Raw Basics

What does “raw food” mean?

We all understand the basic concept of what raw means—a food that has not been altered by any type of cooking process such as baking, steaming, extruding (we’ll go over that one in a little bit), or frying. Referring to raw pet food, we mean the same thing. The raw pet food--including all ingredients used in the recipe--are completely raw; meaning that it has not undergone any cooking process. The meats, produce, and supplemental ingredients are all in their basic raw form, as you would find in nature.

There is no need to cook raw food. It is intended to be fed in its raw state. That is how your pets would eat in the wild and that is how they should eat at home.

raw meat with vegetables

What does raw food look like?

Commercially available raw pet food comes in different forms, varying from brand to brand. Some of the most common forms are patties, nuggets, and pellets. Each company uses their own discretion as to the size and shape of their foods, but the basics are the same. Each form is designed to be easy to portion out and feed your pet.

Whatever form the food may be in, it is commonly a mixture of raw meat (including bone, muscle meat, and organ), vegetables/fruits, and supplemental ingredients. After the chopping and forming of all of these raw ingredients, the food comes out looking somewhat like your familiar ground beef or turkey (with ground produce and bone). 


How is raw food packaged?

Raw foods must be stored frozen or refrigerated, just as you would have to do with your own meat at home. Raw foods in the retail store are kept in a freezer, which not only extends the shelf-life of the product but also makes it safe to handle and more convenient to transport.

The size of the packages varies from brand to brand but are most commonly found between 2 and 8lbs. Steve’s Real Food offers our food in two forms and 4 sizes. The smallest “nugget” form comes in 5lb bags and 9.75lb boxes, and the patties come in a 13.5lb box. 

Beef-Box and Bag

Where do I buy raw pet food?

You can find raw pet food at your local independent pet retail store. What is an independent pet retail store? It is basically any locally owned pet store, so no "big box" chain pet stores. At the store of your choice, ask for the raw food section or look around for the freezers. It may be in a white solid door freezer like you have in your garage or in a glass door freezer. Don’t be afraid to open the door and explore. The store owner wants you to!

How expensive is raw food?

Real talk: it may seem like raw food is a lot more expensive than what you’re currently feeding your pet. And sometimes, yes, it can get pretty pricey. Cost can vary greatly by brand, formula, or package size. At Steve’s Real Food, our greatest goal is to offer a very high-quality product at reasonable and attainable prices so as many pets can benefit from raw food as possible. Comparatively, the price of raw pet food is often on par with the premium kibble or canned foods also found in independent pet specialty stores. The best thing to keep in mind though is that while it may be more of an upfront investment to feed raw food, pet owners can save on dental, pest control, and many vet costs because they are elevating the overall health of their pets. The goal is disease prevention, not treatment.

Happy Dog Sticking Head Out Car Window

There are a lot of choices, where do I start?

A good bet would be to start with a protein source your pet is familiar with and does not have any known allergies to. If you currently feed your dog a food with chicken as the main ingredient, start with a raw chicken formula. (In fact, chicken is one of the most nutrient dense and easy-to-digest foods available for our pets). Also, pick a size that is most appropriate for the size of your pet. Big dog? Patties will probably work best for you. Teenie weenie pomerenie? Try the nuggets. But one of the great things about raw pet food is that it is so soft and easy to mush into small pieces that no matter what size product you buy, even the smallest-toothed pets can devour it with ease. As for which brand to choose, well Steve’s of course! Explore our product to find out more.