Going Raw? Here’s What to Look for When Selecting Your Pet’s Grub


5 tips for finding a high-quality, pre-made raw pet food and making the switch easy.

dog eating

Many pet parents are just beginning to learn about the benefits of feeding raw food to their furry pals—from easier digestibility to retaining more essential nutrients in their purest form. If you’re one of them and decided that your kitty or pup should eat raw, you likely have questions. How do you select the right raw food for your pet? Is raw food really safe? Is making the switch easy?

Feeding raw used to require creating a diet for your pet from scratch with raw ingredients, which can be challenging and time-consuming. The secret to making it easy? Ready-made, complete and balanced raw pet food. But figuring out which options are safe and nutritionally sound can be overwhelming. Read on to learn how to pick the right pre-made raw food and introduce it to your four-legged friend.

1. Find Well-Balanced Raw Meal Formulas

If you’re looking to feed raw for the whole meal, make sure your pet is receiving a complete and balanced diet by checking the complete and balanced statement on the bag, or the product’s website. 

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) offers helpful guidelines for what to look for on a food label and how to tell if a company is serious about making raw pet food responsibly: Look for brands like Instinct Pet Food that have a board-certified veterinary nutritionist on staff. In addition, those who formulate the food should be well-credentialed. At Instinct, food formulators have advanced degrees and experience creating edible products for people and pets. So you can feel confident that your four-legged friend will be well-nourished.  

2. Choose Raw Pet Food Made with Cold Pressure Technology

Cold pressure (or high-pressure processing) is a method of killing bacteria like salmonella and e. coli without using high temperatures (which cook food and decrease nutritional value). It’s the same process that’s used in many human foods, such as cold-pressed juices and store-bought guacamole. Instinct Pet Food has a zero pathogen tolerance and uses this special technology to ensure tasty, safe raw food that retains more nutrients than cooked food.

3. Pay Attention to the Safety Ratings

Some pet food brands go above and beyond when it comes to safety measures. For instance, Instinct Pet Food is the only raw food brand in North America to earn Safe Quality Food’s highest level of certification: an “Excellent” Food Safety rating and certification in Quality. These third-party credentials are proof that the company is dedicated to maintaining the highest caliber of food safety.

4. Check Where Food is Produced

It’s a good sign if a raw pet food brand owns their manufacturing facilities. That way they can keep strict quality control measures in place. For example, Instinct Pet Food tests every batch of raw food before it goes out to make sure it’s free of pathogens and contaminants.

5. Start Slow When Making the Switch

It’s simple to change your pet’s diet from processed foods like kibble to raw meals. However, as you would do with any change to your cat or dog’s diet, start slow. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food in with the old. Gradually increase the amount of raw food each day until eventually it’s an entirely raw meal. This usually takes a week, but pets with sensitive tummies may need to go slower.

Keep in mind that there are multiple types of raw foods, too. Instinct Pet Food makes frozen raw patties and bites as well as freeze-dried, shelf-stable options. They even have meal-toppers you can add to a bowl of kibble to boost the nutrition. There are a bunch of options your four-legged friend is sure to love.