8 Benefits of Raw Feeding for Pets

The top 8 benefits of raw feeding for pets from an Answers™ raw food diets are the ones we hear about from pet owners, and see in our own dogs and cats.

+ Odorless breath and white teeth, free of tartar and dental disease
+  Shiny, smooth, oil-free coats
+  Healthy skin, odorless body
+  Improved energy and vitality
+  Chronic allergies and infections subside and/or disappear
+  Decreased visits to the vet
+  Reduction in bowel movements. The stool is firm and nearly odorless
+  Clear eyes and ears

An Answers™ raw diet helps deliver those benefits. Here’s why.

1. Pets receive biologically appropriate nutrients.  Dogs and cats are carnivores. Their bodies are designed to digest raw meat. Foods like carbohydrates and grains are difficult for them to digest. And HPP, processing, and cooking foods destroy the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and healthy bacteria that are needed for good health.

The answer? Thanks to our unique, alternative process of fermentation, an Answers™ fermented raw food diet can deliver the biologically appropriate nutrients pets need.

2. Inhibition through fermentation. Fermentation provides the number one missing ingredient in pet food: good bacteria. Unlike any other pet food diet, Answers™ enhances the nutritional value of raw food through this process, creating formulas that encourage a healthy gut.

Fermentation is a huge supporter of immune functions. It increases B-vitamins, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and lactic acid that fight off harmful bacteria. It is also the ultimate source of probiotics.


2 Keys for Transitioning your Dog onto a Raw Food Diet

Switching from processed dog foods to raw foods places your pet on the road to ideal health. To help you make a success of the switch, we focus on our two key principles for transitioning any dog onto a raw food diet.

 

What to know when making the transition

Processed or kibble foods are riddled with addictive ingredients, much like junk food, that can make switching to raw more challenging than we’d like.

Depending on the quality and longevity of the diet your dog is transitioning from, they may be more resistant to change. Many pets are picky about certain consistency, texture, and smells when a new food varies from what they’re accustomed to, even before sampling it.

That’s why the following principles are so important to a successful feeding transition process for your dog.

 

Answers™ 2 Key Principles to A Successful Feeding Transition for Dogs

1. Tough love & timing.

Typically, dogs are in the habit of eating when they are being presented with food.

So, introduce their raw meal in replacement of their food and habitual feeding times. Let it sit out for 30 minutes. If your pet doesn’t eat, take the food way, refrigerate and wait an hour or so. Repeat.

When you give them their raw food, let it sit out. Pets can be picky to temperature. Counter-intuitively, fermented raw foods can sit out at room temperature up to 8 hours. In fact, the longer it sits out, the more good bacteria populates the food, the healthier it is.

Repeat this method until your dog understands that when you place the food out, it’s time to eat. They will soon understand the pressure of eating when presented with raw food, otherwise the food will be taken away.

(Important Reminder: never, ever try the tough love method when transitioning a cat to raw foods; cats are much pickier and will actually starve themselves if they don’t have access to a food they like.)

 

2. Transition slowly, please.

Some dogs will take to raw food immediately, but some will not.

Introduce a small amount of the raw food at first. Add 1/4 of our raw product and/or a raw fermented milk or bone broth to their current diet, and then gradually continue to add more raw food to their diet until the ratio reaches 0:1, and you are feeding your pet a 100% raw food diet.

 

Why it’s so worth it: 8 benefits of raw feeding for pets

. + Odorless breath and white teeth, free of tartar and dental disease
. +  Shiny, smooth, oil-free coats
. +  Healthy skin, odorless body
. +  Improved energy and vitality
. +  Chronic allergies and infections subside and/or disappear
. +  Decreased visits to the vet
. +  Reduction in bowel movements; ?stool is firm and nearly odorless
. +  Clear eyes and ears

Ready to get started? Learn more about the benefits of a raw food diet for your dog’s health and the positive effect it can have on kidney health, liver health, senior dogs, and more.


Healthier Snacking: Raw Chicken Feet

Natural raw foods are such a healthy option for your pet. But what about your pets’ love of treats? We have that covered, too. Answers™ organic raw chicken feet are a great option from our treat selection. They aren’t beautiful, but they offer these amazing health benefits:

Good bacteria for oral health

+  Great to chew and gnaw on for healthy gums
+  Naturally scrapes teeth clean
+  Fermentation processing of the raw feet ensures that good bacteria is provided, to help prevent plaque from forming on teeth
+  Promotes dental, bone and joint health

CHICKEN_FEET_BOX_1200x675A wholesome choice, too

Our chicken feet are always a holistic and authentic fermented raw ingredient. A wholesome way to delivery nutrients, they:

+ Contain naturally occurring probiotics, vitamins, and minerals
+  Are sourced from organic chicken, that are pasture-raised, and humanely raised and handled
+ Provide live enzymes for maximum nutrient absorption


The Heart of the Grain-free Debate

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

Since last July when the FDA released a warning regarding a possible link between grain-free dog food and the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), the grain-free debate has raged on. Before we get into the grain-free issue, let’s back up and look at the disease we’re talking about. DCM is an ailment of the heart muscle brought on by a weakening in the muscle tissue. It is the most common cause of heart disease in certain large-breed dogs such as the Great Dane, Boxer, and Doberman Pincer, so there is a genetic component. However, this disease is also linked to a deficiency of the amino acid taurine in a dog’s blood.

The concern with grain-free diets is that they might lead to taurine deficiency. Most caregivers choose grain-free foods because they realize that grains are an unnatural ingredient in a dog’s diet. What they don’t appreciate is that grain-free diets simply replace the grain with ingredients such as peas, lentils, legumes, or potatoes, which are equally inappropriate foods for dogs. In addition, these grain replacers contain anti-nutrients which are natural plant compounds that interfere with the digestion and/or absorption of nutrients such as taurine. So, grain-free dog food manufacturers may formulate their diets to contain adequate taurine, but not account for the amount lost to the anti-nutrients in the diet’s novel components.

Meat and dry food for petsThe grain-free link to DCM has brought conventional veterinary nutritionists down from their ivory towers and into the media. They are using the concern over grain-free diets to extol the value of grain in dog foods. The mantra of the nutritionists is that, when it comes to pet foods, it’s not the ingredients that are important, but the nutrients. I suppose that they themselves eat “People Chow” [it would be great if you could link People Chow to this video – https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=934204840081266]rather than freshly prepared meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Pet caregivers are understandably confused. They seem to be forced to choose between foods with crummy ingredients, including gains, with adequate taurine, and dog food with nice looking ingredients that might cause heart disease. Some people have become convinced that corn is good for dogs (which is obviously not true unless you’re talking about corndogs).

For me, this whole grain-free debate is moot. The truth is that no mater how “natural” the ingredients, there is no processed dog food (grain-free or otherwise) that is appropriate for dogs. Dogs have evolved over millions of years to eat a balanced, raw diet such as that of wolves. That’s why their dental structures are nearly identical. A truly natural diet for a dog is free of grains, peas, lentils, legumes, potatoes and other starchy ingredients. It has all the needed taurine and no anti-nutrients.

So, skip the grain-free debate and go raw!


Why We Choose To Feed Raw

Dog (Black and White Border Collie) with Raw Chicken Thigh in MoBy Roxanne Stone, Vice President of Research and Development for Answers Pet Food

At Answers Pet Food, our philosophy on pet nutrition is fairly simple. We believe Mother Nature is the best authority on proper animal nutrition and it’s difficult to argue otherwise. A quick glimpse into observing the diets of canine ancestors, as well as their wild counterparts—the wolves, is all that is necessary to gain a good understanding of their basic diet and what makes them thrive.

Once most pet owners do even a small amount of research on dog or cat nutrition, the decision to feed raw is obvious. We encourage all pet owners to become educated on the basics of pet nutrition so they have the knowledge and tools to make the best choice in feeding their pets.

Historically, it has only been in recent years (about 80 years ago), that our pets have been introduced to the highly processed, sterile, grain based, enzyme deficient, modern diet. Prior to this, they consumed a raw, protein-based diet either through hunting smaller animals and rodents or from the raw bone and meat scraps they received from their human caretakers.

It isn’t surprising that we can observe a parallel in the same degenerative diseases and allergies in our pet populations that we see in our own human population, as humans have also moved to this highly processed, high carbohydrate diet.

Dr. Karen Becker, DVM and licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor, clearly explains that the short G.I. tracts of dogs and cats (carnivores) are not designed to digest large amounts of carbohydrates, which unfortunately are the base of most commercial pet foods. Rather, they are intended to digest raw protein based diets. Dr. Becker links many of the following diseases to the high carbohydrate, grain based pet food diets including;

• chronic skin conditions

• auto-immune diseases

• allergies

• urinary tract infections

• kidney stones

• degenerative joint disease

• and cancer

…just to name a few.

Many pet owners who see the nutritional benefits of raw are reluctant to try it for fear of harmful bacteria. Dr. Doug Knueven, DVM and author of The Holistic Health Guide, Natural Care For The Whole Dog, mentions that in his experience, pathogens such as E. Coli and Salmonella, are rarely a problem for dogs and they are able to handle these bacteria much the same way their ancestors have for millennia.

We agree that healthy pets with well developed gut micro-flora should not experience any ill effects from consuming raw meat. However, Answers Pet Food also takes food safety and manufacturing to the highest level when sourcing and preparing our products. We understand that reducing the risk of harmful bacterial contamination starts at the farm, and in the manner the livestock are raised, fed, and handled. All of our raw meat ingredients are sourced from livestock that are free-range, pasture-fed, and have never ever been administered growth hormones or antibiotics. Our raw meat ingredients are from USDA inspected facilities and are passed for human consumption.

Answers_Chickens_0112_altAnswers puts strict quality control measures in place at our manufacturing facility (also USDA inspected) to control pathogens. In fact, many of our ingredients are delivered fresh and processed upon arrival to deliver the highest quality end product. In addition, we use one of the most traditional methods in the history of food preparation for reducing the potential growth of harmful bacteria—fermentation. We add fermented green tea (decaffeinated kombucha) into each batch of our Detailed formula. This decreases the overall pH of the product, provides a competitive environment of “good, beneficial bacteria” and reduces the growth of any harmful bacteria.

On the consumer level, raw products should always be handled with the utmost care and concern. We recommend following the same safe handling procedures as you would when preparing your own meals using raw ingredients. Always keep raw food separate from cooked and ready to eat products. This can be as simple as dedicating one of the lower shelves or drawers in the refrigerator to raw products only. Wash all surfaces, utensils and hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water after they come in contact with raw products. Keep raw products frozen until you are ready to thaw and serve them. Once raw products are completely thawed they should be kept refrigerated (<42°F) and consumed by the pet within 7 days. We recommend not to re-freeze previously thawed raw foods if at all possible. Following these safe handling practices and using good hygiene is the best defense in keeping both humans and pets in the household healthy and happy.

ALL_represented_groupedPreparing your own homemade, nutritionally complete, raw dog food can be expensive, inconvenient, and time consuming. Specially created by a nutritional scientist, Answers Pet Food developed one of the most nutritionally-dense lines of raw dog food. No calculations, guessing, preparing, or mess—Answers raw, fermented food is available in several sizes and forms. These formulas come in an environmentally-friendly, recyclable package. It’s a convenient, nutritious source of naturally raw food for pet owners to choose and feed with ease.

We are here to help support and share our knowledge with all pet owners and provide their pets with a safe, nutritious, high quality, 100% raw, whole food diet.