What are the benefits of a raw food diet for a pet?

By eating a diet of fresh raw ingredients, dogs and cats receive better nutrition and allow their systems to work as they were designed to work by nature. This, in turn, puts less strain on their organs and, in many cases, allows the animal to lead a longer and healthier life. With a pet’s digestive system not having to constantly struggle to obtain nutrition from an inadequate food source, their body can focus on other matters such as building the immune system and other healing and strengthening processes.

Some of the visible benefits of a raw, natural diet are:

  •  Healthy, shiny coat with little or no odour.
  • Better breath.
  • Cleaner teeth and healthier gums obtained through chewing on bones.
  • Reduction in allergies and skin ailments.
  • Increased energy.
  • Smaller, less offensive stool.
  •  Better weight control – with raw food, keeping a pet at an ideal weight is just a matter of determining the food portion appropriate for their metabolism.

In addition to general health benefits, there have been a number of cases that we are aware of where switching to raw, under close supervision of a holistic veterinarian, has helped an animal overcome or manage serious medical conditions such as ear and eye infections, anal gland problems, digestion and bowel problems, and even heart problems.

What is the cost comparison of feeding a pet raw food vs. wet or dry?

The cost of feeding a dog or cat Red Dog Blue Kat raw food is comparable to that of high quality wet or dry pet food. 

Can a person feed a mixture of raw food with kibble?

Red Dog Blue Kat recommends feeding an all-natural raw diet, without mixing it with any commercial dry foods. The digestion process and time of kibble is vastly different from the natural raw food dogs and cats are designed to eat and mixing the two can cause a digestive upset. 

The stomach of dogs and cats are naturally acidic, creating an unwelcoming environment for bacteria and aiding in raw food digestion. Feeding dry foods decreases the acid in the stomach and offsets the natural hormonal balance and organ function/interaction related to the natural digestive process. Raw food is easier to digest, and usually takes 4-5 hours to digest. Kibble is more complex and can take 10-12 hours to digest. Furthermore, feeding raw and kibble together allows for the possibility of raw meat sitting in the digestive tract for longer priods of time. Because the acids that are naturally present in the animal’s stomache are depleted during kibble digestion, it leaves the system vulnerable to bacteria and parasites.

In summary, feeding a mixed diet requires the digestive system to have to continually readjust to processing kibble and puts unnecessary strain on the dog or cat’s internal organs.

If feeding kibble is unavoidable, then we suggest alternating meals between raw and kibble rather than mixing the two i.e. raw in the morning and kibble in the evening. Allow at least a half day, preferably a full day, for the digestive system to regain its natural PH level after feeding a kibble meal.

Should a person cook food for their dog or cat?

Red Dog Blue Kat strongly recommends feeding pets a raw diet, if possible. Some dogs and cats may have health conditions that prevent them from being able to handle raw foods, in which case a home cooked diet may be their best option. However, for the majority of healthy dogs, cooking is not necessary and should be avoided. The cooking process destroys or chemically alters many of the live enzymes,amino acids, and essential fatty acids found in raw meats that could otherwise be utilized to promote good health. Furthermore, cooking can deplete the food of some vitamins and minerals and make the food harder to digest.

If a person does choose to cook, they shouldn’t cook any poultry meals that contain bones. Cooked bones can splinter and form sharp edges that can cause serious damage to the digestive tract. Supplement any cooked diet with  a natural-source mineral and vitamin supplements to insure proper nutrition and calcium/phosphorus ratio.

How long is raw food safe in my freezer/fridge?

Once thawed, raw food should be refrigerated when not being fed and should be used within two days. Do not leave raw food out in your dog’s bowl for more than 15 minutes. Dogs do not graze – any food that has not been consumed within that time should be refrigerated for the next mealtime.

Can bones be cooked?

Absolutely not. Raw bones are meant to be fed raw, and if they are cooked they become brittle and prone to splintering. Feeding raw bones are a great source of calcium, and are excellent for teeth and gum health, as well as exercising the jaw muscles.

Chicken or turkey bones such as necks, wings, or drumsticks are also fine as long as they are purchased from trusted sources such as butchers and that the intention is to feed them raw.

Does a real food diet need to be all-or-nothing?

This is a common misconception. As much as we believe that the best thing for digestion and over-all health is a fresh, real food diet, there can be huge benefits achieved from simply incorporating a small amount of real food. Examples of this could be feeding our meals a few times per week, feeding fresh bones, or even adding a tablespoon of vegetable mix to their meal. There doesn’t need to be a drastic or enormous change, even doing little things can have a huge positive impact!

What if my vet does not support raw? Are there ones who do?

There are many vets that do support a real-food diet. In fact, we have compiled a list here on our website under the Find A Vet page.

How much should I be feeding my pet?

There are a few different ways to calculate the amount of food your pet needs. One way is to begin feeding based on a 2-3% of your pet’s body weight.  Alternatively, for every 10 lbs, you can feed 100 g of food. If you don’t know your pet’s weight exactly, you can feed based on your best guess and use your pet’s figure (and activity level) to determine if they require more or less food.

For more information on how much to feed, check out our Feeding Guide and for more information about body composition, head over to our  Health Checklist and click on the “Weight” tab.

What if my pet needs to gain/lose weight?

Each pet has different requirements from its food. If you notice your pet is underweight, adjust the amount of food until it reaches what you think the end weight should be.  For an overweight pet, the same approach applies. Gradually (especially if your pet needs to lose more than 2lbs) decrease the amount of food until your pet is eating at a healthier weight. Also factor in the age of your pet, their metabolism and activity level, as these factors will play a part in how much you may need to increase/decrease and how fast they gain/lose weight.

Please be advised that our feeding suggestions are only approximate guidelines, and we trust your judgement in the care of your four-legged family member.

Important Note #1 – Never fast a cat for any reason. They can quickly enter into a potentially life-threatening situation called Hepatic Lipidosis where the liver attempts to convert body fat into calories, which cats’ systems do not handle very well.

Important Note #2 – If you notice an abrupt gain/lose of weight in your pet and you have not adjusted their food amount, there may be an underlying health issue. We recommend getting in touch with your veterinarian to set up an appointment if this has occurred.

Can puppies and kittens be on a real food diet?

If you have a new puppy or kitten in your family, we recommend introducing a real food diet within a few days, as soon as they are more settled. But this transition must be done slowly, especially if they are switching off a kibble or canned diet. Work up until you are feeding approximately 5-10% of their body weight, and remember that you may end up feeding more than this percentage if you notice they are very energetic and burning through the calories! Make sure to monitor their body composition and overall health to determine any adjustments. Just like human babies, proper nutrition is most important when the body and brain are developing.

For more information on how much to feed, check out our Feeding Guide and for more information about body composition, head over to our  Health Checklist and click on the “Weight” tab.

Is a real food diet safe for pregnant pets?

Absolutely! Just like humans, pregnancy creates an even greater need for proper and accessible nutrition. During this exciting time, it is completely normal for feeding amounts to be dramatically increased. We recommend setting up an appointment with a raw-supporting veterinarian (or your own veterinarian, if they support raw) to set up a specially tailored diet to fit her needs.