faq's

About Raw Feeding

 

Can a raw diet fix my pet’s health & digestive problems?

Signs of digestive issues can include farting, belching, burping, vomiting, and diarrhoea.  These may indicate a microbial imbalance in your pet's gut.

There are different dietary plans that can assist the gut & help resolve these and other health issues.  We do see great results when switching to a raw diet although it can take time for the issues to resolve.

We do recommend talking to your veterinarian if your pet is currently on medication & you are wanting to change its diet.  We may ask to see your pet's records to give us a better understanding of the treatment they may have had.  Some medications can unbalance the digestive system so it is best to be advised. 

If you are under the care of Barrowman Goodman Vets - we work closely with the team to ensure that we place your pet on the ideal dietary plan for them.

 

How do I feed a raw diet? Do I switch straight to raw all at once or do it gradually?

If your pet is young & very healthy then yes we generally do a straight switch to raw - stop feeding what you are currently feeding & start the raw diet.

However, we do suggest having a chat with our staff about your pet to ensure we put them on the best plan that fits their age & health needs.

The transition to raw does need to be managed if your pet is any of the following:

  • Has health conditions
  • Elderly
  • Pregnant (or planning to be)
  • Has signs of digestive upset
  • Is a brachycephalic breed (Bulldog, Pug , Persian etc)

 

How do I know what to feed my pet?

Try to think of feeding a raw diet like feeding yourself a varied healthy nutritious diet.

Variety is the key - more variety generally means more balance to the diet.

In one meal you may not get all your nutrients but over a week with variety, the nutritional needs should be met.

We use mixes that include muscle meat, bone, organ & green tripe (tripe isn’t necessary for cats) - try to include a variety of sources including ‘wild’ varieties.

Feeding an all-meat diet (cooked or raw) is not a balanced diet & can cause deficiencies in vitamins & minerals which can be dangerous to your pet’s health.

Raw meaty bones fed with green tripe (for dogs) is also an important component of a raw diet.

Before feeding bones, pop in & have a chat to us to ensure the type & size of bone is appropriate for your pet.  It is best to start with meatier, softer bones.

 

Can I feed dry food with a raw diet?

Honestly - some animals are fed a mix of dry biscuits & raw food without any problems. However, there are quite a few pets that struggle with digestion. 

To digest a raw diet efficiently the stomach requires high gastric acidity.  If we add processed foods like biscuits (which contain carbohydrates - even grain-free diets contain carbohydrates) this lowers the stomach acidity which can reduce the stomach’s ability to digest the food adequately.

Ideally, our suggestion is to feed a fully raw diet to get the maximum benefits

For more information on this see our section on Gastric Acidity.

 

How much should I feed?

The amount to feed per day is based on your pet's age, weight and activity level.

For example, for an adult dog with average activity levels and wanting to maintain its current weight, we recommend they feed approximately 2% of body weight per day. An adult cat would be 3% of body weight per day.

Puppies, kittens & very active animals would need a higher food requirement.  Check out our Feeding Guide Charts for each weight range & percentage requirements.

Every pet is different though so we need to make sure & monitor their body condition closely, and adjust their intake as needed.

 

Will raw feeding be more expensive than other diets?

The cost of raw feeding can vary depending on:

  • product availability
  • the age of your pet
  • what you are feeding

Generally, the cost should be about the same as a good quality premium veterinary diet.

Puppies require for growth a large amount of food daily, while some pets that have skin or other health conditions may require special raw feeding options.

There are variations in the price of different products. For example, the more common meat products such as chicken & beef are much cheaper to source than wild rabbit, possum, venison & goat which require hunters.

The availability of some products can be seasonal - veal (calving season) & rabbits tend to be scarce in winter.

Please let us know if you are concerned about the cost of raw feeding your pet - we will try to assist you in finding a way to save money without having to compromise your pet’s diet.

 

Should I defrost the food first, or can my pet eat it frozen?

Defrosting the product is most preferable but there are exceptions.

If your pet is not a ‘gulper’ of their food and they take their time chewing it then it should be ok to feed frozen cubes. We don’t want your pet trying to swallow frozen food whole. Cats tend to prefer their food defrosted.

If you struggle with the smell of defrosted tripe you may wish to feed it frozen. Again, just ensure that your dog will take their time & chew it up.

If your dog is new to chewing bones they may try to ingest them too quickly.  Feeding them frozen meaty bones may help show them down & get them using their jaw muscle properly.

 

What age can I start feeding my puppy or kitten?

Generally, puppies & kittens can be started on a raw diet from 8 weeks and can do really well on it.

Puppies & kittens need to be monitored closely and their food intake adjusted as they grow.

Ideally, pop in to see us before bringing your new pet home so we can set you up with all the basic information needed.  For more information check out our Getting Started section.

 

Should I need to add supplements to my pet's diet?

A well-planned raw diet for healthy pets should not require supplements to be given. 

By a well-planned diet we mean a diet containing:

  • a variety of proteins including wild species
  • Muscle meat, organ, bone & tripe (tripe for dogs)
  • Quality prey sources, human-grade & wild products rather than offcuts & leftovers
  • Ideally local NZ sourced animals

Some pets can benefit from fish oils or a course of probiotics in some cases - this is usually used as a short term measure to help reduce inflammation in the body & to help reintroduce good bacteria to the gut in order to help assist the immune system.

There are some pets that may have illnesses or compromised immune systems that may suffer deficiencies even on a well balanced raw or even a good processed diet.  These pets may benefit from long term supplementation.  Talk to us about any health issues your pet may have in conjunction with your Veterinarian.

 

Is my dog still allowed treats?

Absolutely! We recommend natural treats, that have been minimally processed with no additives or preservatives.

They are another great way to introduce variety into the diet.

We have a range of natural treats to choose from.

 

Should I feed raw fish to my cat or dog?

Yes.  It is a great source of nutrients including essential fatty acids.  Some fish contains thiamine - an enzyme that destroys a B vitamin required by both cats & dogs.  We suggest limiting raw fish to no more than 3 times a week.

 

Should I feed my pet vegetables?

Overseas raw-feeders routinely feed vegetables as part of their diets, however, they tend not to have the access to green tripe like we do in New Zealand. Tripe contains plant matter that has been pre-digested by the herbivore that ate it. New Zealand has high-quality green tripe so we don't feel it necessary to add vegetables especially as we have excellent quality and ranges of species-appropriate food making additional foods such as vegetables unlikely to be necessary.

 

What about eggs?

YES to eggs!

Raw eggs are nutrient-dense. The egg white contains avidin (an enzyme) which inhibits biotin (a B vitamin); but to cause a biotin deficiency, it would take a large amount of egg whites. And luckily for our pets, there is a whole lot of biotin in the yolk so feed both together to balance things out.

 

Can I feed them table scraps?

We would recommend against feeding scraps to a pet that has any health issues.

Cats aren’t usually interested much in table scraps unless it is a bit of steak or chicken anyway.

The best chance we have of helping you improve your pet's health lies within a tightly controlled diet plan.

Any other nutrients or ingredients given can be enough to cause a very annoying setback, especially in the likes of sensitive skin cases. 

Pets can be doing really well on a specific raw diet for their skin & then manage to get hold of a piece of bread or toast crust only to become very itchy & red all over again.

Being that a lot of the time we don’t know for sure what upsets our pet's health, it is recommended to stick with feeding just the raw diet.

If you choose to feed your pet table scraps just remember that some human foods are toxic (onions for one) and others are just dangerous (cooked bones).

 

Why does my pet drink less water?

Dry pet food (biscuits/kibble) only has a moisture content of around 10% whereas a raw diet is variable, but is usually greater than 70%.

If you have changed your cat or dog from a dry diet to a raw diet, they will have increased their water intake now from their food alone and therefore may not need to drink as much from a bowl. If your pets are healthy and energetic, with normal toileting habits, then that is normal.  If your pet has unusual toileting behaviour (such as passing urine more often, or in inappropriate places), get them checked by your vet.

Cats in particular struggle to drink enough water on a dry diet so they benefit from having more moisture in their diet. They do not have a high thirst drive and there is evidence to suggest that dry diets are a causal factor in urinary tract diseases in some cases.

 

Will my pet's stools be different?

Good news - pets on a raw diet tend to produce much smaller & firmer stools that are also less smelly.

You may notice your pet taking a little longer to pass their stools due to the new constancy and it may take a bit of adjusting the diet to get right for your pet.

For dogs & cats - too much bone in the diet can lead to constipation and for dogs too much tripe or organ can create loose stools.

If your pet strains a lot & fails to pass any stools, repositions themselves & tries again without producing any stool - they may be constipated.  Please let us know & we may be able to adjust the diet to soften the stools

Flipside if the stools are too loose, we might suggest reducing the amount of tripe or organ being fed.

If any problems continue for more than a couple of days or become more severe please see your vet.

If you have any concerns please contact us & we can make suggestions for you of whether a minor diet tweak can be made or whether a vet visit would be advisable.

 

Can I give my dog food poisoning?

Check out the sections on Food Safety

 

Are there risks with raw feeding?

Check out the section on Raw Feeding & Risks

 

I am travelling on holiday with my pet and do not have a fridge or freezer accessible.

This is a common one for customers. We recommend feeding a freeze-dried product if you cannot access a freezer.

There are good brands out there like K9 Natural and Feline Natural which provide good nutrition. Ensure to add adequate water to the freeze-dried product.

About Us

 

Do you have vets or vet nurses on staff?

All our staff are qualified vets & vet nurses.  Our staff believe in the benefits that a raw diet can provide your pets.   

The staff have the ability to provide information & diet plans to meet specific health requirements your pets may have.

We will discuss with you the needs of your individual pet & depending on the complexity of the case, set you up with the best person who will be able to tailor a diet plan suited to those needs.

We strongly recommend you chat to your own vet about your desire to change to a raw diet.

We may, if your pet has health conditions, ask if we can access your veterinary records.  It is important to know about the types of medications your pet is on and conditions that they have etc when changing to a raw diet. 

We do not require you to be a client of our associated veterinary clinic. 

We welcome anyone to join us on a raw food journey.

If your pet is unwell, please contact your regular vet unless you feel it is dietary related.

 

Where is your store located?

110 Lake Road, Rotorua.

 

What are your opening hours?

Our retail store is open Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 8.30am - 5.30pm, Wednesday 9am - 6pm, Friday 8.30am - 5pm & Saturday 9am - 1pm.

 

Do you offer ‘Click & Collect’?

Yes, we do! Shop our site as you would any other eCommerce site, add the products to your cart and checkout online. Our team will process your order and email you when it is ready to collect.

 

Do you offer bulk pricing?

Yes, we have some products available in bulk which can help in keeping the cost down - it will just require freezer space.  Check out the product listing for bulk options.

Get in touch with our expert team today

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