Raw and Real Food Philosophies for cats and dogs?

The concept of raw diets for cats and dogs are not new. Before the introduction of kibble (McKibble and McCan) and other convenient commercial offerings, fooding human food bits to pets was part of the common kitchen routine. The philosophy behind a natural diet is simplicity, a diet that fits our pets’ true nutritional requirements. Simple raw animal protein, a small amount of minced bone for calcium and phosphates, natural non-synthetic minerals and vitamins, and a small amount of carbs specifically for your fur kids. By “raw”, we paraphrase “Restoring Animal Wellness“!

Our suppliers manufacture the supreme pet cuisine we stock and supply to you;- minimally processed, wholesome, and natural. We all know that people need real, whole, minimally processed foods to thrive. Pet parents, guardians and slaves who realize this and make healthy eating choices themselves quickly realize that this same logic applies to their cats and dogs.

Our fur kids are biologically designed to eat what they have eaten for centuries before big kibble companies existed – meat, bones, and tripe (the fruits and vegetables digesting in the stomachs of their prey). They were never designed to eat high-carb, grain based diets (see our article titled “High Carb Diets for Pets?), and they were designed to eat a variety of raw, moisture-rich foods. We believe that feeding them kibble is like giving a piece of bread to someone with celiac disease – every meal for their entire lives. Over time, they would not be very healthy and would have several health issues.

Like pet parents, pets need:

  • Moisture Rich Meals;
  • Variety;
  • Minimally Processed Foods;
  • Whole Meats and Produce (not meals or by products);
  • Food Free of Additives, Hormones, Antibiotics and Pesticides;

Our pets thrive on properly prepared raw meat-based diets. Processed foods can never match the nutrition available in such a meal.

First, what do we mean by properly prepared raw meat diets?

Properly prepared raw meat diets, such as the ones we stock and supply, are “complete and balanced”, or “complementary” as defined in the South Africa legal framework through Act 36 of 1947 (see: Department of Agriculture Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act). There are many people who attempt home-made raw diets, but these can be complicated, expensive, and time consuming. There are several different nutritional requirements that must be met, and the needs vary over time. It practically takes a graduate degree to be able to get it right – which many pet parents and guardians in fact do (without the degree of course ..). But if a pet parent gets it wrong, the results can be devastating, and this is one of the main reasons so many veterinarians are against raw diets.

If you do not have the time or the money to invest in the education requisite to safely prepare a raw home meal, commercially manufactured raw pet foods, such as the ones we represent and sell, are the best option for providing good nutrition for your pet. There are a growing number of raw diets that meet AAFCO’s standards for “Complete and Balanced for All Life Stages” and “Complementary for All Life Stages” (yes, we realize that we might not be seen as very pro-AAFCO, but in the consumer context, the profiles and Act 36 / 1947 itself have a valid purpose in our, and your, life). This means that all the meals we sell have been formulated to ensure they have the nutrients necessary for good health over the lifetime of your pet.

However, AAFCO standards are easy targets and can be achieved using low-grade ingredients (see our article on AAFCO standards). Many commercial dry pet food companies have spent hundreds of thousands of Rands (actually, more like millions of US Dollars) to figure out the cheapest ingredients available that will yield the test result necessary to pass (don’t believe us? Watch Canadian Broadcasting Corporation video titled “a Dog’s Breakfast” – of specific interest, the AAFCO test submission around 35 min 19 secs into the documentary, we reference in our article titled “From Trash to Cash). These ingredients will be processed, artificial and non-human grade.

We believe that one of the goals of raw pet food is to maintain as much of the naturally occurring nutritional value as possible. Many of the processes commercial processed food is exposed to before it reaches the store shelf strips it of vital nutrients, so our suppliers do nothing more than grind the raw ingredients together, shape and package them, and then freeze them. Heat destroys important building blocks for health, and High-Pressure Processing (HPP) destroys healthy digestive enzymes. By avoiding these processes, our suppliers present a food that is in imitation of nature – with all the amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals intact.

The results can be dramatic. When we switch dogs and cats from processed, grain- and legume-based foods to raw pet cuisine diets from our suppliers, improvements become quickly apparent. We have received feedback that the food has improved health in many ways, including:

  • Brighter eyes;
  • Improved Behavior;
  • Many common skin problems disappear;
  • More Energy and Vitality;
  • Whiter Teeth, Better Breath;
  • Arthritis and other joint issues resolved or reduced;
  • Digestive Problems Clear Up;
  • Firm, Smaller Stools (that is a benefit for the pet parents);

We discuss the differences in feeding philosophies and presentation of pet cuisine in detail in our article titled What is the raw food diet for cats and dogs?

Additional Articles and Videos

You can read Dr. Jean Dodd, Prey Model vs. BARF Diets: Possibly the most contentious battle in the dog world (see: Article).

In this video, animal nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton discusses how we can all feed our pets for optimal health and wellness.

Dr. Becker and Dr. Raditic on Pet Nutrition.

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