Steve’s Real Food Original Recipe is Great for Cats and Dogs

Steve Real Food Cats Dogs

It’s time to feed your kitties, and as the two-legs in charge, it’s up to you to feed a diet that satisfies your cat’s tastes, nutritional requirements, and moisture content needed to stay sleek, fit, and purring.

Why Feed Your Cats Raw Food?

Cats are obligate carnivores, in other words, they are obligated to eat meat. Cats depend on animal protein sources to survive. Additionally, cats typically drink very little water and instead consume animal protein as their primary source of moisture intake.

Supplying Essential Moisture

Cooking cat food evaporates much of its precious water, reducing the healthy 75 percent moisture content found in a wild cat’s natural diet, down to a woeful 10 percent. While certain brands may be better than others, vets have linked low-moisture food to severe health issues, such as kidney failure, bladder stones, and inflammatory bowel disease in cats. Raw cat food overcomes these troubles because it has a high moisture content of nutritious meats, fruits, and vegetables.

Another big problem with most kibble is that it contains mostly grain. Check the label of your favorite dry food, and you’ll usually see rice, wheat or corn gluten meal at the head of the ingredients list, meaning that they make up the bulk of the contents. In nature, cats don’t eat many carbs, and they lack the long digestive tracts and sufficient amounts of the enzyme amylase needed to metabolize them properly. Although a few cats do fine with whatever you give them, overloading your kitty with grain-heavy foods may make them more inclined toward chronic obesity.

Try a Smarter Option

Steve’s Real Food original raw recipe is great for cats and dogs. By replicating the natural dietary content your feline would get from hunting in the wild, it lets you treat them to a healthier menu – plus it contains added Taurine. Our original formula is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It offers a complete and balanced nutritional profile for pets at all life stages, and it’s made to exacting quality standards in a USDA-inspected facility.

Steve’s Real Food is passionate about your pet’s well-being. That’s why our products always

  • Use human-grade food ingredients instead of questionable byproducts,
  • Avoid pesticides and other toxins by sticking to organic vegetables,
  • Add the unique nutrients that cats need to stay healthy, such as taurine, and
  • Skip the unnatural additives that plague the pet food industry — We don’t use antibiotics, hormones, or grains.

Your Pet Will Appreciate the Difference

Raw food that closely follows natural diets has numerous advantages. Switching to Steve’s Real Food original formula could help your kitty enjoy;

  • Better digestion and less-smelly bowel movements
  • Fewer hairballs and a healthier coat
  • Enhanced energy
  • Improved dental health
  • And more!

We’re confident your furry pal will be happier after switching to a raw food diet. If you have a cat and a dog, you can feed both pets from the exact same bag of food.

If you just have a cat and want to feed them raw, Steve’s Quest frozen raw food is specifically for kitties and is formed into smaller nuggets. If you’re having trouble convincing a picky cat to switch to raw, our freeze-dried original recipe makes an awesome choice for a stress-free transition as the dehydrated nuggets have all the nutrition but is similar to traditional kibble. Keep your pets purring and wagging their tails by asking your local pet store for Steve’s Real Food products today.

CBD for Pets

cbd-pets

CBD oil has gained popularity recently for its numerous health benefits, leading many people to wonder if they can give it to their pets. While CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp plants, CBD cannot actually get a pet “high”. Most CBD comes from hemp plants – not marijuana plants, which contain a higher amount of CBD and very low, to no THC. Without the THC, CBD products are generally safe for pets to use.

What are the Benefits of CBDs for Dogs and Cats?

Currently, there is not much definitive scientific research data on CBD and dogs; however, there is both experiential evidence from pet owners as well as vast CBD research on humans. Because the structure of the CBD receptors in dogs and cats is similar in humans, CBD is expected to interact with the receptor the same way, yielding similar effects in pets. A few conditions that may benefit from using CBD include:

  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Parasitic and bacterial infections
  • Nausea
  • Glaucoma
  • Muscular issues such as spasms
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), nausea, and vomiting
  • Inflammatory processes and arthritis
  • Skin issues
  • Pain from diseases such as cancer
  • Eye issues such as glaucoma

Pet owners globally have already started to notice the benefits of CBD for their pets.

Making Responsible CBD Choices

Because there is a lack of regulation when it comes to CBD and pets, it is important for everyone to choose their products carefully. Here are some tips for helping select a CBD product for your pet:

  • Look for CBD oil that is derived from USDA certified organic Hemp. Organic hemp is free from pesticides and solvents as that can leak into the product.
  • Find products that have been extracted through the CO2 method, this way of extraction is much better compared to butane and ethanol.
  • Ensure that the product is meant for animals and not people. CBD for people may be okay for pets, but it depends on the CBD. Some people products contain xylitol or grapeseed oil which is toxic for pets.
  • Choose CBD products that come with a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which can tell you how much CBD is present in the product, how much (if any) THC, and check for contaminants.

See where Steve’s Real Food gets our quality CBD oil and Hemp Protein. We welcome any questions you may have about our ingredient sourcing.

Before Giving a Pet CBD

For those thinking about giving their pet CBD, here are a few other tips to remember:

  • *Talk to the vet first to make sure that CBDs won’t affect the metabolism of other medications. Vets in some states are not legally allowed to bring up the topic of CBD but they can answer questions if you ask them.
  • Try to do some research online to become more familiar with CBD and its impacts on animals
  • Once the green light is granted, start slow and go slow until you know how your pet will react
  • A good starting dose is 1 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight
  • Make sure to keep your pet company for a few hours after giving them CBD so that you can see how they will react the first couple times you give it to them.

Enhance Your Pet’s Diet with CannaGurt from Steve’s Real Food

cannagurt

CannaGurt is CBD infused raw goat milk product meant to help pets with pain, cancer, appetite problems, cognitive issues, anxiety, and even seizures. It is infused with 2.6 mg of CBD per fluid ounce and is available in frozen or freeze-dried.

View the chart here for CannaGurt feeding amounts.

Many pet owners have already noticed that CannaGurt works faster than many tinctures that have CBD due to the fat molecules in the milk bonds to the CBD molecule and facilitates quicker and better absorption. With so many benefits, why not give CannaGurt a try and see what everyone has been talking about?

Pet Food: Frozen Raw vs Freeze-Dried Raw for Cats and Dogs

raw-frozen-dehydrated

Just as people benefit from eating organic, non-processed foods, so do our pets.  In the past, pet parents could only find real food for cats and dogs in frozen form.  Recently, a new concept in pet food-preparation has evolved.  Feeding our pets the healthy diet they deserve is now easier than ever before– with freeze-dried raw food for cats and dogs.

What’s Involved in Our Freeze-Drying Process?

Our freeze-dried pet foods use the same great formulas that our frozen foods do; we simply use a cold freeze-dry process to remove the moisture. That means we can take our formula from frozen to freeze-dried without thawing or cooking it. By freeze-drying, we preserve nutritional quality and consistency, removing only the moisture.  We’re essentially putting the food “on hold” for an extended time.  Removing moisture from raw pet food deactivates any bacteria or enzymes that would otherwise greatly shorten its shelf life and compromise its nutritional quality.

Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food vs. Frozen Raw Dog Food

freeze-dry-raw-pet-food-infographicThe freeze-drying process does add a bit more to the price of the food because you are paying for the extra step, but freeze-drying gives you the CONVENIENCE of storing the food in the pantry. By adding a little water, you can go from the bag to be the bowl in just 5 minutes. The benefits of freeze-dried raw pet food include:

  • Its long and stable shelf life allows you to store it at room temperature for long periods, so it doesn’t crowd your freezer.
  • It’s incredibly convenient to take on-the-go.
  • It rehydrates quickly and easily– you don’t have to cut up or defrost raw meat.
  • Freeze-dried nuggets make great treats for training.
  • Freeze-dried food help you transition your pet to a raw food diet since the consistency is similar to kibble.

Are They the Same Nutritionally?

When considering freeze dried raw dog food vs. frozen raw dog food, you may be wondering, nutrition-wise, if they are created equal.  The answer is YES, but it may not appear that way at first glance. When looking at the protein and fat levels in the guaranteed analysis in the two types, you may notice higher levels in the freeze-dried product, due to the numbers being calculated on a dry-matter basis. However, freeze-dry dog food is formulated the same way as their frozen raw counterparts so when comparing both on a dry matter basis, the results will be identical.  Click here for dry matter basis explained!

Feeding Instructions:  Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food vs. Frozen Raw Dog Food

  • Rehydrate!  If freeze-dried is your pet’s primary food source, we strongly recommend adding water– 1 tablespoon for every nugget or 1/4 cup for every four nuggets.  For best results, break each nugget into small pieces and mix thoroughly with water to ensure it absorbs all of the liquid.  Once you’ve rehydrated the food, it’s ready to serve.
  • Serving Size.  Feeding quantity guidelines are the same for both frozen and freeze-dried pet food.  Measure out the same number of freeze-dried nuggets as you would frozen ones.
  • Portion-Size Pointers.  Use our handy calculator to figure out how much to feed your pet.  With freeze-dried food, base portion sizes on the number of nuggets.  With the frozen kind, you need to pay attention to the weight of the food.

Freeze-Dried Raw:  The Perfect Kibble Topper and Treat

Steve’s Real Food is dedicated to providing high-quality freeze-dried and frozen pet food.  When considering freeze dried vs. frozen from Steve’s Real Food, keep in mind that both have about the same proportions of vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins. Our pet products are derived from superior, locally-sourced ingredients, with no fillers, hormones or antibiotics added.  We provide a practical way to help your pets live their healthiest life possible.

Why Omega Fatty Acids are Necessary for Pets

essential omega fatty acids for pets

While almost every pet owner knows that a healthy and well-balanced diet is necessary for a healthy pet. For those who might not know, essential fatty acids are nutrients that are carried by fat throughout the pet’s body. These omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids play important roles in the structure and function of smooth muscle. This smooth muscle is important in numerous organs and structures such as:

  • The heart
  • The reproductive system
  • Cells in the liver
  • Preserving a healthy skin and coat
  • Building and maintaining strong joint tissues

In addition, these essential fatty acids have also been tied to the development of the retinas and various antioxidant processes. Clearly, essential fatty acids play an important role in many different bodily functions. What are some of the benefits of these essential fatty acids?

The Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids for Dogs

There are many different benefits that are provided by essential fatty acids for dogs. Some of these benefits of omega 3 fatty acids for dogs and cats include:

  • Cat and dog food with high omega fatty acids can drastically improve the luster, shine, and overall health of the skin and coat
  • Dog and cat food with omega 3 fatty acids can also help their bodies fight inflammatory diseases
  • Essential fatty acids can also slow the development of certain types of cancers
  • These fatty acids can also improve the health of the immune system, helping the body fight infections
  • As dogs and cats age, these fatty acids can also preserve the overall health of the joints

Clearly, there are many different benefits for pets that have a diet that is high in fatty acids. There are also several different health conditions that can be improved by improved levels of omega 3 fatty acids.

Health Conditions Improved by Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids can also provide benefits for a variety of different long-term health conditions. Some of these include:

  • Elevated levels of omega 3’s can improve the overall cardiovascular health of dogs and cats
  • These same fatty acids can also slow the progression of chronic kidney disease
  • Visual problems can be improved with diets high in essential fatty acids
  • Dry, cracked, and brittle skin can be healed
  • Autoimmune and other inflammatory disorders can be slowed

These are only a few of the many different pet health conditions that can be improved by essential fatty acids. Therefore, take the time to select pet food that maximizes benefits to their overall health.

Invest in High-Quality Pet Food Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

It is important for pet owners to take the time to understand what constitutes a healthy diet for their furry friend. Diets that are high in essential fatty acids provide countless benefits and can improve long-term health conditions. Therefore, go with nutritious pet food where the ingredients have been hand-picked for a specific reason. Pets will return this care and compassion with years of love.

Food Safety Program Update

Our company is driven by five core values and accountability is one of them. We are accountable to the distributor, retailer, and customer. The decisions we make must ensure that we have everyone’s best interests in hand while not compromising on our mission of creating a pet food that is convenient, affordable, and of the highest quality.

Therefore, when it comes to making changes to our food safety practices, we want to be sure we are doing right by our entire distribution channel. We need to make sure that distributors and retailers do not have to go through long mass product shortages. We need to make sure the cost of the food is maintained at an affordable level and we need to make sure that the customer is confident that they are feeding the safest, highest quality food available.

We have spent several months evaluating different options for our food safety program, from test-and-hold procedures to pathogen-targeted probiotic sprays, to HPP. We are happy to announce that we have found a solution that is best for all interested parties. We have decided to use a combination of probiotics and test-and-hold for our frozen beef & pork diets and all freeze-dried products. We will then use probiotics and HPP for just our frozen poultry formulas.

As mentioned, we conducted many tests while going through the food safety evaluation period. We ran tests on HPP and non-HPP food to determine the effect on vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, and fats. We were happy to discover that HPP has a minimal effect on the nutritional constitution of the food.

In particular, we found that the overall protein levels of the formulas increased, due specifically to an increase in the amino acid tryptophan. Fats remained relatively the same, and calcium and phosphorus decreased, but remained above AAFCO’s requirements and the calcium to phosphorus ratio remained at optimal levels. Iron increased, within safe levels. The only change that we feel the need to specifically address is the observable decrease in vitamin A, which we will counteract by increasing liver amounts (a great natural source of vitamin A) in the diets which contain poultry. Surprisingly, we found out there is no effect on enzymes and little effect on probiotics. However, we have chosen to incorporate additional probiotics after the HPP process to have another value-added ingredient.

With these changes, we will also be increasing the frequency of nutritional tests we conduct on our products so we may closely monitor and/or detect any variance. Overall, we are excited about the changes we are making. We feel this will eliminate possible exposure to pathogens and improve the quality of the food. These changes will allow us to keep up on our current production schedule and continue to offer products that are as high-quality and affordable as possible. There will be no new changes to the price of the food due to HPP.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to all the great things we will be doing in 2019. Please feel free to email feedback@stevesrealfood.com with any questions or concerns. This email goes directly to our product development team who reviews each email and discusses all customer comments on a weekly basis.

The Steve’s Real Food Team

High-Pressure Pasteurization FAQ.

Why did you choose to start using HPP?

As a company we have chosen to use HPP on our frozen poultry products only after many months of research of various kill step processes that would minimize risks associated to harmful pathogens. Our focus was keeping our pets diet at the highest quality possible without compromising convenience and affordability. HPP is hands down the most effective with minimal effect of the nutritional adequacy of the food.

Why do you HPP only the poultry products?

Through our testing, we found that Beef, Pork, and Emu don’t have the contamination rate that poultry does and therefore test & hold is effective on these diets. We include pathogen targeted probiotics in all of our products. On the non-HPP food, this helps reduce the contamination making our effected rate less than 1%. On the HPP products, we include it after the HPP process to ensure that there is no cross contamination during the re-grind step.

We have a little over 30 SKUs that are not HPPed and 11 that are. By April of 2019, we will have a new protein (Lamu) that will be available in all frozen and freeze-dried and in all package sizes. This will add 5 more non-HPP options for the customer.

When did you start to do HPP?

We started distributing batches of HPP in February 2019. By March, all frozen poutry will go through the HPP process.

What is HPP and what is the process?

High Pressure Processing – high pressure not heat.

Frozen product (29-degrees) is placed in a chamber filled with chilled water (35-38 degrees) it is then pressurized for 180 seconds at 87 PSI (pressure square inch) this validates a 5 log reduction. Water temperature in the chamber only increases by 1-2 degrees which does not change product temperature.

Does HPP change or kill natural Enzymes or minerals?

After many third-party lab tests, we found that the overall protein levels of the formulas increased, due specifically to an increase in the amino acid tryptophan. Fats remained relatively the same, and calcium and phosphorus decreased, but remained above AAFCO’s requirements and the calcium to phosphorus ratio remained at optimal levels. Iron increased, within safe levels. The only change that we feel the need to specifically address is the observable decrease in vitamin A, which we will counteract by increasing liver amounts (a great natural source of vitamin A) in the diets which contain poultry. Surprisingly, we found out there is no effect on enzymes and little effect on probiotics. However, we have chosen to incorporate additional probiotics after the HPP process to have another value-added ingredient.

What proof do you have that it did not affect enzymes?

We have done several third-party tests to evaluate the overall nutritional content to HPP VS non-HPP food and we would be happy to provide that information for you. Please email feedback@stevesrealfood.com.

Does HPP make the food less palatable?

No, HPP does not alter the palatability of the food. There is a slight texture change due to re-grinding the food after the HPP process. Some dogs notice this and may question the difference, but we have found that it only takes a little while and they are back to their normal excited temperament for the food.

Is there a color or texture change to the HPP products?

No there is not a color change to any of the HPP products, we use the same USDA human grade ingredients. If you notice a color change it is most likely due to the natural changes in the color of the meat from batch to batch.

What benefits does HPP have?

It inactivates foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E Coli & Listeria without changing the nutritional value of the food. It offers a safer option for consumers who are worried about food safety, who have small children or are immune compromised – Or who have a pet who is immune compromised.  It also eliminates the need for a more severe and denaturing process such as radiation, chemical preservatives or thermal processing.

What are the disadvantages of HPP?

HPP is an additional process that if can be avoided, you might as well. It increases the time it takes to make each batch which is why we are slowly phasing it in so that we can ensure there are no gaps in supply.

Please email any questions or comments to feedback@stevesrealfood.com

The Importance of Pet Food and Pet Treats with Made in USA Ingredients

made-usa-pet-food

If you want to upgrade your pet’s nutrition, start by looking at the packaging. Do you see ‘Made in the USA’ on there? ‘Made in the USA’ is a powerful designation that means the product has been created to high safety standards, and all or most of the ingredients are from here in the USA. If you still aren’t sure about paying a little extra for quality pet food, read on.

The High Cost of Cheap Ingredients

Where your pet food ingredients come from matters. In fact, it can be a matter of life or death. In 2007, there were several incidences of pets becoming sick or dying from contaminated pet food. Some pet food companies were attempting to cut production costs by using rice and wheat imported from China. There, the government doesn’t apply the same regulation for food quality as we do here in the USA. The food had melamine contamination that was added by Chinese manufacturers to increase the protein content results. Melamine is a chemical commonly used in manufacturing plastic products. It’s toxic when ingested. Around the same period of time, there was a deadly dog jerky treat outbreak. Over 5000 animals became sick and 1000+ beloved animals died over the five years that these products were on the market before being recalled. Many pet food product manufacturers were finally forced to recall their products years later, despite the number of customer complaints and sick and dying animals that were reported over the years. Incidences like these have been tragedies for the pet owners. Now, consumers have lost trust in imported ingredients. They are looking for a healthy, safe solution in Made in the USA products.

What Does ‘Made in the USA’ Labeling Mean?

This label is about much more than simply stating where an ingredient comes from. It also describes the growth, harvesting, and manufacturing process. Food that isn’t made in the USA may not be unhealthy … but you’ll never know for sure. Other countries have their own food safety standards which can be very different from those in the USA. They don’t face oversight or any civil or criminal penalties for breaking US laws and safety regulations.

When you see ‘Made in the USA’ on a label, this means the product has been regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in both human and pet food. To earn this label, all or virtually all the product has to be made in the United States. This could include the packaging, the ingredients, and where it’s produced. The label means that the pet food meets US safety standards and monitoring at every step.

Don’t Be Fooled by Pet Food Labels

Some companies may try to fool you into thinking their product is a made in the USA product by employing tricks such as putting a picture of an American flag on the bag without explicitly stating that it is made here. Take another look at the label on your bag of pet food. Here’s what you want to look at to verify Made in the USA status.

  • “Manufactured by.”This label indicates who is responsible for the food’s quality and safety during manufacturing. It should also say where the product was produced.
  • “Manufactured for” or “Distributed by.”This means that the food was manufactured by a different party than the one selling it. This could be, for example, a central manufacturing facility that provides the food sold by several labels. In contrast, companies that use their own facilities have more control over ingredients and how they’re processed. They can also set higher quality control standards and make sure that every batch meets those standards.
  • “Based” or “Developed.”These are red flags, and it would be wise to contact the manufacturer to figure out who is making the food and where.

Feed-Grade vs Human-Grade Ingredients

Having USA sourced ingredients is a great start, but it doesn’t tell the full story. Some pet food manufacturers use ‘feed-grade’ ingredients. The problem with these ingredients is that feed-grade ingredients are held to significantly lower, looser safety standards. Pet food is considered feed and is legally allowed to contain some question items. That’s why the healthiest pet food not only has a Made in the USA label but also uses human-grade ingredients.

Why Choose Steve’s Real Food?

Steve’s Real Food has more than two decades of experience making high-quality pet foods. We source our ingredients in the US from USDA approved farms that humanely raise free-range animals. The raw meat we use is human grade and 100% free of added hormones and antibiotics. Our fruit and vegetable ingredients are also locally sourced here in the US and are pesticide-free.

To find out more about our company policies on quality ingredients and origin disclosures, read our pledge here.

Choosing a Pet Food that Meets Your Working Dogs’ Nutritional Needs

working-dog-pet-food

As anyone who has completed a long-distance run can tell you, much of the way you feel after exerting yourself will depend on the food you ate. This principle holds true for animals as well. Working dogs such as law enforcement dogs, sled dogs, service dogs, hunting dogs, and herding dogs generally have higher nutritional requirements than those set by AAFCO when compared to non-working dogs. Meeting these nutritional needs is the key to ensuring working dogs perform at their best. Feeding the best dog food for working dogs with sustainable energy and healthy nutrients is a great way to thank these dogs for everything they help us do. Read on to learn more about selecting a pet food that will meet your working dog’s needs.

What is Classified as a Working Dog?

Usually, working dogs are larger breeds that are trained to perform a certain task such as sledding, farming, herding, and hunting dogs. The most common working dogs include Akita, Alaskan malamutes, Border Collie, Belgian Malinois, Doberman pinschers, GiaSchnauzersers, Rottweiler, Australian Shepherd, Newfoundland, and Siberian Huskies. However, working dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and you may have a Dachshund that helps hunt tunneling animals, or even a Welsh Corgi herding chickens.

How Much Should a Working Dog Eat?

Generally speaking, working dogs will need anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 times the amount of food as a less active dog. Working dogs who are operating in very hot or cold environments will need even more food.

Working dogs also have greater hydration needs than less active dogs. Because dogs can’t sweat, most of their water loss comes from the surface of their tongue or the pads of their feet—and during heavy exercise, they can lose 10 to 20 times more water than normal.

What to Look for on the Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis Panels

There are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating your working dog’s food choices. Working doges require specific levels of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water. But the proportions (and quality) of each of these ingredients will dictate how healthy they are for your pup.

  • Working dogs need a high protein diet to build and maintain strong, healthy muscles. However, not all proteins are created equal. The best pet foods for working dogs have a real animal protein as the first ingredient such as Turkey, Pork, or Beef, rather than “meat meal.”. Dog food with corn, grains, or soy protein as the first ingredient isn’t likely to provide the nutritional profile your working dog needs to perform at his peak.
  • Working dogs also need a food that provides them sustainable energy, and has a relatively high fat content. If looking to feed a raw diet, a prey model is higher in protein and fat, and is ideal for working/performance dogs that need more calories to keep on weight. Dogs eating a grass-fed and grass-finished meats, like in Steve’s Real Food, will be eating meats with more natural contents of Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Working dog food should support healthy joints as their work can be hard on a pet’s joints. Look for ingredients that contain glucosamine and chondroitin like Eggshell Membrane that promote healthy joint function.
  • Finally, there is no reason for dog foods to contain artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or other additives. These substances don’t provide any added benefit and, in some cases, may actually harm your pet’s health.

Always read the ingredients panel carefully to make sure you understand everything your dog food contains.

The DOs and DON’Ts of Feeding Working Dogs

Here are just a few of the “DOs and DON’Ts” you’ll want to keep in mind when making any changes to your working dog’s diet.

  • DO: Encourage Hydration: Water is the most important element in any working dog’s diet. Making water available and encouraging your working dog to take water breaks is key to avoiding dehydration.
  • DON’T: Make Sudden Changes: Dogs can be sensitive to sudden or drastic changes. If you are planning on changing the food you provide your working dog, it’s a good idea to make any changes to your dog’s diet slowly, incorporating the new food over the course of 2-4 weeks. This same principle holds when you adjust your dog’s food intake. Just because your dog is getting plenty of exercise doesn’t mean that their stomach is equipped to handle double or more the volume of food it normally processes—increasing their food supply overnight may lead to some digestive upset. Adjust the amount of food you offer your pup by no more than 20% a day (or less) until you’ve reached an amount that allows them to maintain a healthy weight and energy level.
  • DO: Begin with Label Recommendations: Your dog food label should indicate a recommended amount of daily food based on your dog’s size and weight. Although your working dog will usually need more than this recommended amount, a slow increase is the easiest way to identify the amount of food your dog needs to maintain their weight at their current activity level. Your dog’s individual metabolism and how much exercise they’re getting will determine how much to feed. A dog at an ideal weight will have a waist when viewed from above, and you should be able to easily feel your dog’s ribs when lightly running your hands across its sides.
  • DON’T: Feed Your Dog Immediately Before or After Strenuous Exercise: Exercise requires one’s body to do a lot at once and eating immediately after strenuous activity can cause digestive upset or discomfort. Putting off their meal until they’ve cooled down a bit is the best way to avoid diarrhea, cramps, and other uncomfortable side effects.

Try Steve’s Real Food for Your Working Dog

Steve’s Real Foods frozen raw prey diet is ideal for working dogs—it includes only human-grade, USDA-inspected, free-range meats that are 100% hormone-free and antibiotic-free. The frozen raw prey diet is far higher in fat and protein than other dog foods on the market, giving your pup the energy, they need to perform at their highest level.

To learn more about getting started with Steve’s, visit our Feeding Calculator and Transitioning Tips resources.

Introduction to GMO’s & Pet Food

Corn is the number one ingredient in kibble, (and in many human foods) because it is heavily subsidized by the US government and so can be grown cheaply by farmers. Yet as prevalent as it is in our food, the largest buyers of corn in the US are not food manufacturers, but large-scale meat companies that feed their animals an unnatural, corn-based diet, which their bodies were never designed to eat. This translates into a decrease of nutritional value in the meats you and your dog eat. Nutritionally deficient cows = nutritionally deficient meat. The rise of chronic disease, cancer, infertility, anxiety/depression, ADHD, obesity, and many more diseases can be linked back to nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances that come from eating cheap foods manufactured with an eye on the dollar and not on public health

Pets with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

ibd cats dogs

Are you noticing rapid weight loss in your pet? Does your cat or dog vomit often? While these symptoms could present in an array of conditions, they are prevalent in pets with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is in most cases the primary cause of prolonged diarrhea and vomiting in dogs and cats. Pets suffering from IBD also suffer substantial nutrient deficiencies along with the discomfort its symptoms present. According to research, IBD is more common in Yorkshire Terriers, German Shepherds, and purebred cats, although other breeds could also suffer from the same. Even though IBD is common in older pets, it has been known to affect pets younger than two years.

What is IBD?

IBD is a condition that occurs when the pet’s small intestines or the mucosal lining is prone to irritation due to the presence of an abnormally large amount of inflammatory cells. This abnormal invasion interferes with the mucosal lining’s ability to digest and absorb food. This results in diarrhea or vomiting depending on which part of the digestive system is affected. Pets whose stomachs or upper intestines are affected will vomit while those whose lower digestive system is affected normally have chronic diarrhea.

Signs and symptoms that your pet could be suffering from IBD include;

  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Fatigue or lethargy mostly caused by a poor appetite
  • Excess gas or flatulence
  • Weight loss
  • Traces of blood in the pet’s stool
  • Rumbling sounds in the stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Distressed coat

Quite a number of conditions can cause the above symptoms, but when they become intermittent and chronic, the probability of your pet suffering from IBD is high.

What Causes IBD?

Researchers haven’t found a single cause for IBD, however, potential causes include; bacteria, parasites, food allergies, and a non-functional or poor immune system. Most of the food allergens that are believed to cause IBD are milk proteins, the gluten in wheat products, artificial coloring, food preservatives, and certain meat proteins. There is a genetic factor also believed to play a major role in the likelihood of a pet suffering from IBD. Due to the varying potential causes, vets treat each case individually. This helps to customize the treatment plan, so its root cause is addressed.

How is IBD Diagnosed in Dogs and Cats?

Once you suspect that your pet is suffering from IBD, it is vital that you schedule an appointment with a vet as soon as possible. On your appointment, the vet will most likely ask you to provide a detailed history of your pet, how long the symptoms have persisted, and their severity. They will then run a number of blood, stool, and urine tests. The vet may also do an ultrasound to rule out other conditions such as bacterial or parasitic infections, metabolic diseases, or even cancer. A food test using hypoallergenic diet may also be necessary to rule out food allergy as the cause. Presence of IBD could also be confirmed through biopsy performed on the intestinal tissue. This can be done through endoscopy, colonoscopy, or abdominal surgery. The biopsy is often the last resort as the procedures are invasive and costly.

The Disadvantage of Treating IBD through Conventional Means

Conventional treatment typically includes one of the veterinary “prescription” diets. They may prescribe an expensive, specialized hydrolyzed protein diet available only through them that has synthetically minimized protein so that the allergen is undetected by the pet’s body. Often, these diets are expensive and only sold at the vet’s office.

The vet will additionally prescribe an immunosuppressant, drugs which suppress the lymphocytes, antacids, anti-nausea drugs, and synthetic corticosteroids. While a specially hydrolyzed diet and these drugs may work, they do not address the root cause of the IBD by getting rid of the irritation. You might also need to medicate your dog for a prolonged period or even the rest of it’s life when you choose these routes of treatment.

Treating IBD with a Raw Pet Diet

Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease may be effectively controlled through raw pet foods. Healing of the pet’s digestive system will only begin once we acknowledge that the pets are carnivores and feed them on a diet that’s suitable for them. Feeding your pet with a raw pet diet restores its digestive system’s physiological balance. We do not claim that a raw diet “cures” IBD, but feeding dogs and cats a high quality (human grade, unadulterated), fresh meat-and-organ based diet their digestive systems are designed to metabolize, enables those systems to return to physiological balance.

Pets with gastrointestinal conditions respond quite well to raw diets, and once they successfully transition, you will no longer need additional supplements to maintain their health or reduce IBD symptoms. However, if the pet is diagnosed with severe inflammation, it might get infected by the bacteria that occur naturally in raw meat. It would be ideal to start feeding him with cooked food and slowly reduce the cooking times as symptoms subside. Keep in mind that it might take some time for symptoms to subside even after the irritants have been removed from the pet’s diet.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that are important to humans and pets alike. Their role is to maintain a healthy stomach through the re-population of the digestive tract with healthy bacteria and helping in digestion. While giving your pet probiotic supplements is a good way of maintaining a healthy gut, it would be better the probiotic was incorporated with his meal. Steve’s Real Food is fortified with raw goat milk which is rich in probiotics, supports metabolism, boosts the pet’s immune system, and is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Our raw pet food is balanced and features the most superior ingredients on the market. Alternatively, you could top your pet’s meal with a raw goat milk product. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our products.

How to Sniff Out Quality Pet Food

choosing best pet food

It can be a mystifying experience trying to pick the right food for your dog. TV and print ads are often misleading. Package labels can be so lengthy and confusing that it can be very hard to figure out what you’re buying. And, your dog may be a bit of a finicky eater. Now what? All things combined, the quest for truly nutritious food that your dog really likes can turn into a pretty long journey. Here’s some helpful information to help you choose food that is healthful, that your dog likes, and that is ethically and environmentally responsible.

Rendered Meat Products

Popular pet food brands often use a meat rendering process. In the rendering process, a bunch of “leftover” meat products are mixed and ground together into a sludge. The substance is then cooked in a vat at high heat for a few hours to render the grease, fat, and solids. When these drifts up to the surface, they’re skimmed off. This scraped-off substance is then packaged and labeled as “meat by-product” or “meat meal.”

That may not seem like an ideal way of producing high-quality pet food. That’s because it’s not. You don’t have to be a pet food industry expert to recognize the major shortfalls in such a process, or in terms of producing an optimally nutritious, good-tasting or well-balanced pet food.

What’s in Meat By-Products?

Pet food industry experts have conflicting opinions on the advisability of feeding a dog meat by-products. Some argue that pet food production from by-products fulfills an important ecological need, repurposing biological materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste. But, others have concerns about meat-rendering pet food plants possibly using meat sources that are unfit for use as food.

Pet food producers are legally permitted to mix protein sources in rendered meat products. Adding to the uncertainty is the matter of relatively weak regulation of rendered by-products, which has led to reports that meat used in plants is from dead animals taken from roadways. There have also been reports of producers using ingredients like hooves and heads from cattle, pigs, horses, and sheep. Some reports have claimed that diseased animals and others that are unfit for human food are used. That’s why pet food labels list “by-products” or “by-product meal” instead of easily identifiable meat sources. This situation has led many people to look for food with proteins from a single animal source and ingredients that are of a quality fit for human food.

Know Pet Food Packaging Buzz Words

At a minimum, people should be able to understand dog food labels. The labels shouldn’t be misleading in the language they use. Quality producers of pet food products back up their labels with sufficiently clear information. But run-of-the-mill producers may use language that makes information about what’s really in the can or paper package pretty obscure.

For example, if the label says:

  • “Contains Beef” or “With Beef” — Can mean that the product contains as much as 97% of other substances and as little as 3% beef.
  • “Beef Flavored” — Can mean that the product does not contain any actual beef.
  • “Beef Dinner,” “Beef Recipe,” or “Beef Formula”— Must mean that at least 25% of food’s total weight is real beef. The remainder of the weight (up to 75%) can consist of other ingredients.
  • “Beef Dog Food” — Must mean that at least 95% of the food’s total weight is real beef.

Flashy Pet Food Labeling Adds Mystery

With all the baffling labels, decoding the terms to figure out which ones offer your high-quality pet food becomes more than a minor challenge. Throw in another layer of labeling ambiguity, such as one of these below, and you’ve really got a vague description of whatever is in the package.

  • “Premium”
  • “Super-Premium”
  • “Ultra-Premium”
  • “Gourmet”

What do those descriptions really mean? Fingers crossed. Do they at least mean that the pet food in the package is better and actually worth paying a little extra for it? The answer is—not really. Such adjectives in labeling are often just embellishments used to stimulate some excitement in buyers.

Pet foods with “premium” on the label, or any of the other above enthusiasm-building adjectives are not required to consist of different ingredients or any higher quality of the same kinds of ingredients than any other product that contains complete and balanced pet food.

Natural” Pet Foods

Don’t be discouraged. Even though by now you’re probably dreading hearing about yet another misleading labeling term, this is where things improve for pet food buyers. This term “natural” is one that has much tighter rules attached to it. Any pet food with a “natural” label, is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. The AAFCO is a collective of local, state, and federal government agencies that regulate animal food manufacturing.

The AAFCO requires pet foods labeled as “natural” to contain only ingredients from animal, plant or mined sources. Foods with the “natural” label are not permitted to be highly processed. They also cannot contain artificial flavoring, coloring, preservatives or other synthetic chemical ingredients.

Organic” Pet Foods

Pet foods labeled as “organic” must be produced, according to AAFCO standards, without using artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides, and without food additives or use of radiation for ionization. Pet foods wearing the “organic” label must also be free of contaminants from industrial or human waste. Further, food animals must be raised with a healthy diet, without growth hormones, and without routine administration of antibiotics.

Organic pet foods can be produced at differing grades of organic quality:

  • “100% Organic” — Pet food bearing this label must contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.
  • “Made with Organic Ingredients” — Products with this labeling must consist of at least 70% ingredients that are certified as organic.

Organic pet food producers are required to obtain certification and to meet standards specified for production, in order to qualify to label their pet food products as “organic.”

How Can You Be Sure You’re Choosing a High-Quality Pet Food?

As we’ve seen, there are a lot of misleading labels on pet foods. Since there are currently no general regulations that require pet food labels to be clearer, it’s up to us as consumers to look past the packaging and do our due diligence in pet food selection.

First, when researching which pet foods make the best sense to buy for your dog, you can use this little questionnaire as your checklist:

  1. Is the first ingredient listed on the Ingredients List identifiable as a single-source of protein?
  2. Do the ingredients in the pet food product together form food that is nutritionally complete and balanced?
  3. Is the animal protein source from a producer that is confirmed as one using humane farming practices? Or, if it’s a fish source, does the producer use sustainable fishing practices?
  4. If there are whole vegetable and fruit ingredients included and are these grown naturally and in an environmentally responsible way?
  5. Where are the raw ingredients for the pet food from? (Producers of premium pet foods avoid obtaining ingredients from countries where pet food recalls have caused widespread concerns.)

Second, be willing to reach out and questions. Pet food companies that label their products as “Made in the USA” should not avoid answering questions you may have. Here are a few of the kinds of questions to consider asking a pet food company before you decided to start or continue feeding your pet the foods they produce.

  • Where are your pet foods ingredients produced?
  • Where are your pet food formulations manufactured?

A Good Rule of Thumb in Considering The Best Pet Food

Consumers must use the information and tools we have to figure out what’s best for our dogs in pet food. We have to pretty much accept that the Ingredients List is accurate. That makes a pet food producer’s willingness to be transparent about their sources and processes a central consideration in choosing the food that your dog needs to live a healthy and happy life. So, look for a pet food provider that is transparent about their product. Remember, a pet food company that is committed to top quality will openly explain what is in the food product that you are buying for your dog.

pet-food-infographic

Connect With Us

Contact us

Steve's Real Food

2034 East Fort Union
Cottonwood , UT 84121
United States
801-432-7478