You’re enthusiastic and empowered because you know the truth about commercial dog food. You’ve done the research. You know the benefits. You know what to expect and you’re prepared.

You’re excited to be feeding a REAL food diet to your dog because he’s going to be healthier and happier. He’s going to be the epitome of health, what any dog should be – he’s going to be a primal pooch!

Next thing you know, you’re standing there, scratching your head saying , “WTF” because your dog isn’t even remotely interested in the awesome raw meal in front of him. 

He takes a few sniffs, gives you a weird look, and walks away.

Now what?

Let’s be honest, you’re pretty pumped.

The decision to switch your dog to a raw diet is an exciting one.

The old adage, “picky eaters aren’t born, they’re created” applies in this situation.
Some dogs will wolf down anything while others are pickier. Most dogs become picky eaters out of habit, mostly because their owners allow them to.

2. The use of a few disguises

1. Patience

There are basically two ways:

The problem is your dog just doesn’t know what to do with it. He’s eaten commercial, processed pet food his whole life and his new raw meal looks and smells quite different.

Did you know kibble is sprayed with fat and other substances to make it more appealing for your dog?  Raw food has little odor compared to kibble. 

Initially, your dog may not realize this is food.

How do you deal with this?

Don’t be discouraged, this happens to many new raw feeders.

Once you’ve put the raw meal in front of your dog, walk away. 

Let him figure it out. Give him about 15 minutes or so. If he hasn’t eaten it yet, simply (without emotion) pick it up and put it away.

Provide it again at the next meal. 

If your dog still refuses, continue this process until he or she caves in and decides to eat it.

Don’t worry, your dog will not die. 

No dog will intentionally starve itself. When they get hungry enough, they’ll eat.  

I think the longest I’ve heard of a dog refusing to eat is around ten days. Granted, this is the extreme and is probably unlikely for most dogs. I’m also not suggesting you withhold food from your dog for 10 days…

It’s important that you be extremely patient when making the switch. 

Patience and a Little Bit of Tough Love….

What you’re doing here is reinstating your position in the pack. You’re the alpha and you tell your dog when and what to eat. Your dog shouldn’t get to decide what he eat– if he does, then he wins, and you lose. 

He also shouldn’t get to decide when it’s time to eat by barking, whining, or pestering you.

This tough love will teach your dog to follow the rules of your household. If you can win this battle and be respected as the leader of the house during feeding times, your dog will continue to show you respect in other areas as well.

Another crucial tip to remember is not to make a fuss if your dog doesn’t eat. 

Don’t coax him into eating. 

Just the opposite. You’re providing food to your dog, it’s he who is choosing NOT to eat it.

Now, whatever you do, don’t give in and don’t provide other food in the meantime. No training treats, table scraps, rawhide, or other dogs chews or treats. If you provide something else, it will take longer for your dog to cave in.

It’s a game of who will cave first.

More often than not, it’s the dog owner. When this happens, your dog is the boss and is training you.

It seems as if many a new raw feeder tries to feed raw for a day or two, then gives up because they feel bad depriving their dogs. 

You’re not depriving you dog.  

On average, picky (and stubborn!) canine eaters may choose not to eat for 1-3 days.

Don’t baby talk him and provide love and affection because you feel bad.

If you do so, you’re just reinforcing his uncertainty about the new food and letting him know it’s okay to refuse his meals. 

On the other hand, it’s important to state: you’re not punishing him either. 

You’re just staying calm, neutral, and indifferent.

All you can do is be strong and trust that your dog will not starve himself.

Don't throw fearful or nervous energy out there.

The only exceptions to the tough love rule:


Dogs with other serious preexisting health conditions. 

Specific dogs or breeds that can develop or already have low blood sugar 

These dogs shouldn’t go without food for more than 24 hours. If unsure, I would consult with your holistic veterinarian to see how long you can safely withhold food.

Above all, make sure you have a strong support system.

Lean on other raw feeders or ask the advice of those that have been there before. 

Don’t know any other raw feeders? 

No worries, use this list to find online forums, groups, and Facebook groups you can join.

• Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top

• Add low sodium chicken or beef broth

• Add a little bone broth

• Lightly sear the meat (only if it’s boneless – do not do any cooking, no matter how light, to meat that contains bone). If your dog eats the cooked meat, you can try giving it to him raw next time or wean him onto the raw meat by searing it less and less each time. Cooking your dog’s food for a little while until he accepts raw, it won’t cause any harm.

• Sprinkle a little garlic salt on top

I happen to be with the tough love methodology.

However, if you’re having trouble with this or want to try some other options, there are a few simple things you can do to food to entice your dog to eat.

 A Few Raw Food Disguises, Tips & Tricks

Garlic received a bad rap after a study demonstrated garlic could cause oxidative damage to red blood cells – but in excessive amounts. 

Based on the study, you’d need to feed 5 full heads of garlic to a 75lb dog before showing any adverse effect on red blood cells. 

Remember: everything in nature has the potential be toxic is certain amounts. 

Garlic in moderation has a large list of health benefits. But if it makes you uneasy, try something else as a topper instead.

Most people successfully feed chicken at first – anywhere from two to four weeks before trying a different protein. It seems to be the meat of choice for dogs new to raw because it’s easily digestible and doesn’t cause stomach upset.

f you’re dog eats one day then doesn’t eat again, it could mean you’re changing up meals too quickly. Let him get used to a particular protein for at least two weeks before trying a new one.

What kind of raw diet are you feeding?

• Premade raw dog food
• Homemade Prey Model Diet
• Homemade BARF Diet

If one isn’t enticing your dog to eat, try another.

The point here is to get your dog used to eating any kind of raw. You can always adjust the format later. This is exactly what I did with my dog. I fed him commercial raw food for a few weeks then switched over to a homemade raw diet without any issue.

Some dogs may be more apt to eating ground mixes with other ingredients like fruits and vegetables first. Other’s won’t. The only way to know is to try.

For those  concerned about the safety of garlic read this.

Remember, dogs can become addicted to junk food just like we can.

You’re in control of your dog’s health, so make the right decisions for them.

Dog don’t live in the wild making decisions based on instinct anymore. They live in our modern world and don’t necessarily know what’s best for them.

It’s your duty to be a firm pet parent and feed food that is healthful. 

Tried these tips and it’s still not working?

Get in touch with me and we can go from there.

If this article was helpful to you, please share it so other new raw feeders can benefits from the advice, plus any new tips or tricks you’ve picked up along the way.

Above all, Hang in There!


Any questions?

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