Let me start off with just a few basic comments.
- Being a raw feeder is easier than you think
- It is so rewarding to have full control over a fresh diet
- Feeding raw saves lives, prevents/treats various diseases, and gives animals a chance at a life that Nature intended
- Feeding raw is cheaper than feeding canned and dry food
The resistance, however great, will gradually diminish as you see the results. Transitioning to raw is addicting and the longer you do it, the more you learn, the more comfortable and confident you become, and it becomes the only way acceptable to you. When the process is given time and taken in baby-steps, it doesn't seem like work and one day, you realize that you are a raw feeder.
Nonetheless, if you are stuck between resistance and laziness, somewhere in limbo between canned/dry food and the raw diet, there is a way to slowly start on the raw path. Begin with a few basic, but essential, additions to your predator's diet and allow that to be your next step. This will allow them to get familiar with taste and texture of raw food and will allow you to get into the habit of raw feeding with least resistance.
Here are five vital raw additions that should be part of all cat and dog diets:
1. RAW PREY HEARTS: This one takes the number one spot. Hearts are essential. They are full of taurine, the amino acid that cats and dogs lack, especially when fed a canned or dry food diet. Synthetic taurine is added to canned and dry food and degrades long before cats and dogs eat the food. Cats love munching on raw hearts-chicken, turkey, calf, etc. I've never had a problem with one not finishing a meal of raw hearts. For more information, click here.
2. RAW PREY LIVERS: Livers are like a multivitamin, full of everything, including detoxifying goodies. Don't overdo this one as livers are high in fat-soluble vitamin A. To read more about prey livers, click here.
3. RAW PREY SECRETING ORGANS: Kidneys are a necessary addition to any diet. Full of vitamins and minerals, kidneys are part of a special group of organs, the secreting ones. Pancreases are also considered secreting organs, but they are packed with enzymes and are an amazing raw food staple. Pancreases produce enzymes for food breakdown and absorption and are an absolute must for animals suffering from IBS or pancreatitis. To read more about prey kidneys, click here.
4. RAW PREY CHICKEN FEET: Perfect for animals with joint and bone issues due to the glucosamine and chondroitin contained within. Organs are high in phosphorus, so feeding bones balances out the high phosphorus content with high calcium content.
5. RAW PREY TRIPE: Tripe is a superfood. Everything is in perfect proportion, including calcium and phosphorus in a 1:1 ratio. While tripe has a strong odor, most raw feeders either don't mind it or will get accustomed to it over time. While some cats and dogs won't come near tripe, others LOVE it. For the finicky eaters, tripe may need to be gradually snuck into their diet until they build up tolerance. Its health benefits are too good to pass up. Click here to read more about raw green tripe.
Where to buy all these? Reputable and trusted vendors as Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore are awesome sources for raw feeders (domestic, free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, humane-treatment, etc.). Raw chicken, turkey, and beef hearts and livers are very easy to come by in grocery stores; really put effort into finding those that are hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and animals are treated humanely. We purchase raw lamb and beef kidneys from the local butcher shop. Ground up raw chicken feet and raw green tripe we purchase from Hare Today or if you have a commercial grinder, you can grind up your own mixes. There are so many options. Find co-ops for raw food, local markets, local farmers to trade with, and even pet stores specializing in raw food for cats and dogs.
Raw is the healthiest way to feed dogs and cats. It is also easier and more affordable than you may think. Even if you are in the transitional phase of raw feeding, it is never too late to add the essentials during the switch. Because the first three mentioned are organs and high in phosphorus and low in calcium, the diet will need to be supplemented with calcium.Adding these to the diet should initiate the raw feeding guidelines and shortly thereafter, switch to a full raw diet. This transition will allow pet parents and animals to adapt to a raw diet. Introducing raw meals slowly is important to get cats and dogs accustomed to the new proteins and allow their gastrointestinal systems to shift into the correct evolutionary mode. Whether you are mixing 50/50 canned/dry and raw or 25/75 canned/dry and raw during the transition, this shows willingness and drive to make the appropriate changes. Keep it up, you're on the right path!