Raw Food FAQ's
So, you've heard about Raw Pet Foods and have even seen them in the freezers at our stores but you're still not sure what they're all about, why anyone would feed them to their pets and you have some concerns about the safety and nutritional aspects of this kind of diet. You've come to the right place!
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Raw Pet Foods:
Q: What's the big deal with Raw Pet Food?
A: Raw Pet Foods are basically whole, fresh foods formulated in such a way to deliver naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals, nutrients, enzymes and probiotics (things you just can't get from dry/kibble or canned foods) to your pet in way that is consistent with their biology.
One of the easiest ways to see the difference between Raw Pet Foods and regular dry and canned foods is to read the ingredient panel. In most dry and canned pet foods you will notice a very long list of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce and unidentifiable to the average pet parent. In higher-end dry and canned foods, most of these ingredients are synthetic supplements that need to be added back into the food because the natural vitamins and minerals from the ingredients were too damaged in the cooking process to be worth much to your pet.
On the other hand, when you read the ingredient label on most Raw Pet Foods, you'll see ingredients like duck, turkey liver, beef heart, kale, blueberries, carrots, etc. with very minimal (if any) synthetic supplements. This means that your pet is getting their amino acids from meat, their vitamin A from carrots, their taurine from heart, etc. It is much like the difference between you and I eating a steak, salad and raw carrots for dinner instead of a highly processed microwaveable dinner.
Here is a quick comparison between a dry food and a raw food ingredient panel, both from products we carry at Pet Supply Warehouse:
Over the many years that we've been recommending Raw Pet Foods, we have seen an overwhelmingly positive response. Some of the benefits we have seen and heard of from our customers include:
•healthier skin and coat
•cleaner and healthier teeth
•less body odor
•less poop (yay!)
•less itching and shedding
•overall improved quality of life
Q: Why "raw" and not cooked?
A: Raw Pet Foods typically include muscle & organ meats as well as a variety of produce. Cooking these ingredients applies heat which breaks down naturally-occurring enzymes, degrades nutrients and kills probiotics that are all naturally present in these foods. By feeding them raw, dogs and cats will benefit from everything the ingredients have to offer, naturally.
Q: Since dogs and cats have been domesticated for so long, aren't their digestive systems used to regular pet food (i.e. dry & canned foods)?
A: While it is true that dogs and cats have been domesticated for many centuries, it is false to think that their digestive systems have somehow adapted to perform better on processed foods. Dry and canned pet foods were only introduced in the 1920's and 30's and just eating something for a long time does not produce a complete change in biology. If you and your descendants decided to eat nothing but pizza for the next 100 years, would their digestive system be adapted to perform better on pizza than on whole, unprocessed foods? Probably not :-)
Q: I'm concerned about bacteria in Raw Pet Food... can you tell me about this?
A: On the one hand, dogs' and cats' digestive systems are made to handle bacteria just fine, assuming they are healthy and not immune-compromised. Their food sits in their stomach for a number of hours while their stomach acids kill off any pathogens that may be in their food and then the waste is eliminated rather quickly through their short digestive tract. In the wild, dogs and cats eat raw foods (no one is out there to cook it for them!) and are fine. Even in our homes today, dogs are fine after getting into the trash and eating 4-day-old chicken or after they get into the cat litter boxes and, well... you know!
On the other hand, Raw Pet Foods are monitored by the FDA, who have a zero-tolerance policy for pathogens in pet food. The USDA, who monitors human foods actually has a margin for allowable bacteria in our foods, meaning that Raw Pet Foods are held to stricter standards than what we buy for ourselves!
Even still, we always recommend washing your hands & any surfaces that come into contact with Raw Pet Foods because, although our pets can handle it, we're not built quite the same way!
Q: How do I feed this to my dog or cat?
A: Feeding Raw Pet Food is simple:
1. Pull out the recommended feeding quantity (see feeding guideline on package)
2. Thaw out the recommended portion in the refrigerator (usually overnight is perfect)
3. Give to your pet and enjoy the benefits of feeding Raw Pet Food!
Q: Does my pet need to be 100% on Raw Pet Food to see the benefits?
A: While we always say, "The more raw, the better," we also say, "Some raw is better than no raw!" So no, your pet does not need to be 100% on Raw Pet Foods to see benefits. Many pet parents (especially of large dogs) feed Raw Pet Foods as a supplement to their pet's dry and/or canned food. This could be compared to someone who eats fast food for breakfast and lunch but who eats a healthy, home-cooked meal for dinner every day. They would still receive some benefit from that home-cooked meal.
Q: This all sounds great, but is there any science to back up this information?
A: Yes, finally! While we have seen & heard an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence over the past couple decades supporting the benefits of feeding Raw Pet Food, the DogRisk group at the University of Helsinki has conducted (and is still conducting) research on the benefits of Raw Pet Foods. Their first study concluded that feeding puppies a diet that consisted of at least 20% Raw Pet Food led to a 63% decrease in developing environmental allergies later in life. Their second study found that puppies eating kibble are 61-85% more likely to develop IBD as an adult compared to puppies that were fed Raw Pet Foods.
For more information on these studies, CLICK HERE.
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