I last wrote about the benefits of going raw for pets. If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead and click on over to see why we at Healthy Pets NW support feeding raw.
Otherwise, I’m starting the first of my lists regarding raw brands we love. Today we’re talking about the fun, mildly frivolous but incredibly important, realm of treats!
You may be skeptical. They’re just treats, right? Dogs will mostly eat anything and cats are so notoriously picky, so why bother?
Well. There are actually a couple of convincing reasons to invest in raw treats for your pet.
The first is for training. We all know the importance of training a dog properly in its first years, and even old dogs are willing to learn new tricks - for a price. Sure, your dog may sit for that biscuit, but trainers these days will share the importance of using high-value treats for the best results. Raw foods, especially those novel proteins, can be very persuasive for teaching your dog to behave a certain way, or for inspiring them to associate, say, a trip to the vet with something less painful.
The same goes for cats who are, rumor has it, trainable, but need the right kind of enticements.
The impact of high-value raw treats has been exemplified with my dogs. My little gremlin refused to be trained for much - she’d sit there staring as my big black dog learned to play dead, army crawl, and the basics. It wasn’t until we brought home some nice, stinky, salmon that she laid her head on her paws in an approximation of playing dead. Success? We’ll take it.
Animals really can be a lot easier to train when you have something they want. Furthermore, even feeding a small bit of raw can have health benefits; we sell some beef hearts that are a great source of taurine for cats, as well as fish rolls that clean teeth, and any raw food could also be used as a high value treat.
With no more delay, here are some of my favorite raw options for cats and dogs.
Anything from the Vital Essentials Raw Bar
This is both gruesome and exciting stuff. The contents of our raw bars vary across stores, but generally you may be able to find bully sticks, pig ears, fish skins, and any other variety of body parts. They are freeze-dried, chewy, and can be gross, but they are great snacks and distractions for your pets. They’re marketed as being for dogs, but I’ve known a few cat owners who really like feeding them to their kitty. I also especially like Vital Essentials’ packaged minnows, which have that strong scent but are less likely to be contaminated by mercury or other toxic chemicals in the ocean.
Sojos Freeze-Dried Simply Wild Treats
Sojos was the first raw food on the market, if I’m remembering my facts correctly. While Healthy Pets NW generally sells the turkey and chicken freeze-dried foods, the Simply Wild treats have great novel protein options. You can find goat, wild boar, and venison among their offerings, as well as the more conventional proteins like beef and salmon. The treats themselves aren’t too large and are delightfully crunchy. Personally, I get really excited about the goat option - my dogs go crazy for it!
Primal Meaty Bones
At the Woodstock store, we keep in our freezer a lot of raw bones. I’m recommending Primal, but they’re not the only brand we carry. In general, raw bones can be quite good for animals - there are of course the benefits animals get from the meat on the bone, but the bones themselves provide calcium, and the scraping of your pet’s teeth against said bones can help with dental health! We always recommend feeding bones under supervision, just to be safe. Askour sales associates which bones could be right for your pet!
Momentum Freeze-Dried Treats
We were so excited when we got this stuff in stock. The heart and tripe options are a fantastic way to get additional essential nutrients into your pets - taurine for cats, probiotics, iron, the works. Often I wish that people in our culture ate more organ meats to get more nutritional benefits - seriously, eating diversely is a great way to guarantee health - but I’ve tried to cook heart and lungs here in Peru and haven’t been able to make myself accustomed to it. Your animals though? They’ll eat this stuff without any issues.
Answers Raw Goat Milk and Cheese
I used to love goat products before I discovered my lactose intolerance extended to goat lactose. Utterly tragic. But for dogs and cats, this stuff can be really good. Answers ferments their goat products, and so there are additional probiotics in their milk and cheese - if pumpkin isn’t doing it for your pet, Answers could be the answer. In addition to the fermentation, their products have anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger and cinnamon, and anti-inflammatory and antibacterial raw honey. This stuff is so good, some of the staff eat it themselves.
These are five of some incredible raw treats we have on hand at Healthy Pets NW, but there are so many more options than that. If you’re thinking of dipping your toes in the raw pool, have a picky pet, or need your animal to behave a little better, these are great choices - but you can always ask our sales associates for their favorite products as well. We at Healthy Pets NW are happy to help!
Which treats on the list have you tried for your pet?