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FAQ's

What you need to know…

If you’re new to feeding RAW, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea.  You might even be making all sorts of excuses to avoid stepping out of your “comfort zone” of feeding kibble.  And that’s ok…  We’ve all been there!

 Just remember that you are not alone in this.  You have access to all the support and guidance that you need to make a smooth transition – and there is no doubt that your animal friends will be incredibly grateful when you do take that leap of faith!

Knowledge is empowering

As responsible owners and custodians of our animal friends, it’s important to ensure that we have sufficient information to make educated decisions regarding their welfare.  This section answers some of the most common RAW-related questions asked of us.  If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

 

Q: 

Can all dogs and cats eat a raw diet?

A: All dogs and cats are designed to eat raw food.  Accordingly, all dogs and cats should thrive on a high quality, balanced raw diet.
   

Q:

Is there any condition that precludes my pet from eating RAW?

A: 

There is no known condition that precludes your dog or cat from eating RAW.  However, if your animal’s health is presently compromised in any way (e.g. chronic and acute health conditions, food sensitivities or allergies) we recommend that you consult with a knowledgeable vet who is familiar with RAW feeding.

This does not mean you should avoid feeding RAW.  On the contrary, most conditions show significant improvement on the appropriate RAW diet.  Your vet will simply help you to determine whether there are any special precautions or supportive measures to be taken during the transition.

   

Q:

Should dogs eat fruit and vegetables?

A: In the wild, dogs eat the plant-filled gut contents of their herbivorous prey first.  These plant enzymes play an important role in the digestive process.  Dogs need fruit and vegetables to add nutrients and balance the anti-oxidants in their diet.  Additionally, many fruits and vegetables are alkaline and help against inflammatory conditions.  (If your dog is scavenging in the compost heap, this is a serious clue!)
   

Q:

Can I switch immediately from kibble or cooked to raw feeding?

A:

When pets have been on a cooked or cereal-based diet, their bodies do not produce the enzymes required to efficiently digest raw food.  The pH level of the stomach isn’t quite right and they don’t have the right sort of bacteria in the gut.   We therefore recommend that raw food be introduced slowly, over at least 7 days, giving the gut time to adjust for healthy digestion. If your pet has been on a dry or cooked diet for some time - or if it has a very sensitive stomach – it may need longer than 7 days.

   
 
Transition guide for dogs:
  bullet Gradually transition for at least 7 days.
  bullet Start with a daily portion ratio of 25% raw to 75% previous food.  Try to feed these separately for easier digestion, if you can.  If your dog seems suspicious of the RAW food, you might well have better success by mixing it into their regular food.
  bullet Pay attention.  Gauge the dog’s ability to digest the food by general comfort levels, as well as the quality and consistency of its poop.  You’ll know your dog is coping if stools are clearly digested, firm and free of mucous - and there are no signs of discomfort or vomiting.  Follow your instincts and increase the amount of RAW when you feel your dog is ready.
  bullet Consider the temporary use of Nutribiotic as well as a digestive enzyme supplement to assist the dog during its transition.  This will help your dog to digest its new food while its gut is still adapting.
     
 
Transition guide for cats:

Cats love their routine. They are immediately suspicious of any changes to their environment – and this includes changes in food! They are mostly a lot trickier to transition than their canine counterparts and they will likely require more time and patience on your part.  Persevere!  Don’t give up on them.  The rewards will be worth it.

  bullet If your cat is used to getting dry food, consider lightly steaming the raw food at first, before going completely raw.
  bullet Place a small amount of the raw / steamed food alongside their usual amount of regular food.
  bullet NEVER mix the new food with their previous food.  Some cats would rather starve themselves than be forced to eat something that they aren’t used to.  During starvation, fats are released from the cat’s stores.  Its liver can’t efficiently process this sudden amount of fat, which can lead to significant liver damage and disease.
  bullet It might take up to 2 weeks for your cat to show interest in the new food. Once they start to show an interest, gradually decrease the old food and increase the new food.
  bullet The addition of Nutribiotic for at least two weeks will help your cat to transition more easily, as it encourages the body (and the brain) to accept the raw food. (More on this in our next question!)
  bullet This whole process could take as much as 8 weeks.  This is normal.  Don’t give up!
     

Q:

What is Nutribiotic and where can I get it?

A:

Our magnificent bodies work in marvellous ways.  Did you know that our bodies contain more gut bacteria than human cells?  Essentially, we act as hosts for our gut bacteria – and these gut bacteria send the appropriate chemicals to our brains as “cravings” for the foods that those very same bacteria need to survive.

For both cats and dogs, Nutribiotic introduces the right bacteria to the gut.  These bacteria help to digest raw – and also release chemicals to enhance their bodies’ acceptance of raw food.

We recommend use of Nutribiotic for at least 4 weeks in healthy animals and 3 months with compromised health. 

Nutribiotic is a Simply Natural product and is available for purchase online as well as selected outlets.  Visit the Simply Natural website for more information.

   

Q:

Are Simply Pets Raw Foods completely safe to feed and handle?

A:

Simply Pets uses only the highest quality, certified human grade ingredients in all of our products.  Our processing facilities conform strictly to international HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) standards, and we are able to trace our raw materials to source.

Simply Pets foods are frozen immediately and they stay completely frozen up to point of purchase.  They should not be thawed and then refrozen – as with any meat products, this might cause bacterial issues.

When handling any raw food, it is prudent to follow general hygiene practices, such as washing hands after handling raw food, as well as washing out bowls with hot or boiling water.  Properly sterilise surfaces if any food is spilled.

   

Q:

How do you choose your meat suppliers?

A: Apart from ensuring that we only use top quality, human grade meats, Simply Pets supports kinder farming methods.  We are against crowding and caging practices, as well as any other production systems in which the physical and mental welfare of the animals is compromised.  In addition to our absolute love of all animals and our preference for kinder practices, we also believe that the well-being of the animal leads to a better, more nourishing quality of meat.
   

Q:

Is it safe to feed bones to cats and dogs?

A:

Bones are only safe to feed when RAW.  Raw bones are soft and pliable.  Bones that have been heat treated in any way – e.g. boiled, baked, fried or braai’d – become brittle and are likely to cause splintering and choking.  If undigested, they can pierce or clog the intestine. 

We highly recommend giving your dogs and cats RAW meaty bones as part of their RAW diet.  (You can even feed raw fish bones, provided you pop it in the food processor first.)

Please take note of the following safety guidelines:

  bullet Never feed bones with small children present.
  bullet Separate your animals before feeding bones.
  bullet Never leave the house while your pet is chewing a bone (don’t leave the pet unattended).
  bullet Never cook or heat bones.
  bullet Never cut or saw bones.
  bullet Never feed tiny bones that might be swallowed whole.
  bullet Avoid typical round marrow bones, as these have a tendency to get stuck around the bottom jaw.  The marrow also has a very high fat content.
  bullet Avoid very flat or rib bones, as these could get wedged against the palate.
  bullet Unless your pet is used to eating bones or hard treats, it is better to avoid the hard solid long bones, as these could fracture teeth that are not strong enough.  Rather give the softer bone, closer to the joints, until the teeth have had some practice and have had time to harden and strengthen.
   

Q: 

How often should I feed RAW meaty bones? 

A: We recommend feeding 100g of RAW meaty bones, per 10kg body weight, per day.  If you find it inconvenient to feed bones every day, you can split the total weekly requirement over 3 or 4 days.  For optimum digestion and dental hygiene, try not to feed bones less than 3 times per week.
   

Q:

Is it safe to feed a RAW diet to puppies and kittens?

A:

Puppies and kittens can be weaned directly onto Simply Pets Raw Foods.  Since the food is packed with all the nutrients they need, with high levels of protein, they can eat the same food as adult dogs and cats that enjoy Simply Pets Raw Foods.  Please see our Feeding Guidelines for the appropriate weight and frequency of meals.

Should your puppy or kitten, for any reason, be weaned before the age of 6 weeks, we recommend adding a little warm water at first, to make a paste. From the age of 6 weeks, this should no longer be necessary.

   

Q:

My cat / dog has a very sensitive stomach.  Will I be able to feed RAW?

A:

Yes!  Raw food diets can actually help to resolve a number of health issues, including digestive issues such as sensitivity, colitis, loose stools, constipation and gastro-enteritis.  We also have many documented cases and testimonials where raw feeding has vastly improved chronic allergies, intolerances, skin conditions, anal gland issues, stomach cramping, inflammation, arthritis, and obesity.   

Ensure that you switch your pet over to RAW very gradually, for smooth transition.  You might even consider adding digestive enzymes and probiotics (see Nutribiotic) to the food for the first few weeks, to aid in the digestion and give your pet a chance to adapt to the new food. 

IMPORTANT:   Raw feeding might be a good treatment for many conditions, but it’s important that you seek veterinary advice when your pet is obviously ill or struggling to digest or transition onto the raw food.  If your dog is ill before transitioning to RAW, please do not start a raw feeding programme until the cause has not been properly diagnosed.

   

Q:

Are any of the Simply Pets Raw foods better than others?

A: All Simply Pets Raw Food are 100% balanced.  Nutritionally, none of them are superior to others.  Sometimes we do recommend that certain pets (e.g. patients with pancreatitis or lipidosis, or hot moist itchy skins) avoid chicken.  In these cases, the other meat options such as venison or beef would indeed be the better choice.
   

Q:

Will there be changes in my pets’ stools?

A:

If you see any problems with the stools, this is most likely because your pet’s gut has not yet adapted to the new diet.  If your pet seems to be struggling, you could assist them during their transition by adding supplementary enzymes and beneficial probiotics to aid in digestion.  

Generally, you can expect far fewer stools.  If you are feeding sufficient bone, the stools would be less smelly and they will be harder and easier to pick up.  They will also decompose into the soil more readily.  As an added bonus, the harder stool will help to express the anal glands naturally.

   

Q:

My pet is overweight.  How can I get him/her to lose weight safely on a RAW diet?

A: Use the Simply Pets feeding guideline to determine portion sizes for your pet’s ideal weight and feed accordingly.  Do not be over-ambitious… If there is a significant difference between what your pet is getting now and what the ideal portion size should be, you may want to reduce his/her portion sizes gradually over the space of 2 weeks.
   

Q:

My dog / cat is still hungry! Is there anything that I can add to bulk up the food?

A:

Some pets have a higher energy requirement than others.  If your deworming is up to date and your pet is still obviously hungry after feeding Simply Pets Raw Food and the recommended amount of bone, you can increase the portion size of the RAW food (not the bone).  With dogs, you can safely add cooked brown rice or oats to the food.  Do not feed white rice, pasta or potato as the starch content is too high!

Do not allow your pet to exceed his or her ideal weight, as this puts strain on organs and joints.  If this happens, reduce the portion size and don’t give in to those hungry eyes!

   

Q:

My pet is overweight, but he/she is already getting less than the ideal portion size.  I’m worried that if I further reduce the portion, he/she won’t get sufficient nutrition.

A: Older or sedentary pets typically have a lower energy requirement.  They might do fine on less than the recommended daily intake.  However, if your pet has abnormally low energy level or tends to hold onto weight, we recommend that you seek veterinary advice to establish whether there is a medical condition that requires treatment.
   

Q:

Can I cook the Simply Pets foods?

A: Our foods are designed to provide optimal nutrition when they are fed raw.  Cooking destroys many of the nutrients and defeats the object of feeding a RAW diet.  When transitioning your cat from a dry or cooked diet, you can lightly steam or flash fry the Simply Pets food - but only as a temporary measure.
   

Q:

How long can I freeze your food for, how should I defrost it and how long will it stay fresh?

A:

Simply Pets Raw Food can be frozen for up to 6 months from date of manufacture (please check the manufacturing date on the packaging).  

Defrost overnight in the fridge – or place in lukewarm (not hot) water for a quicker defrosting.  Please do not defrost in the microwave as this often partially cooks the food and destroys valuable nutrients. 

Once defrosted, keep refrigerated and ensure to use within 48 hours of defrosting.