raw diet. For many people, this is the ancestral and natural diet of dogs, and the only real way to feed your pooch.
It's needless to say that raw diet has huge benefits for the health of a dog, and one of them is regular, compact, and odorless poop. For some owners, the sole purpose of transitioning to raw is to make loose and smelly stools the thing of the past.
Now you are probably wondering if this means that your raw eating pup will never again have diarrhea, and the simple answer is no. With that being said, we will list 6 reasons that will cause diarrhea in raw eating for dogs, so you can take appropriate steps to stop it.
Be advised that diarrhea can be a symptom of a bigger health problem and that it won't hurt taking your dog to the vet. Still, if your dog is perfectly healthy and still has diarrhea, changing his diet a bit can help.
What are the reasons for diarrhea on a raw diet?
There are two different times when a dog can experience diarrhea on a raw diet.
- The first is during the transitioning period, and;
- then at any point later on.
However, you should be aware that sporadic diarrhea can be a sign of intestinal blockage, toxicity, and a number of other things. So check the list of the most common causes of diarrhea, and if you are sure that none of them can apply to your pup, take him to the vet.
1. Short transitioning period
As we already stated, dogs on a raw diet can experience diarrhea during the initial transitioning period. You can't simply wake up one day decide to throw away all of your dog's old food and fill his bowl with raw meat.
Dogs digest kibble and canned food differently than raw meat, and if you don't provide a transitioning period your pup will have diarrhea. Your dog's stomach is gotten used to digesting fillers and starches from commercial diets and now needs time to adapt.
Once transitioning your dog onto a raw food do it gradually over a period of 10-14 days, in some cases, it can take longer than that. Don't be discouraged if your pup isn't fully transitioned to the raw diet after two weeks, be patient and give him time.
It is best to start by introducing 25% of raw food with 75% of the old one for a couple of days and monitor your dog's stool. If everything seems normal, you can gradually increase the amount of raw dog food.
If by any chance your pup develops diarrhea, cut the percentage of raw meat for a couple of days until the stool is normal again. After that proceed by giving your dog more meat until he is fully transitioned.
2. High-Fat Content
Too much fat can cause diarrhea, and the best way to avoid this from happening is to feed your pup the meat he is most likely to catch in the wild. Raw beef, raw lamb, and raw duck are meats that are high in cholesterol and should be given only moderately.
Raw rabbit meat and raw chicken breasts are low in fat and should be the main part of your dog's diet. Moreover, not all pray parts are designed equally and have different nutritional values, so a varied diet is a key.
If the high-fat content is the cause of your dog's diarrhea, you should cut the amount of fatty meat until your dog's stool is back to normal. Still, you can continue giving your dog fattier meats, just do so less frequently.
3. Bone-Meat Imbalance
Most raw feeding parents struggle to find the perfect balance between raw meat, bones, and organs and that can result in frequent diarrhea. Too many organs will cause diarrhea, and too many bones can cause constipation.
In order to avoid both, it is best to fallow the Frankenpray guidelines that ensure that your dog's every meal is complete and balanced. According to it, 80% of the diet needs to be raw meat, 10% raw bone, 5% liver, and 5% secreting organs.
Furthermore, bones are high in calcium and organs are high in phosphorus, and these minerals should always be balanced. An imbalanced calcium-phosphorus ratio can lead to skeletal problems and abnormal growth in large and giant breeds.
So getting the bone meat balance right won't only put a stop to frequent loose stools it will also keep your dog's bones healthy and strong. So, do your best to follow these guidelines and provide a complete and balanced diet for your pup.
4. Mixing Different Protein Sources
The key to a balanced raw diet is variety, but not when it comes to mixing a variety of different proteins into one meal. Some meats are easier to digest than others, just like some are fattier than others.
For example, mixing milk and raw eggs will cause diarrhea, sardines, and chitterlings will also cause stomach upset and loose stool. Furthermore, pasteurized milk shouldn't be given to dogs since all enzymes are degraded in the process, making the milk indigestible.
On the other hand, chicken and turkey are easy to digest proteins that are low in fat and won't cause diarrhea. During the transition period and first couple of months on a raw diet, you should stick to these types of proteins.
The key is to keep it simple and stop mixing too many protein sources since this will most likely cause diarrhea. Of course, once your pup if fully adapted you can try introducing novel proteins once in a while and see how his tummy reacts.
5. Enzymes - Probiotics Deficiency
Enzymes and probiotics break down food and keep the digestive system running smoothly. In some cases, a dog can experience enzymes and probiotics deficiency in the transitioning stage or later on.
And although raw food contains both enzymes and probiotics that make the digestion easier your pup might need an extra boost. This is easily done with supplements, just make sure that they are natural and safe for dogs.
You can also consult with your vet, and he can make suitable recommendations that will work best for your dog. Furthermore, raw pancreases are rich in enzymes and probiotics so you can include them more until the diarrhea problem is solved.
6. Food Poisoning
Food poisoning happens more often than you would like when a dog is on a raw food diet. And this comes as no surprise since a dog is eating raw meat.
Once you start feeding your dog raw you should familiarize with the proper handling and conserving of the meat. Being extra vigilant and buying meat only from thrust-worthy butchers and supermarkets is the way to go.
Always wash your hands prior and after handling the meat thus making sure that you don't catch Salmonella or E. Coli. If you like buying larger quantities of meat at once, store it in the freezer and not the refrigerator.
Also, make sure that your dog's food is kept away from any other food. Place a towel or use an entirely separate drawer in case that some of the blood and juices leak.
If the meat has a strange smell, different color, texture, or if anything seems strange, throw it away and don't risk food poisoning. In a case when a dog ingests spoiled meat he will experience diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Since symptoms can wary if you suspect that your pooch's last raw meal was spoiled take him to the vet to be checked out. And in the future be more careful when storing and preparing raw food for your dog.
All dogs will have occasional brush ups with diarrhea, the important thing to know, is it just a passing thing or a sign of a bigger problem. When it comes to dogs that eat raw food, diarrhea is most commonly seen during the transition period.
Still, a dog can develop diarrhea later on, and that usually means his nutrition needs a little bit of tweaking in order for everything to go back to normal. So in order to help you figure out what is causing your dog's loose stools we listed 6 reasons that will cause diarrhea in a raw eating dog.
Be aware that changing high cholesterol protein source for low fat highly digestible meat will stop diarrhea only if your dog is completely healthy. This won't work on dogs with health problems, so it is also wise to take your dog to the vet for a checkup.
Keep the raw meals simple and balanced and your dog will no longer have stomach problems and diarrhea.
Author: Charles B Hardy
Founder of pawpawlover.com
An original vet with tremendous love for dog and an owner of a little Golden Retriever. He aspires to share his experience to anyone who care about dogs.