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Why switching to raw meat may be best for your pet

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 22/2/2021 Noel Wong @ FMT Lifestyle
a cat sitting on a table: A raw meat diet involves feeding your pets uncooked meat, bones and organs. (Bark & Mutts pic) © Provided by Free Malaysia Today A raw meat diet involves feeding your pets uncooked meat, bones and organs. (Bark & Mutts pic)

PETALING JAYA: Any person who lives with a dog or a cat will have an idea of what pet food looks like: brown pellets that often look dry, hard and unappetising.

Sure, the labels often claim that their brand of pet food is the best and will provide your pet with all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

But as is the case, processed food, whether it’s for humans or for animals, often have drawbacks one way or another.

So, instead of depending on store-bought pet food, why not put your pet on a completely new diet?

A growing trend among savvy pet owners is to put their furry kids on a raw diet, which is a diet that consists mostly of uncooked meat, bones and organs.

a beautiful woman sitting with a dog: Jennifer Khoo, founder of pet food company Bark & Mutts, together with her dog, Cookie. (Bark & Mutts pic) © Provided by Free Malaysia Today Jennifer Khoo, founder of pet food company Bark & Mutts, together with her dog, Cookie. (Bark & Mutts pic)

While this may sound highly unusual when compared to the usual kibble, a raw diet actually affords many advantages over conventional pet food.

Jennifer Khoo, animal lover and founder of raw pet food company, Bark & Mutts, can attest to the benefits of a raw diet.

Khoo says she embraced the concept of a raw food diet because of a lingering skin disease that her first dog, Cookie suffered from.

“I tried all sorts of remedies on her and finally realised a raw diet was the solution to it,” she tells FMT.

Filled with passion to share her knowledge about the benefits of a raw diet to her fellow Malaysian pet owners, she decided to set up her own company.

According to her, commercial pet food can sometimes be unsuitable as pets’ diets.

For one, it is hard to tell for certain the ingredients used in the manufacturing process.

a plate of food on a table: A sample of raw pet food, this one being dehydrated duck with rosemary. (Bark & Mutts pic) © Provided by Free Malaysia Today A sample of raw pet food, this one being dehydrated duck with rosemary. (Bark & Mutts pic)

She gives the example of food colourings in pet food, which she says may not be safe and might even be carcinogenic.

“There are also recalls of these kibbles from time to time, which means the safety of these foods is questionable.”

She recommends checking the credibility of the brands of pet food before settling on one.

Bark & Mutts offers discerning pet owners an option of pre-package raw food instead, based on a formula called “prey model raw” or PMR.

“A PMR diet provides cats and dogs with a natural diet which mimics their ancestors’. A PMR diet is based on whole, prey animals and does not include plant ingredients,” she says.

A raw diet benefits both cats and dogs, with the food being both natural and unprocessed.

This also means that a raw diet is easily digested, with most of the nutrients absorbed by one’s pet.

text, letter: At reasonable prices, Bark & Mutts’ food products are a good way to introduce your pet to a raw diet. (Bark & Mutts pic) © Provided by Free Malaysia Today At reasonable prices, Bark & Mutts’ food products are a good way to introduce your pet to a raw diet. (Bark & Mutts pic)

In addition, says Khoo, the essential nutrients in a raw diet will improve the health of your pet’s skin and coat, while boosting its immunity, building muscle and shrinking stools.

The raw food produced by Bark & Mutts is packaged for easy use, with pet owners just needing to take the packet out from the freezer, defrost and serve to their pets.

“Owners can also add in fresh vegetables, fruits and raw eggs during the meal preparation,” says Khoo.

As a further incentive to switch over to a raw diet, Bark & Mutts’ products are similarly priced to better quality kibbles, with prices as low as RM2.30 per meal.

As with everything, there are some precautions to be had with a raw diet, such as the manner in which the food is stored.

Raw meat has to be kept frozen and once defrosted, should be fed to be one’s pets within the next two hours.

calendar: Bark & Mutts’ products are also made from quality and natural ingredients, meant to provide pets with adequate nutrition. (Bark & Mutts pic) © Provided by Free Malaysia Today Bark & Mutts’ products are also made from quality and natural ingredients, meant to provide pets with adequate nutrition. (Bark & Mutts pic)

“For owners who make their own raw diet, the meat has to be frozen for at least 72 hours before it’s safe to be fed.”

Also, switching your pet’s diet out of the blue may cause it unnecessary distress or an upset stomach, so it’s advisable to slowly introduce raw food over a period lasting for about a week.

After switching their diets, monitor your pets’ stools, as the colour and texture will act as an indicator of whether they are taking well to their new diet.

In any case, if you are looking out for your pets’ health, a raw food diet is likely the way to go in ensuring a good, long and healthy life for your furry friends.

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