Raw-dy, set, go

I’m cur­rently us­ing freeze-dried meat as a top­per for my three dogs’ kib­ble. I wish to put them on a full freeze-dried raw diet, but I find it very ex­pen­sive to do so. How can I put my furkids on a con­ve­nient raw diet with­out break­ing the bank?

Pets (Singapore) - - Ask The Expert -

Con­grat­u­la­tions on mak­ing the choice to up­grade to a raw diet for your dogs—this will pro­vide them with the ab­so­lute best nu­tri­tion and op­ti­mal health. Un­for­tu­nately, the pro­cesses in­volved in sta­bil­is­ing raw di­ets, like freeze-dry­ing, are quite ex­pen­sive, and do make the end prod­uct rel­a­tively pricey. There are new raw food di­ets that use air-dry­ing tech­niques and are even more user­friendly in terms of prepar­ing and serv­ing, but they are also ex­pen­sive.

The main is­sue with a raw diet is con­ve­nience, as you have pointed out. To elim­i­nate the need for re­frig­er­a­tion or freez­ing meats, you need to cre­ate a shelf-sta­ble food that doesn’t re­quire heat pro­cess­ing (cook­ing). Only air-dry­ing (at low tem­per­a­tures) or freeze-dry­ing can cur­rently achieve this, hence the price point. This is the dilemma that raw food man­u­fac­tur­ers face.

One op­tion to over­come the cost is­sue is to add fresh raw meat and veg­eta­bles to freeze-dried or air-dried pet food to bulk out the meal. The fresh raw in­gre­di­ents can make up to 50 per­cent of the diet with­out hav­ing any sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the nu­tri­tional bal­ance. Some own­ers will add a sup­ple­ment or mul­ti­vi­ta­min to en­sure the en­tire meal is nu­tri­tion­ally bal­anced. If you are pre­pared to be more in­volved, you can ac­tu­ally make up a great qual­ity raw diet at home us­ing some ba­sic in­gre­di­ents. Nat­u­rally you will need to source and keep the raw meat, but the other in­gre­di­ents needed to cre­ate a bal­anced diet—like sup­ple­ments—can be pur­chased from pet food stores.

An­other op­tion is to use one of the frozen com­plete raw di­ets avail­able, like K9 Nat­u­ral’s frozen food range. It gives all the ben­e­fits of a to­tal raw diet, but you do sac­ri­fice some con­ve­nience as you need to store the prod­uct frozen and de­frost be­fore serv­ing. Per­son­ally, I think that mak­ing the ex­tra ef­fort to go all raw is well and truly worth it, and the ex­tra money you may spend upfront on food bills, is most of­ten saved in the long-term by re­duced vet bills and the joy of healthy pets liv­ing a long and ac­tive life.

Ex­pert: Dr Bruce Sy me BVSc(Hons) Founder of Vets All Nat­u­ral P/L

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