"Feeding a commercial raw food diet to your dog
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"Feeding a commercial raw food diet to your dog

Dogs
Health & Safety

If the title of this article caused you to look twice because the idea of a commercially produced raw food diet is something that you have never come across before, this is entirely understandable! Whilst feeding a raw food diet to dogs is still something that widely polarises the opinions of canine experts from vets to nutritionists to researchers, there is no doubt that the BARF (biologically appropriate raw foods) diet, raw meaty bones diet, and all of the various other monikers that feeding a natural, raw diet comes under is something that is growing in popularity among dog owners every year.

You can read more about the pros and cons of feeding such a diet, and some of the factors to consider as part of doing so, within this article.

Understandably, many pet food manufacturers and suppliers of ingredients for pet foods have identified the continually rising interest in the raw food diet for dogs, and today, several companies have either diversified or set up to serve the market.

This means that it is now possible to purchase ready to go frozen portions of appropriate, nutritionally complete raw food to feed to your dog at home, without needing to go through the whole complex and convoluted process of sourcing ingredients, meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs and preparing and portioning out each meal yourself.

Such offerings can sometimes be bought in store from larger pet shops, ordered in for you to collect, or ordered online for delivery to your home in the same way that your frozen supermarket shopping can be arranged!

So, is this a good idea, are commercial frozen raw food diets safe and appropriate for dogs, and is this something that you should be considering for your own dog? Read on to learn more!

Why raw food?

As mentioned, there is no common consensus as to whether or not a raw food diet is definitely beneficial to dogs, or provides any advantages over the traditional canned and packaged commercial diets. Feeding a raw food diet can be expensive and time consuming, and it is not without risks when it comes to ensuring that you meet all of your dog’s nutritional requirements, and also, prepare, store and serve raw meats and meat by-products safely.

However, this method of feeding is becoming increasingly popular year on year in the UK, and as more dog owners get on board with the raw food method of feeding, so more information and research into it becomes available to help dog owners to make a decision, and see the potential benefits.

The recent advent of frozen raw food diets that cut out the hard work for you has gone a long way towards reviving interest in raw food for dogs once again, and has made feeding a raw food diet viable for a lot more dog owners who may otherwise have decided against it.

How does buying raw frozen dog food work?

As mentioned, you can buy frozen raw food meals from some larger pet shops, or order online from one of the several companies that will ship it to you in climate conditioned packaging or vans.

Actually finding a supplier for frozen raw dog food is not much of a challenge, but deciding which one is right for you, and which one you can trust to have properly taken care of all of the relevant nutritional requirements of your dog is another issue entirely!

Most frozen raw food offerings come in one of two formats: mince, or cubes. Neither of these consist solely of pure meat, but will be a combination of quality cuts of whole meat and other necessary ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, enzymes, ground bones, and in some cases, vegetable matter and potentially grains too.

The cubed or minces options are designed to be easy to break up into portions when defrosted, without having to saw away at large joints of meat on the bone and weigh it out! Generally, frozen offerings come in portion sizes that are designed to be defrosted and used immediately, or the same day, rather than leaving you with a large pile of defrosted meat with a short remaining shelf life.

Feeding and storage

Whether you are buying from a shop or having the food delivered to your home, you should treat it in the same way that you would with any other frozen food raw meat product; keep it at the appropriate frozen temperature, and ensure that you put it in the freezer as soon as it arrives.

Only defrost as much at a time as you need to for your dog’s next meal or two, and remember that when preparing and serving it, you will be handling raw meat, so take care to ensure good hygiene protocols when it comes to cross-contamination and hand washing. The same goes for your dog’s feeding bowls too, of course!

Precautions

Pre-packaged frozen raw food can make life a lot easier for the dog owner who wishes to feed a raw diet, but it still requires a little more care and precautionary measures to be taken than canned or dry food offerings.

  • One thing to note is to make sure that you re-order or buy again well before you run out of the previous order, as you may not be able to buy the same product that you are choosing to feed locally.
  • Keep an eye on the expiration dates and usage guidelines for the food, and ensure that you rotate the products in your freezer so that those with the longest expiration dates are used last.
  • Never re-freeze previously defrosted food.
  • If you have a power cut or other issue that may affect your freezer, this may mean that you will have to write off the food that was in it, an issue that does not arise with canned and dry foods.
  • If you ever open or defrost a portion that looks or smells questionable, don’t take any risks; throw it away, and never feed frozen raw food to your dog after the expiration date has passed, even if it looks and smells ok.
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