I know, I can get up on a soapbox. And, hey, that’s what blogs are for. But I’ve also been known to step down from mine if I find a good reason for doing so.
I’d like to report I’ve made tentative steps towards soapbox descent on the topic of raw feeding.
I argued in a recent post that, with Frankie’s compromised immune system, I wasn’t going to feed him any raw bones or meat that might contain bacteria. And I haven’t changed that stance. But two people who wrote into that post’s comments section suggested a compromise: Commercially prepared raw food that was vetted for food safety.
It sounded appealing in some ways, but I once tried dehydrated food on Frankie, a brand (I don’t recall which it was) suggested by a holistic vet. Neither of us was very pleased with it. It took too long — about 10 minutes — to reconstitute; Frankie was tapping his paws impatiently waiting for breakfast. And when it was done, Frankie didn’t like it. I don’t know whether it was the smell, or the texture, but he took a couple of mouthfuls and walked away.
So I had my reservations about trying Honest Kitchen.
But Robert, who blogs at Jealous of Angeles, had another suggestion:
There are options like Stella & Chewy’s that is pre-made and pathogen free! You will not get all the benefits of RAW since you do need to get the RAW meaty bones with them….but that definitely would be a more trusting route.
The name Stelly & Chewy’s was familiar because, I realized, I give Frankie the company’s Carnivore Kisses — freeze-dried chicken and bison — for treats. No question; he’s extremely fond of them.
The clincher, however, was when I went to my favorite pet store, OK Feed, to buy Frankie his usual high-grade kibble and a probiotic. I noticed bags of Stella & Chewy’s raw food patties near the checkout counter. Reading the feeding instructions, I saw they don’t require the addition of water because they are freeze dried, not dehydrated. According to Stella & Chewy’s website:
When you freeze-dry a product, it starts out frozen. The ice crystals turn directly into water vapor, skipping the liquid stage. Through this process, practically all the nutritional value of the raw meat and produce is retained. In contrast, dehydrating a product requires high temperatures to evaporate the water. Since dehydrating is similar to cooking, many of the vital nutrients are lost.
That makes sense. And the Chewy’s Chicken Dinner I decided on contained the probiotics that I was planning to buy separately for Frankie.
So I’m going to try it. As recommended with all dietary changes, I’ll be taking it slowly, topping my usual kibble with the raw food patties mixed with my standard cooked meat toppings.
I’ll report back, I promise.