Six Raw Pet Food Myths Busted

Six Raw Pet Food Myths Busted

Many pet parents are divided on raw food diets for pets. Understandably so! There's a lot of conflicting information out there.

In short: Raw diets are a blend of uncooked meat, fruits, and veggies. And, we're passionate about the benefits and value raw food brings to your pet's diet.

So, get ready... We're diving into this amazing food and debunking six common raw food myths.

First, what is a raw food diet?

A raw food diet is sometimes termed B.A.R.F diet for 'Biologically Appropriate Raw Food' or "'Bones and Raw Food'. It is a combination of uncooked, raw meat, organs, and raw bones from whole proteins. It is usually mixed with fresh foods, veggies, and seeds for a complete and balanced diet for pets.

While it is a common dog food, raw pet food is available for cats as well. A raw diet can even be formulated for specific breeds, age ranges, and health issues, just like kibble!

Six Raw Pet Food Diet Myths

#1 "Raw food isn't balanced."

The phrases ‘complete and balanced’ or ‘biologically appropriate’ are important to raw food diets. This label means that your pet is getting the species-appropriate levels of nutrients.  

This is why it's important to avoid homemade raw diets. Raw pet food companies very carefully and thoughtfully craft their formulas. All to ensure that your pet is getting the correct ratio of nutrients they need. 

Dogs and cats are carnivores by nature. Yet, they need a blend of macro and micronutrients to complete their diet needs. A complete and balanced raw formula starts with a protein like raw meat, organ & bones. Then, based on many factors, formulas will incorporate a blend of certified organic eggs, fruits, veggies, seeds, and oils. Raw food crafted in this way makes a thoroughly balanced diet for your pet.

Overly processed foods, fillers, and meals lower the quality of pet food and the ability of your pet to digest it. In comparison, fresh ingredients in raw food are top-tier and result in high digestibility. Each nutrient in your pet's food has its own digestibility, with some being more digestible than others. 

Why is digestibility in pet food important? Your pet's energy level is directly affected by its food digestibility score. A raw diet offers well above AFFCO’s standard digestibility of 80% - with some reaching upwards of 94%

It’s simple really, more fresh food = more vital nutrients = more energy.

#2 "There are too many options!"

Because it's a newly popular category, the many options for raw diets can look daunting to pet owners. But, it's simpler than you think. 

There are two options for raw diets: frozen raw or freeze-dried raw. The nutritional differences in these are minimal (if any at all). The main difference is one is ready-to-serve and the other needs added moisture.

  • Frozen raw dog food can come in many shapes and sizes, including nuggets, patties, tubs, and rolls. 
    • These must be frozen, refrigerated, and thawed before feeding.
  • Freeze-dried is a shelf-stable form of raw pet food and is more cost-effective. The moisture has been removed in a freeze dryer using extremely-cold temperatures. This means harmful bacteria won't grow due to lack of moisture. It is still raw, so don't forget to wash your hands after handling it! 
    • It's recommended you rehydrate freeze-dried formulas with broth or water. This is not necessary for freeze-dried treats.

Should you go freeze-dried or frozen raw? It is completely up to your and your pet's preferences. Both diets pack in more protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients than your traditional kibble or wet food. 

#3 "A raw diet isn't sanitary."

This myth stems from well-intended pet parents using bad practices, home recipes, or un-vetted pet food brands. When feeding raw, do not use grocery-bought raw meats. Instead, buy from a pet food vendor who inspects their raw recipes vigorously. 

But, it is raw meat. Isn't there "bad" bacteria, like salmonella, e-coli, or listeria? There are two ways pet food vendors remedy this. Introducing High-Pressure Processing (HPP) and Human-Grade Facilities.

High-Pressure Processing (HPP)

HPP is a unique certification that preserves raw food using extremely cold water and high pressure. This important process keeps food free of harmful pathogens and bacteria without cooking it. High-Pressure Processing is both FDA and USDA-approved. 

Raw meats from the grocery store are not HPP certified. Thus, they are NOT safe for your pet to consume before cooking.

Human-Grade Facilities

By AAFCO's definition, the feed term specifies that every ingredient and the resulting product must be stored, handled, processed, and transported in a manner that is consistent and compliant with applicable FDA human food regulations. The final product from human-grade facilities must be labeled as "ready to eat".

This is a high standard for manufacturers to hit. Pet food made in these facilities has a much lower chance of having bad bacteria like E-Coli or salmonella.

Handle with care

Prevent cross-contamination! You should always handle frozen raw in the same manner that you’d handle any raw meat. Always wash your hands, work surfaces, utensils, bowls, and any other items that come in contact with frozen raw meat with hot, soapy water.

#4 "There is a lot of meal prep involved."

Feeding raw doesn’t have to include lots of prep work or freezer space. We offer easy-to-scoop nuggets and pre-measured formulas all ready for your pet to devour!

Quick Thawing/Toppers

If you want a fast thawing option, try out Instinct or Northwest Naturals. These are easy to use as a topper in case you feed a more traditional kibble as their base.

Bones & Co., along with their raw diets, has a variety of toppers like goat's milk, bone broth, and more!

Bulk/Full Meal

For bulk purchasing and full dinner feeding, you’ll want a patty or large nugget formula.

Bones & Co., Steve's, and Small Batch all come in bulk formulas. Recommended cost effective option for parents that feed a full raw diet or have multiple dogs.

Shelf Stable

If you don’t have room in your freezer or would like a more cost-effective option, freeze-dried raw has all the benefits of raw in a shelf staple form. Just add water (or not, my pup loves the crunch) and you’re in business. 

Stella & Chewy’s and Primal both have a large variety of flavors and formulas.

Gently Cooked

Not sure about raw food but want to make the switch to fresh food for your pet? We totally understand. Both Open Farm and A Pup Above have gently cooked diets that our pets can’t get enough of. 

Like a raw food diet, gently cooked formulas doesn't skimp on quality. Gently cooked meals ensure your pet receives a healthy and balanced array of nutrients in a limited ingredient formula. Great for sensitive tummies!

#5 "Transitioning pet food is hard."

We're here to tell ya, it's not hard at all! Feeding your dog or cat a raw diet is all about time and consistency. Here is how to transition your pet's food to a balanced raw diet:

Step 1: Use a stainless steel bowl and be prepared to clean it daily. Ceramic bowls can house leftover food in tiny cracks. With raw food, leaving behind leftover food isn't an option.

Step 2: Only thaw what your pet will eat for one meal. And, NEVER thaw using the microwave.

Step 3: Start slow. Over the course of 1-2 weeks, build their bowl up to the desired feeding amount little by little. Be sure to mix the old with the new foods as it is the best way to ensure an easy diet change.  

Step 4: Monitor! On a raw diet, your pet's stool size will become small, firm, and void of any offensive odor. If your pet's stool is soft or loose as a result of the transition, introduce the raw food slower.

When making any adjustments or additions to your pet’s diet, we recommend chatting with your vet. A raw diet, while an incredible health option, is rich. Transitioning to a raw diet takes will take time for your pet to adjust and reap the full benefits.

#6 "It's raw or nothing."

We get the big questions, "How much raw food?" or "If I only top their kibble with raw food is it worth it?", often. It’s a total myth that you have to feed your cat or dog all raw or none at all. Any addition of high-quality animal protein or organic whole foods is going to add benefit to their bowl.

For example, a balanced and wholesome kibble is a great base food. (And, usually void of those pesky meals and fillers.) But, dry food inherently lacks an important list of nutrients and moisture. Achieving this balance of nutritional compounds is key to your pet's health.

Don't fret. Whether that be 100% or 25%, raw pet food will provide those missing nutrients, along with extra moisture. 

Why we love feeding raw: Benefits of a Raw Diet

Now that we got those myths out of the way, let's talk about why Team Tomlinson's loves a raw diet for pets. 

Seasonal & Food Allergies

Raw-fed dogs and cats experience fewer food-related allergic reactions. This is due to its limited ingredient list and grass-fed proteins. 

Also, raw foods bring "good" bacteria to your pet's gut. (Think of yogurt and how it’s full of good bacteria.) This will keep your pet's immune system strong and protect against environmental allergens.

Joint & Bone Health

Buying food that includes joint supporting ingredients is important for senior dogs. And, cost-effective! Muscle meat, organs, and ground bone in raw food will result in leaner muscles and stronger joints. 

Shinier Skin & Coat

A healthier skin and coat come with a good ratio of fats to proteins, specifically Omega-3 fatty acids. Raw pet food is packed with coconut oil, salmon oil, or green-lipped mussels. With these healthy oils, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the shine and softness of their coat!

Dental Health

Raw bones are nature’s toothbrush 🦷🪥 but so is raw food! 

Remember how raw food introduces good bacteria to the gut? Well, it also brings natural enzymes! These two team up and work together to promote clean teeth and healthy gums. 

Ground bone works as a mild abrasive to help remove plaque in your pet’s mouth. Cats and small dogs, who are prone to dental issues, will benefit the most from this.

Looking for more Pet Parenting tips?

Tomlinson's is your go-to pet supply store for natural, healthy pet products in Austin and the Central Texas region. Come shop in-store and we will help you create the perfect diet specifically for your dog or cat!

Visit our shop full of products sold through team members trained in animal nutrition.

Featured Products

Bones and Co. Temptin' Turkey Patties Frozen Raw Dog Food

Description Suggested Feeding and Cost Analysis Ingredients GTD Analysis Note: Frozen foods and supplements are eligible for store pick up or...

View full details
Bones and Co. Beef Marrow Bones Frozen Raw Dog Chews, 6 inch

Description Chew Meter Ingredients GTD Analysis Note: Frozen foods, bones, and supplements are eligible for store pick up or local delivery ...

View full details
Bones and Co. Bone Broth Frozen Pet Supplement

Description Ingredients GTD Analysis Note: Frozen foods and supplements are eligible for store pick up or local delivery only and require signa...

View full details
Bones and Co. Barkin' Beef Minis Frozen Raw Dog Food

Description Suggested Feeding and Cost Analysis Ingredients GTD Analysis Note: Frozen foods and supplements are eligible for store pick up or...

View full details

Related Posts

The ABCs of Picking Your Pet's Food

The ABCs of Picking Your Pet's Food

Just like hoomans, our furry friends require a balanced diet for long and healthy lives. Creating this balance is easier than you think. Explore these 5 easy ways to...
Read now