Types Of Raw Dog Food
The main difference in the ways raw food is preserved is the moisture content. But the overall aim is to keep the food as natural and preserves as possible while making it easy for you to give to your dog.
Frozen and freeze-dried raw food is seen as the best, with the latter being slightly more expensive. Dehydrated food isn’t 100% classed as raw, but is good for dogs who can’t digest raw food or whose owners don’t like the idea of having raw meat around.
This is often raw meat, frozen to preserve it. It will need to be defrosted before serving and kept in a freezer. No moisture is lost – it simply keeps its state but cannot perish in the storage temperatures
Similar to frozen food, except it doesn’t need to be kept in the freezer. The temperature is lowered to below freezing and then slowly raised so moisture in the raw, frozen ingredients moves from a solid to gaseous – maintaining the structure of the food and keeping the nutritional value. No cooking heat is used, so the nutrients and enzymes are kept. It removes about 98-99% of the moisture content
Moisture is removed from food, at warm temperatures but which are not high enough to cook it. This results in dried pieces of food, which you can then add water to in order to get back to their normal state. Some argue that it isn’t raw food as it has used heat, but it is good for dogs who can’t digest raw food. Dehydration removes about 90-95% of the moisture content
Raw dog food is largely meat-based, but the type of meat can vary.
Anything from chicken, beef, duck, fish and venison can be used. There will usually also be natural vegetables or berries in some foods, which makes it more akin to modern-day pet dogs as opposed to wolves.
You may also want to look for some food which contains offal. Offal is some of the most naturally nutrient-rich food available, which is why dogs are naturally drawn to it. It contains the essential amino acids as well as being packed with vitamins and minerals.
There are suggestions that varying the raw food your dog eats is really beneficial. You can read about the different ingredients and formations in our Guide To Raw Dog Food.
If your food is frozen you will need to store it in a freezer. Check you have room before you buy, and it could be worth getting a separate dedicated freezer for your dog’s food if you will be keeping stock or don’t want to mix it with human food (although it is just raw meat, so there should be no issue with this).
But if a freezer is out of the question, opt for a freeze-dried or dehydrated option which doesn’t need to be frozen and can instead be stored in a cool, dry place.
As you will read below, dog food manufacturers can use high quantities of a lot of foods which fill out foods and are cheap, yet not naturally in your dog’s diet. This includes rice and other grains.
So, because raw dog food uses natural good-quality ingredients and there are strict levels of preserving it to lock in the goodness (which can be hard to do), expect to pay more for raw dog food than you would ordinary.
A small packet which could do a few times could start at around £5.
ALWAYS buy your raw dog food from a reputable manufacturer and store such as those above.
The handling of raw ingredients and preserving them can be incredibly dangerous and risky, so you need someone who knows what they are doing.
This is particularly relevant if getting something with offal in it. Organ meats can be where the animal protein source, such as cows or chickens, harbours their toxins, so you need to know that the food hasn’t just been well-made, but that the meat is also from a naturally-fed source.