Benefits to Feeding Raw

August 9, 2010

Please speak with your veterinarian about any specific health problems. We are not veterinarians and cannot give medical advice on treating pets. If you’re not sure if a proper raw diet is right for your pet, feel free to print out our nutrient profile and discuss it with your veterinarian. The answers below represent what we have learned from research, science, veterinary feeding trials, first-hand knowledge and our customers testimonials.

If your pet has not been fed a raw diet before introduce Steve’s Real Food slowly to your pet. You may want to start with one nugget the first day, and increase to full time feeding over a period of one to two weeks. Watch your pet carefully and please note that not all health problems have a dietary factor.

Benefits to complete and balanced Steve’s Real Food for Pets diets:

The major benefit to Steve’s Real Food for Pets is simply improved overall health. However, in actual cases reported to us and in studies done on raw feeding, pet owners report changes, reductions or eliminations of the following:

  • Cleans and whitens teeth naturally
  • Cleans breath / reduces body odor
  • Reduces stool odor and volume
  • Weight Management
  • Many phobic behaviors disappear such as: aggression, moodiness, anxiety and fearful behavior
  • Promotes calmness and confidence
  • Dramatically increases energy, endurance, alertness and attention
  • Strengthening and healing of the immune system and organs
  • More affectionate
  • Reduced shedding
  • Reduction in hairballs
  • Allergies (such as: hot spots, cysts and eye tearing)
  • Dermatitis (healthier skin, less shedding and a full shiny coat)
  • Weight Problems
  • Parasites (internal and external)
  • Flea infestation
  • Arthritis and hip dysplasia
  • Ear and eye ailments
  • Kidney and liver dysfunction
  • Bladder Stones
  • Urinary crystals and infections
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Intestinal problems
  • Bloat
  • Diarrhea
  • And much more!

Frequently Asked Questions:

My dog has a long history of allergies. Can Steve’s help?

We’ve seen many allergic dogs and cats benefit from our food and from other properly prepared grain-free raw diets. Even dogs diagnosed as “allergic to chicken” often thrive on Steve’s Real Food all human quality chicken variety.

Remember the need for variety! Research in humans and laboratory animals clearly shows that insufficient variety can create food allergies and intolerances. Feeding the same food day after day week after week year after year is often the cause of the allergies.

My dog is limping. Can a change in diet help?

We’ve seen many dogs that were aging and starting to limp “get younger” on a proper raw diet. Indeed, it was when Steve Brown saw the dramatic improvement in his older dog Garbo that he started working on Steve’s Real Food.

My cat has diabetes. Is it safe to feed her Steve’s?

Generally, yes. Recent research has shown that a high protein, low carbohydrate diet like Steve’s is a more beneficial diet for diabetic cats who do not have weight problems than the traditional high carbohydrate diabetic ration. Cats have a virtually nonexistent carbohydrate metabolism; as such, if there is not enough dietary protein to make glucose from, cats will catabolize their muscle protein. This produces a situation where the diabetic cat begins wasting because her diet does not provide sufficient protein. Furthermore, the high carbohydrate ration aggravates hyperglycemia. If you have a diabetic cat, always check with a veterinarian before changing diets. Steve’s may not be the optimal diet for diabetic cats with obesity problems.

My cat has a history of feline urological syndrome (FUS). Is it safe to feed her Steve’s?

Yes. Our food was specifically designed to have the proper amount of magnesium for cats with FUS.

How can Steve’s help to prevent cancer and be a natural diet for dogs and cats with cancer?

Research clearly shows that great nutrition helps to support and maintain all animals bodies naturally, this is what nature intended. This includes helping to prevent cancer along with being a natural diet for animals with cancer. Cancer is the #1 cause of death in dogs and one of the leading concerns of cat owners as well. We are finding that within the last 20 years dogs and cats are getting the same aliments that humans have been getting for the last 50 years. And one of the major changes has been nutrition, being the fact that most peoples and pets diets consist now of highly processed foods.

All formulas of Steve’s Real Food for pets combines a proven old-world formula using high-quality human edible ingredients, with the best of modern functional foods to give unmatched nutrition and help prevent cancer. Here are some of the ingredients in Steve’s Real Food for Pets that are proven to help prevent cancer:

Natural phytochemicals, antioxidants and bioflavonoids: Research has clearly shown that a diet rich in a variety of fresh, whole, raw vegetables and fruits can help to prevent many forms of cancer, along with many other diet related aliments.

FOS, (fructooligosaccharide or inulin, labeled as extract of chicory) This ingredient is a prebiotic compound that selectively stimulates growth of bacteria beneficial to large bowel metabolism. FOS helps increase the bioavailability of minerals. Research has shown that FOS helps prevent colon cancer.

Omega-3’s: A diet containing sufficient Omega-3 has been proven to improve a dog’s and cat’s immune systems’ ability to fight all diseases. Real Food For Pets uses Mighty Omega Plus™, which contains sardine, anchovy, flaxseed oils and natural antioxidants.

Natural enzymes: Real Food For Pets contains thousands of metabolic, digestive, and food enzymes only found in raw foods. Many studies with humans and laboratory animals show that eating a diet rich in enzymes reduces the stress on the digestive system, especially the pancreas, therefore reducing the incidence of cancer.

What veterinarians are saying about Steve’s…

Veterinarians are a major part of the Steve’s Real Food For Pets development program. Many veterinarians – at first are quite skeptical about raw meat-based diets – provided short and long term feeding trials. Now they are among our most ardent supporters. Perhaps the best testament is that three of Steve’s Real Food For Pets top five retail accounts are veterinary offices. Here are a couple of testimonials of how they see first-hand results:

“Based on the current literature and our own experience, we believe that pets thrive on raw food diets. They have more energy and vitality, their coats are thicker and shinier, their teeth need cleaning less often, they have fewer allergy problems and they live longer, healthier lives… Steve’s Real Food For Pets, an easy-to-feed, complete and balanced raw food diet for dogs is what we feed our dogs and think it’s fantastic.”
Dr. Doreen Hock, Eugene, OR

Speaking of a year-old Mastiff which was brought to his office in critical condition, Dr. Charles W. Coleman told us, “Without Real Food For Pets diet, that dog would have died.” Doctor Coleman treated two other dogs shortly thereafter and said that the key element of the successful treatment was Real Food For Pets. Doctor Coleman says unequivocally, “I’m trying to get everybody on it. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my whole career.”

Some veterinarians love properly prepared raw meat-based diets. Unfortunately, many others have no first-hand experience with raw meat-based diets and may be reluctant to recommend them. That is changing each day and more and more veterinarians are advocating for raw meat-based diets.

See our Knowledge Base for more FAQs.

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Pet Food; Then and Now (part 2)

August 6, 2010

The future of the raw pet food industry

Raw foods will continue to be for the breeder who is looking to develop perfect traits in his animal.  More importantly however it will also be for the individual who totally love their pets and want only the best for them.  Raw diets will have to compete with a plethora of advertising from large dry kibble producers pulling at the heart strings of consumers.  Because the consumer is getting savy about their own nutrition many people will continue to use raw food.  Holistic vets and nutritionists with knowledge will get the message out.  The attribute of raw diets will become more of common knowledge to many pet owners.  The challenges of making a high quality raw diet will extensive.  First keep in mind raw meat pet foods are expensive. This is because the ingredients are expensive (Steve’s, for instance, uses all human quality ingredients); the processing is much slower than extrusion, extrusion produces 8 tons per hour, can’t get near that sense we are dealing with frozen ingredients. We have to ship in freezer trucks, to distributors who have to have freezer space, to retailers who have to have freezer space. Frozen raw pet food is a expensive product to manufacture, ship and store!

The changes we are seeing now are a increase in consumer knowledge.  People are becoming educated on the benefits of healthy eating and are realizing that this applies to your pets also.  Raw meat based diets are picking up market share, perhaps significant market share, in the $17 billion U.S. pet food industry. Raw meat-based diets, because of their costs, will increase the dollar size of the pet food market.  Mainstream manufactures are starting raw lines and retailers from small independents or large big box stores are starting to carry a raw dog food line.

The low cost grain based foods are starting to loose market share.  Consumers are moving to an all natural kibble or even a super premium meat based kibble.  Shortly after they start mixing in a raw meat food.  The consumer starts to see the benefits of the raw meat and before you know it, that is all they will feed.  The biggest road block to a raw diet is the cost.  However, when you look at the amount of nutrition per dollar vs. quantity per dollar you will see that the raw meat diet is affordable.

How will the low cost kibble manufactures respond?

The traditional industry may attack us on cost: or may want to state that they believe that their products are almost as good for 1/2 the cost.  All dog owners and leading edge people will respect them for that.   We will, of course, debate it.

But, invariable, just as Science Diet® and Iams®, 20 to 30 years ago said, move over industry, better foods are here, so do we.

“The cooking of meat is a waste of time from the point of view of nutrition.” – Clive McKay Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University in his 1944 book, Nutrition of the Dog, the standard veterinarian school textbook on canine nutrition in the 1940s and 1950s.
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Pet Food; Then and Now

August 5, 2010

This is a two part feature where our industry veteran (30+ years) shares is vast knowledge of the pet food industry.  Part two “The Future of Pet Food” will be posted tomorrow.

The History Of the Pet Food Industry

Let’s face it the first pets were some very smart scavenger wolves.  They budded up to tribes of humans for the benefit of being left the guts and carcasses of a recent kills and access to human trash.  This diet was probably close their ancestral diet and healthy.  Humans then urbanized and dogs developed and bred from their wolf ancestors ended up roaming the streets of towns and villages on all continents.

An entrepreneur looking to make a buck, or more correctly a pound, watched stray dogs gather on the docks of England to eat the ships biscuits that were discarded from ships returning from voyages.  These biscuits were basically “hard tack” made from flour, salt and water.  This guy decided that dog food made from grain and sold in biscuit form was what the dogs needed and wanted.  We were off to a poor start for pet nutrition.  The problem with the idea was that a dog would only eat hard tack if they were starving on a wharf.

The commercial pet industry then got a boost from the advent of the automobile and tractor as horses everywhere were being retired in the 1920s and 30s.  Horse meat became a staple for pet food sold in gut sleeves and cans.  This was bad news for horses however the food was better than what most commercial pet food today.

In the 1940s and 50s dry cereal became mainstream breakfast for a lot of us humans.  The cereal makers like Purina, Nabisco, Standard Brands, Nestle and Quaker Oats had rerun form their extruders that made cereal.  Bright marketers trying to make a buck said lets re-extrude it and make dog food kibbles.  They ran into the same problem as the guy on the wharf in England.  Dogs didn’t necessarily like cereal made from corn and flour.  They decided to add some bone meal and coat the product with tallow, grease and animal digest, viola the dogs began to eat the stuff.  That was the case in the 1950s, 60s and 70’s.  Don’t think those marketers were just sitting around however.  To make pet food better they made it in the different colors and shapes like little milk bottle or chicken legs.  I wonder why they didn’t come up with animal crackers.  What made these products successful was convenience to feed and low cost

In the 1980s several companies wised up and decided to try and make commercial dry pet food more nutritious.  They managed to pull a lot of the business away from grocery brands owned by cereal processors.  Companies like Iams and Science Diet did very well using better ingredients to make a better dry kibble. Then in the 1990s several other more premium brands sprang up with even higher meat and protein contents.  They can use slurries of charcoal chicken and 4 D beef injected into the conditioner on the extruders to make meat content claims.  They use tapioca and yogurt to make the product bind instead of using corn and flour.

In the late 1990’s pet lovers started looking for better ways to feed pets.  Smart people looked to evolutionary diets to decide what pets needed.  Dr. Billingherst from Australia came up with a diet of bones and raw food and several European diets suggested the same.  The problem was those diets were not complete.  You had to add other nutrients to the meat in order for the pets not to have problems.  Steve’s Real Food was formed in 1989 to market a complete raw diet using top grade human quality ingredients and sell it nationally.

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The Natural Diet of Dogs and Cats

August 4, 2010

The Need for Whole Foods

Recent conclusive research shows that humans and laboratory animals need whole foods, not just vitamin and mineral supplements to be at their best. There is a growing consensus among researchers that nutrients, especially antioxidants, must be in balance, that we need the complete families of antioxidants and other micronutrients that only whole, raw foods provide.

For example, fruits and vegetables have hundreds of antioxidant compounds, including carotenoids, dithiolthiones, flavonoids, isothiocyanates, selenium, monoterpenes, glucosinolates and vitamin C and E. Research shows that these antioxidants work in concert, together, to provide the health-protective effects. One can’t just take an antioxidant supplement and expect to get the health benefits.

Selenium, an essential mineral, is a more specific example. A new federal study (April 2001) found that selenium eaten as a pure compound (as in a supplement) does not protect as well as selenium consumed as part of broccoli. Indeed, the study showed that the purified additive may have no benefit at all. Steve’s Real Food uses kelp and broccoli as the primary sources of selenium.

To be at our best, we – and our pets –need some whole, raw foods in our diets.

If you read the label of most dry and canned foods, even the premium brands, you’ll find meat or meat meals, grains, perhaps a few vegetables, and lots of vitamin and mineral supplements. With Steve’s Real Food and other proper raw diets, the vitamins, minerals and other known and unknown micronutrients are provided by whole, real foods.


The natural diet of dogs and cats is raw foods. As dogs and cats developed for hundreds of thousands of years, their digestive systems, their saliva, their teeth, indeed their entire bodies developed for raw foods.

Raw foods contain thousands of digestive and food enzymes. Enzymes are specialized protein substances that are involved in all the dog’s activities. Even thinking requires enzymes. Enzymes are found abundantly in fresh, minimally processed natural foods. When a cat or a dog ate its natural prey the cat or dog consumed many different types of food, digestive, and metabolic enzymes.

Enzymes are deactivated or destroyed at temperatures above 105 to 170 degrees F; therefore there are no enzymes in processed dog foods. This forces the dog’s digestive enzymes to do all the work, and perhaps puts a strain on the dog’s ability to manufacture their own enzymes.

Most kibbles are produced at temperatures above 300 degrees F under 600 or more pounds of pressure per square inch. This is a harsh environment for many nutrients. Heat destroys all the enzymes, some of the known antioxidants, and perhaps some of the unknown phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants. High heat may alter the bioavailability of some of the minerals and perhaps even alter the chemical structure of some of the amino and fatty acids.

Raw forms of vegetables and fruits are the most consistently associated with lower risk of cancer.


Science has definitively shown that humans and laboratory animals need to eat a variety of whole natural foods, with the full complement of natural phytochemicals and antioxidants, to be at their best. We believe this is true with dogs and cats as well.

At Steve’s, we believe that feeding the same food day after day, month after month, causes some of the many food intolerances and allergies that we see with dogs and cats.

The marketing age “never change the dog’s diet” is the worst nutritional advice one can give.

grain freegrain free

The natural diet of dogs and cats contain little if any grain. Indeed cats were originally domesticated to protect granaries because they would not eat grain. Grain is used in many commercial foods because they provide inexpensive calories and help hold the food together.

High Water Content

Almost all the natural foods that dogs and cats eat have a high water content. Liver, for instance, is 72% water. The water content of most vegetables and fruits is in the 90% range. Dry pet foods have less than 10% water. Dogs and cats were not meant to eat a diet of exclusively dry food.

High protein

The natural diet of a dog is high in protein, like Steve’s Real Food. Protein is best analyzed on a dry matter basis, with the water removed. On a dry matter basis, almost all natural foods are high in protein. Meat is 50% plus protein; vegetables are 30% plus protein. Indeed, we think it is unnatural for dogs to eat foods with less than 30% protein on a dry matter basis.

Making your own pet food

A word of advice:

As with making your own home cooked meals for your family, making homemade food for your pets is more cost effective.  If you plan to make your own food, there are many resources to help you. has several books that can help you.

When done right, fed according to directions, these variety-based feeding programs maybe the absolute best ways to feed dogs. But please don’t take any shortcuts with these systems. You must do it right, or not at all. Calcium and phosphorous issues are usually the primary problems.

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Higher Meat Content

August 4, 2010

Steve’s Real Food has increased our meat content from 75% to 80% to give your dog a higher calorie count from protein per serving.  This is the same great meat with no fatty fillers.  This allows your dog to maintain a healthy weight by giving them the protein they need.  This new protein to veggie ratio is used in all our formulas so pick your favorite flavor and enjoy!

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