Frequently Asked Questions

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Take a look at some of the commonly asked questions below and you may find the answer you need. Alternatively, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help.

About Big Dog raw food

Can you lightly thaw the Rolls out just to be able to cut and then re-freeze?

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Portioning this product while still frozen is quite difficult, so, yes, we would recommend lightly thawing the product and then portioning for re-freeze. However, we don’t recommend completely thawing our Rolls and then re-freezing them. We don't use any preservatives in our food, so maintaining a low temperature is really important to maintain product integrity. Once fully thawed, the Rolls only last 2 – 3 days in the fridge.

Can your Big Dog Rolls be used for training treats?

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Unfortunately, no. Our Big Dog Rolls come frozen, and when thawed they have a 'minced meat' consistency, so, they wouldn't be suitable for training treats.

What flavours does your Rolls come in?

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Our 2kg Bulk Rolls come in Combo, Sensitive Skin, Chicken, and Active raw dog food recipes!

We recently added four Wild and Free rolls to the line-up too! These are a meat, offal and bone, DIY feeding base for your pets meal.

What is the difference between your Big Dog Patties and Big Dog Rolls?

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Nothing! Our raw dog food recipes produced in 2kg Rolls are a great economical option for multi-dog households or larger breeds who need A LOT of Big Dog.

Does your raw dog food Roll contain any binding agents?

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There is no binding agent in our 'Big Dog Rolls.' It is the exact same recipe as our 3kg 'Patties' range but frozen into a roll, so it won’t bind when defrosted and will come out as the same consistency as our Big Dog 'Pattie's'.

Is your Big Dog Rolls complete and balanced?

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Yes! Our raw dog food recipes are complete and balanced according to AAFCO standards.

Do you use HPP (High Pressure Processing) on your packaging?

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No, we don't.

HPP - High Pressure Processing is a non-thermal food preservation technique that kills microorganisms that can cause diseases or spoil food. It uses intense pressure for a certain time and has minimal effects on taste, texture, appearance, or nutritional values. At Big Dog, we don't have the need to use this process as our food is frozen.

Are your plastic pouches BPA-free?

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Yes, the plastic used to package our patties is BPA-free.

How many kilograms is one Big Dog Roll?

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2kg

Does your Big Dog Rolls come frozen?

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Yes! Exactly like our Big Dog Patties!

How do you store your Big Dog Rolls once thawed?

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Once fully thawed, the rolls should be in a sealed tight container no more than 2 – 3 days in the fridge. Give it a sniff if unsure, if it smells a bit off and not fresh, we don't recommend serving it - just like any meat you would buy from the supermarket or butcher.

Squeezing out Big Dog Rolls into container.
Storing and portioning the Big Dog Chicken Rolls into a container.

How long can you keep the Big Dog Rolls in the fridge once thawed?

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We recommend 2-3 days and then give it a sniff to make sure it is still okay! If unsure, and it smells a bit off and not fresh, we don't recommend serving it - just like any raw meat you would buy from a supermarket or butcher.

Are your probiotics microencapsulated?

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Absolutely! Microencapsulation plays an important role in protecting probiotic bacteria from the degradation that the digestive system was designed to do. It ensures they can stay viable through to the colon and, most importantly, get absorbed and benefit the pet’s health the way they are intended.

Can I cook your food?

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No. Big Dog food is based on an evolutionary diet so all of the products in our range contain crushed bone as a source of important vitamins and minerals. Because of this, our food cannot be cooked.

Not only does cooking reduce the nutritional value of the fresh healthy ingredients, cooking bone results in it becoming brittle, potentially splintering and should not be digested by your dog in this state.

The only exception to this is our Nourish Nutrition recipes. These recipes do not contain any crushed real bone, so if your veterinarian recommends that you cook these foods, it is safe to do so.

How do I transition my pet to your raw food?

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We always recommend slowly introducing raw diets over 2 weeks. The reason for this is to minimise any potential for stomach upsets which can happen if a change in diet is sudden. Some pets will have no issues with a quick changeover in diet, however to be sure, we do recommend slowly introducing the new food.

Day 1-3: 20% New 80% Old

Day 4-6: 40% New 60% Old

Day 7-9: 60% New 40% Old

Day 10-12: 80% New 20% Old

Day 12+: 100% New Diet

You can use any of our products to transition your dog to raw feeding. However, our Raw Bites range has been specially designed for pet parents to transition their dog to raw food. 

Our Soothe and Support probiotic is a great addition to your dog's diet during transition periods to support their digestive health.

Simple transition to raw food with Chris Essex

My pet isn't eating your food. What can I do?

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Occasionally, pets may struggle with change and transitioning to a new, unfamiliar food. This is especially the case when transitioning from processed diets. Imagine going from eating processed fast foods all your life then being presented a meal with fresh, unprocessed, uncooked ingredients… it may take a bit of getting used to in the beginning. However, we do have a list of suggestions to help the process.

Transition slowly according to our transition guide to make sure your pet is gradually getting used to their new diet.

Mix in some of your pet’s favourite treats or favourite foods to help encourage them to eat their new diet. Sardines and/or raw egg are common and popular suggestions.

• Feed your pet their new food in a new area to reduce associations with and expectations of their old diet and make the new diet a bit of a novelty for them.

• Make new food look familiar to their old food. This may mean rolling the patty into small balls or add some chunks of cooked meat, depending on what your pet is used to.

• Ensure bowl size suits your pet. Some cats do not like their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl for example., and many dogs prefer to eat off a plate rather than a bowl.

Offer the food in small amounts or maybe on a spoon and slowly transition away from this as they start getting used to the food.

Gently warm the raw food, ensuring not to cook. Do this by putting the sealed patty in a sink of warm water for 5-10 minutes to bring it up to room temperature and increase its appeal.

• Generally, the least popular method is usually the quickest and most effective but also the most difficult for us as pet parents. This method is to offer the food for no longer than 10-15 mins and if not consumed, put in the fridge to try again for the next meal. This tough love method usually gets results within a day but is not to be continued for longer than 2 days. It is rare, but some pets just don’t like some food despite how much you may want them to eat it. Ultimately, it’s more important to have a pet eating something over nothing.

Tips for fussy dogs - we found a fussy pug!

What makes up a Big Dog Raw Food diet?

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Big Dog's original range of healthy raw food diets are based on evolutionary dietary principles of cats and dogs (also referred to as BARF – Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). Our diets consist of 70 % muscle meat, 10% offal, 10% crushed real bone, 10% fresh vegetables, fruit and other healthy ingredients.

Read our article to learn more about the super-foods we add to benefit your pets – “Clean eating and super-foods for dogs”

What is an evolutionary diet?

Do your products contain preservatives?

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Absolutely not, at Big Dog, when we say 100% natural we mean 100% natural. This means no added preservatives, no modern preservation methods like irradiation which impact the nutritional quality of the food nor do we add any synthetic additives such as vitamins and minerals, colours or flavours.

Our preservation method for our food is freezing and once our product has been thawed ready to serve to your pet, it will last up to 3 days when kept in the fridge.

Whilst our food may last longer than 3 days, be sure to keep an eye out for signs of deterioration of the product like ballooning of the packaging. If this occurs, do not serve your pet and dispose of the product.

How long does a patty last? How long can I store it for?

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Our patties are safe to use for two years after their packaged date as long as they have been correctly stored and frozen for the whole duration. After thawing the patty, we recommend they be kept in a sealed, airtight container and used within 2 - 3 days. Discard any thawed product that no longer looks or smells fresh. If you have a small dog and find our patties are too big for you to get through in time, check out our Big Dog for Small Dogs patties or our Raw Bites range.

Can I buy direct from you?

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Big Dog products are only available for purchase through select pet specialty stores. To find a store near you visit our Where to Buy Page.

Are your products made with human-grade ingredients?

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Yes. We use ingredients from the human-supply chain, we prefer this term when referring to pet food. You can read about our food safety, regulations and quality here.

How much should I feed my pet?

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Check out our very handy feeding guide calculator here: https://www.bigdogpetfoods.com/feeding-guide-calculator

Is garlic safe for dogs?

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Garlic in appropriate amounts is perfectly fine for dogs. Like many things, garlic in large amounts can certainly lead to toxicity, but the amounts we add to our food are well below levels that can cause issues and is very safe and beneficial.

When it comes to the controversy regarding garlic, this is because it belongs to the Allium family and it contains a substance called thiosulphate, the ingestion of which has been known to be harmful to dogs. The key though, is in the quantity required to do any harm. In fact, there have been studies that show that a 34 kg Labrador would need to eat five full heads of garlic or about 75 cloves of garlic in each meal before there would be any adverse effect on the red blood cells. Similarly, a dog weighing a mere 4.5kg would need to eat 25 grams of garlic – about half an entire head of garlic, or about 6 to 8 garlic cloves in every meal to experience any adverse effects.

We include garlic in our Nourish Nutrition recipes.

Dogs Naturally Magazine has an interesting article on this topic for further reading here.

For more information on garlic and the other super-foods visit, “Clean eating and super-foods for dogs”.

Do you have an online ordering option available?

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Big Dog products are currently not available to purchase online directly from us. Some of our stockists may offer this service and you can find your closest store here.

Do you comply with the Australian pet food manufacturing code?

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Yes. Our sourcing, manufacturing and quality assurance systems all meet the Australian standards for the manufacturing of pet food. We are independently audited multiple times per year by our retail partners, state based manufacturing association (Safe Foods QLD) and the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia as part of our membership. To learn more about our commitment to quality, visit our Q & A with our Quality Manager, here.

About raw food diets

Can my dog get sick eating raw meat?

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Nature always intended dogs to eat raw, hence their bodies are biologically adept to process a raw food diet, along with the naturally occurring bacteria. The highly acidic pH of their stomach and accompanying short digestive tract assists passing of pathogens, without any health concerns. However, to be safe please ensure proper storage and handling methods are followed to avoid development of harmful bacteria. For more information, visit – Bacteria And Raw Food.

Bacteria in pet food - beneficial bacteria with Dr. Duncan

What is a raw food diet?

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Raw food diets by definition are diets comprised of nothing but raw food.

Raw food diets can take many forms and the most popular of these is a BARF diet. BARF stands for biologically appropriate raw food or bones and raw food. This dietary model is based on the evolutionary diet animals would have eaten in the wild. Evolutionary raw diets are made up of fresh raw meat, offal, crushed meaty bones, vegetables, fruits and other healthy ingredients.

For more information on a Raw food diet for dogs – visit, “Evolution for dogs and a species appropriate diet”

Raw food diets are different for dogs and cats as they have different and unique dietary requirements.

Big Dog has a range of raw food diets in our range for dogs. You can view them all here.

Core Range – Our core range is our original BARF range; this is a flavour based raw food diet comprising of many different protein types. Using different protein sources allows for a wide variety of amino acids and is the range that best mimics an evolutionary diet where animals would have consumed varied types of prey.

Single Protein Allergy Range – this BARF range is for pets with allergies to certain proteins including beef or chicken and each product is made only from one protein source.

Scientific Range – these BARF recipes are for pets with specific health requirements and contain specific proteins and additional ingredients for pets with health issues.

Small Dog – BARF meals in smaller portion sizes and finer mincing for smaller digestive systems make this product perfect for puppies and small dogs.

Raw Bites - these are BARF recipes in raw bite sized portions. These are a great introduction to raw food or for co-feeding with other foods. Their gem size makes them a perfect option for small dogs and all of the Raw Bites are suitable for puppies with the exception of Kanga (it's too low in calories for growing puppies).

Nourish Nutrition - this specialised care range is also based on BARF principles and are mixed protein recipes, but they are loaded with supportive herbs to assist dogs with chronic health conditions.

Wild & Free - these rolls consist of meat, bone and offal, with a small amount of superfoods and plant matter. These are designed as the base for DIY meals so that pet parents can add any plant matter (or any additional ingredients) of their choosing. If you were to serve these rolls as they are, they will be closer to a prey model style of feeding rather than a BARF style. Wild & Free is raw food your way for the pet parents that like the freedom to customise their pet's bowl. These are not a complete BARF meal on their own.

Our Cat range has been specifically designed for cats with higher protein levels and taurine, an essential amino acid for cats. You can view these recipes here.

All Big Dog raw diets are 100% natural, no synthetic vitamins and minerals, artificial chemicals, colours, flavours or preservatives are present. All Big Dog diets are raw and uncooked to best preserve the quality and nutritional value of the proteins.

For more information on our dog range, see our products for dogs here.

For more information on our cat range, see our products for cats here.

Can I mix kibble and raw together?

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Yes! You absolutely can co-feed kibble and raw. In fact, if your dog was on a kibble diet beforehand, mixing kibble and raw is how we recommend they transition over 10 - 12 days. This helps to ensure they have time to get used to the introduction of raw food into their diet. If you wanted to read more about transitioning your pet, read this.

We believe that any inclusion of raw food into your pets diet will benefit them however, if you’d prefer to feed a mixture of diets on an on-going basis, also known as co-feeding, ensure to adjust the feeding portions to reflect this.

For example if you choose to split your pet’s diet into 50% of a Big Dog diet and 50% of another diet, we advise to only feed half the recommended feeding portion for each diet.

For dogs and cats that have more sensitive stomachs, their diet can still consist of a raw diet and a kibble diet however if you notice any issues it could be advised to feed these two diets at different time, for example feed raw in the morning and their other diet at night, or vice-versa.

Our Raw Bites are popular with co-feeders.

What is the difference between raw food diets for dogs and cats?

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Cats are obligate carnivores, Big Dog Raw Food Diets for Cats are formulated to be higher in meat and lower in plant material. Big Dog Cat Food is also higher in amino acids that are essential for cats, meaning they need these solely from their diet.  

In appropriate amounts, arginine and taurine are key essential amino acids needed in cat food. Cats don’t produce amino acids the way dogs do which is why they need higher levels in their diets. Big Dog Raw Diets for Cats are formulated with ample arginine and taurine for healthy growth and development in cats. 

You can learn more about this from Animal Nutritionist, Narelle Cooke here.  

I’ve recently transitioned my dog to a raw food diet and I've noticed my dog drinks less water. Is this because of the food?

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Because Big Dog food is made using 100% natural raw ingredients our food is naturally high in moisture, approximately 70%. In comparison, dry pet food has only around 10% moisture content. If your dog or cat has recently transitioned to a raw diet, they will have increased their water intake significantly, simply via food alone. This is one of many reasons raw food is great for kidney health. It is normal for pets on a raw diet to drink less water and if they are healthy, energetic and have normal toileting habits, then it is not a cause for concern. However, if they seem unwell, or if you notice unusual toileting behaviour (such as passing urine more often, or in inappropriate places), get them checked by your vet.

Cats in particular benefit from having more moisture in their diet. They do not have a high thirst drive, and struggle to drink enough water on a dry diet to keep them adequately hydrated.

Specific health inquiries

Is your food suitable/beneficial for arthritis/joint conditions

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Yes, Big Dog raw food diets are very beneficial for pets with Arthritis. Our diets exclude poor quality ingredients such as processed wheat products, rancid fats, salt and any other inflammatory arthritis aggravating ingredients. What our diets do include is healthy, high quality nutrition from natural sources. All of our raw food diets contain crushed cartilage and bone which contain the building blocks for maintaining healthy joints.

Fresh bone and cartilage are packed with calcium and other vital minerals, such as glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids which promote cellular health, decrease inflammation and help with healthy ageing.

Our Nourish Nutrition range offers a scientifically formulated Joint+ Support recipe. Packed with various anti-inflammatory and omega-3 rich ingredients, such as turmeric, green-lipped mussels and Tasmanian salmon, to support healthy bone and joint issues. This recipe may also aid in reducing swelling, supporting joint repair and pain management.

Our Tasmanian Salmon provides great nutrition for dogs of all ages. Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and are an important addition to the diet, as it reduces the inflammation in the joints. Tasmanian Salmon is also great for overall health, wellbeing, healthy ageing, and a healthy cardiovascular system.  Our Tasmanian Salmon recipe is available in our patties and Raw Bites.

Our Sensitive Skin is another great option as it has premium nutrition for all dogs, also targeted to those susceptible to joint issues for its omegas, anti-inflammatories and is boosted with a supportive herbal blend. This recipe is also available in a 2kg roll and Raw Bites.

Wellbeing provides supportive nutrition as this recipe is high in omegas and anti-inflammatories. It's also low in fat for dogs that need to lose weight to reduce the pressure on their joints.

In saying this, our Core Range of raw dog food recipes all contain fresh Tasmanian salmon. We also put crushed raw bone in every recipe (Nourish Nutrition is the excepion to this) because of its great source of high-quality and absorbable calcium for our pets! Calcium is the building block for our pets' teeth and bones and is of critical importance in healthy growth and development, especially in young animals. When fully grown, calcium continues to play an active role in normal health and wellbeing, including muscle function.

For more information, read Dr Nicole Rous' article on Arthritis in Dogs.

Is your food suitable/beneficial for pets with pancreatitis?

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Veterinarians and Canine Nutritionists recommend high quality, low fat diets for pets with pancreatitis.

The low fat recipes in the Big Dog range include our our Wellbeing diet at 6% fat and our Kangaroo Single Protein diet at 4% fat.

It is important to work with your Vet or Canine Nutritional Professional for the management of conditions such as pancreatitis.

We have a number of successful cases in assisting with the dietary management of Pancreatitis with our food and feel free to get in touch with us to assist further.

A link which may be helpful is included here.

Is your food suitable/beneficial for pets with kidney issues?

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Pets with kidney disease require high quality, highly digestible protein, with increased water content and bioavailable nutrition. The entire Big Dog range is beneficial for kidney health due to the presence of raw, high quality real meat as the protein source in addition to a high moisture content.

For dogs with more serious kidney issues, we have our Kidney Support recipe in our Nourish Nutrition range. Nourish Nutrition’s Kidney Support recipe is scientifically formulated with raw and all-natural ingredients to support kidney function and health in dogs. We have carefully selected specific ingredients that assist in supporting the reduction of symptoms in dogs with kidney disease. Our nutrient-dense ingredients assist with stimulating appetite, reducing fluid buildup, natural detoxification and nourishment of the kidneys. This recipe is low in phosphorous which helps delay the progression of further kidney damage.

If you're thinking ahead about healthy ageing, and your dog is approaching their senior years, we recommend you introduce them to our Wellbeing recipe from our Scientific Range. Wellbeing is slightly lower in protein and phosphorus than other products in the Big Dog original range which provides excellent nutrition while lowering the burden on the kidneys. In addition to this it is higher in moisture and contains a mixture of traditional healing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and health-promoting herbs, including nettle. Nettle is a herb traditionally used for kidney health as a natural detoxifier, blood purifier and diuretic.

Be sure to work with your vet to understand the signs of acute renal failure to ensure you take appropriate action if you see any warning signs. If you’re interested in a natural approach to manage kidney health in your pet, we recommend contacting a Holistic Veterinarian or Canine nutritionist to manage your dog’s current kidney issues and how best to approach this from a dietary perspective.

Additional reading on this topic can be found below:

Dogs and Kidney Failure

Natural Remedies for Renal Failure

Canine Diets for Renal Failure

Additional video content on this topic can be found below: 

Diets for kidney disease in dogs with Animal Nutritionist, Narelle Cooke

Chronic Kidney Disease in dogs - a testimonial

Is your food suitable/beneficial for pets with diabetes or at risk of diabetes?

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Yes, Big Dog healthy raw food diets are very beneficial for pets with Type 2 Diabetes. Pets with, or at risk of Diabetes require a high quality diet that is complete and balanced. Big Dog is moisture-rich, balanced, species appropriate nutrition consisting of high quality protein, healthy fats and low-starch (sugar / carbohydrate) veggies.

It is vital to control a diabetic dog’s sugar levels by feeding consistent meals, with the same amount of calories and ingredients at fixed times each day. Our Big Dog range makes feeding your diabetic dog easy, with our calorie levels readily available and ingredients of each flavour labelled clearly on our boxes. Not only do our patties come in ready to eat, conveniently proportioned packaging, they are also made from the highest quality natural, raw ingredients and are a complete diet.

If your dog needs to lose some weight, Big Dog Wellbeing and Kangaroo recipes are lowest in fat and great choices for helping control weight.

Our Big Dog Probiotics can also help your dog’s gut health as it can aid in balancing out your dog’s digestive tract bacteria and microbiome. Research shows that a balanced microbiome can improve insulin sensitivity, and help manage the symptoms of diabetes.

Some helpful links to explore further include:

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/10/08/diabetes-in-pets.aspx

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/diabetes-in-dogs/

https://www.bernies.com/pages/diabetes/#:~:text=Prebiotics%20and%20probiotics%20are%20key,manage%20the%20symptoms%20of%20diabetes.

What would you recommend for a dog with sensitive skin / irritated skin?

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Dogs who have an itch or irritated skin most commonly are reacting to something in their environment however, certain foods can be allergens in some dogs.  

If you find your pup has an issue with something in their environment we recommend narrowing down the options to find the culprit and removing it. This can include things such as plants, yard sprays, diffusers or even deodorants.

As well as working towards identifying and eliminating allergens from your pets environment, introducing our Sensitive Skin recipe can help assist with the dietary management of allergies. This recipe helps to promote a healthy skin, soft and shiny coat and a stronger immune system through its inclusion of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, cold-pressed coconut oil and activated chia seeds.

For dogs who may have an itch due to a dietary intolerance we recommend getting in touch with a holistic veterinarian or canine nutritionist to discuss an elimination diet. When dogs are suspected to have an allergy to something in their diet, they’re often switched over to a novel protein diet. We have 3 novel, single protein diets currently in our range; our Kangaroo, Goat and Turkey recipes.

Does your dog really have a food allergy?

Food allergies and diet with Chris Essex

My dog needs to lose weight, what's the best food for them?

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We have two options for dogs requiring a low-fat diet to assist with weight loss. They are our Kangaroo recipe which sits at 5% fat and Wellbeing recipe which contains 7.5% fat. These two diets are our lowest-fat options and provide everything your dog needs, nutritionally, without the extra calories.  

To get the best results it’s important to also consider your dog’s daily physical exercise and treats in their diet.

For some helpful information to assess whether your dog is healthy feel free to check out this article here.

How does diet affect your dog’s skin and weight? - Narelle Cooke

Ziggy the bulldog’s weight loss journey, while supporting her sensitive skin

Does your dog food contain enough taurine for my dog’s heart health?

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Our recipes are rich in raw meat and offal which are high quality sources of important amino acids including taurine for heart health. While currently, there is no requirement for the amount of taurine that needs to be present in commercial dog food, meat in its raw state is naturally higher in this important amino acid than cooked meat products and plant sources of protein. There are requirements for taurine levels in cat food and our dog food recipes meet these levels. To read more about taurine and heart health in dogs, head to this article on the topic. DCM and Heart Disease in Dogs and the Role Diet Plays

Can my pet eat Big Dog while on antibiotics since your food contains probiotics?

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There is no problem with feeding our food when your pet is on antibiotics. The antibiotics may damage the probiotics that are in our food, but the probiotics will not negatively impact the effect of the antibiotics which have been prescribed for your pet. A course of probiotics after the antibiotics are finished is highly recommended to get gut health back on track.

 

Can I add extra probiotics to your food and do I need to?

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For the average, healthy dog there is no need to add extra probiotics to the diet as our recipes already contain probiotics at levels to help maintain healthy gut function. For dogs that need extra help with digestion, immune function, skin health, recovery from illness or have completed a course of antibiotics, adding extra probiotics is a great idea. Dogs transitioning from one diet to another can also benefit from daily probiotic supplementation to assist with this change. Probiotics can also help dogs with stress and anxiety.

I think my dog is constipated, what can I do?

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Our Wellbeing and Sensitive Skin Diets contain higher levels of dietary fibre, which naturally promotes a healthy intestine by adding bulk to their stool and helping the stool pass more quickly through the intestines. All our raw diets have a high moisture content to combat dehydration, which can be a common cause of constipation.

Our Big Dog Probiotic blend may also assist in improving intestinal function and combat constipation by introducing good flora (bacteria) to help draw water into the intestines and properly digest food. For more information visit – Probiotics and Health.

Adding dietary oils like coconut oil, flax oil, fish oil or hemp oil can help combat constipation.

Daily exercise and allowing access to plenty of fresh drinking water can also help to alleviate constipation

My dog is pregnant, what should I feed her and how much?

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All of our diets are suitable for pregnant bitches, except Kanga and Wellbeing due to their low fat content. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, food requirements generally do not change, although it is recommended to increase the frequency of feeding with a minimum of twice a day. In the third trimester, we recommend not limiting her food intake, allowing her to consume as much as she wants. It is also important to ensure raw meaty bones are added to optimise calcium intake.

Dogs and puppies

Introducing our Kangaroo recipe to your dog

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Our Kangaroo raw diet is a great low-fat, single protein option in our range. Developed to be a single protein diet for dogs with sensitivities to other meat proteins as well as a low fat recipe for weight loss and dogs with medical conditions who require a lower fat diet.

Kangaroo is a very rich tasting meat so introducing it slowly to the diet for dogs that have not eaten kangaroo before, is important. We recommend to slowly introduce our kangaroo recipe over a 2 week period; slowly including it into the current diet and increasing the amount every few days or so.

The following transitioning guide is a great way to start:

Day 1-2: 25% Kangaroo 80% Old Recipe

Day 3-4: 50% Kangaroo 50% Old

Day 5-6: 75% Kangaroo 25% Old

Day 7+: 100% Kangaroo

Some dogs won’t need a slow transition to our Kanga diet and may do well in an immediate transition, especially if they have been eating our other recipes and are used to raw food diets. However, it’s best practice to go slow, just in case.

A sign that you may be transitioning too quickly with Kanga is regurgitation of the food. This is different to vomiting and happens soon after the food is consumed and does not persist. If this happens, go a little slower to let your dog’s digestive system adjust.

If your dog has been eating our Kanga recipe for some time and you’d like to introduce higher fat foods to their diet, also go gently here to avoid tummy upsets. Adding small portions of higher fat foods to your dog’s Kanga meals can help you introduce variety and or higher fat foods to your dog’s diet in a slow and gentle manner.  

Our Kanga recipe should not be fed to puppies as it is too low in calories for growing pups.

Which product should I feed my dog?

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Big Dog has a product suitable for dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Our core range of diets are flavour based, mixed protein diets that provide all the macro and micronutrients your dog needs to be healthy and happy. These include protein, amino acids, healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), moisture, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, fibre, phytonutrients, active enzymes and essential vitamins and minerals. Mixed protein raw food diets, most closely represent an evolutionary diet. The predominant protein source in each of our core diet range represents the flavour of that product. Our core range consists of Beef, Chicken, Combo, Tasmanian Salmon and Lamb.

Our single protein, allergy range is formulated for dogs with food intolerances to certain meats, most commonly being beef and chicken. As a single protein diet, our Kanga and Turkey diets contain only muscle meat, offal and bone of these species. Additionally, Kanga may also be suitable for overweight dogs, with a fat content of only 4%.

Our Scientific range has been formulated to address dogs with health conditions, assisting from the inside out. The Sensitive Skin diet contains an abundance of natural anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids designed to promote healthy skin, coat and a stronger immune system, as well as long term healing and reduction of potential future skin issues. Our Wellbeing Diet has been specifically formulated for overweight dogs and dogs with common chronic health conditions including arthritis, pancreatic issues, liver problems, renal conditions and some cancers. It is lower in fat with a mixture of traditional healing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and health-promoting herbs.

Our Nourish Nutrition range is a step up from our Scientific Diets and are designed to support dogs with chronic health conditions. We have four recipes available - Kidney Support, Joint+ Support, Liver Support, and Cancer Support.

Our Wild & Free range is a range of quality, all-natural ingredients sourced and minced to provide DIY raw feeders a convenient option and access to meat, offal and bone. Our range is a stepping stone to tailoring to your dog's needs, allowing the opportunity to add other ingredients so you can create a complete and healthy meal for your dog.

For more information on each product, see our products page for dogs.

How much do I feed my pet?

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You will find feeding recommendations on each product page on our site, you will also find feeding guides on our packaging.

Our feeding guidelines are just a general guide but it’s a great starting point when working out how much to feed your pet. It’s important to remember that each animal is an individual and your pets’ metabolism, breed, size, age and activity level may affect their overall nutritional requirements. You may find that other food brands and DIY recipes have different guidelines and percentages based on their nutritional content.

Our feeding tables for our patty recipes generally round up to the nearest convenient amount such as a half or a whole patty, but don’t be afraid to feed in quarters either, especially for smaller eaters. Always feed the dog in front of you and just use our suggestions as a guide - you know your dog + their metabolism, activity level and quirks best.

As a general guide, based on the nutritional content of our Big Dog raw food, we recommend feeding adult dogs 2% and puppies, pregnant and lactating dogs or working dogs 4% of their body weight daily. This is just a suggestion - always feed the dog in front of you. You can use our healthy weight guide to help you.

As a general guide, based on the nutritional content of our Big Dog raw food, we recommend feeding adult cats 2-3% of their body weight daily and kittens 4-6%. This is just a suggestion - always feed the cat in front of you. You can use our healthy weight guide to help you.

How often should I feed my puppy?

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Puppies and kittens should be fed more regularly than adults, we recommend feeding three-four smaller meals and up to six meals a day for larger breeds. Regular small meals should continue until the animal is about 6 months old, then we recommend reducing your pet to being fed once or twice per day. Allowing pregnant and lactating pets to feed as often as they want is ideal.

Puppies and kittens require more food, more regularly than an adult dog or cat due to the amount of growing and developing they will be doing in the first 6 or so months of their lives. Making sure they get adequate nutrients regularly in this life stage is essential.

How strictly do I need to adhere to your feeding guidelines for my dog?

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We recommend that you always feed the dog (and/or cat) in front of you. This means to monitor their weight, stools and general health. You know your pet best. Use our healthy weight guide to help ensure you're feeding the right amount.

We recommend feeding adult dogs (12 months +) roughly 2% of their body weight daily. We recommend puppies (generally 12 months and younger), pregnant and lactating dogs or working dogs 4% of their body weight daily. This is based on the nutritional content of our foods.

However, our feeding guidelines are a guide and your pets’ metabolism, breed, size, age and activity level may affect their overall nutritional requirements. Many people wish to replace a raw meal with an appropriate serve of meaty bones for dental health which is an important part of ensuring a healthy raw fed pet. Also taking into account treats as part of the daily energy from food being provided to your pet has an impact.

The important thing to focus on ultimately is that your pet is within a healthy weight range.

It is fine for younger animals (especially puppies) to have extra fat (aka puppy fat) sub 6 months of age. As they grow into adults, it’s more important to fine tune their diet to suit a healthy weight. A healthy weight can be measured in a number of simple physical ways. Ribs shouldn’t be prominent but should be able to be felt with a thin covering of fat over the top. There should be a visible abdominal tuck and when you look at your pet from above, they should have a visible waist. If the ribs can be seen, increase their daily food allowance, if they no longer have a waist and look like a log from above, decrease their daily food allowance until their waist returns.

Can I feed my puppy Big Dog?

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If your puppy was weaned onto a raw food diet, you can generally transition straight to a 100% Big Dog diet.

If your pup was weaned onto cooked or processed food (canned food, dry food or cooked rolls) then we recommend to transition more slowly.

A raw food diet is very different to a processed cooked diet and any sudden change of diet can create stomach upsets and gradually transitioning helps to minimise this.

Please follow these guidelines, whilst monitoring your puppy’s stools. You should begin to notice smaller, less smelly stools as you transition towards a 100% raw food diet. Loose stools are OK during the transitioning period, but do make sure there is no persistent, watery stools.

Day 1-3: 20% New Diet 80% Old Diet

Day 4-6: 40% New Diet 60% Old Diet

Day 7-9: 60% New Diet 40% Old Diet

Day 10-12: 80% New Diet 20% Old Diet

Day 12+: 100% New Diet

Additionally, we recommend the following amounts to be fed based on the weight of your puppy:

Puppy (3 – 12 months or until fully grown): 4% dog’s body weight

Adult (12 months or when fully grown): 2% dog’s body weight

Keep in mind that feeding guides are general and optimal feeding amounts may vary with age, size, breed, and activity level. Increase or decrease the calories your pup consumes daily to ensure a healthy weight is maintained.

If your puppy has no known allergies or health conditions, then you can start them on any flavour from our core range (Beef, Chicken, Combo, Tasmanian Salmon, and Lamb.). Most people choose chicken as it is highly palatable, especially when starting off on raw food for the first time.

Alternatively, our Small Dog Combo diet may be most suitable, especially for smaller pups. Our small dog recipe is minced more finely and is portioned into smaller patties which can help reduce wastage in the transition phase or in smaller breeds. We also offer our Raw Bites in various recipes, all except our Kanga are suitable for puppies, and provide a great option for little tummies.

If your puppy does have allergies or skin conditions, we recommend either our Single Protein Allergy Diet – Turkey or our Scientific Diet – Sensitive Skin.

We do not recommend our Kanga or Wellbeing diets for puppies due to their low fat content. Fat is important in a growing pups diet.

For more information on each product, see our products page for dogs.

Transitioning puppies to raw food with Chris Essex

Are low fat diets suitable for puppies?

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We generally don’t recommend our Kangaroo and Wellbeing diets as suitable for puppies who need a higher fat diet to fuel them as they grow. In instances where a puppy has a suspected allergy and a low allergen protein, like Kangaroo is suitable, extra fat will need to be added to the diet to bump up these levels for puppies.  

Do you have a breeders’ program available?

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We do not have a breeders program due to the expense involved in direct supply of a frozen product. For cost effective feeding options, we have various recipes available in 2kg rolls which can be purchased for retail sale by any Big Dog stockist. Speak to your local store for more information or get in touch with our team at customercare@bigdogpetfoods.com to help.

Can I feed my dog extra bones?

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Raw, uncooked bones are a great inclusion into your dog’s diet as they provide a natural source of calcium and glucosamine-chondroitin which help strengthen bones and joints.

Our recipes already contain 10% crushed bone and cartilage,however whole bones are also great for dental health as they’re known as natures toothbrush. If you were looking to add whole bones to your dog’s diet ensure that you adjust their overall intake as both our recipes and a bone could cause too much calcium and result in white stools.

We recommend to feed a raw meaty bone in replacement of a similar sized portion of your dog’s food. Ensure to feed bones suitable for teeth cleaning such as chicken, turkey or beef bones and stay away from weight-bearing bones that may have the potential to cause harm. This handy guide will help you choose the right bone-size for your dog and remember, feeding bones should always be a supervised activity.  

Can I feed my senior dog Big Dog?

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As animals age, their health status changes faster than their younger counterparts. Issues common in senior pets include arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, organ failure, hearing or vision loss, and tumours. More frequent health checks with your Vet can help detect any issues early on, so your senior pet can live as long and happily as possible.

Providing your senior dog with the right diet will also help. It is usually recommended to offer your senior dog a lower calorie diet as their metabolism, energy levels and exercise routine slows down. A diet with good quality protein, supportive nutrients and low in calories may be the perfect option for your pet.

Our Wellbeing diet is formulated specifically for an ageing dog. Most ageing pets will start to put a little weight on and whilst they are just so damn cute and cuddly, just like us, it’s not recommended that they carry too much extra weight. Extra weight obviously has its own detrimental health effects, but it can also cause extra pressure on their joints, and again this is where arthritis starts to rear its ugly head. Unfortunately there is a pattern, weight gain leads to inflammation, which leads to arthritis.

The Wellbeing diet is a lower fat diet (at 7.5% fat) than our standard range of diets, you will also find the protein has been reduced, not significantly, but reduced enough so we can include a more extensive range of ingredients that will fight against inflammation and assist healthy ageing.

Our Sensitive Skin recipe is loaded with anti-inflammatory goodness, which is great for nourishing skin conditions but also fantastic for inflammatory conditions, like arthritis. Sensitive Skin raw food diet contains excellent sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids from whole salmon and sardines. Anti-inflammatory ingredients join these in the form of cold pressed coconut oil and turmeric. This unique recipe is also perfect for dogs with arthritis who need anti-inflammatory dietary support to help manage this condition. Sensitive Skin is higher in fat than Wellbeing, at 11.5% fat.

Another low-fat option for our senior dogs is our Kanga Single Protein recipe.  Kangaroo is a rich protein source and a perfect alternative for dogs who are allergic to other meat proteins. Low in fat and easy to digest, Kanga is suitable for overweight dogs or dogs that need a low fat diet for medical conditions as advised by your veterinarian. Being a wild game source, Australian kangaroo has minimal to no exposure to environmental chemicals, making it even more suitable for dogs that suffer from allergies. Our Kanga recipe is a beauty and our lowest in fat at only 4%.

For dogs facing specific health issues we have our Nourish Nutrition range.

Caring for your Senior Dog

Raw benefits for senior dogs

Senior dog health advice from holistic vet, Dr Duncan Houston

Can I wean puppies on to your food?

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We generally recommend our food is suitable when pups reach 1kg of weight or 12 weeks of age, whatever comes first.

A few breeders who use our food, do things a little differently and we have heard of a few ways this can work. 

1.      Transitioning from feeding exclusively from Mum to introducing puppy gruel, then raw mincemeat to get the pups tummies used to raw food, then transitioning to our food from about 8weeks of age.

2.      Transitioning from feeding exclusively from Mum to introducing cooked meat before then introducing to raw, then our food from about 12 weeks of age.

3.      Transitioning from feeding exclusively from Mum, straight to introducing a BARF-style raw diet such as ours.

The 3rd way is actually how our charity of choice, Smart Pups, transition their pups to our diet. Smart Pups dogs tolerate this approach really well.  

It also helps when the Mum is fed raw and her immune system will be used to a raw food diet and she will be passing this innate immunity onto the pups through milk. They too will then be more likely to switch to raw and tolerate it really well.

If you notice any loose stools or vomiting, back off the transition and go a little slowly with the addition of a probiotic supplement.

We make a Small Dogs Combo recipe and Raw Bites, which are perfect for tiny tummies.

 

Kittens and cats

Can I feed my kitten Big Dog for Cats?

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We generally recommend our food is suitable when kittens reach 1kg of bodyweight or 12 weeks of age, whatever comes first. We recommend feeding kittens 4-6% of their body weight.

If your kitten was weaned onto a raw diet, you can generally transition straight to a 100% Big Dog Diet.

If your kitten was weaned onto a cooked or processed diet (canned food, dry food, cooked rolls) then we recommend to transition more slowly.

A raw food diet is very different to a processed cooked diet and any sudden change in diet can create stomach upsets and gradually transitioning helps to minimise this.

Please follow these guidelines, whilst monitoring your kitten's stools. You should begin to notice smaller, less smelly stools as you transition towards a 100% raw food diet. Loose stools are OK during the transitioning period, but do make sure there is no persistent, watery stools.

Day 1-3: 20% New Diet 80% Old Diet

Day 4-6: 40% New Diet 60% Old Diet

Day 7-9: 60% New Diet 40% Old Diet

Day 10-12: 80% New Diet 20% Old Diet

Day 12+: 100% New Diet

The younger the kitten, generally the easier they are to transition. If you have an older cat or a particularly fussy kitten, please refer to our transition guide here.

How much taurine is in your cat food?

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Taurine is an essential amino acid in cats and must be obtained in adequate amounts in the diet to prevent deficiency.

According to the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats by the National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Animal Nutrition, Subcommittee on Dog and Cat Nutrition, the daily dietary taurine requirements for cats for growth and health maintenance is 320mg/kg of food per day and we easily meet these needs.

Big Dog Raw Diets for Cats are formulated with the following levels of Taurine per kg of food and easily meet these requirements.

Kangaroo – 720 mg/kg

Turkey – 825 mg/kg

The only time you may wish to supplement with additional Taurine would be during gestation and lactation where requirements increase to 450mg of Taurine per kg or food. Feeding a few chicken hearts additionally per day is a great natural way to achieve this.

How do I transition my cat to your raw food?

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The transition from kibble to raw can be long and challenging, we recommend a very slow transition. The primary reason for this is to avoid upset stomachs but primarily because rejection of the food is to be expected. Give your cat the time and space they need to figure out their new diet. That being said, you do not want to leave it for more than 24 hours without eating something. Cats need to eat frequently as fasting is unnatural to them and could induce a case of Hepatic Lipidosis (feline liver disease).

Find our transition guide for cats here: Transitioning to our Big Dog Raw Diet for Cats

Which product should I feed my cat?

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Our Big Dog for cat’s range consists of Chicken, Kanga and Turkey, these are mixed protein diets that provide all the macro and micronutrients your cat needs to be healthy and happy.

These include protein, amino acids, taurine, healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), moisture, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, fibre, phytonutrients, active enzymes and essential vitamins and minerals. Mixed protein raw food diets, most closely represent an evolutionary diet and the predominant protein source in each product represents the flavour of that product.

For more information on each product, see our products page for cats.

What is the difference between raw food diets for dogs and cats?

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Cats are obligate carnivores, Big Dog Raw Food Diets for Cats are formulated to be higher in meat and lower in plant material. Big Dog Cat Food is also higher in amino acids that are essential for cats, meaning they need these solely from their diet.  

In appropriate amounts, arginine and taurine are key essential amino acids needed in cat food. Cats don’t produce amino acids the way dogs do which is why they need higher levels in their diets. Big Dog Raw Diets for Cats are formulated with ample arginine and taurine for healthy growth and development in cats. 

 You can learn more about this from Animal Nutritionist, Narelle Cooke here.  

Can my cat eat your dog recipes?

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From time to time we have people get in touch saying their cats try to eat their dogs Big Dog food and is it OK for them to eat the same recipes. In short, yes! We have tested our dog recipes for their Taurine levels, an essential amino acid for cats that must be obtained through their diet, and they are well above the minimum requirement for cats. While our dog recipes have a higher amount of plant material than our cat recipes, there is no nutritional concerns with rotating our dog recipes in your cats diet if your cat prefers these.

 

The exception here is our Kanga Single Protein Diet for dogs. Our Cat Kanga recipe is a mixed protein diet and more suitable for cats nutritional needs than this low fat diet for dogs with allergies or who need to lose weight.

How often do I feed my kitten?

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Puppies and kittens should be fed more regularly than adults, we recommend feeding three-four smaller meals and up to six meals a day for larger breeds (1). Regular small meals should continue until the animal is about 6 months old, then we recommend reducing your pet to being fed once or twice per day. Allowing pregnant and lactating pets to feed as often as they want is ideal (2).

Puppies and kittens require more food, more regularly than an adult dog or cat due to the amount of growing and developing they will be doing in the first 6 or so months of their lives. Making sure they get adequate nutrients regularly in this life stage is essential.

How strictly do I need to adhere to your feeding guidelines?

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We always recommend that you feed the cat in front of you and monitor their weight to ensure you've got their daily amount right. We recommend feeding adult cats 2-3% of their body weight daily (this is based on an average sized 4kg cat) and kittens 4-6%.

However, our feeding guidelines are a guide and your pets’ metabolism, breed, size, age and activity level may affect their overall nutritional requirements. Many people wish to replace a raw meal with an appropriate serve of meaty bones for dental health which is an important part of ensuring a healthy raw fed pet. Also taking into account treats as part of the daily energy from food being provided to your pet has an impact.

The important thing to focus on ultimately is that your pet is within a healthy weight range.

It is fine for younger animals (especially puppies and kittens) to have extra fat (aka puppy fat) sub 6 months of age. As they grow into adults, it’s more important to fine tune their diet to suit a healthy weight. A healthy weight can be measured in a number of simple physical ways. Ribs shouldn’t be prominent but should be able to be felt with a thin covering of fat over the top. If the ribs can be seen, increase their daily food allowance, if they no longer have a waist and look like a log from above, decrease their daily food allowance until their waist returns.

How much to feed your pet with Chris Essex