11 Jul 2022

Responsible Raw Feeding for Cats and Dogs

Discover the benefits of raw feeding for cats and dogs with UK Pet Food. Our guide to responsible raw feeding will help your pets thrive!

What is raw feeding?

Raw feeding is providing a diet of raw food for cats and dogs made up of raw meat, offal and raw bone, along with other ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, oils, nuts and seeds.

There are two types of raw feeding; homemade raw diets and commercially prepared raw diets.

Are there any concerns with a homemade raw diet?

Whilst homemade diets provide more flexibility for pets with very specific nutritional needs, they are challenging and require significant research and expert guidance to undertake with any success.

A fundamental concern, as with any homemade diet, is whether all the right nutrients are provided in the right proportions for healthy bodily function.

Some proponents of raw feeding advise that dietary supplements are added to ensure all the essential vitamin and mineral requirements are met.

There is also concern amongst some veterinary professionals that many homemade diets do not provide adequate nutrition.

Commercially prepared raw foods

Some members of UK Pet Food produce frozen and freeze-dried raw foods for cats and dogs, with both ‘complete’ and ‘complementary’ varieties available in a range of convenient formats. These products help owners to feed their pet raw diets responsibly.

The ‘complete’ pet foods have been specially formulated to provide the nutritional balance a cat or dog needs in their daily diet.

A ‘complementary’ pet food will need to be fed alongside another food source.

The pet food label will tell you whether it’s ‘complete’ or ‘complementary’ along with directions for handling and feeding guidelines.

When raw feeding, offering ‘complete’ commercially prepared pet foods (in line with the feeding guidelines on the packet) can have confidence they are addressing all their pet’s nutritional needs. UK Pet Food's raw pet food manufacturers are always happy to provide further help and advice with their products.

Food safety & raw feeding

As with all commercially prepared pet foods, commercially prepared raw foods are subject to stringent legislation and require various tests to ensure they are safe. This minimises the risk of food-borne contamination to both the owner and the pet.

When preparing a homemade raw diet, pet owners must always source ingredients from safe and reliable sources to ensure food safety. 

Our educational poster on feeding commercial raw diets safely. The poster includes hygiene and handling advice from meal preparation to cleaning up. When raw feeding, the key is to treat raw pet food with the same high hygiene standards as raw meat. Download and print in up to A3 size for your pet shop, veterinary consult room or home.

Raw feeding hygiene & handling tips

Good hygiene practice is always important. Even more so when handling fresh, frozen or freeze-dried raw food. Follow these guidelines to ensure you are handling raw pet food correctly.

1. Purchase products that are in good condition. You should see no visible signs of damage to the packaging, such as dents, tears, discolourations, etc.

2. Wash your hands with hot water and soap after handling either your pet or their food and its packaging.

3. Immediately after each use, wash and disinfect all surfaces, dishes, and utensils that have been in contact with raw food.

4. Remove and carefully dispose of any uneaten raw pet food as soon as your pet has finished eating.

5. Clean and disinfect your pet’s feeding area as soon as your pet has finished eating.

6. Store your raw pet food correctly. When buying prepared raw foods, you can find the storage instructions on each package.

Defrosting raw pet food

  • When defrosting raw pet food, ensure that you:
  • Defrost in an airtight, leak-proof container at the bottom of the fridge
  • Never refreeze
  • Never discard the thawed juice, as this can contain essential nutrients for your pet
  • Consult the manufacturer for further information on preparation and storage

Considering raw feeding your pet?

If you are considering a change in diet for your cat or dog, there is a range of reliable sources of advice from your vet to UK Pet Food raw manufacturers and nutritionists. They’ll be able to discuss your pet’s needs, make suitable recommendations and give guidance on how to transition from one food to another.

UK Pet Food member companies

Here you can see an alphabetical list of UK Pet Food member companies that produce/supply frozen products. All these manufacturers adhere to strict guidelines.

Please refer to their individual websites for more details.