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Raw Diet Q&A
MORE INFORMATION FROM THE RAW FOOD EXPERTS

At Nature's Variety, we understand that feeding raw pet food is a new concept for many people.  Below is a Q&A specific to our Raw Frozen Diets.  We hope this helps you understand the benefits of feeding raw!  If you have any other questions about feeding raw, please feel free to Contact Us or visit our Store Locator to find a retail store in your area.

Why are Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets preferred to ordinary pet food?
Dogs and cats are meat eaters by nature. That's why raw, fresh meat is the most instinctive diet for your pet. A diet consisting primarily of raw meat, organs, bone, and fat reflects what your pet would eat in his natural habitat. With natural proportions of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, and amino acids, raw diets provide wholesome nutrition for the health and well-being of your animal companions.

Is it healthy to feed my pet raw meat?
With natural proportions of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, and amino acids, raw diets provide wholesome nutrition for the health of your pet. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are made with the highest quality ingredients, sourced from USDA inspected facilities. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets have also passed AAFCO Protocol Feeding Trials, so they have been scientifically substantiated as complete and balanced.  

What results have other customers experienced when feeding a raw diet?
Nature's Variety Instinct Raw customers have experienced amazing results when feeding raw diets.  Some of the results include energy, weight management, healthy skin and coat, and less backyard cleanup.  Please visit our Testimonials and sort by "Raw Diet Results" to read more real results from our customers.

I’ve heard that raw meat diet is appropriate for wild animals, not domesticated pets.
Dogs and cats are biologically the same as ‘wild’ animals. Wolves and dogs even share the same genetics. They look different because of the way they are bred to be different; however, their digestive systems actually function the same. Breeding changes your pet’s appearance and demeanor, not their internal organs. Cats are even more similar to wild animals than dogs since they have experienced less breeding. Dogs and cats are meat eaters by nature; the raw, fresh meat found in Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets is the most instinctive and natural nutrition for your pet. 

What kind of packaging and storage do Instinct Raw Frozen Diets require?
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are available in medallions, patties, and chubs. All varieties come in bags or boxes and should be stored in your freezer. Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are available in three product forms:
   • 1 oz medallions available in 0.75 lb trial size (avg. 12 medallions) or 3 lb bags (avg. 48 medallions)
   • 8 oz patties available in 6 lb bags (12 patties)
 
  • 2 lb chubs available for individual purchase, or in 12 lb cases (6 chubs per case)
These various sizes will help you serve our Instinct Raw Frozen Diets quickly and conveniently, whether you have a small cat or full house of large dogs.

What varieties is the Instinct Raw Frozen Diet line available in for my dog and cat?
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are available in Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Bison, Venison, Rabbit, and Organic Chicken Formulas for both dogs and cats.  Click here to view our raw diet product offerings.

Are Instinct Raw Frozen Diets complete and balanced?
Yes, Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs and cats, all life stages and all breeds. In fact, we are the 1st and only raw frozen diets that have been scientifically substantiated as complete and balanced for all canine life stages through AAFCO Protocol Feeding Trial. We are currently in the process of passing AAFCO Feeding Trials for all feline life stages as well!

How should I serve a raw diet to my pet?
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are convenient because they are ready to serve – no need for mixing or measuring! Store the raw diet in the freezer until the day before you are ready to feed it, then just thaw your pet’s daily portion (such as 1 patty) in your refrigerator, and serve it in your pet’s dish.  Remember, whenever you feed any new food to your pet for the first time, it is best to transition slowly. Mix increasing amounts of your pet’s new food with decreasing amounts of the previous food over a 7 to 14 day period.

Use good hygiene and common sense when you handle any raw food. Always wash your hands, surfaces, and food dishes – just as you would if you were preparing meat for yourself or your family. If you have additional questions, please refer to the Handling Instructions printed directly on the back of the raw food package.  Or, click here for additional information about our Quality and Food Safety Protocols.

Do I have to switch completely over to an Instinct Raw Frozen Diet, or can I continue to feed kibble and canned food as well?
Nature’s Variety believes in offering more variety to your pet, and we encourage you to rotate between forms and flavors for better pet health and happiness.  You can feed Instinct Raw as a sole diet, or you can mix it with any Nature's Variety Instinct or Prairie kibble or canned food.  With Nature's Variety there's no right or wrong way to rotate – variety is the key!  Click here to learn more about the feeding a variety for better health.

If I feed my pet a mixture of Instinct Raw and Instinct or Prairie Kibble during the same meal, should I be concerned about the different rate of digestion?
It’s important for pet parents to feel comfortable with their feeding process. We believe customers need not be concerned about mixing raw and kibble at the same meal. Raw is like canned food in terms of moisture content and rates of digestion; people routinely combine canned and kibble diets with no digestive upset or stomach emptying issues.  There is no scientific evidence that combining kibble and raw food causes the raw foods to be digested at a slower rate.

How do I handle and serve your raw diets?
You should always practice good hygiene just like when you prepare meals for yourself or your family. Always clean and disinfect working surfaces and utensils. Your pet's food bowl should be washed after they finish each meal. Make sure to wash your hands before and after preparing your pet's meals. (These handling instructions are also found on the back of your Instinct Raw package.)

How long should I keep a defrosted raw medallion/patty/chub thawed in the refrigerator?
Once your pet's portion has been thawed, we recommend serving it within 24 hours.

Should I cook the raw food?
We do not recommend cooking our raw diets, as heat processing destroys the naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and probiotics. (If you want a high meat, grain-free food that is cooked, we suggest you try our Instinct Kibble or Cans.)

What are the risks of bacteria or pathogen contamination to pets when feeding Instinct Raw Frozen Diets?
Your pet was biologically designed to eat raw food – it’s the diet that he or she will thrive on. Dogs and cats have unique physiochemical adaptations that reduce the chance of developing food-borne bacterial disease. 

That said, Nature's Variety takes extra care to ensure that our Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are free of pathogenic bacteria.  We utilize a state-of-the-art manufacturing process called High Pressure Processing (HPP).  In essence, HPP uses water pressure to kill harmful bacteria. HPP is a FDA and USDA recognized anti-pathogen treatment. In addition to this safety step, our manufacturing facility utilizes many other quality and safety protocols to ensure that our foods are nothing short of superior – from farm to bowl.  We even enforce a strict "test and hold" protocol to ensure that all Raw Diets leaving our facilities are free of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E Coli.  Click here to learn more about HPP and our food safety protocols.

What are the risks of bacteria or pathogen contamination to owners when handling Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Diets?
There are very few, if any, reports that can actually link human illness with feeding raw diets. Nature’s Variety uses only the highest quality ingredients and strictest quality standards to manufacture our Instinct Raw Frozen Diets.  

We utilize a state-of-the-art manufacturing process called High Pressure Processing (HPP).  In essence, HPP uses water pressure to kill harmful bacteria.  In addition to this safety step, our manufacturing facility utilizes many other quality and safety protocols to ensure that our foods are nothing short of superior – from farm to bowl.  We even enforce a strict "test and hold" protocol to ensure that all Raw Diets leaving our facilities are free of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E Coli.  Click here to learn more about HPP and our food safety protocols. Furthermore, our commercially prepared Instinct Raw Diets are shipped and stored frozen so that bacteria cannot multiply. Similarly, the grinding and freezing process will destroy any parasites.

Again, we always recommend that you use good hygiene and common sense when you handle the any raw food.  Always wash your hands, surfaces, and food dishes – just as you would if you were preparing meat for yourself or your family. You may also refer to the handling instructions printed directly on the back of the raw food package if they have other questions.

Why do you include raw ground bone in Instinct Raw Frozen Diets?
Raw bones are an important part of a dog and cat's ancestral diet. We include ground bones in our raw diets in the proper proportion that your dog and cat would have enjoyed in the wild. Raw bone is an excellent source of minerals, essential fatty acids, proteins, and enzymes. They are also a balanced source of calcium and phosphorus, and a natural source of chondroitin for joint health.

Is the raw ground bone in your raw diets safe for my pet?
Yes, the raw bone has been very finely ground – in fact, we double grind all of our raw bones through a very small 0.25 inch plate. Moreover, raw (uncooked) bones are softer and more digestible than cooked bones. The raw ground bone should not present any digestive issues for your pet.

Why do Instinct Raw Diets contain 5% vegetables and fruits?
The percentage of fruits and vegetables in our Instinct Raw Frozen Diets is meant to mirror what dogs and cats would eat in the wild (fruits and vegetables would be present in the stomach of their prey). Our fruits and vegetables provide beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote health and well-being.

Why don't you have a raw formula specifically for cats?
In the wild, dogs and cats would eat the same prey animals. They have very similar nutritional requirements. Cats do need a higher minimum protein, more taurine, thiamine, vitamin A, and arachidonic acid. However, a food formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of cats will more than meet the needs of a dog. Our Instinct Raw Frozen Diets are complete and balanced for dogs and cats, all life stages and all breeds.