If you are new to feeding raw pet food, the idea can be daunting. Fortunately, Steve’s simplifies the process and spells it all out for you. The first thing you need to know is once you have it down, meal time is a breeze.
STEP 1 – Trail and Transition
If your pet has never tried raw pet food before the fist thing to do is to get some samples or a small bag to try out. Give your pet a few nuggets. If you find that you have a picky eater you may have to get creative with your transitioning. Visit our Tips and Tricks page for some good ideas. If your dog dives right in, then transitioning is as simple as feeding 1/4 of the daily recommendation of Steve’s and 3/4 of their current food. Slowly increase the amount of Steve’s while reducing their previous food over the course of 1 to 2 weeks. Monitor their temperament and stools to ensure they are transitioning well. A recommended schedule would look like this;
Week 1 – Feed 1/4 daily amount of Steve’s 3/4 current food
Week 2 – Feed 1/2 daily amount of Steve’s 1/2 current food
Week 3 – Feed 3/4 daily amount of Steve’s 1/4 current food
Week 4 – Feed 100% Steve’s
Seeing loose stools is common due to your pet’s body detoxing. If after one week you still have loose stools continue with the feeding amounts until you see improvement. Adding raw goat milk yogurt can help with digestion and palatability. Loose stools are no alarm to call the vet, but seeing blood is. It is very uncommon
STEP 2 – Determine Daily Feeding
Keep in mind that our feeding guidelines should be used as a starting point. Some large breeds have lower food requirements than average, and some active breeds need more food than their weight would imply. You know your pet better than we do, and you can adjust from this model as you feel best.
Our feeding chart is a rough guideline for an active adult dog. Every four-legged friend will metabolize food at a different rate. Activity level, breed, and age are just a few factors that affect the specific nutritional requirements for your pet. If your dog is thin or hungry, feed more often and in greater quantity. If your pet is overweight or obese, feed less. Our recommendations are based on the percent of body weight rule. You take your pets weight and multiply it by the feeding factor to determine the pounds of food to feed each day.
For example, if you have a 50-pound adult lab, then you would want to feed them 2.5% of their body weight, which is 1.25 lb (daily).
50lbs x 2.5% = 1.25 lbs
The feeding factors are as follows:
- 1.5% – Overweight
- 2.0% – Average Activity (little outdoor time/2 or fewer walks a day)
- 2.5% – Above Average Activity (a few hours of activity per day)
- 3.0% – Average Activity with Weight Gain Goals
- 3.5 % – High Activity or Weight Gain Goals (Working Dogs)
- 4%+ – Kittens, Puppies, and Nursing or Pregnant Pets
For more on feeding amounts and cost to feed each day, visit our Feeding Instructions page.
Serve Frozen or Thawed?
Pets enjoy Steve’s Real Food both frozen and thawed. The simplest way to safely thaw your pet’s food is to set aside the next serving in the refrigerator as you are feeding them their current meal. For dogs that tend to eat so quickly they choke on their food, frozen can be beneficial because it slows them down.
It is best to feed in a stainless steel bowl and wash between each meal.
For large and multiple-dog families, you can defrost the entire bag in the refrigerator. The food stays wholesome for about four days in the refrigerator. After that point, the food won’t spoil for another week or so, but the nutritional value will diminish over time due to oxidation.
Please keep in mind that you are dealing with raw, unprocessed meat. As you would when preparing raw meat for your human family, take the precautions of washing your hands after touching, cleaning surfaces thoroughly, and any other steps you would normally take. While animals have the digestive tracts to deal with contaminants such as salmonella and e-coli (which we test regularly for and keep our foods free from regardless) it is the risk of human contact that leads to FDA recalls of raw pet food in our industry. So remember to treat your dog and cat food as you would any other raw meat. Recalls are actually more likely from kibble, so if you are mixing take the same precautions with both types of food.
STEP 3 – Analyze Your Freezer Space
Now that you have seen the amazing health benefits your pets will get on a raw diet and you are ready to go all in, it is time to look at the amount of freezer space you have available for your raw frozen pet food. If you have a small 10 lb Maltese, this will not be a big deal. But if you are feeding a 100 Mastiff, you may need to invest in some extra equipment. Use the Daily Feeding Chart to determine how much space you will need by deciding how often you want to visit your pet store and calculating how much you will buy at each visit. If adding another freezer is not an option for you, freeze dry may be a better option. When stored in a cool dry place it will last weeks.