Going Raw (Frozen Raw Part 1)

Are you thinking about going raw?  Are you intimidated by the idea of grinding up your pet’s food?  It’s not as hard as you think, but before you go commando, consider first trying raw frozen.

If you are considering raw feeding, you may want to start at your local pet supply shop.  Hopefully, there is a shop that has chosen to offer raw as well as premium pet food.  Here in Washington, D.C., we are fortunate to have a pet supply store that offers a large variety of national, international and local raw frozen pet food (check out the Big Bad Woof).  Because the owners are so committed to the idea of whole foods for pets, they research everything they sell and have been a tremendous resource for me.  It’s a great comfort when the pet place you shop in doesn’t think you’re weird (and they love my cats).  When I first considered going raw, I asked the shop owner tons of questions. I took pictures and wrote down the companies and food titles.  I went online to check out the ingredients, looked for reviews, complaints, and above all, looked for a coupon. As I said in several previous posts, it was my need to lower my food bill that drove me to raw feeding.  

There are three types of raw; fresh, frozen and dried.  From that, the food is either a complete or is a mix/grind.  A mix or a grind is raw that is meant to be either supplemental feeding* added to a pet’s diet or as a base for making pet food. We will talk more about mixes and grinds on the post about DIY raw diets. For this post, let’s focus on the raw complete, which is raw that does not require any added ingredients.  It is ready to eat out of the bag, box, tube or bowl. 


 What to consider when choosing a meat

Ask yourself what your pet likes to eat, this is for them after all. Chicken Lover?  Cow-Hound?  Most companies offer beef, chicken, turkey, salmon or a mix of two.  These meats are sourced from all over the world.  Some companies may also offer native meats like duck, quail, pheasant, rabbit, lamb, venison, buffalo and pork.  

Other than taste, your pet’s dietary issue can further influence your choice.  Duck and Rabbit are higher in calories, and pheasant is easier to digest.  Venison, though more expensive than beef is much leaner, ideal for your pet with weight issues. 

Want your pet to eat paleo? Ask yourself what food native or regionally would be available to your pet.  Then ask yourself; could kitty or Spot kill this animal?  I know that sounds weird, but think about it.  My cats like beef, but I’m pretty sure if the opportunity presented itself, they could not kill a cow. A cow being unnatural for a cat may affect how well they can digest it.  I have a looked into the science of this but have not found enough information to say whether this has an impact on digestion.  I do know it has an effect in reverse.  If your pet eats a limited ingredient diet due to IBS/IBD or allergies, Veterinarians will suggest eating a protein uncommon to your pet.  If your pet has a problem digesting poultry (this would include eggs), venison is unique enough that your pet would not have developed and allergy or intolerance to it. 


Buy Local

Some great companies offer good products outside the United States.  However, I like to buy local when I can.  I do this not only to support the “Buy Local” movement but also lessen my footprint on this earth.  I also like the idea of knowing my food comes from this or that farm.

In my area, several local businesses offer raw food for pets.  This food is sourced from local farms (within 100 miles), making the processing minimal and is quicker to your domestic market. 


Freeze-Dried

The process of drying food is as old as man itself.  Our ancestors used this technique to preserve food and make it easier for travel. Unlike the old method of fire and smoking, freeze dried does what the name suggest; first freezing the meat and then use vacuum pressure to draw out moisture.  Adding fluid will bring the product back to form. Freeze dried is also offered as complete nutrition and supplemental feeding.*

 A Caution for Cat Owners

Whichever food you choose, read for yourself the ingredients to make sure they are appropriate for your pet.  One of the drawbacks of any company that feeds both cats and dogs is the tendency to feed both species the same food (although cat food is higher priced).  It is a cost measure for sure.  For cats specifically, make sure you see taurine in the ingredients for complete meals. Taurine is an amino acid derived from meat and bone marrow.  Fruit and Vegetables are not necessary for your cat’s nutrition (although it won’t hurt them to eat it). Dogs need little Taurine because their bodies can produce this substance.  Cats, on the other hand, cannot produce Taurine.  Cats are obligate carnivores.  The obligate means cats cannot adapt or survive without meat.  Companies add taurine to assure there is enough to sustain cats.  Primal Foods, Stella & Chewy’s, Nature’s Variety all have this ingredient added to their cat meals. 

In part 2 of this post, We visit the Big, Bad Woof and talk about specific brands.




2 comments:

  1. I have considered changing to raw food with my kitties. They are big fans of chicken and turkey! There have been some lifestyle factors that have held me back from going raw, but it is a consideration for the future. :) Thank you for the info!

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    Replies
    1. @Robin - Let me know if you need more information, discount coupons, etc. Most of these companies show at expos with samples and coupons often or offer a demo pack of food. I will be posting about how to transition your pet to raw in August.

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