K9sOverCoffee | From kibble to raw dog food - my dog Wally's first year with me

Transitioning From Kibble To Raw Dog Food

Transitioning from kibble to raw dog food is easy! My dog Wally has been with me for a year now, and boy, have we come a long way together on several different levels. The one that I cover today is Wally’s transition from kibble to raw dog food.

I also covered Wally’s training and socialization progress in an article on the dog blog ThatMutt.com

If you’re interested in finding out about the latter, I invite you to head on over there and check out My dog’s training progress – 1 year later.

K9sOverCoffee.com | From kibble to raw dog food - my dog Wally's first year with me

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Wally ate poor quality kibble when he came to me

I had been fostering Wally for a month when I decided to adopt him myself. When I picked him up from his rescue group, he came with a large bag of some of the poorest quality kibble you can possibly buy.  As a result, he was one itchy pup. 

I completely understand that rescue groups don’t have a lot of money and therefore can’t invest in quality food, but I immediately knew that I had to upgrade his food at least a little. 

His itching and scratching became annoying after just a few hours, so my very first action step was to add a raw egg to his kibble.

That’s because raw eggs are nutritional boosters that are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to a healthy doggie coat.

K9sOverCoffee | Boosting foster dog Pablo's kibble with an organic raw egg
Boosting foster dog Wally’s kibble with a raw egg

The next step consisted in placing an order for a better quality food on Amazon. 2 days later, I started his transition from the poor quality Costco kibble he came with to The Honest Kitchen.

I transitioned him to the new dog food over the course of 7 days. It’s important to introduce new foods slowly to avoid digestive upset.

Transitioning from kibble to raw dog food with THK – The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen (THK) is a pet food brand that makes human-grade, dehydrated pet food. I’ve fed it several times when transitioning my previous dogs from kibble to raw dog food.

The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated, Grain-Free Beef Recipe

THK’s dehydrated beef recipe is a minimally processed dog food that’s fed with the addition of warm water, nothing else.

The 4 lb beef recipe box I purchased for Wally makes 16 lbs of dog food and costs $30, but it’s also available in a 10 lb box that makes 40 lbs of food for $99.

K9sOverCoffee | Foster dog Pablo and his new dehydrated dog food by THK
THK’s dehydrated grain-free beef dog food

All I had to do is scoop out the amount of dehydrated food Wally  needs (guidelines on the box), add some warm water, and wait a few minutes for the food to rehydrate. Super easy.

K9sOverCoffee | Starting Foster dog Pablo's transition from kibble to dehydrated food from THK
Mixing THK’s dehydrated dog food with warm water

This food consists of dehydrated ranch-raised beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, organic flaxseed, organic coconut, parsley, chard, papaya, cranberries, pumpkin, honey, and several vitamins and minerals.

It doesn’t contain any by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or added sugars. According to the company, all ingredients are processed in the USA in a human grade food processing facility. They are non genetically modified and free of any chemicals & preservatives. All meat is hormone and antibiotic free.

The one downside of this food is that it contains a good amount of starchy ingredients like the potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Some dogs are sensitive to starchy foods, so it’s something to keep in mind.

The Honest Kitchen’s Grain-Free Veggie Nut & Seed Base Mix for Raw or Cooked Dog Food

Once I had decided to adopt Wally myself, I knew he’d be eating raw dog food from now on, so that’s when I went ahead and started making the transition. 

I decided to easy Wally into the concept of raw dog food with a little help from The Honest Kitchen’s grain-free base mix since he had already been eating their dehydrated dog food. A 7 lb box is just shy of $60 and makes 29 lb of dog food.

K9sOverCoffee | THK's base mix with raw chicken breast
THK’s Grain-Free Base Mix

The base mix is similar to the dehydrated food I fed Wally before, except that it’s mixed with either cooked or raw meat. Obviously I added raw meat to the food and I went ahead and started with chicken breasts. That’s one of the most available and inexpensive types of meat. 

The grain-free base mix consists of sweet potatoes, peas, cabbage, organic coconut, apples, spinach, pumpkin, bananas, celery, organic kelp and organic honey, plus vitamin & mineral premix (premix includes tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate).

K9sOverCoffee | My new dog Wally eating THK's base mix with raw chicken breast
Wally eating THK’s base mix with raw chicken breast

Transitioning from kibble to raw dog food: Enter raw dog food

Once we finished The Honest Kitchen’s base mix box, I went ahead and fed Wally nothing but raw dog food with the addition of some veggies and fruits that I puréed myself. I alternated between pre-made raw dog food and my own raw dog food.

The Benefits of Raw Dog Food

I’ve witnessed the power of raw dog food first hand ever since I started feeding it in 2015. The power of a balanced, nutritious, raw diet is truly amazing and comes with numerous benefits:

K9sOverCoffee.com | The Benefits of feeding Raw Dog Food
The benefits of raw dog food

Pre-Made Raw Dog Food

I believe in feeding a large variety of different cuts of meat and protein sources in order to avoid flavor fatigue in my dogs. That’s why Wally got to sample a variety of pre-made raw dog food brands whenever they were on sale at a local pet store:

  • Nature’s Variety 
  • Steve’s Real Food
  • Stella & Chewy’s
  • Instinct Pet Food

Homemade Raw Dog Food

However, I do make the majority of Wally’s raw dog food myself. I really got the hang of it and it truly doesn’t take very long to put his meals together. Besides that, it’s also a lot cheaper than buying pre-made raw dog food on a regular basis!

Update 2020: I got my certification as a raw dog food nutrition specialist from Dogs Naturally Magazine in early 2020!

Certified Raw Dog Food Nutrition Specialist Certificate of Completion

In case you’re wondering where I source the different cuts of raw meat for Wally’s meals, I get them both from local grocery stores as well as from my favorite online raw dog food retailer, Raw Feeding Miami

K9sOverCoffee | One of my orders from Raw Feeding Miami
Raw Feeding Miami Order

Wally’s food intolerances were revealed with an allergy test

Wally’s itchiness and need for scratching got reduced by a lot since I started feeding him raw dog food.

However, I suspected that there were some types of food that didn’t agree with him because he did have flares of itchiness when I fed him certain types of food.

That’s why I went ahead and ordered an allergy test for him around Thanksgiving last year. I got it on sale for $80 from Raw Feeding Miami (regular price point is $100).

They no longer sell it there now, but it’s available at Dogs Naturally Magazine for around $110.

Turns out that there a many foods he does poorly on, such as chicken, quail, pheasant, salmon, anchovy, sardines, blueberries, and apples.

For the full list of foods Wally doesn’t do well on, see my article Dog allergy testing with the Glacier Peak Pet Wellness allergy scan – a review.

I’m glad that I went ahead and invested in this allergy test. Now I’m able to do meal prep for Wally and know exactly what he can and can’t have. 

K9sOverCoffee.com | Easy raw dog food meal prep for dogs with allergies

Leave your comments or questions in the comment section below!

Content Related to Raw Dog Food:

Raw Dog Food Game Changers

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK RAW DOG FOOD

Save 15% on anything at Raw Paws Pet Food with code K9Savings. They’re located in Indiana and ship nationwide within the US.

BEST VARIETY FOR INDIVIDUAL CUTS OF RAW MEAT

Save 10% on your first order of anything at Raw Feeding Miami with this referral link.

BEST SLOW FEEDER FOR RAW FED DOGS

Mighty Paw’s Slow Feed Insert combined with Yeti’s Boomer 4 Dog Bowl. Both are top rack dishwasher safe.

BEST FOUNDATION FOR BALANCED DIY RAW MEALS

Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Base Mix. It’s low-carb which is particularly great for dogs on a keto diet and those with health issues like diabetes and cancer.

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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