Why should you feed your dog or cat raw food?

At All The Best, we believe that animals thrive on a diet that mimics what Mother Nature would provide them in the wild. Although dogs and cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, it is only in the last century  that commercially processed dry and canned foods have become the standard.

Before that, our companion dogs ate a diet composed largely of live prey and scavenged meals, along with scraps from their caretakers’ diets—whole meats, fruits, vegetables and grains. Cats have historically consumed mainly prey they have caught, providing pest control for their human companions, in addition to occasional scraps of meat. These types of diets are still what our pets’ bodies are adapted to process, as it takes millions of years for significant evolutionary changes in digestive processes to take place. Essentially, dogs, whether they are Chihuahuas or Huskies, are more than 99% identical to a wolf on the inside, and our domestic cats are equally identical to wild cats!

Because raw diets are not cooked and are minimally processed, the ingredients are easily digested and more bioavailable. Raw pet foods are generally composed of raw muscle meat, organ meat and bones, and fresh whole fruits and vegetables.

Raw diets are naturally low in carbohydrates, and are high in moisture, which benefits pets with an array of health issues. Meals more closely approximating the diet of a wolf or wild cat help ensure that our pets are getting a species-appropriate diet that will support a long life in good health.

PRE-MADE RAW DIETS

  Easiest to prepare­—simply thaw chubs, patties, or nuggets, and serve

  Complete and balanced with a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients that meet AAFCO minimum nutrient levels

  Come in a wide variety of brands with many unique protein sources

  HOMEMADE RAW DIETS

•   Can be made in bulk quantities for large or multiple pets

    Independently sourced ingredients can be more cost- effective

    Complete control over what goes in—great for animals with allergies and special dietary needs

    Should be fed rotationally, and may require multiple supplements such as kelp and fatty acids to reach optimum nutrient levels

    Needs a calcium component to provide necessary support for strong bones

    Try a chub or our ROAR grinds for an easy base

    See Homemade Diets for Dogs & Cats for recipes and tips

Commonly-asked questions about raw

 
Is raw food right for my pet?

No one diet is appropriate for every individual animal. The most important thing, however, is feeling comfortable and confident in whatever you choose to feed your pet, raw or not. As with any pet food, make sure that the ingredients used are high quality and human-grade, and aim for balanced nutrition and variety. Pets with compromised immune systems may not be good candidates for raw diets, as their bodies are not equipped to deal with the bacteria potentially found in raw meats like the bodies of healthy animals are.

What about bacteria like E. coli & Salmonella?

Our pets’ bodies are well-equipped to deal with bacteria that are harmful to humans, since their natural diet is teeming with bacteria. Their short digestive tract means that food moves through the body quickly, and their highly acidic stomach juices help neutralize bacteria. A healthy dog or cat with a normal immune system should have no problems regarding bacteria. As for humans, when handling any raw meat, be sure to wash your hands after touching.

How will it affect my pet’s stools?

Because nearly 100% of the nutrients are biologically available, pets that are fed a raw food diet consistently have smaller, firmer stools than those fed canned or dry food. Occasionally there are some loose or odd colored stools during the transitioning process to raw. This can be a reaction to overfeeding or a transition that happened too quickly.  Such stool changes usually do not last long.

How do I get started feeding raw?

Dogs are usually easy to transition to raw food. Start with small amounts either alone or mixed with their current food, and gradually increase the amount of raw while decreasing the amount of the previous diet. This can be done over a period of one to two weeks, taking more time if necessary for more sensitive animals.

Cats, especially older ones, can be trickier. The best way to switch them is to start by mixing a pea-sized amount of raw food into their favorite canned food and adding a splash of warm water to the mixture. Over the coming weeks, or even months, gradually increase the amount of raw until your cat has fully switched.

How much raw food does my pet need?

Food quantities vary based on an animal’s age, metabolism, and exercise level. A good general rule of thumb is usually 1.5–3% of an adult animal’s ideal body weight, divided into two or three meals per day. The amount can vary based on metabolism, activity level, season, and age.

Can I feed both raw and cooked foods?

Absolutely! Many people feed a combination of raw and cooked foods for convenience and budgetary reasons. While canned and dry foods don’t match the benefits of raw food, they offer a nice alternative for traveling and boarding, for maximizing your budget, or just for a change of pace. You may choose to mix raw with your pet’s other food, or offer them at separate times. Be aware that some sensitive animals have a more difficult time digesting raw mixed with kibble, but do fine with raw mixed with canned—it all depends on the individual animal. Whether you go all raw, 50/50, or offer it just a few times per week, your pet will benefit.

Books such as Dr. Ian Billinghust’s Give Your Dog a Bone and Kymythy Schultze’s Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats can offer a wealth of information, as can raw feeder Internet groups and websites. Stop in your favorite  All The Best Pet Care store for tips, as most of us have personal experience with feeding raw.