Every pet is different. Every food formula is different. Consult with your Vet for appropriate feeding guidelines and additional questions. Better yet, do your own independent research and 'digging'. The ARF team of Vets, Scientists, Nutritionists, and pet advocates in this forum is pleased to provided the consumer with the tools to ask important questions regarding their pet.
What is Biologically Appropriate or Species Appropriate Food?
Well your pet can't cook. Never has, never will. It is the practice of feeding domesticated dogs and cats primarily raw meat, raw bones, raw organ meat and even the fur and hide. They are foods that have been on the animal menu, naturally, for millions of years...until the advent of manufactured and processed food was introduced in the 60's. It's also coupling the raw food with minimal fruits and vegetables, and pro and prebiotics, that are also found in nature, complementing a pet's natural and healthy lifestyle.
Do animals self-medicate?
Yes. It's call Zoopharmacognosy. They will eat grass, leaves and herbs in nature to treat ailments or to get additional nutritional supplements.
Will my pet experience a behavioral difference?
Yes. He will become less lethargic, play more, have higher energy, be more active, be more alert, and stimulated. And, NO, he will not crave blood and become a 'blood seeker' and more aggressive. This is an urban legend.
What is the difference between freeze dried and dehydrated?
Freeze drying means that the moisture is removed. Dehydrating is using a low heat to remove the moisture as well. Is all freeze dried food raw? No, you can freeze dry cooked food. Freeze dried is more nutritionally valuable than cooked because the heat can kill healthy enzymes.
How much should I feed my pet?
2 - 3 % of his body weight. Puppies can eat as much as 8%.
Aren't bones dangerous for pets?Yes and no. Do wolves choke? (I choked on a goldfish cracker once). Yes, cooked bones can be very dangerous. They can splinter and cause internal damage or even death. No, raw bones aren't dangerous, and yes they do splinter, but you should always exercise bone feeding with caution. Their teeth and jaws are designed to eat and crush bones. The high acid content (PH1 in their gut) dissolves the bones to a gelatinous substance. If left out in the sun, they become brittle and splinter. You should always give fresh bones and toss them after a day or so after they gnawed off the good stuff.
My pet eats grass, then vomits. Why?
It's important to note 'Why?' is your dog eating grass. Dogs are omnivores and instinctually scavengers before they were domesticated. A dogs stomach is very acidic, PH 1. They sometimes eat grass to purposefully make themselves vomit if they are uncomfortable and if there is a lot of acid build up, or if they have consumed something that isn’t settling right in their stomach. He may be uncomfortable from the manufactured food he just ate. Just like humans, they too feel indigestion and sour bellies. If you see your pet eating grass, it may be a sign that he's uncomfortable. He may not feel well. Switch his food, see if he continues to eat grass. It could be the need of additional fiber in his diet. Sometime they eat it for the very small amount of nutritional value. He could simply be bored, or may even like the taste, and he may eat it only for the attention, or for fun. If you live in a high traffic area where other pups can leave fecal residue on grass, please be aware that there can be parasite residue contaminating the grass, or pesticides can also contaminate grass.
What is tripe and why is it beneficial?
It is stomach lining. It is not the stomach contents, which are not eaten by wolves or dogs. It helps with digestion with its digestive enzymes and aids in good gut flora.
How closely are dogs and wolves related?
Your dog is 99.8% wolf. Dogs and wolves can interbreed.
I have a picky pet. Will my pet like raw food?
Put a bowl of manufactured kibble in front of him and a bowl of raw food in front of him. See which one he chooses. His instincts will probably choose raw.
Does feeding my pet biologically appropriate food cost more than traditional diets?
Yes & No. More often than not, it will cost the same or less if you make it at home, although some raw food diets can cost more. (Remember they require less raw food because it is optimally absorbed instead of passed through their system). You may make the food yourself, or you may purchase it from a reliable vendor. Many times a raw food maker will cost even less than making it yourself. This is because they purchase in higher quantities and are able to pass along the savings to you. ARF only uses the highest quality. We believe that you get what you pay for and we don't sacrifice or skimp when it comes nutrition and your pets health.
Why doesn't ARF use HPP (High Pressure Processing)?
High pressure processing kills bad bacteria...but it also kills the good bacteria. If you are killing off all of the good bacteria and enzymes in raw food, you're missing the most important element of raw feeding. If you are immuno compromised or if your pet is immuno compromised, then yes, HPP is an option as it nearly eliminates the risk of salmonella.
Can I make an immediate switch to raw food?
Yes. But keep it simple at first if you're making it at home. Most dogs do very well with an immediate full switch, especially if it is just simply chopped chicken to start. If your pet develops an allergy, having just a few ingredients at first makes it easier to eliminate any allergy items. Start with one ingredient at a time. (My pup Milo had a severe wheat allergy, going into respiratory failure when he consumed wheat. A now more common issue with specialized breeding). Commercialized kibble and treats can have hidden ingredients. Really understand what your pet is eating.
Most pets have been on kibble their entire lives. With older dogs, go slow. Mix a small amount of raw with their current feed and increase the raw food each day until your pet is eating completely raw. Foods such as organs like livers, or eggs, are rich in nutrients and starting you pet out with these foods may induce a loose stool. Start with more chicken meat and introduce the organs in very small quantities.
Raw chicken meat with a baked mashed squash is a very simple start. Try it out for a week then add one ingredient a week until you have built a diet that is appropriate for your pet. Work with a Vet who is knowledgeable, or holistic, and knowledgeable about raw feeding. Keep in mind, you will find drastically different opinions and it is up to you to choose what is best for your pet. And yes, your Vet may not know what is best when it comes to nutrition.
How do I know if my pet is getting enough nutrition?
Your Vet can check blood levels of your pet to assure you that he is not lacking in any vitamins, minerals.
What is Omega 6 and Omega 3 and what is the ratio in ARF?
They are unsaturated fatty acids essential for life. The ration is 2:1, just as nature intended it. We don't mess with Mother Nature. We don't add or remove these essential fatty acids. ARF also uses eggs, which are also a good Omega sources.
What is the ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus?
2:1. Exactly how Mother Nature intended it. Meat and crushed bones provide the perfect ratio.
Can I give my pet snacks?
Yes. In between meals, give him a slice of apple or applesauce, or give a spoon full of yogurt or kefir (they have good probiotics and enzymes) as a treat 20 minutes before meals (time to absorb). I grow my own kefir and share with my pup! Add a couple of drops of molasses or honey that is native to the area (native honey helps pets with allergies adjust to local allergens-just like people). Brush the apple to keep it fresher longer in the fridge with apple cider vinegar. Remember the science trick of soaking a chicken bone in apple cider vinegar? It becomes pliable and you can tie it in a knot. He’ll love the taste of vinegar, yogurt, and molasses...add a dollop of any of these things to his veggies.
When can I feed my pet veggies?
You can introduce veggies right away. Veggies can be fed with proteins or with his fruits. Dogs love munching on raw carrots. Just remember that veggies (carrots) need to be pulped in a blender, juicer, or food processor. Plant cell walls are made of cellulose, something that your pet cannot digest easily, so to get the nutrients out of them you’ll need to crush them for him. Cooking does destroy the cell walls of plants and veggies which then makes it digestible, but you lose some of the nutrients and enzymes. Remember, cats and dogs do not eat a lot of veggies naturally, keep this at a minimum.
Should I separate certain foods?
This is a personal decision. If flatulence is a problem or concern, then yes, separate them. Proteins and carbs break down at different rates. Since the digestive organs secrete enzymes for the break down of food so it can be used more efficiently, you will want to give meats (proteins) in one meal. Give carbs (fruit and grains) in a different meal. You can mix grains, like whole grain rice (although we do not always recommend grains since dogs and cats don't eat them in the wild), with protein. You may combine proteins and veggies, or fruits and veggies. If proteins and carbs are given at the same time, protein enzymes go to work first. It takes longer to break down the proteins, the carbs will sit in the stomach fermenting and releasing toxins into the body, thus causing boating, gas and other unwanted odors. If you must opt to feed grains, keep it at a minimum...and make it whole grain, and non GMO.
Will my pet experience detox?
Yes, some can, just like humans. Some may not. Pets that have been on processed food for years will begin to rid itself of toxins, just like humans. Symptoms include diarrhea, bad breath, vomiting and itchy skin. Symptoms may last a week, or they may last several weeks. The longer your pet has been on processed food, the longer it may take to adjust. Don't give up, symptoms get worse before they get better, purging the processed things naturally. Remember to keep your pet comfortable through the process. Provide fresh water, give plenty of vitamin C and E to boost the immune system. (Or, yogurt-Milo loved plain yogurt with frozen blueberries). Go slow with new foods. Remember to introduce them one by one and make it simple. Make sure he doesn't have allergies with anything new. Give your pet natural pumpkin in the can if they experience diarrhea.
Should I feed my pet grains?
No, we don't suggest always feeding grains, it's not natural and they wouldn't eat it in the wild, it would be extremely rare. But, this is a personal decision. Sure, grains can be fed. Vets do often recommend it after an illness. But remember, a carb is easily converted to sugar. Cancer cells feed on sugar and it is believed that by greatly reducing the amount of these carbs that it reduces the risk of cancers. If you decide to feed your dog grains, consider keeping it at an extreme minimum and make it a whole grain, or even go with quinoa. (When Milo was a puppy, I fed him organic, steamed, whole, brown rice that was non-GMO, mashed with organic hormone and antibiotic free, steamed, chicken breast and thighs, and peeled mashed carrots, before I introduced him to raw. His immune system was compromised so I began with steamed foods, plus they were high in moisture and he needed to add weight, fast. He absorbed it very well and his Vet tested his blood nutrient levels and they were normal. I also fed him baby food-mashed chicken and mashed pumpkin to firm the stool. Although, after a few weeks of feeding grains, Milo developed OCD tendencies on rice). We do not always suggest grains, we'd keep it short term.
What about corn for my pet?
We do not suggest feeding corn. Corn is one of the cheapest items that manufacturers can add to the bucket list of food ingredients. It's used heavily as a filler or by-product. Although a dog can assimilate (absorb and utilize) 95% of the corn, nearly as well as humans, it is not natural. It has been know to cause allergies in pets. We do not recommend corn, corn products, corn meal etc...
What about fiber?
Fiber can be soluble or non-soluble. In the wild, wolves for example, eat the hides and fur of prey. This fiber is non-soluble.
Should I give my pet supplements?
This is a personal decision. Always consult with your Vet. Every pet is different. Every diet is different. If your pet is receiving a balanced diet, then no, you will not need to supplement. Supplements are not necessary to give every day and consider using them in the short term if necessary. When looking for the right supplement, consider the natural form first. If your Vet feels your pet needs more Vitamin B for example, add more bio-available Vitamin B that's found in liver.
Keep in mind the elements of where you live. I took my pet to the city. Although Denver was not a high pollution city, he had more pollution and less of the natural soil to romp and play on. I like to add an occasional Vitamin C and E to combat these additional toxins. I also like Cranimals...(check out their company-another dog Mom with a passion for a healthy pet!).
Why don't you add supplements to ARF?
Because, if you eat the right food, you don't need to supplement.
Can I mix raw food with cooked?
No. We don't suggest it. Why? Because your dogs stomach is very acidic and has a high PH balance. Cooked food will lower the PH balance, thus making it more difficult for you dog to assimilate, and may result in loose stool and less nutrition absorption.
Why don't you add calcium to ARF?
Because ARF adds bones to our food. It's perfect the way it is...as nature intended.
Why is ARF so bloody?
Don't throw out the blood! It's packed full of it's packed full of healthy calories and nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
My dog has nearly stopped drinking water on a raw diet? Why?
Raw food is extremely high in water. His body is using the water in the food, optimally. Wonder how animals can go for days without drinking from a watering hole? It's because the flesh, bones, and organs they eat from their hunted prey is high in blood and water content.
Why does ARF make freeze dried if the water in raw is so important?
Well, because we understand that people travel, pets travel. Some people have a gross out or fear factor when it comes to seeing blood. Just add water to reconstitute it. It's still great food. We just want to make it available and convenient to everyone.
When adding body temperature water to the freeze dried food, will it expand in my pets belly?
No. It's not dehydrated by heat. It's freeze dried. It won't expand.
Should I microwave pet food to thaw it faster?
No. Microwaving cooks the food from the inside out. Thaw food by leaving it in the fridge or letting it stand in a sink basin to defrost/thaw. Remember, raw bones (even chicken bones) are great for your dog. Cooked bones (especially chicken bones) will splinter and may cause internal damage and maybe even death. Do not give cooked bones.
My pet has loose stool. My pet is constipated. How can I help?
Give him a Tablespoon (1 T per 10 lbs) of canned natural pumpkin (not the pumpkin for pie fillings because it has added ingredients such as extra sugars and salts, which may cause loose stool or constipation). Remember to start slow and introduce new foods gradually, or one by one...and consult with your vet.
Which oils are good for my pet?
Where does ARF stand on pro & pre biotics?
Probiotics and prebiotics are a natural and important part of good health and optimal body function. While in the wild, pets naturally consume pro and pre biotics in their meals. If your pet has been on antibiotics, we always suggest supplementing with prebiotics (non-digestible fiber, which supports the growth of good probiotic bacteria and can't be used by bad bacteria). Prebiotics help probiotics provide optimal nutritional absorption for good gut flora and it increases the mucus membrane. Pro-biotics like live bacteria in yogurts, kefir and cottage cheese, cheeses, and prebiotics like dandelion leaf, chicory root, beet pulp, or garlic are all good in healthy amounts and dogs seek them out naturally in the wild as well. There are no long term studies on what is the appropriate amount for you pet, so consult with your Vet. About 65% of a dogs immune system is in their digestive track. Pro and pre biotics actually produce natural antibodies against harmful bacteria like salmonella and E-coli. Antibiotics, stress, poor diets, environmental changes, and pollutants can deplete the beneficial bacteria in your pet.
Are raw egg yolks good?
Raw egg yolks are a good source of protein, folate, Vitamin B-12, Omega - 3's, and Omega - 6 fatty acids.
Are raw egg whites good?
Raw egg whites are a good source of phosphorus - free protein.
What is the difference between fresh farm eggs and caged eggs?
Freshly laid eggs from healthy free range chickens are incredibly free of bad bacteria, or pathogens. Not only do the shells naturally (chemically) fight off bad bacteria, but so do the egg whites. They fight off pathogens and they are naturally resistant to bacteria such as salmonella. Lysozyme is an enzyme found both in animals and humans such as nasal, tears and saliva secretions. The function of lysozyme is to break down the cell wall and kill any germs/pathogens/bacteria such as salmonella.
Should I de-worm my pet?
Talk to your Vet. It is important to regularly de-worm your pet. ARF food contains bones and garlic, it provides an unfriendly environment in your pets gut for parasites. Rather than killing the parasite, it makes for and unfriendly environment and the parasite unlatches and passes through. Bones and garlic naturally reduced the mucus in the gut, making it an unfavorable environment for parasitic activity. Remember that dogs will seek out wild garlic and eat bones in nature. Large doses of garlic can be toxic. Keep it at a minimum and know that small amounts are beneficial. Remember, too much of a good thing can be bad. For example, prunes are good for people, but eat too much and...well, you get the point.
What about my pets poop?
What goes in, doesn't come out. That is because raw food is optimally absorbed and all good stuff is used up by the pet. Stool volume is significantly reduced, it is nearly odorless, and it is firm and nearly dry.
What about my pets anal glands?
Since the stool is firm, it naturally suppresses the anal glands.
Will ARF make a puppy line?
No. Once a pup is weened from the mother, he eats what the rest of the pack eats...raw food.
If ARF wasn’t available, what would you feed your pet?"I definitely feel that there are some great, biologically appropriate, raw, pet foods on the market today...and I like giving my pet a variety as much as my pet likes eating a variety. SmallBatch (our favorite competitor and mentor) is my fave. K9Natural and Ziwi Peak (both great for traveling). Also Stella & Chewy's (Although HPP processed, I feel this is a good option for the immuno compromised. For those pets that have a weakened immune system, cancer, or have a human that they live with that has a weak immune system, but still want to feed raw). Since raw, biologically appropriate foods only make up 2% of the pet food market, I strongly believe in promoting, even if it is promoting my competitors. Every pet is different. Every formula is different. I support coming together for the benefit of a healthy pet. I simply want what is best for my pup. Sales of course is important for our company, especially when we want to give back so much, but keeping my sidekick healthy at any cost is worth more to me." -Anne