new to raw?
you're in the right place.

new to raw feeding?

new to raw?

We know you’ve got lots of questions. To help you get started, we’ve put this guide together to provide you with the basics on feeding a healthy raw diet. 

why feed raw

There are numerous reasons owners put their pets on a raw diet and most can be traced back to the fact that your pet is able to better digest raw. Both cats and dogs have digestive systems that have evolved to digest high protein and fat diets rather than the high carbohydrate content typically found in commercial pet food today. As a result, pets on raw diets typically see the following benefits: 

  • Fewer inflammation related health issues: Excess sugars in the body causes inflammation which manifests in a myriad of ways. That's why the most common “transformation” story you’ll hear from owners who have made the switch is how a raw diet instantly cleared up their pet’s inflammation issues such as hotspots, ear infections, and stomach sensitivities. 
  • Higher and more stable energy levels: Your pet’s digestive system is able to absorb more nutrients from clean, unprocessed raw food (which is why you’ll also see smaller, stiffer poops!). The effect is that overall, your pet will have more energy at a stable level throughout the day. 
  • Long term health: By the time kibble ends up in your pet's bowl, it's hard to tell what went into it. Over time, the by-products and preservatives can cause chronic health issues. The bag of kibble may come at a lower price tag, but the cost comes in the form of medical bills and quality of life over the years. At Viva, we’re committed to quality and transparency. Our all-natural, human-grade meat comes from the same pool that our farmers & suppliers use for stocking premium restaurants and grocery outlets. We use multiple meats & organs in each of our recipes and there are absolutely no by-products. 
  • Bonus: Smaller poops: Gross but true. Raw fed pets have smaller, less smelly, and more infrequent stools. This is actually a benefit that our customers talk about most and despite how much we love our pets, we can all do with a little less poop. 

complete or pure

Don't worry! It's really not complicated—we'll guide you through it. First, a bit about both product lines:

Complete Recipes are complete and balanced to AAFCO guidelines for adult dogs. If you're new to raw feeding, we highly recommend that you start here! You won't have to worry about toppers and supplementing your pup's meals—just thaw, portion & feed. If you're looking to feed a puppy, you just have to add one or two more things to round out the meal; don't hesitate to reach out for recipe recommendations or a recommended nutritionist.

Pure Recipes are nutrient-dense & prey model-based at 80% muscle, 10% secreting organ, 10% bone. These are the perfect base for cats, ferrets, or just pet parents who are looking to build their own meals. Whether your fur baby has sensitivities, a picky palate, or you just enjoy spicing up mealtime in your own way, our Pure Recipes are a trusty go-to! 

Both Complete & Pure Recipes are single-protein to ensure that they are as allergy-friendly as possible 💜

making the switch

When starting your pet on a new raw diet, we recommend starting out by replacing 25% of their kibble portion with raw. Increase the raw portion by 25% every other day until you’re at 100% on the seventh day. Some pets may need more or less time and a good sign is if they’re having consistent firm stools. Some pets, mostly younger (lucky!) ones, are able to completely switch over without a transition period, but we've found that taking it slow is what works for the majority. Expect loose stools during this initial transition period and be prepared to take them out more frequently. Slippery elm bark or pumpkin can be added to firm up the bowel movements. Keep in mind that their body is learning how to digest this new type of food. Stick with it and you will soon see results!

Always start with a single protein (chicken, turkey & rabbit are good choices for beginners) and only introduce new proteins once they’ve had no issues with their stool & digestion for a week. New proteins can be introduced in the same way—starting at 25% of their diet—and once you get the hang of it, aim for a rotation of 3-5 proteins.

One last note, raw fed pets will tend to drink less water since their food now has a much higher water content. This is perfectly normal. 

how much to feed

If you ask your pet, they’ll tell you they need everything in the fridge. Lucky for you, we have some more sensible guidelines:

Feeding Guidelines (per day)

Activity% Bodyweight to FeedOz to Feed per 10LBs Bodyweight
Low / Overweight
1.5%2.5
Average2.5%4
Above Average3.0%5
High / Weight Gain4.0%6.5
Growth (0-6 mo)6-10%9.5 - 16

As an example, a 50 LB dog who has average activity level would eat 2.5% of its bodyweight daily, or 4 oz x 5 = 20 oz. A 10 LB cat who is overweight would eat 1.5% of their bodyweight daily, or 2.5 oz. These numbers provide a good starting point for most pups & cats.

If feeding smaller or toy dog breeds (< 20LBs), it's important to add 1-1.5% to all percentages since smaller dogs will need more food as a percentage of their bodyweight. For example, you would feed an average activity level large dog 2.5% but a smaller breed 3.5-4.0% instead.

If you're feeding puppies or kittens instead, you will need to feed a higher amount of food to fuel all that growth! Pups & kittens less than 4 months old may require up to 10% of their bodyweight daily (often in more frequent meals, i.e. 3 instead of 2 per day). This dips to 6% of bodyweight daily by the 6 month mark and will continue falling to the 2-4% when they are adults!

As always, each pet is unique and these amounts can and should be adjusted based on their needs.

what changes will i see 

Overnight, your pet will develop superpowers and learn to fly. Only partially kidding here. Your pet’s health will improve and many of our customers have seen the following changes in their pets:

  • Shinier coat & healthier skin 
  • Better body composition (losing/gaining weight as necessary) 
  • More muscle tone
  • Higher energy levels 
  • Improved dental health 

Many of these changes do take time to materialize but you will see them! Even if your pet previously had no issues, putting them on a raw diet is still going to benefit their long term health and wellness. 

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs for more info on raw feeding practices or reach out to us at info@vivarawpets.com