Raw Food FAQs
Why is a raw food diet better than a commercial food?
Raw food diets contain proteins, essential amino acids, and those valuable enzymes that are destroyed in the manufacturing process. Any temperature over 117-118 degrees Fahrenheit will break down valuable nutrients in food products.
How do I start my pet on a raw food diet?
It is always a good idea to start out slowly on a new diet with any pet. Slowly increase the amount of new food being added to the present diet over a period of 3-4 weeks. If any digestive upset or loose stool occur, make this transition more gradual. It is a good idea to allow your petís digestive system to calm down and return to normal before proceeding. There is no need to rush this transition.
Are there special precautions when feeding a raw food diet?
Good hygiene should always be practiced. Always clean and disinfect working surfaces, utensils and food bowls. Wash your hands after preparing meals.
What is ash? Should I be concerned about the ash content in pet food?
First of all, ash is the inorganic mineral portion of any substance. When referring to dog and cat food, "ash content" is the mineral matter, including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and copper. The ash analysis does not reveal the percentage of each mineral, therefore it does not tell much about the food (1). It also does not tell much about the food's contribution to urinary tract infections, such as Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS). The latest findings show that urinary tract trouble occurs when the urine becomes too alkaline. So, some commercial foods now add extra acid. There are side effects from use of these acid formulations, however, and all they do is cover up the problem instead of curing it.(2)
If ash isn't the problem, then what is? How do I prevent urinary tract problems?
There is much proof that feeding an obligate carnivore primarily a grain-based dry diet can contribute more to a urinary stone problem than any other single factor. The long-term dehydration that occurs causes concentrated urine and places considerable strain on the kidneys. Feeding poor-quality food to pets results in toxicity and an excessive elimination load on the lining of the urinary system.
By contrast, a diet of meat, bones, and organs contains a mineral content - or ash content - that is not synthetic or artificial. When a whole food substance is ingested, the animal has a very slim chance of developing a mineral imbalance. Taking in nutrients as they occur in their natural state or as a whole food source will prevent the animal from concentrating minerals or vitamins, thus causing health issues. (1)
(1) Patricia Cooper, DVM
(2) Richard H Pitcairn, DVM, Ph.D., and Susan Hubble Pitcairn, Dr. Pitcairn's Complete uide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, Rodale Press, Inc., 1995.