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We will help simplify some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q: Is raw food safe?
Raw pet food manufacturers follow strict food safety guidelines, appropriately food handling and quality control programs. The most important safety factor for you at home, is to practice proper food handling as you would for your own raw meat products.
Stick to the basics - keep raw food separate and clean up. Wash bowls, utensils and hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and wipe down any contact surfaces with hot soapy water or antibacterial soap.
Our dogs and cats have strong defences against bacteria; their saliva contains bacteria-fighting enzymes, highly acidic stomach juices, digestive enzymes and bile easily break down bacteria and their short digestive tract is quickly able to process raw meats.
Q: Will feeding my pet raw make them aggressive?
No, this is not true. Changing your pets food will not make them aggressive or “bloodthirsty”. However, keep in mind that as with any food your dog or cat really enjoys, some may act defensive or territorial when eating what they don’t want to share.
Q: Is a raw meat diet a balanced diet?
Commercially prepared raw diets or properly homemade diets incorporate a complete balanced formula. Feeding a raw diet is much more than just meat. Animals require variety in their diet to provide a complete profile of vitamins and minerals for optimum nutrition. Adding bones, essential fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals does make for a balanced diet.
Q: Is raw food more expensive?
Feeding a raw diet may cost less than you think. If you are concerned about your pets nutrition, it’s likely you are already paying for a premium-quality kibble. In most cases, raw food will cost the same or slightly more than most premium commercially bagged or Veterinarian Formulated food.
We like to consider feeding a raw diet as preventative action, a long-term investment in your pets health.
Q: How much does it cost to feed a raw diet?
Raw feeding costs will depend on the age, size and activity level of your dog. The following formula will help you estimate a budget:
Weight of Dog x 2% x $2.85 (average cost per lb) x 28 days = Cost per month.
Depending on your protein choice, the cost will vary. For example, Turkey or Beef are inexpensive proteins compared to more novel proteins such as Rabbit or Kangaroo.
You can help reduce weekly feeding costs by including beneficial raw meaty bones to your dogs diet plan such as chicken or turkey necks.
Q: Can I microwave raw food to thaw it faster?
No, this is not recommended. Especially products that contain ground bone. Microwaving food destroys the nutritional value. The safest way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator overnight or submerged in a container of cool water. Thaw times will depend on various conditions so simply be observant.
Q: Can I refreeze already thawed raw food?
No. Once meat is thawed to room temperature it should be immediately fed and any unused portions refrigerated in a sealed container and consumed within 2 days. Refreezing will encourage bacterial growth.
Q: Can I mix raw meat with kibble?
It’s not recommended to combine raw meat with dried food in the same meal. Each of these foods has different digestive times. Raw food is easily and quickly digested while cooked-dried food can take hours to breakdown. The combination can cause fermentation in the stomach and potentially cause bacterial growth. If you’re not ready to make the full transition, we generally recommend feeding raw and dried foods at separate meal times.
Q: Since eating raw, my pet drinks less water. Is this normal?
Drinking less water on a raw diet is completely normal. Raw food contains higher water content and provides natural hydration. Proper hydration is essential for all cell and organ function.
Q: Are raw bones safe?
The appropriate life stage, size and shape raw bone can be perfectly safe and beneficial for oral health. Bones help remove plaque and massage gums. They also provide a source of calcium and are a great activity and workout for your pet.
Always supervise your pet when chewing bones.
Never give a frozen bone, they must be fully thawed.
Never, ever give your pet a cooked bone because they can splitter and become a hazard.
Q: How often can I feed raw meaty bones?
It’s recommended to feed raw meaty bones 1-2 per week. Bones are rich in calcium, too much can imbalance this mineral in the diet and may cause constipation with noticeably crumbly whitish-colour poops. Other bones such as marrow bones are more recreational chews, while softer meaty bones and chicken necks or wings can be used as meal substitutes.
Q: How do I begin transitioning from kibble to raw food?
There are different ways to convert to raw food, and most kibble-fed pets do very well with the switch. We recommend fasting your dog for 24 hours (small breeds and cats 12 hours) before introducing a raw meal. Begin by introducing one protein source at a time. Anywhere between 2 - 4 weeks they will have adjusted to this new raw meat, so we recommend introducing a new protein. Rotating different protein sources and even brand name formulas provides variety, interest and a balanced diet.
Please remember that each animal is different, and they’re hardwired to be cautious of the unfamiliar. Some animals may accept raw meat immediately or need your patience and encouragement. Entice them with adding fresh sardines, kefir or fish oil. There may be some detoxifying or digestive upset during the transition to raw food, this is normal. Poop volume or diarrhea is usually temporary and this is a healthy response by the digestive system. Digestive enzyme supplements will help with the transition upset and promote a healthy gut environment.
Q: My cat won't eat raw food. Any tips to make a successful transition?
Cats are obligate carnivores; they thrive on raw meat. Ground formulas are preferred, palatable and appealing for particular eaters. Some cat favourites are organ meats, turkey, chicken, duck, rabbit and quail. Chicken necks or the tips of the wings are excellent for keeping teeth clean and a fun chew.
Q: Is a raw food diet suitable for small or toy breeds?
Raw food is real food. No matter how big or small your dog is a balance diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. For smaller breeds, it’s recommended that bones such as chicken or duck necks and wings, or lamb riblets are better choices.
Q: Do Veterinarians support a raw food diet?
There are a growing number of Canadian Veterinarians that support a raw food diet. As they continue to educate themselves on this species-appropriate diet, progressive and Holistic Vets have seen the benefits and improvements in the overall health of their patients.
If you’re interested, we can recommend a Holistic Veterinarian clinic in your area. Contact us for more details.
Q: I think my pet ate something poisonous?
If you think your pet ate something poisonous, if they are experiencing on-going symptoms or you have a concern, consult with your Veterinarian immediately or call ASPCA Pet Poison Control (888) 426-4435.
We advocate for preparedness, and suggest that you keep all emergency numbers and a pet first aid kit accessible.
Don’t see the answer to a question you have? Get in touch with us [email protected]