A couple weeks ago you mentioned that raw food might be a good alternative to commercial (and often, recalled) pet food. Is raw food really the way to go? And how do I prepare it?
— Anxious in Oxnard
I’m none too choosey about what I eat, and raw is a specific favorite of mine. But for a more professional standpoint I turned to B. Dawson, owner of Noah’s Apothecary in Ojai. Dawson is an animal herbalist who often gives workshops on homemade pet food solutions.
First, she says, raw is the natural choice.
“Dogs and cats are designed to eat raw food. If you look at their teeth patterns, they are carnivores,” Dawson explains. “The idea that was put out there by some of the dry dog food companies and some veterinarians — that our pets have evolved to eat kibble — is roughly equivalent to saying that humans have evolved to eat fast food. You’re looking at a commercially prepared food that’s only been around 60, 65 years.”
She explains that carnivores metabolize fat, not grain carbohydrates, for energy. And sticking to a meat-based diet, Dawson explains, may not be enough: go raw.
“Cooked fat turns to grease, and they cannot digest it.”
What about the price?
“You don’t need expensive supplements if you would just feed them a good diet. Honestly, $2.50-$3.50 per pound of food to feed your animal, and [the animal] is not going to have irregular bowels, although I have found they tend to have slightly larger stools, which do not smell.”
A staff member at the VC Reporter, Art Director Enrique Candioti, has only ever fed his cats raw food. He kindly offered the following recipe (feeds two cats):
1/3 pound raw ground turkey (Shelton’s brand is recommended)
2 teaspoons ground golden flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon calcium supplement powder (bone meal powder or vegetable calcium powder recommended)
1/2 teaspoon Super Green food powder supplement
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
5 tablespoons warm water
Dawson recommends adding organ meat to the recipe (diced-up beef, chicken or turkey heart or liver) once or twice a week for the amino acid taurine.
I can’t speak for this recipe, but a certain cat I live with (former Pet of the Week, Van) gave it an enthusiastic chow-down.