In recent years, raw pet food has gained popularity among pet owners who believe in a more natural and species-appropriate diet. Raw pet food, often referred to as a “raw diet” or “BARF” (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), consists of uncooked ingredients like raw meat, bones, and vegetables. A survey found that 80 percent of participants chose raw food over commercial pet food, as commercial pet food doesn’t clarify the ingredients used in preparation.
While raw pet food can offer numerous health benefits, it’s essential to handle it properly to ensure your pet’s and your family’s safety. Consider this comprehensive guideline on raw pet food handling, so you can confidently navigate this feeding method.
Benefits of a Raw Diet for Pets
Before getting familiar with the handling guidelines, learn why many pet owners choose a raw diet for their furry friends.
Raw pet food or hypoallergenic cat food typically does not contain artificial additives, fillers, and grains, which can be difficult for some pets to digest Feeding a raw diet may alleviate digestive issues such as food allergies, sensitivities, and chronic digestive disorders.
Enhanced Dental Health
Chewing on raw bones can help keep your pet’s teeth clean and reduce plaque buildup, improving oral hygiene.
Increased Energy and Vitality
A raw diet provides pets high-quality protein, promoting overall health, increased energy levels, and a shinier coat.
Potential Weight Management
By customizing portion sizes and ingredient choices, you can better control your pet’s calorie intake, potentially helping with weight management.
Raw Pet Food Handling Guidelines
Once you understand the potential benefits of raw pet food, exploring the essential guidelines for handling it safely is important.
Purchase from Trusted Sources
When buying raw pet food, choose reputable suppliers that follow proper hygiene practices and source high-quality ingredients. Look for brands regularly testing pathogens and adhering to strict quality control measures.
When choosing a reputable brand with expertise in creating raw pet food, you will feel more confident feeding your four-legged companions. For example, Bold By Nature raw pet food can be a great option, as they have come a long way from the beginning of their journey in their kitchen. They remain committed to offering pets raw recipes that contribute to their health and overall well-being. Since they have been creating raw pet food since 2005, they know the best practices to safely create, store, and transport food.
It’s important to store raw pet food in the freezer or refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth. If you purchase large quantities, divide them into smaller portions and freeze them individually. Thaw only the required amount in the refrigerator before feeding, avoiding thawing at room temperature.
Just like when handling raw meat for human consumption, following proper food handling practices is essential. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and bowls for raw pet food, and wash them thoroughly with hot, soapy water after use. Avoid cross-contamination with human food by storing raw pet food separately in sealed containers.
When thawing raw food, do so in the refrigerator, allowing sufficient time to thaw completely. Avoid using the microwave or hot water to thaw, especially for large quantities, as these methods can create uneven temperatures and promote bacterial growth.
To prevent the transmission of bacteria, wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds after handling raw pet food. This is crucial for your health and to avoid any potential contamination when interacting with your pet.
Safe Feeding Practices
Establish designated feeding areas for your pet to minimize the risk of contamination. Feeding your pet on a washable surface that can be easily cleaned and disinfected, such as a tiled floor or a feeding mat, is recommended. Avoid feeding raw pet food on carpeted areas or furniture.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Raw pet food scraps, including bones, should be handled carefully. Raw food bones are typically not as brittle and don’t splinter as easily as cooked bones, but it’s still important to supervise your dog when they consume bones. If your dog is small and the bones you offer seem too big, dispose of them in a sealed bag or container and place them in a secure trash bin to prevent access by other animals.
Regular Cleaning and Sanitization
Keep feeding areas clean and sanitized by washing food bowls, utensils, and feeding surfaces with hot, soapy water after each use. Periodically disinfect these items to maintain a hygienic feeding environment for your pet.
Feeding Your Pet a Raw Diet
Feeding your pet a raw diet can be a rewarding experience when done correctly. By following these raw pet food handling guidelines, you can ensure your furry friend’s health and well-being while minimizing potential risks.
Remember to purchase from reputable sources, store and thaw the food properly, practice good hygiene, and maintain a clean feeding environment. If you have any concerns or questions, consult your veterinarian for personalized advice tailored to your pet’s needs. With proper care and attention to detail, your pet can thrive on a raw diet and enjoy a healthier, happier life!