Raw Feeding is putting into practice the belief that our pets should eat a more natural diet that reflects what their ancestors ate.
Today's dogs and cats were domesticated many thousands of years ago from their wolf and wild cat cousins and while our modern pets wear varied coats and have a multitude of body types the nutritional requirements have not changed from their ancestors. What has changed are the current pet food market practices. These practices and what the industry tells us to feed our canine and feline friends has resulted in obesity, allergies, and cancers. Many believe this is due to the modern kibble diet.
Manufactured kibble is generally a dried and cooked version of processed carbohydrates and ground meat meal product. Pet food companies will put pretty pictures of whole chunks of raw meat, fresh veggies and glistening fish on their bags and want us to believe their food is made purely from these items. This is not the case.
The modern Raw Feeding diet has a number of variations, the most popular being "Prey Model Raw", "Franken Prey" and the "BARF Diet".
A Prey Model Raw diet follows a basic theory that you feed whole, wild prey animals and no plant ingredients. (Please note, these prey animals are not fed alive). The concept being that an entire prey animal is fed to the dog or cat, including fur or feathers, organs, glands, blood and intestinal tract intact. This is a complete meal for your pet, nothing needs to be added. As many people have found difficulty sourcing whole prey for their pet, this way of feeding has morphed into another version called "Franken Prey" feeding.
The Franken Prey concept is aligned with the basic Prey Model but allows for a variety of ingredients to be put together (hence the "Franken(stein)" reference). The concept can be broken down into a component calculation of the meal, 75-80% should be muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs and up to 5% fiber such as fur or feathers. This allows for easier sourcing of the muscle meat, bone and organ meat ingredients.
BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst proposed this style of diet for family dogs which was initially created for racing greyhounds and sled dogs. This is a very popular raw diet for dogs and can easily sourced. The component calculation of the meal is 70% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 7% vegetables, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ, 2% seeds or nuts and 1% fruit.
All three of these Raw Feeding meal plans have a component requirement of 5% liver and 5% other secreting organs.
While liver can be easy to find the "other secreting organs" portion is often difficult to find, has a serious "ick" factor for many people, pets can find them unpalatable and typically you have to buy pounds at a time when you only need a very small amount. Secreting organs include kidney, spleen, brain, pancreas, thymus, testicles and ovaries.
While fresh raw is always best, Spectacular Offal Raw freeze dried organ blends are an excellent substitute.
Freeze dried blends are light and inexpensive to ship.
The blends are shelf stable allowing people who are traveling with their raw fed pet to easily continue to feed raw on the road.
Pets find the blends to be more like a treat than an unpalatable addition to their bowl.
The blends cut out your work of shopping, prepping and storing the required organ percentage. Simply break off the amount you need and put it in your pet's bowl. Either feed dry or mix with an equal amount of warm water to reconstitute.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RAW FEED YOUR PETS?
HOW DO I GET STARTED FEEDING MY PET RAW FOOD?
Our favorite things
Luckily there are numerous online sources for information on starting to raw feed your pet and a number of online stores that can get you started.
Here are a few of our favorites.
San Francisco Raw Feeders
I was very lucky to have a premier source for all of my raw feeding needs when I discovered San Francisco Raw Feeders. I was mentored by the founder and owner Kasie Maxwell. The SF RAW website has a lot of wonderful information on Raw Feedng http://sfraw.net/ If you are on Instagram check out the beautiful meals she prepares for her own pets @whatgroovyeats and @briarandbones
This is the go-to internet site for raw feeding. She provides well researched ingredient explanations, supplement alternatives, nutrient breakdowns, recipes and a priceless resource, custom meal plans.
We love to spoil our pets and there is no better way than to provide the highest quality and healthy treats! Wilder Bites has created a line of ethically sourced, dehydrated, human grade treats and chews for dogs.
These beautiful air dried and limited ingredient treats fit perfectly into your pet's diet.