Browse Categories

Stella and Simon
Tandem Hammocks
Cat Condo

Frequently Asked Questions About Raw Feeding

The following addresses questions that prudent animal companion guardians generally ask. The answers provided below are brief, and do not relay all of the information required to fully understand the whys and how-to of raw feeding.


We encourage you to spend time browsing our website to gain knowledge that will make raw feeding easier on you and your pet. An even more comprehensive view on raw feeding, vaccinations and other important health issues is available in book format.


Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you have that are not addressed here or in the information provided on our site. We are happy to help anyone transition their loved one to a healthier way of life.

I can't seem to open the PDF Reports listed on your site.

Click on this link to download Adobe Reader for Free


What does B.A.R.F. mean?


B.A.R.F. is an abbreviation for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.


What does RMB mean?


RMB is the abbreviation used in the raw feeding arena for raw meaty bone.



I feed a premium commercial pet food. Doesn’t that provide good nutrition?


In our opinion, processed pet foods do not supply good nutrition. Most processed pet foods contain biologically inappropriate sources of protein matter and fats that supply little usable nutrition and many unnatural preservatives and toxins. There are a handful of companies that do their best to supply quality ingredients in their processed foods. However, even these premium foods do not deliver the nutrients your pet needs to thrive. Processed pet food could never come close to providing the unadulterated nutrients your pet will benefit from by eating natural, whole, biologically appropriate raw meat, organs and bone. The best way to look at this is to ask yourself if you, as an omnivore, get more nutrition from a fast food meal or a meal consisting of mainly whole raw vegetables, lightly cooked meats and whole grains. There is absolutely no comparison in the nutrient quality, availability and assimilation. For more information see Problems with Processed Pet Food


Why would I want to feed my pet a raw diet?


Dogs and cats (and ferrets) are carnivores- meat eaters. They are physiologically (functioning process) and metabolically (assimilation and elimination) designed to eat raw meat and bone. Their entire digestive system (i.e. sharp jagged teeth, highly acidic stomach acids, short intestinal tract) dictates they are meant to be eating raw animal proteins. Providing nutrition in the form Mother Nature intended strengthens the immune system and gives your companion animal a strong foundation for optimal health. Feeding a carnivore an herbivore or omnivore diet is going completely against nature and is one of the primary reasons for their failing health. Your pet may survive on processed pet foods, but the signs of poor nutrition do eventually begin to surface. For more information see Why Feed Raw


I thought dogs and cats should not eat bones


COOKED bones should NEVER be fed to your pet because the cooking process makes the bone brittle. Cooked bones splinter into sharp pieces that can perforate the animal’s digestive organs. Raw uncooked bones, however, are what our carnivorous pets were born to eat. Uncooked bones are soft enough for dogs to crush and swallow and a healthy animal’s highly-acidic stomach acids are perfectly capable of breaking down appropriate sized edible raw bones.

Are there different raw meaty bones (RMB)? What’s the difference between edible bones and recreational bones?


“Raw meaty bones” is a term that may be used for two types of bones:

1) Edible bones are bones that are soft enough for a dog to eat completely (i.e. poultry necks, wings); and

2) Recreational bones are larger bones; like knuckle bones that a dog will grind at to wear it down gradually, but would never be able to swallow it whole or bite off larger than appropriate pieces. Also, femur bones (soup bones) enjoyed mostly for licking out of the marrow in the center or if meat is left on them for tearing and ripping.


Can I feed my pet ground meaty bone instead of whole raw meaty bones?


It is understandable that people new to raw feeding their pets are concerned about possible choking complications and potential messiness when feeding large pieces of meat and bone. In addition, pets with poor dental health, older or immune compromised pets are best to avoid whole bone at least initially.


So the answer is yes and our Carnivores ground products provide a perfect, convenient, worry-free solution with the bone ground in with the meat. Our primary products are based on a “whole prey” philosophy; coming as close as possible to supplying the meat-to-bone-to organ ratio that nature intended.


We do, however, recommend RMB be a part of a well rounded diet to provide your pets with the many benefits that come with enjoying RMBs. When RMBs are not an option due to poor dental health or other concerns, then ground poultry necks are a good alternative, at least for the added calcium they supply.


Should I be worried about my pet choking on a bone?


Cautious, not worried. Dogs, cats, and people can choke on just about anything. There are reports of pets choking on everything from a chew stick, to dry food (kibble), to a tennis ball! There is always the possibility of any animal choking on whatever goes into its mouth. You should always supervise their meals and never leave your pet unattended with any RMB or other chew treat.


The general rule is that bones fed whole should be plenty large enough that your dog cannot gulp them down in whole large pieces or small enough that they can easily swallow the piece. Dogs do not generally chew their food like we do. If hard pieces, they will crunch down once or twice and swallow. With our large dogs, who are gulpers, we feel more comfortable with the bone ground in the meat like our Carnivores ground whole-prey and a twice weekly snack of cut up poultry necks for their crunching pleasure. Large knuckle bones are also offered regularly for grinding, ripping and tearing. These recreational bones keep the teeth and gums healthy while providing great upper–body muscle toning and psychological benefit. For more information see Raw Feeding Made Simple


Won’t raw meat make my pet sick? What about all the bacteria like salmonella?


No, a healthy dog, cat, or ferret is perfectly capable of handling raw meat protein. The wolf or the lion does not cook their food. Mother Nature has her way of making sure the digestion design meets the nutritional requirements. A carnivore’s stomach acid is below the Ph of vinegar [many times the hydrochloric acid of a human] allowing them to digest and inactivate the devastating effects that these bacteria could have on our digestive systems. The food also moves much more quickly through the carnivore’s short intestinal track.


Bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli are a risk with any food including, most recently, spinach! In fact, a recent study proved that many processed commercial pet foods contained 3 of the 5 bacteria of concern.


The key is to feed only raw meats purchased from a trusted source and to handle the raw meat, fish, and poultry in the same prudent manner you would when preparing them for yourself. In addition, never mix grains with raw animal protein. The addition of grains will cause digestive upset.


How do I prevent myself or family from contracting bacteria from raw feeding?


The same way you prevent it when preparing raw meat for your own consumption. It is important to practice proper food safety with raw food whether you are preparing it for your two-legged or four-legged family members. Safe handling and preparation instructions are the same as for the meat you buy in the store: keep the raw food separate from other food and away from children and wash all work surfaces, utensils, hands and pet’s food bowl with soapy, hot water. To assure proper cleaning, serve pet food in a stainless steel or (lead-free) glass bowl.


Wipe your dog’s face with a damp paper towel after they eat and naturally avoid kisses on the lips immediately following a raw meal. We have been raw feeding our pets 8 ½ years without incident; others have been feeding raw for 20 + years and we have never heard of this occurring.


Can I cook the meat and feed it to my pet?


First of all… any product containing bone should NEVER be cooked. Cooking boneless meats is an option; however, it defeats the purpose of feeding nutrient- and enzyme-rich foods. The cooking process alters the natural molecular structure of the amino acids, removes the intracellular moisture, and destroys the living enzymes found in raw animal protein. Cooking is not necessary and limits the nutritional value of the food. In addition, boneless meats are higher in Phosphorus than Calcium, the opposite of a good ratio. Feeding only boneless meats disrupts the very important balance of Calcium to Phosphorus in the diet.

See Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio


How much and how often do I feed the raw diet?


To maintain body weight of an average adult dog, cat, or ferret it is recommended you feed between 1 ½ % to 3% of their body weight. Feeding amounts for an average adult pet will vary depending on breed, metabolism, activity level, and age. Puppies, kittens and pregnant or nursing females require more food; 4% to 8% or more of body weight depending on varying factors. Watch for weight gain or loss and adjust accordingly.


For optimal nutrient uptake it is recommended to feed your adult pet at least twice daily regardless of weight. All free-feeding practice should be discontinued when you feed a raw diet. For more information see Feeding - Amount & Frequency example chart and feed calculator

Why does the Carnivores package state "for supplemental feeding only"?

Proper raw feeding is based on the philosophy of offering the carnivorous dog, cat and ferret a wide variety of foods they were designed to eat in adequate quantity. Just like with human food, eating  a variety of wholesome, biologically appropriate foods in their raw or limitedly processed state over time provides good nutrition. Human foods are not marketed with the strategy that the meal is complete and balanced by some set governmental standard (thank goodness). In fact, if you think about it, every human food we purchase and eat is for supplemental feeding. For more in depth information please refer to pages 7 and 8 of The Problem with Processed Pet Food Report.

How do I manage to give my pet a balanced and complete diet?


Don’t be fooled by the commercial pet food propaganda. We are perfectly capable of providing our companion animals with a highly nutritious diet. If the FDA told us tomorrow that we all had to start eating these specific commercially processed foods or we would not be getting a balance diet, would you go along with it? Commercial pet food offers nothing more than convenience, much like that fast-food hamburger or can of soup we grab every now and then. BUT we would not eat processed foods every day and expect to remain in good health…


Dogs and cats require certain amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to survive. Raw animal protein, including organ meats and bone contain all of the essential amino acids and vitamins and minerals our pets’ bodies need. Fish and eggs also supply these nutrients as well as essential fatty acids. It is our belief that a wide variety of these whole foods over the course of time allows us to achieve a balanced diet for our four–legged family member that is much more nutritious than what we would pour out of a bag or a can. With raw food your pet won’t just survive… they will thrive!

What is the date stamped on the Carnivores Raw Food Package?

This date is the month and the year the food was processed. Frozen food stays good in the freezer indefinitely. It is said that after a year or so it may begin to lose some nutrients, but this loss so minimal it should not be of concern. Most of our raw meat products move quickly. Some of the lower volume products like fish, organ meats, etc. not as quickly. Also, at times we may buy in heavy on inventory of specific items due to various factors such as possible limited availability or an imminent substantial cost increase.

We stop selling product once it reaches 12 months from processing. Not because these products are not still perfectly fine for feeding. In fact, although rare, if we find we have inventory that is 12 months past the processing date we feed it to our own pets. As the inventory reaches 8 months from processing we put the product on sale. If inventory load warrants we reduce the sale price further as the product nears the 12 month from processing mark. This allows our customers to enjoy significant savings. Not all sale items are on sale for the purpose of moving excess inventory. At times we just like to offer our loyal customers an opportunity to save here and there on certain products.

My pet is drinking less water on the RAW diet, is that normal?


Yes, it is generally normal that your pet will require less water. Raw animal protein contains an abundance of moisture. Seeking less water will be especially noticeable if you previously fed dry pet food (kibble) which has no moisture in it at all. Our furry loved ones need moisture in their food. Without it their vital organs have to work much harder than they should. Regardless, fresh, clean water should be available to your pet at all times.


My pet’s stool is smaller and not as soft and turns to white after several days now that he is on the raw diet. Is that normal?


Yes, it is normal. Your pet’s stool will be smaller and firmer because they are absorbing the food instead of just processing through empty calories and eliminating fillers found in commercial pet foods. The stool eventually turns to white because of the bone content in the food which is also responsible for firming up the stool. Firm, but not uncomfortably hard stool is what you’ll strive for. Firm stool also helps to keep the anal glands naturally expressed. One less trip to the vet!


Will feeding RAW make my pet more aggressive?


Absolutely not: there isn’t any truth behind this concern. People have been feeding their animals raw for centuries without this ever being a problem. Many herding dogs that would protect their flock to the death are pets that eat a raw diet. In fact, feeding a highly nutritious diet of whole raw foods has been known to result in a satisfied and calmer pet.


Can I feed my dog grains?


If you had a horse, would you feed him raw meat? Of course not, you would feed the herbivore horse what they are designed to eat; grasses, grains and some fruits and vegetables. So, the best answer is no. A dog, cat, and ferret’s digestive systems are identical to that of a wild carnivore. They were never meant to eat and cannot properly process grains. A horse, a cow (grain eating animals) have weaker stomach acids, several chambered stomachs and a very long intestinal track; all geared toward processing grains and other high fiber foods. Their digestive system is the total opposite of your pet carnivore.


Following the laws of nature, dogs, cats, and ferrets have no requirement for carbohydrates. They derive their energy from protein and fat. Adding grain to a raw diet can have detrimental consequences. As sever as colitis attacks when grains are mixed with raw meat and bone, to uncomfortable digestive upset when pets are fed grain based food at one meal and raw animal protein in another. Grain can also cause bothersome itching, chewing, and licking (grains = sugar and sugar = yeast, and allergy symptoms generally arise from just this).

An occasional small treat that contains rice will not harm them, but keep separate by hours from the raw meal, and never mix grains, or starches for that matter, with raw meat and/or raw meat and bone. In addition, remember that feeding grains one meal and raw the next is confusing your pet’s natural ability to handle raw animal protein.


Can I feed my dog vegetables?


Many people who feed raw do and many don’t. It is personal preference. It is true that carnivores, and especially the obligate-carnivore cat, do not have any use for vegetables. They are not capable of digesting the cellulose found in plant matter. But if you wish to feed vegetables, you should cook those that you would cook for your own consumption and those that you eat raw, your pet can eat raw. You must also puree the vegetables (pulverize with a food processor into a pulp) to begin the digestion process so your pet can tolerate and utilize the nutrients. Stay away from starchy vegetables altogether (i.e. potatoes, yams, summer squash, beets, etc.) and limit vegetables that are high in sugar (i.e. carrots). In addition, some vegetables (and fruits) are not suitable and can cause harm to your pet.


Can I feed my dog table scraps?


Yes. Prior to the commercial pet food industries clever market strategy some 60 years ago, our parents and grandparents fed their companion animals primarily table scraps and their animals were living longer and rarely at the vet. Table scraps provide dogs and cats better nutrition than processed foods, but not as much nutrition as raw animal protein does. It is important, however, to know which of our cooked foods are appropriate for our pets. Avoid fatty foods and foods that have been seasoned with anything other than sea salt. Leftover meat, fish, or poultry and select vegetables are generally good choices. If something was not sautéed in lots of spices, you can rinse the seasoning off the meat. Be aware, however, there are quite a few common everyday human foods that are toxic to our animals and need to be avoided at all times (i.e. onions, grapes, raisins, pits and seeds, certain fruits and nuts, etc.).


Cooked meats are not providing optimal nutrition for your pet; they do not digest cooked meats or vegetables well and boneless meats are not balanced. Offering them as toppers to their raw meal or as a treat is fine, but table scraps should not make up the primary diet.


Are there things I shouldn’t feed my dog?


Absolutely, there is the list of poisonous foods that pets should not ingest. They include, but may not be limited to, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, and avocado (avocado leaves and seed definitely, but in the UK many feed the meat of the avocado, so the jury is still out on that), macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, grapes and raisins, yeast dough, xylitol (a sweetener), onions, chives, milk, and table salt. There are also quite a few foods and additives that aren’t considered poisonous, but can cause allergic reactions. Grains, sugar, or anything that when consumed turns to sugar (i.e. starchy foods like bread, pasta, corn (disguised under many names), beets, squash- with the exception of zucchini, peas, parsnips and fruit- many fruits are not suitable for pets and all leaves and seeds are definitely not), soy and root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, carrots, beets and cooked bones, highly processed foods and most dairy products, as well as  preservatives, additives, natural flavorings, tenderizers, MSG (found in many unsuspecting foods like brewers yeast and under many disguised names).

How much does feeding a raw food diet cost?


Feeding a raw diet is comparable in cost to feeding a high quality commercially processed pet food. However, when you take into consideration the reduced veterinary cost because your best friend is healthy, it will ultimately costs less than feeding processed foods. Nutrition is the foundation of health! And raw animal protein provides our four-legged family members with nutritious, easy to digest and utilize foods. It is the age-old sayings “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and “pay now, or pay later”. The real value will be seen in a healthier, happier pet, which I think we can all agree is priceless.


You can feed a very good variety of raw meat, organ and bone without the more expensive exotic meats. A 50 lb dog primarily fed the Carnivores whole-prey beef, chicken, goat, lamb, or mutton (older lamb-sheep), pork, rabbit, turkey, and white fish, as well as, Carnivores beef tripe, beef gullet and trachea, and poultry necks, will cost approximately $129.00 a month. If you are on a budget, the exotic meats (i.e. venison, buffalo, pheasant, quail, salmon, etc.) can be fed now and then as a special treat, like when you treat yourself to lobster or a good steak.


Put your money where it will return a significant positive difference in the life of your companion animal. The average vet visit costs between $250 and $350 and in the thousands of dollars if acute and chronic illness occurs. Raw feeding is a wise investment. Eliminating totally unnecessary and health defeating vaccinations (a huge savings), and reducing the amount of treats (they don’t need them throughout the day to know we love them), toys (garage sales for inexpensive, recycled, wide selection- they destroy them anyway) and fancy gadgets will more than offset the cost of feeding a nutritious raw diet.

Will feeding a raw diet eliminate my pet’s allergies?


Dogs, cats and ferrets were never meant to eat grains and most processed pet foods are grain-based (i.e. corn, wheat, soy). Taking your pet off of a grain- based and additive and preservative laced processed pet food could, and many times does, alleviate allergy symptoms. A raw animal protein diet offers superior nutrition without preservatives, additives, or synthetic vitamins and minerals, but please be aware, anything you give your pet (i.e. treats, supplements, top-spot flea products, herbs, meat products with added preservatives-flavorings-tenderizers, etc.) contain potential allergens.

Do I need to add supplements if I feed a raw diet?


The need for supplements is debatable. Some people feel that if you feed a wide variety of raw animal proteins, eggs and some fish there is no need to supplement at all while others believe in supplementing. We believe in limited supplementation with essential nutrients supplied in a form that is as close to natural as possible. Omega 3 fatty acids are recommended for all pets and other select supplements may be considered for specific health issue support.


How do I get started?


Some people believe in an immediate switch to raw food while others believe a gradual weaning off the existing food to a raw diet. We are most comfortable with a gradual approach. The transition depends on what you are currently feeding your pet; if dry pet food (kibble)- first gradually transition your pet to a cooked or quality canned all animal protein diet and then gradually add raw, transitioning over a 2 week period. Never mix grains with raw meat. Raw meat is meant to move quickly through the carnivore’s system. Grains delay this natural process causing digestive problems. If you’re already feeding canned or cooked, then gradually add a little raw over a period of 2 weeks. It is best to start initially with one protein source as your pet gets accustomed to the diet. After a week or so you can start adding variety. Remember, a balanced diet is achieved over the course of time with a wide variety of foods. Please see Transitioning Your Pet to a Raw Food Diet and Raw Feeding Made Simple for more information.


How do I learn more?


Our website contains information as a result of years of research and personal experience and links to many resourceful articles, books and web-sites. In addition, we are committed to assist you in any way we can to supply your pet with a nutritious biologically appropriate raw diet. We ask that you spend the time reviewing the information provided on our website, and then contact us if you need clarification or you have questions not addressed in the material available on our website.


What about treats between meals?


Look at the ingredients of any treat product. Learn what ingredients may present a problem. It is best to feed grain-free all natural treats that contain no preservatives or flavorings. An occasional hard-biscuit treat containing a meat and rice is okay in minimal quantity, apart from raw meals. If you must, select a quality biscuit that does not contain unrecognizable ingredients or you may be exposing your pet to potential allergens. We offer many nutritious treats that are free of potential allergens including Carnivores dehydrated treats which are 100% quality meat, nothing else!

My dog/cat’s health has improved since being on a raw diet, but they still have issues (i.e. itching, chewing, ear discharge/discomfort, and joint and ligament problems, etc.) Shouldn’t they be completely well because they are being fed a raw diet?


We wish we could say yes; however, much like humans our companion animals and their ancestors have been subjected to years of over-exposure to chemicals, unhealthy additives and preservatives, vaccinations, and environmental toxins and have gone against the laws of nature eating sub-standard foods that do not provide adequate nutrition. This health defeating combination has been passed down generation to generation as can be seen with chronic disease. If you have ruled out the possibility of allergies from anything your pet ingests (i.e. supplements, treats, human foods, and specific meat sources) then chronic disease may be the issue. Feeding your furry friend a nutritious raw diet will give them a strong foundation for good health with maximum immune support and homeopathic remedies and herbs can be administered for the gentlest way to assist your pet with persistent health conditions.





Disclaimer: By utilizing this website you express your consent to our Disclaimer. Unless otherwise noted, the contents of our website and marketing materials are based upon the research and opinions of Grateful Pet, our business partners and reference materials. We are not licensed veterinarians, physicians, or nutritionists. The information is not intended to diagnose or prescribe or to replace a relationship with a qualified health care professional and it is not intended as medical or nutritional advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the Grateful Pet team. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions for your pet based upon your own research and your personal knowledge concerning your pet. If you use the information on this website to make decisions for your pet’s health or your own health, Grateful Pet assumes no responsibility for such decisions. We provide insight, high quality food, supplements, and gentle remedies and recommend seeking advice from a qualified, nutritionally oriented health care provider who has thoroughly researched your pet’s health.

Shopping Cart
Your cart is empty.
Search Shopping Lists

  Articles of Interest

   Look at what people are saying...


  Photo Gallery

   Veggie Puree



            Simon in Hammock

Mailing Lists
Guest Book