So, you've decided to feed your pet a raw diet. Deciding to feed your pet a raw diet might seem like a walk in the park compared to the next step: actually deciding what form of a raw diet you want to feed your pet. Don't worry, you can always feed a combination of options to ensure your dog or cat has a balanced diet that they enjoy eating!
A Fresh Raw Diet
The classic mainstay for feeding a raw diet to your pets is going for a fresh food option. You can purchase ingredients from the grocery store or a butcher. Many people even source components from hunters during hunting season.
When you feed a fresh raw diet, you are likely going to be limited by freezer space. Unless you have a large house with plenty of deep freezers, you aren't going to be able to buy weeks and weeks of food for your pet, particularly if you have a large dog (or several)! Instead, you'll usually need to make regular trips to get ingredients.
When feeding a fresh raw diet, you should consult a veterinarian to formulate the best diet for your pet to ensure that they are eating a nutritionally balanced meal. Feeding your pet this way is the best way to control exactly what your pet is eating and can be very beneficial if they have health conditions, such as food allergies or a sensitive stomach.
Frozen Commercial Raw Diets
You can also get a frozen raw diet from certain pet food manufacturers, which can save you time from sourcing ingredients yourself. These will also tend to take up a lot of freezer space but are often very palatable for dogs and cats.
Feeding a commercially prepared raw diet does mean that you don't have direct control of the ingredients, which can dissuade some people from feeding it. These diets also tend to be more expensive, but you're paying for a combination of things including convenience and a nutritionally balanced meal. If you're located in the United States, make sure the diet meets guidelines set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, orAAFCO.
Freeze-dried or Dehydrated Raw Diets
For many people, feeding a freeze-dried style of raw diets is more economical for feeding their pets. These diets tend to be a bit more affordable, but they are also shelf-stable, usually for an extended period of time, which makes them ideal. You won't need all that fridge or freezer space for your dog or cat: some space in the pantry is usually perfect.
If you have an immunocompromised family member, these diets are often a bit safer to feed. They can reduce the risk of exposure to many pathogenic bacteria, but they are still uncooked, allowing the diet to retain its nutrient values and health benefits.
What To Pick
If you're unsure what to feed, consider your budget and space, as well as any health considerations for your dog or cat. You can also dip your toes into the raw feeding world by mixing a raw diet with what your pet is already eating. Many pet owners buy meal "toppers" for their furry family members to spice up mealtime or add a special treat to the day.
Still undecided if a raw diet is right for your pet? Read the pros and cons from an earlier blog post!
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