Is Raw Pet Food Safe?
We use only the best wholesome ingredients. Our beloved dogs and cats are designed specifically to digest raw meat without harmful side effects. They have a very high concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (which kills bad bacteria); they have an abundance of beneficial (good) bacteria for a healthy digestive tract; and they have a short digestive tract which does not allow time for any “bad” bacteria to stay in the tract and multiply to dangerous levels. In other words, the risk of bacteria in raw pet food is mainly for humans handling the food, not the pets.* That is why there are “safe handling instructions” (i.e., washing hands and utensils after handling) denoted on any raw meat, such as the hamburger or chicken you buy for yourself. The more you know and learn about feeding raw food, the more comfortable you will feel.
* The only exception to feeding raw food to pets would be a pet that is immune-compromised; if your pet is immune-compromised, please consult with a holistic veterinarian to determine if raw food is suitable for your pet.
Why is Raw Food More Beneficial?
Raw meat contains naturally-occurring enzymes and complete proteins, making it more bio-available nutritionally for your dog or cat. Cooking meat destroys 100% of its enzymes and as much as 50% of its protein. This is one reason most commercial pet food companies add taurine (an essential protein) to their food – because cooking the food depletes the taurine levels. Raw pet food is very rich nutritionally so a little bit goes a long way, making it a highly efficient food since nothing is wasted. In addition, the naturally-occurring enzymes in raw meat and vegetables may help relieve the so-called food or skin “allergies” of many pets which may be caused by feeding enzyme-deficient, cooked and/or poor quality ingredients.
How Much Do I Feed My Dog or Cat?
Your dog or cat should eat approximately 2-3% of their “ideal” body weight every day. For example, an average 10-pound cat will eat approximately 4 oz. per day or a 50-pound dog will eat approximately 1.25 pounds per day. A growing puppy or kitten should eat approximately 6% of their body weight each day. Every dog or cat has different metabolisms, energy levels, etc., so start with the 2-3% amount and increase or decrease depending on how they look (too fat or too thin). Check out these charts to help identify the ideal weight of your dog [xxx link] or cat [xxx link].
How Much Food Should I Thaw?
Only thaw the amount of food your pet will eat within 1 to 2 days; preferably 1 day, especially for cats. Look at the chart on the label to determine how much your dog or cat will eat each day based on their “ideal” body weight.
How Do I Thaw the Food?
You may thaw the food overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature if you refrigerate the food as soon as it is thawed. Always store the thawed food in the refrigerator. For quicker thawing, you may place the food in a bowl which you then place in a bigger bowl of very hot water. NEVER thaw the food in a microwave as it may accidentally overcook the food and make the ground-up bones in the food become dangerously brittle.
How Long Should I Let the Food Sit Out?
Almost all dogs and some cats will eat their serving of food immediately. However, if you have a picky or slow eater, cover any remaining food and put it in the refrigerator within 20 to 30 minutes after serving.
How Long Can I Store the Food?
The food can be kept frozen in the freezer for up to one year. Sometimes small ice crystals form on the food; these ice crystals are caused by condensation and do not affect the quality of the food at all.
Can I Add Other Ingredients to the Food?
For DOGS ONLY you may add up to 10% additional healthy ingredients, such as cooked sweet potatoes, canned pumpkin or more fruits/vegetables.
What If My Cat Doesn’t Like It at First?
Felines can be finicky. Cats are attracted to food by smell and since raw food is not cooked, it does not have much smell. So to entice your cat, try sprinkling some water from a can of tuna over the food immediately before serving, then slowly taper off the tuna water a little each day until your cat is eating the raw food without the tuna water. Or you can add a very small amount (1/2 teaspoon) to canned cat food and over 7 to 10 days increase the raw and decrease the canned amount. You can try warming up the raw food with a little bit of warm water mixed into the food. You can also go to www.feline-nutrition.org for lots of helpful information on how to transition a cat to a raw food diet.
Can I Also Give My Dog Bones?
YES! But ONLY RAW bones! Cooked bones become brittle and may splinter, causing internal damage to your dog’s digestive tract. RAW bones will clean your dog’s teeth, exercise his/her jaw muscles and gums, and keep him/her entertained for hours. Plus, eating a raw food diet and raw bones will give your dog fresh breath – no more smelly doggy breath!
Where Can I Find Out More About Raw Pet Food?
For more information on the benefits of a raw, natural diet and/or holistic pet care, go to your local library for books on the subject or search the Internet. Recommended reading: Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care by Chiclet T. Dog and Jan Rasmusen; Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard Pitcairn, D.V.M., Ph.D.; The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care by C.J. Puotinen; Natural Dog Care (and Cat Care) by Celeste Yarnall, Ph.D.; Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care (and Cat Care) by Randy Kidd, D.V.M., Ph.D.; Food Pets Die For by Ann N. Martin.