Raw Pet Food 101: What to Know before You Switch

Dr. Barbara Royal is a veterinarian and the founder of The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was a featured veterinarian on the Smithsonian Channel. She lives in Wilmette, Illinois with her husband, two children, her cat, Flag, and her dog, Henry.

hungry-dog_300Are you ready for your pet to have shiny fur, lots of energy, and a longer life? From The Royal Treatment, here is the best way to switch your furry friend from protein-deficient dry kibble to the real deal.

The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets

The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets

by Barbara Royal

View Details

  • Get The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets
  • Get The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets
  • Get The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets
  • Get The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets
  • Get The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets

Pre-prepared Frozen Raw Food

• A ready-to-feed, complete diet once thawed
• Pre-prepared frozen raw meat is mixed with vegetables, fruits, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes supplements
• Provides all of the vitamins and minerals for a complete diet
• Contains appropriate moisture content
• Comes in the form of medallions, patties, bricks, and tubes
• Needs freezer space
• Great nutritional value
• Can be expensive
• Takes slightly more prep time than feeding kibble or canned food

Common questions from clients regarding raw foods:

• Can’t I just feed some ground beef from the grocer?

No, that is not a complete diet. Muscle meat should not be the only ingredient in a dog’s diet. Dogs do need a completely balanced diet that includes raw meat, but there is more to it than that. Pre-prepared raw food includes the minerals and vitamins needed for the animal to thrive. This includes the proper calcium-to- phosphorus ratio that is so essential for dogs and cats. Raw meat alone does not have a proper ratio. In the wild, an animal would obtain the proper ratio from eating many parts of the prey animal, including feet, eyes, brain, fluids, organs, intestines, and bones. They wouldn’t just eat the muscle meat. Typically the patties are frozen and need only to be thawed before feeding.

• Aren’t there more dangerous bacteria and contaminants in raw pet food than in raw grocery meat for humans?

Not necessarily. Raw food manufacturers know their food will be fed raw and therefore they take great pains to use quality ingredients and avoid pathogens during processing. The deep-freezing process itself takes care of many pathogens and parasites, and it doesn’t degrade the quality of the nutrients. And freezing affords easy shipping and storing.

Grocers, on the other hand, sell meat that they expect will be cooked to destroy any contaminants. The safeguards against parasites or bacterial counts are different for grocery meat than for a raw food-processing plant. Recent recalls are more often for dry and canned foods than for pre-prepared raw foods. My rule for all pet food is to use normal hygiene procedures. If you are concerned about bacteria in the food, wash your hands and bowls after feeding. This will help minimize pathogen transmission.

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Katie Silcox is a nationally recognized yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, writer for Yoga Journal, and a senior teacher within the Tantric Sri-Vidya-based ParaYoga lineage under Yogarupa Rod Stryker. Katie was named one of San Francisco's Best Yoga Teachers by Common Ground magazine in 2009, and one of "70 Yogis Changing the World" in Origin magazine. Her signature teaching style blends classical yoga, vinyasa-based asana, and life-changing Tantric/Ayurvedic philosophy. She lives in Virginia. Learn more at KatieSilcoxYoga.com.

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    [post_content] => hungry-dog_300Are you ready for your pet to have shiny fur, lots of energy, and a longer life? From The Royal Treatment, here is the best way to switch your furry friend from protein-deficient dry kibble to the real deal.

Pre-prepared Frozen Raw Food

• A ready-to-feed, complete diet once thawed
• Pre-prepared frozen raw meat is mixed with vegetables, fruits, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes supplements
• Provides all of the vitamins and minerals for a complete diet
• Contains appropriate moisture content
• Comes in the form of medallions, patties, bricks, and tubes
• Needs freezer space
• Great nutritional value
• Can be expensive
• Takes slightly more prep time than feeding kibble or canned food

Common questions from clients regarding raw foods:

• Can’t I just feed some ground beef from the grocer?

No, that is not a complete diet. Muscle meat should not be the only ingredient in a dog’s diet. Dogs do need a completely balanced diet that includes raw meat, but there is more to it than that. Pre-prepared raw food includes the minerals and vitamins needed for the animal to thrive. This includes the proper calcium-to- phosphorus ratio that is so essential for dogs and cats. Raw meat alone does not have a proper ratio. In the wild, an animal would obtain the proper ratio from eating many parts of the prey animal, including feet, eyes, brain, fluids, organs, intestines, and bones. They wouldn’t just eat the muscle meat. Typically the patties are frozen and need only to be thawed before feeding.

• Aren’t there more dangerous bacteria and contaminants in raw pet food than in raw grocery meat for humans?

Not necessarily. Raw food manufacturers know their food will be fed raw and therefore they take great pains to use quality ingredients and avoid pathogens during processing. The deep-freezing process itself takes care of many pathogens and parasites, and it doesn’t degrade the quality of the nutrients. And freezing affords easy shipping and storing.

Grocers, on the other hand, sell meat that they expect will be cooked to destroy any contaminants. The safeguards against parasites or bacterial counts are different for grocery meat than for a raw food-processing plant. Recent recalls are more often for dry and canned foods than for pre-prepared raw foods. My rule for all pet food is to use normal hygiene procedures. If you are concerned about bacteria in the food, wash your hands and bowls after feeding. This will help minimize pathogen transmission.
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