IMPORTANT UPDATE (December 20, 2015): It has come to my attention that Raw Paws® now offers dry kibble pet food for cats and dogs. As raw feeders and proponents of the raw diet, we DO NOT support processed canned and dry food for cats and dogs. There are dire and desperate times when freeze-dried and processed foods may be used---power outages due to storms and hurricanes, travel without available freezers, when you have no food available at all, etc. Processed food should NEVER be fed on a daily or consistent basis. I believe raw feeders should teach other pet parents about the numerous benefits of raw food.
While I applaud the company for offering raw products, adding processed food to their inventory is hypocritical---claiming that raw food is best, yet offering convenient vegetable- and fruit-filled processed kibble at the same time. True raw-feeders do not take this lightly.
Girl Meets Cats™ articles featuring Raw Paws® have been removed/updated. I need my readers to know that we do not support companies offering processed foods for cats and dogs. I will leave the article below available for our readers to reflect my statements above.
We sat down with the people of Raw Paws Pet Food® and chat about who they are, what they do, and why do they do it. As raw feeders, we put our trust into raw food companies, butchers, farmers, and facilities---all in hopes they have the knowledge, have the experience, and share the passion we do for feeding our cats and dogs raw food. I would like to extend a special thank you to Jeff McDonald, Shelli McDonald, and John Kosloskey for helping make this Q&A possible. Please see below for their website and contact information.
Q: What is your company's mission in terms of raw feeding for cats and dogs?
A: Our mission is to help all pet owners feed their pets the way nature intended. We are dedicated to providing the freshest, most wholesome proteins. This is why we perform exhaustive research to ensure all of our vendors, from family farms to protein manufacturers, meet the highest standards. We are able to specify the sourcing, processing, packaging, handling and delivery for all of our products. We want to be the market leader in quality raw feeding and natural treats.
Q: Your company holds the raw diet dear to your heart. One can clearly see the passion. How did raw feeding start for you (was it an ailing pet in need of dietary change, a lecture you attended, a particular book, etc.)?
A: My wife began raw feeding and within weeks we noticed shinier coats and increased energy in our two dogs. Additionally, most of our staff has experienced firsthand the benefits of raw feeding. More specifically, John, our marketing director extended his 10 year old dog's life by at least 4 years. At 10 years of age, his black lab, Buddy, could barely get on his favorite comfy chair that stood only 2 feet off the ground. Also, his eyes had clouded so much he could barely see. After only 3 months of raw feeding, and gradually weaning off of prescriptions, Buddy could jump on his chair and within 6 months regained full sight! His final years were full of vibrancy! This is just one great example of the many stories that make raw feeding so dear to our heart.
Q: What does raw pet food mean to you, in terms of health and nutritional balance?
A: It means that dogs and cats can go back to nature - to truly be the carnivores that they were meant to be and to consume balanced meals of meat, bones, and organs. Nutritional balance doesn't get any simpler than that. The natural raw products we offer are minimally processed and never cooked which leaves all natural occurring vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Additionally, raw food contains no preservatives, fillers, or additives. When addressing my own health, I choose to eat the freshest, most nutrient dense, least processed foods possible. I want the same for my dogs. When I realized raw was an option, a light bulb turned on. And now there's no turning back. When we know better, we do better!
Q: Do you have an overall vision for the raw pet food movement? If so, what is it?
A: Yes! We see the raw feeding movement rapidly gaining interest among the masses. Just recently, we attended BlogPaws 2015 in Nashville, and every person we spoke with either said they currently fed raw or had been considering feeding raw for a while. Not one person responded with negative feedback on raw feeding.
Our overall vision for Raw Paws Pet Food in this movement is to be the leader in educating pet owners on the positive health related benefits associated with feeding raw. And also to provide the highest quality product to support that education. We want to ensure successful and long-term raw feeding schedules for both pets and pet owners, by making raw feeding practical, affordable, and accessible.
Q: What are your views on meat byproducts and feeding processed (canned and dry) pet food to cats and dogs?
A: With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, by-products can include almost any other part of an animal. So, this means that animal by-products can indeed provide satisfactory nutrition. With that said, when pet food manufacturers replace muscle meat with by-products, the nutritional level of that food is drastically depleted. Almost all of our products are single ingredient items. So when we say ground beef, you're getting ground beef. With exception of our completes which contain an 80/10/10 mixture of meat, bone and organ. The animal by-products on our site such as lungs, livers, kidneys, feet, and esophagus are sold on their own, not mixed in with the real food!
As for processed food, we think that meat, bones and organs should be as close to their natural state as possible - with minimal processing. Sadly, even the best commercial kibble fails to provide pets with adequate nutrition. When pet food is highly processed and cooked at high temperatures, most natural nutrients are depleted. And then the nutrients are supplemented at incorrect ratios compared to a natural raw diet. To increase profits, pet manufacturers add low cost fillers in place of quality ingredients and then add preservatives to extend shelf life. Not good.
Since we share around 75% of the genetic makeup as our dogs and cats, a great way to convey this message is by asking pet owners, "What would happen if you ate only highly processed foods with low nutritional value?" After they reply, we follow by saying, "Well, you can expect the same results when you feed your dog or cat commercial kibble."
Q: What single, most important piece of advice you would give to beginner raw feeders about the raw diet for cats and dogs?
A: Keep at it :) at least long enough until you see results. Once you see your pet thrive on raw, it's very difficult to go back to kibble. The range of benefits far outweigh any lifestyle adjustments that must be made to commit to feeding a raw diet. We're confident there's no turning back once a pet owner begins to witness changes such as reduced allergies, lowered vet bills, increased stamina and more importantly, watching their pet enjoy a long and healthy life.
Q:What is one effective way to reach out to and educate individuals wanting to learn about raw food for cats and dogs and how to be a raw feeder?
A: We understand that transitioning pets to a raw diet can be challenging at times. This is why the education and convenience factors are such a huge focus of our company. To help pet owners transition to raw, we offer pre-portioned meals, freeze dried and dehydrated foods, feeding guides, serving calculators, and custom meal plans that auto-ships. Additionally, we provide free consultations with one of our raw feeding specialists to answer a pet parent's questions or concerns.
Q: Do you believe raw diets should have added supplements? If so, which is the most important one and why?
A: A raw diet of muscle meats, bones, and organs will typically provide adequate nutrition for growth and adult maintenance, if it's balanced. Having said that, each dog and cat is unique and their nutritional needs will vary slightly by breed, age, lifestyle and condition. Many pet parents turn to raw feeding to address and improve a variety of health concerns and conditions in their furry friends. For that reason, we keep our formulations simple. For instance, we have a pet with lots of food sensitivities, as do many of our customers. For our pet family, we enjoy having a great selection of single protein meat sources with as few added items as possible. For any supplements that we market or include in our products, they are sourced in the US and meet strict guidelines for purity. We encourage pet parents to build a relationship with a holistic veterinarian who can guide them and give advice on supplements or clinical nutrition for their pets.
Q: Do you feel variety is important when feeding raw food to cats and dogs?
A: Yes, we believe that changing the primary protein occasionally is optimal - but, not always realistic. Variety is typically a good thing. As humans we enjoy having access to a variety of foods, and many pets do too. Cats and some dogs can be finicky, so when introducing a new food (even going from one beef source to another), it's always a good idea to transition slowly to make sure your pet will eagerly accept the new food. Changing up the food may help our pets to tolerate a wider variety of foods, leading to fewer digestive issues as well.
Q: How do you feel about ground raw pet food mixes/grinds diets vs. raw Frankenprey/whole prey diets?
A: We are appealing to folks who want the best quality for the best value. Many, if not most, of our customers prefer the convenience of ground, complete and balanced products. We know how busy life is - it's just easier to have products that are already ground and nutritionally balanced for pet consumption. We take the guesswork out of feeding raw, so pet owners can be assured that they are giving their pet what they need. Serving raw meaty bones is a great way to feed raw on a budget, so we often times suggest that approach too. Plus, many dogs enjoy the mental stimulation of devouring a raw meaty bone! Our mission is to make raw feeding practical, affordable, and accessible, and that means different things to different people.
Raw Paws Pet Food® contact and website information:
Click here to visit their website.
Phone: (317) 509-9811
Office Hours: M-F, 8AM-5PM, EST