About Frozen Raw Dog Food
Raw nutrition has been gaining popularity lately, and lots of dog lovers today are interested in feeding their dogs a raw diet because of the supposed advantages.
But for others who are not familiar with it, there are many questions: Does a raw diet offer complete and balanced nutrition? Do dogs thrive on it? What benefits does it offer pups?
Let’s find out.
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A raw diet is simply any meal that you give to your pup that has not been cooked. This includes fruits, vegetables, organ meat, meaty bones, and dairy, among others. Proponents of this diet say that it is great for improving skin and coat conditions, increasing energy, and keeping stools small and solid.
There are many ways you can do raw feeding. There’s the freeze-dried or frozen route, the dehydration process, and also the air-drying procedure. For this article, we’ll put the focus on frozen foods.
1. Stella & Chewy's Duck Duck Goose Dinner Patties
First 5 ingredients: Duck With Ground Bone, Turkey, Turkey Liver, Goose, Turkey Gizzard
Stella & Chewy is a premium pet food brand owned by online pet food and accessories retailer, Chewy.com. It’s known for making nutritious foods that harness natural and wholesome ingredients and none of the unsavory ones, like artificial colors or artificial preservatives.
This particular frozen dog food recipe is designed to provide pups with a taste for poultry the full power of raw nutrition. While duck headlines the formula, there are also turkey and goose in it to deliver a protein-packed meal that will not disappoint even the most high-performing of dogs.
It makes use of the entire animal by including organ meats and ground bone. Fresh vegetables and fruits that are certified organic round up the meal.
According to purchasers, this dog food has made a world of difference for their dogs who now have increased energy, smaller and more solid poops, and no more digestive issues. It also helps that the patties smell good, like regular human food.
- 95% cage-free poultry, organs, and bone
- 100% certified organic fruits and vegetables
- Cage-free poultry
- Limited number of ingredients
- Enhanced with probiotics
- Not easy to break up
2. Sojos Complete Turkey Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Egg, Broccoli, Apples
Sojos is a company that combines the fresh taste and nutrition of raw with the convenience and affordable option that kibble provides. It uses a proprietary freeze-drying process that makes raw meat safe for dogs to eat without resorting to heat or chemicals.
This raw frozen dog food Sojos recipe keeps it ultra simple by using only one animal protein source — making it perfect for pups with food sensitivities. Plus, it’s grain-free. There are very few ingredients, and these are made up mostly of vegetables, fruit, and other wholesome ingredients.
Purchasers like that the food is a dry mix so you don’t have to crumble it up to feed. It only needs to be rehydrated with water, and the whole box will make up 5 times its weight in fresh food.
- Makes up to 5 times its weight in food once rehydrated
- Single animal protein source
- Helps clear up digestive issues
- May give dogs gas the first couple of times they eat it
- The texture may turn off some dogs
3. Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets
First 5 ingredients: Chicken (with ground bone), Chicken Livers, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Kale
Primal Pet Foods intends to nourish pets the way nature intended by producing Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) that mimic how animals would consume foods in the wild.
Every product in the brand’s lineup uses only high-quality ingredients, such as antibiotic- and steroid-free USDA proteins and certified organic produce.
This freeze-dried dog food contains meat and organs from chicken — its only protein source. There’s also ground bone included as calcium supplementation. And to provide complete and balanced nutrition, Primal also put in organic minerals and unrefined vitamins to keep pups of all life stages healthy and happily active.
Many pet owners gave this frozen dog food a positive rating for making feeding raw convenient, especially when traveling. The nuggets are very light yet dense in nutrition, so they make the perfect food on the go.
Since the food is highly digestible, dog poops are much smaller and with little to no smell. The high protein and fat ratio is also enough to give performance dogs a boost on any of their chosen activities.
- Antibiotic-, steroid-, and hormone-free chicken
- Uses certified organic vegetables
- Nutrient analysis shows extremely high crude protein content (47%)
- Highly digestible so poops come out smaller
- Recent formula change does not agree with some dogs
4. Nature's Logic All-Natural Grain-Free Pork Feast Patties
First 5 ingredients: Pork, Pork Liver, Pork Heart, Montmorillonite Clay, Herring Oil
Nature’s Logic prides itself in creating nutritious and clean pet foods that are 100% all natural. All of the nutrition come from the food itself and never from synthetic vitamin supplements.
The frozen dog food products it makes are made from free-range meats and the brand’s exclusive concentrate of fruit and veggies as natural sources of vitamins and minerals.
Each raw frozen recipe is free from common allergens to make it ideal for even sensitive dogs. There are also probiotics and enzymes included to aid in your pup’s digestion.
Many dogs love the taste of this pet food, according to their owners. Bowls are always licked clean when it’s this pork feast that’s served.
Feeding this raw kibble also offers many benefits, such as getting rid of loose stools, keeping weight at an optimum level, and increasing energy.
Each patty is also vacuum-sealed, which is a bonus for many furrents, because it makes portioning a breeze.
- Made up of 90% pork
- All-natural, grain-free, and gluten-free diet
- Balanced and complete for all life stages
- No large ground bones but has finely ground eggshell for calcium
- Packaging is a little difficult to open
- Too many produce ingredients
5. Instinct Bites Chicken Puppy Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Beef Liver, Beef Spleen, Beef Kidney, Cod
Instinct offers your puppy with minimally processed and never cooked food for maximum freshness and to keep all the nutrients intact.
Because uncooked food retain all its vitamins and minerals, the result is a nutrient-dense meal that needs no added flavoring to keep it enticing for pups.
The brand uses only real meat that is responsibly-sourced for its recipes and non-GMO fruits and veggies. There are no grains, corn, wheat, soy, nor artificial flavors or preservatives.
This specific Instinct formula is crafted for puppies. The mixture of muscle meat with organ meat, such as beef liver, beef spleen, and kidney boosts the protein levels to promote healthy muscle development in your puppy.
There’s also DHA in the raw frozen food to support the proper development of your pupper’s brain and eyes. Added vitamins and minerals work to make the meal complete.
Purchasers of this raw frozen pet food say that this is much better for their dogs’ health than cooked kibble recipes. The raw frozen bites contain none of the harmful or unnecessary ingredients that you’d normally find in ordinary kibble. In this way, digestive issues are reduced and a remarkable increase in activity and healthy development are seen in their pups.
- Made with 83% chicken, beef organs, and cod
- Contains DHA
- Has naturally-sourced taurine
- Proper levels of phosphorus and calcium for growing bones
- Has a mushy texture
What You Should Look For in Frozen Dog Food
If you’ve looked into making a raw diet yourself you probably already know that it’s not always easy to buy the meat and other ingredients in large quantities, store them at home, balance the meals, much less find time to put together meals for your dog.
As an alternative, you can buy raw dog food that is already prepared. Companies that sell raw dog food diets sell it in a range of formats such as dehydrated, freeze-dried, and frozen. You can often find these food products in the freezer section of pet stores today. Some are also available online.
There are some things you can do to make sure you are buying frozen raw food from a good source:
- Check the manufacturer’s website and make sure it makes all food in a sterile facility;
- Make sure the meat comes from a USDA-inspected facility;
- Look for a manufacturer that is transparent about where its food is produced, where it is warehoused, how it is distributed, and where the ingredients are sourced.
- Look for a manufacturer that has good quality control measures and testing procedures for bacteria.
- Look for a company that works with an animal nutritionist to formulate their foods.
Some companies use high pressure processing (HPP) to kill bacteria in raw food. This is a non-thermal process (no cooking) but it does alter the food so some people who feed raw don’t like it. You can read more about it here.
The Benefits of Raw Food
It can’t be denied that raw frozen food offers plenty of benefits to canines. Many vets even prescribe the diet to pets as in some cases, a raw dog food diet is the only way extremely sensitive pups have of thriving.
Here are the many advantages that pooches gain when you feed raw:
1. Maximum Freshness – Uncooked food is superior to cooked ones, like kibble, in terms of freshness. Since there is very minimal processing involved, when you feed raw, your dog gets a meal that is almost as fresh as the day it was harvested and packed.
2. Natural Nutrition – Since raw does not go through a cooking process, the dog food will retain much of the natural nutrition that were present in each of the ingredients in the beginning. There is no need for the inclusion of added vitamins, although some brands still do it.
3. Healthy Skin and Shiny Coat – Raw meat is full of fatty acids, essential fatty acids, and all the good things that benefit your pup’s skin and coat in their purest form. This diet makes the skin less oily and greasy, leading to a softer and shinier coat.
4. Healthy Teeth – it’s not only sugary dishes that are bad on the teeth. It’s also carb-filled ones. When you feed your dog kibble that’s formulated with carbs and fillers, it can cause a quicker build up of plaque on his teeth.
5. Reduced Stool and Odor – Because an uncooked diet is made up of highly digestible ingredients, more is absorbed by your dog’s body and less needs to come out. Your pup’s digestive system is able to utilize most of the nutrients that it needs, leading to a smaller amount of stool with very little odor.
6. Increased Vitality – Your pup’s energy needs are filled mostly by proteins and fats, instead of by carbohydrates, leading to long-term energy that is able to see them through the most exhaustive of activities.
7. Optimal Weight – There are virtually no fillers in frozen dog food as opposed to cooked kibble. Raw dog food is typically low in calories, so your dog can be filled up with all the nutrients his body needs but won’t have to worry about weight gain.
The Argument About Raw: Pros and Cons
Not everyone likes frozen raw dog food. Dr. Wysong, who sells his own line of dog foods, has attacked frozen raw food products. You can read his argument here in “The Case Against Raw Frozen Pet Foods.”
He argues that frozen raw pet foods are prone to bacteria and their manufacturers have little oversight, among other things.
Dr. Wysong’s argument against frozen raw pet foods has been rebutted by Steve’s Real Food and you can read the company’s thoughtful response on this site.
Anyone interested in feeding frozen should look at these pros and cons of feeding frozen raw. Dr. Wysong makes some good points, though many of his points seem to be a little far-fetched.
Steve’s does a good job of explaining how the company and other good quality frozen raw companies make their foods.
Serving Raw Food
If you decide to use frozen raw dog food and try out a raw diet, be sure to follow the company’s recommendations for feeding the food, thawing, and transitioning your dog to the new diet.
The brand recommends a slow transition, allowing at least a week to let your dog’s digestive system adjust from the highly processed diet he’s been eating to eating a new, human grade raw food diet.
Frozen raw food should only be served to your dog when it has been completely thawed. As with most, if not all, frozen raw food manufacturers, Primal suggests that you do not microwave or heat the food to thaw it.
According to Primal, using a microwave can cause the fat molecules in the food to change radically and make them less digestible. It says that this can ultimately become harmful to your dog’s long-term health.
Frozen raw dog food is typically thawed by placing it in the refrigerator to thaw slowly; or you can thaw a bag of frozen raw nuggets or patties in cold water in your kitchen sink in about 30 minutes. A 2-lb or 5-lb frozen raw chub can be thawed in cold water in your sink in about two hours.
Safe Handling of Raw Food
- Keep frozen raw foods frozen until you are ready to use them.
- Follow the recommended instructions for safe thawing.
- After serving raw dog food, place any remaining portion of the thawed food in the refrigerator.
- When removing portions of frozen raw food from the freezer for thawing, return the remaining frozen raw food to the freezer immediately.
- After they are thawed, raw food will keep their optimum freshness for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
- Stainless steel bowls are recommended for feeding raw foods. They are easy to clean and disinfect.
- Wash all kitchen surfaces, utensils, food bowls, and your hands with hot, soapy water after you have handled raw meats and poultry.
- Consider using different colored sponges in the kitchen so you have one designated for your pet’s dishes and bowls.
- Keep raw meats and poultry away from children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system.
- Keep raw meats and poultry separate from other foods.
- Use disinfectant wipes for quick clean-ups.
Once you have weighed the pros and cons of raw food, we’re sure that you will see that each side has its points. We do believe that raw frozen or freeze-dried food recipes provide a ton of health benefits. And there’s plenty of evidence to support this.
However, there are risks involved if you are going to be preparing all the food yourself, so we highly recommend you instead purchase a prepackaged food by a reputable pet food company that has a lot of safety standards in place. In this way, you can reduce the risk of bacteria contamination, which is a very real danger when dealing with raw foods for your pet.
We should mention that the FDA and the AVMA are not fans of raw dog food. Raw foods also do not follow the AAFCO standards (Association of American Feed Control Officials), but to be fair, these standards are not designed for whole, raw food diets.
Hopefully, this piece has been very informative and has helped you make a decision on what to feed your pup. And if you do choose raw, we wish you a happy and healthy raw feeding journey!
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