Have you ever thought about feeding your dog or cat raw food but weren’t sure if it was safe? We’re here to share everything you need to know about safe raw feeding and the benefits of raw food for cats and dogs.
What is Raw Food?
Raw food simply means that the food has not been cooked. The ancestors of cats and dogs thrived off raw meat in the wild and it provided all the moisture and nutrients they needed to thrive. The healthiest, least processed diet for your house pet is still a raw diet that mirrors their ancestral diet (typically, 90-98% meat, organs, and bone).
Since raw food does not undergo any heat treatment that comes with baking or cooking, the food remains in its natural state and retains its nutritional value.
Benefits of Raw Food for Pets
- Healthy teeth & gums: Ground bone works as a mild abrasive to help remove plaque and natural enzymes work chemically in your pet’s mouth to promote clean teeth and healthy gums.
- Healthy digestion: Minimally processed raw foods digest more gently and efficiently. Your pet may even have smaller, firmer, and less frequent stools due to their body utilizing so much of the food. Stella & Chewy’s raw diets also include added probiotics to promote optimal digestion and support optimal gut flora.
- Vibrant skin & coat: The natural oils and omega fatty acids in raw foods support healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Stamina & vitality: A strong inclusion of meat organs, and ground bone support lean strong muscles.
What are Risks of Raw Food?
If you’re buying and feeding your pet raw meat straight from the store or butcher (not a raw diet specifically formulated for pets), it’s important to understand the potential risks. The best thing you can do as a pet parent to stay safe is to wash your hands with soap and water after preparing or handling the food.
Uncooked meats, particularly ones that aren’t human-grade, can carry infected eggs that can potentially lead to parasites, like worms, in your dog’s body.
Raw meat can carry bacteria such as E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella that can make you or your pet very sick. However, dogs and cats have a shorter digestive tract and a more acidic gut environment that makes them less susceptible to these bacteria than humans. This is why their ancestors eating raw prey didn’t go extinct from contracting bacteria.
If you’re creating your own diet for your pet using raw foods, you may not be fulfilling their nutritional needs. Pet foods are specifically formulated to meet AAFCO Nutrient Profiles to offer complete and balanced nutrition for your cat or dog that includes appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. Your pet may be nutrient-deficient if you don’t take the necessary steps to ensure you’re feeding a balanced meal. Consult with your veterinarian or someone who formulates pet foods to determine if your pet is getting the nutrients they need.
Commercial Raw Pet Food
The easiest way to feed your cat or dog a real raw diet is to give them raw pet food that is biologically appropriate and specially formulated to meet their needs. Purchasing a pre-made raw pet food is not only convenient for you, but means your pet is getting complete and balanced nutrition. Many raw pet food brands also go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their raw foods which can eliminate that concern for you.
Stella & Chewy’s offers frozen raw and freeze-dried raw diets for both cats and dogs. We HPP (high-pressure process) all of our raw foods to effectively eliminate any harmful pathogens. We then send all batches to be tested for E.coli, Salmonella, and Listeria and list these results on our website so you can look up your product LOT number for peace of mind. Learn more about our food safety.
Frozen Raw Patties and Freeze-Dried Raw Patties for dogs mirror an ancestral diet with 85-95% meat, organs, and bone. Recipes offer complete and balanced nutrition and include certified organic fruits and vegetables, along with probiotics and antioxidants to support whole-body health.
Frozen Raw Morsels and Freeze-Dried Raw Morsels for cats mirror a feline’s ancestral diet with 98% meat, organs, and bone. These diets offer complete and balanced nutrition, along with probiotics and antioxidants to help your cat thrive.