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

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: 

  • Helps 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. 

our nutrition philosophy

Not all raw foods are the same and here at Viva, we believe that nutrition starts with our ingredients. We only sources from farms that never administer hormones & growth-promoting antibiotics—a huge step up from conventional factory farming. By not relying on chemicals, farmers focus on providing high quality food & a clean environment to raise healthy, happy animals. All of our farms are audited by 3rd parties for their handling practices to ensure that all animals are humanely raised and are able to express natural behaviors throughout their life.

Additionally, our nutritionists focus on utilizing whole food ingredients rather than synthetics to balance our recipes and we source organic or wild-caught wherever possible. Whole foods not only provide the specific vitamins & nutrients we’re looking for in a more natural form, but they also contain a variety of bioactive compounds that work together to support health in ways that synthesized vitamins & minerals can’t. On top of meeting the minimum requirements, we add a variety of superfoods to our recipes such as shiitake mushrooms, green mussels, wheatgrass and so much more. Our goal is to create recipes that we’re proud to feed our own pets and we’re excited to be a part of your fresh feeding journey. 

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.

It's not uncommon to have some loose stools during this initial transition period, 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

Feeding amounts are based on your pet's weight, age, and activity level. Check out our calculator to determine your pet's customized feeding recommendations with Viva.

Get Feeding Recommendations

what changes to expect

Overnight, your pet will develop superpowers and learn to fly. Only partially kidding here. Here's what some of our customers have reported after switching to Viva:

  • Supports healthy skin & coat
  • Helps body composition (weight control) & muscle tone 
  • Maintains stable energy levels
  • Aids dental health

Many of these changes do take some time to materialize! Even if your pet previously had no issues, adding fresh food to their 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