In this article, the reality of feeding raw pet food to your beloved furry companions is examined in detail. Going raw with your pet involves much more than just switching from bagged store kibble to raw meat. The right combination of meat, bones, and organs in homemade dog food recipes and DIY cat chow must be used to ensure your pet’s optimal health and overall adjustment to the change.
In addition, the economics of feeding your pet raw pet food is discussed. Is it really possible to do this on a tight budget? What quality of meats need to be purchased and where is the best place to get these items at an affordable price?
If feeding your pet raw is a new concept to you, be sure to first read this article first – The Top Ten Reasons to Feed Your Pet Raw.
Prey Model Diet
A diet of whole raw foods for pets is sometimes also called a “prey model” diet. This is because it’s modeled on the type of nourishment that’s generally provided to our pets’ wild carnivorous canine or feline cousins in the form of an average prey animal.
There are two ways to feed a prey model diet:
The first way is to feed whole intact prey critters. This means feeding entire, unbutchered animals, complete with such things as fur, feathers, scales, skin, heads, organs, glands and entrails etc.
The second, more common method is affectionately known in raw feeding circles as ‘frankenprey,’ and is comprised of an assemblage of parts and pieces of raw hunks of boneless meat, raw meaty bones, and raw organs. These parts are fed, over the course of time rather than at every meal, in the approximate proportions that are found in a prey critter. These approximate ratios are:
- 80-85% raw boneless meat.
- 10% raw meaty bones — aka RMBs.
- 5-10% raw organ meats, at least half of which consists of raw liver.
** Please note that these ratios are approximate, and as such, are only meant to be used as general guidelines. In other words they are in no way intended to be considered as hard-and-fast-set-in-stone rules. **
It’s also possible to combine the two methods by feeding the occasional intact critter when possible and feeding frankenprey the rest of the time.
Putting the Raw Pet Food Diet Together
Assembling a raw pet food diet for our furry friends is neither difficult nor complicated, and is actually quite simple and straightforward. All that’s required is a working understanding of the theory behind the prey model diet, some advance planning, and a bit more time and effort than simply opening a can or bag of cooked, processed pet food and putting it into a bowl. Oh, and having ample freezer space makes the whole endeavor infinitely more workable.
The easiest and most convenient way to put this raw pet food together is by:
- Relying on a freezer for storage of the raw food.
- Stocking said freezer with a variety of different kinds of boneless meats, raw meaty bones and organs. Psst! Pets enjoy bone broth too!
- Thawing out enough food for the pet’s meals as needed prior to feeding times.
Variety is Key to Healthy Raw Pet Food
Ideally, it’s best to feed your pet as wide a variety of different raw foods as possible. When feeding frankenprey, choose parts and pieces in the form of boneless meats, RMBs and organs from things like beef, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, duck, game hen, goat, bison, venison, ostrich, kangaroo etc.
Cut boneless meats into meal sized portions, and choose RMBs that are appropriately sized for your pet and freeze.
Although ground meat may be fed occasionally, it’s best to feed our pets primarily whole, unground raw foods. That’s because it’s only these minimally processed raw foods, which require the animal to use its teeth and jaws to gnaw, rip and tear them apart, which provide the kind of natural scrubbing, flossing and stimulative actions that are essential to the promotion of optimal oral health.
Economics of Feeding Raw Pet Food
It’s important to remember that just as choosing better quality food for ourselves and our families may cost us more day to day, but is really an incredibly worthwhile long term investment in our health, likewise feeding our pets a wholesome raw food diet is also an investment in their long term health.
Many health-savvy people today have the understanding that the regular consumption of cheap, low quality food today can cost us dearly later in life.
For such forward thinking folks, it’s easy to see how feeding raw pet food to our beloved furry companions instead of one reliant on cheap, low quality commercial pet food may well result in a significant reduction in vet bills over the course of their lives.
Suggestions for feeding raw pet food economically
- Buy in bulk whenever possible.
- Combine your purchasing power with that of others by participating in a buying club.
- Stock up on quantities of items that are on sale.
- Shop at ethnic markets, which often carry a wide variety of raw animal based foods at extremely reasonable prices.
- Make contact with hunters in your area and offer to take their scrap meat and organs which are often discarded.
- Get to know those who process and butcher animals locally, from whom you may also score scraps, organs and other nourishing raw bits on the cheap or perhaps even for free.
- Advertise online on sites like Craigslist or Freecycle, offering to take the meaty contents of freezers that are being cleaned out.
Although for many of us it may not seem particularly ideal to purchase regular grocery store meat since we’re aware that pastured/grass fed is of much higher quality, it’s helpful to maintain a perspective of relativity by realizing how much better raw pet food consisting of conventionally raised meats/RMBs/organs is as compared to feeding our pets a diet of kibble or cooked can food.
Not everyone can afford to feed raw pet food consisting of 100% pastured meats, so it’s good to bear in mind that feeding our furry friends any sort of whole raw foods is infinitely better for them than is feeding them a lifetime of junk commercial pet food, and that we simply do the best we can for our animals as we are able.
Useful Raw Pet Food Resources
Nature’s Prey Model
Raw Fed Dogs Starter Guide
Prey Model Raw
Raw Fed Dogs Recipes
Carnivore Feed Supplier
BARF Suppliers in CA
Western NY Raw Feeders
Sources and More Information