Raw Feeding Best Practices
Education is the best way to dispel myths and increase your confidence in regards to the safety of raw feeding for both your dog and your family.
What About Bacteria? Think About How You Handle Your Own Raw Food
Remember to handle raw dog food just like you would handle juicy hamburger patties, mouth watering rib-eye steaks or tender chicken breast you’re about to prepare for dinner.
Why do people associate bacteria more with raw dog food than with raw human food? Think about it. Humans don’t have the PH level to kill bacteria but dogs do. Dogs are far less likely to get sick from raw foods. Heck they eat poop! So this is more about humans keeping themselves safe from bacteria by committing to safe handling practices.
Any surface raw food touches, including kitchen counters, cutting boards, knives, food bowls, or your hands, may become contaminated if the food contains a pathogenic organism. The FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) recommends common sense for handling any type of raw food product:
“Wash your “hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw food.” (Video Instructions)
Run “cutting boards and utensils through the dishwasher or wash them in hot soapy water after each use.”
Keep “countertops clean and free of bacteria by wiping them down with a disposable disinfectant wipe.”
NOTE : If one of the chores your human kiddos have is to feed the dog, please supervise to verify they’re practicing the sanitary best practices.
Thawing and Storing Raw Food For Best Results
Only serve our raw foods completely thawed. Frozen foods can be difficult for your pets to digest.
How to Thaw Frozen Raw Food
Never thaw foods in a garage, basement, car, dishwasher or plastic garbage bag; out on the kitchen counter, outdoors or on the porch. These methods can leave your foods unsafe to eat.
We recommend thawing the individual 2 lb. chub rolls in the refrigerator with a temperature that is consistently 40°F or below. The chubs/rolls will thaw within 18-24 hours in the refrigerator. Only thaw what you need for 2-3 days worth of meals. After thawing in the refrigerator, items such as ground meat, organs, poultry, seafood, raw meaty bones should remain safe and good quality for 2-3 days before feeding.
Make it simple, keep 2-3 days thawed out and ready to feed plus 2-3 days thawing in the refrigerator. We call this the rotation method. It’s a real time saver!
Proper Storing Once Thawed
After thawing the raw dog food, it MUST BE maintained at a temperature that is consistently 40°F or below. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), “bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140°F, the “Danger Zone,” some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. A refrigerator set at 40 °F or below will protect most foods. See USDA website for recommended food safety guidelines including additional topics and fact sheets.
If the food’s temperature increases to 40° or above for two hours or more, you are advised to discard it because there is a strong likelihood that pathogenic bacteria (Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, etc.) will grow. Pathogenic bacteria don’t necessarily affect the smell, flavor, or consistency of food, but they can cause foodborne illness.
Please NO Microwaving
Microwaves cause the fat molecules to radically change, this change makes the fats less digestible, and possibly become harmful to your pet’s overall long-term health.
Slightly Warm – Don’t Cook
Our daughter, Dr. Moffett DVM talks about proper raw food temperatures for feeding the species appropriate raw food diet. ”Your pets digestive system will digest food better when fed at room temperature or warmer. Cold food is found to decrease enzyme production and may result in a decrease of intestinal motility which may result in your pet vomiting.
Most dogs will not show any symptoms if fed cold food, but serving food at room temperature will aid in the digestive process. Serving room temperature raw food is especially important in older dogs as the digestive system tends to weaken with age and the digestive process will function more efficiently.”
How to take the chill off and warm raw food for optimal digestion. 1. Place the raw food in a stainless steel feeding bowl. Place bowl directly on the stove. Over a very low heat stir consistently for no longer than 3 minutes to slightly warm. Do not cook until brown. Do not warm over a high heat.
Need to Thaw Quickly and Feed?
To quickly thaw place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. (If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Tissues can also absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product.) Check the water frequently to be sure it stays cold. Change the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Foods thawed by the cold water method should fed immediately after thawing.
For additional food safety guidelines please visit the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
NOTE: Some of the packaging may develop small tears from the packaging process causing the juices from the proteins to leak. The juices are produced from ruptured cells during the freezing/thawing process. When thawing be sure to place the chubs/rolls in a container that captures the juices. Feed the juices along with the meat.
How Much To Feed
Because raw dog food is a whole food without fillers and preservatives these’s a large advantage of increased digestibility; thus you are able to feed your pet less food daily.
Our suggestion is to feed your pet 2-3% of your pet’s ideal body weight as the daily feeding weight. We also recommend feeding your pet twice daily. Make sure you divide the total daily feeding amount in half and feed once in the morning and once in the evening.
See feeding chart based on your dogs ideal body weight and more transition tips here!