Raw fresh and frozen food for dogs and cats is a trending category in the pet food industry. As humans pay more attention to preservatives, additives, sodium and carbs in their own food, they also are doing the same for their pets. That has resulted in the growing number of high-protein, low-carbohydrate ancestral diets.
Uncooked animal meat, organs and bones, sometimes mixed with fruits, vegetables and limited grains, make up most commercial raw diet foods. Vitamins and other nutrients are added to create a complete and balanced diet. Raw fresh and frozen foods are sometimes referred to as ancestral diets since dogs and cats are carnivores, favoring meat and bit of vegetation in the wild.
The benefits of feeding a dog or cat a raw, balanced diets include:
• Weight control: Dogs and cats need only a minimal amount of carbohydrates in their diets. Lower-carb foods help with insulin and weight management, while high-protein foods improve muscle tone.
• Healthy skin and coat: High-protein diets can help improve the health of skin and coats and may reduce allergic reactions.
• Better oral health: Sugars in dry kibble may lead to bacterial growth and dental issues like tartar, plaque and tooth loss. Raw diets help reduce the growth of oral bacteria. Plus, dogs who chew on bones may have cleaner teeth and better oral hygiene (Bones should be chewed by dogs under supervision, and dogs should have the right type and size of bone for their weight and breed.)
• Better digestive health: Raw food may be easier for some pets to digest. A raw diet may result in smaller feces size and improved smell.
Fresh & Frozen Grows
As more pet food manufacturers offer raw fresh and frozen food, they are focused on the safety of the food through specialized processing facilities, locally sourced ingredients and quality control. Some manufacturers do batch testing by a third party to test for harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.
Pet parents should handle raw pet food with the same safety and sanitary precautions they use for raw beef, pork and poultry.
As the appetite for raw pet food grows, independent pet retailers are making more room for raw frozen and freeze-dried products. It’s a winning strategy for brick-and-mortar retailers, as competition from online sales is significantly less for raw than for canned and wet foods and treats. Plus, raw food’s shorter shelf-life also brings more foot traffic to retail stores as pet parents need to restock.