Graw Dog Food was THE Best Raw Dog Food Ever…
In our opinion the best raw dog food ever will of course be Dr Conor Brady’s Gráw Dog Food (stemming from grá, the Irish for love), winner of Irish Dragons Den 2013!
After just 18 months in the game moved the company on and returned to what he was good at, and that is speaking and teaching canine nutrition. Dr. Conor Brady has a doctorate in the effect of nutrition on the gut and behaviour of mammals. After five years in guide dogs as a trainer and pup Supervisor he hit the lecture circuit in 2011, conducting seminars on his subject to both vets (his seminar for vets and vet nurses was recognised by the Irish Veterinary Council in 2014) and canine professionals alike (one of his favourites being his personal dog behaviour hero Turrid Rugaas’s prestigious Dog Symposium in Norway in 2015).
Years spent both in and outside the petfood industry has taught me some important lessons, most importantly the pet food world is dark and at times scary place. My advice for raw dog food customers is that there is no such thing as cheap meat. Know your supplier. Don’t trust anything you can’t see, smell or touch.
Dr Conor Brady, “What Do Dogs Eat?” Workshop, Perth, Australia, 2014.
What is the Best Raw Dog Food Now?
The best pre-made raw dog foods now, in my opinion, are those based on the 5:1:1 ratio.
Dr. Conor Brady
The 5:1:1 ratio relates to 5 parts good quality, meaty mince with a little bone in it, 1 part organ meat and 1 part cooked veg. Everything else is window dressing. It has to be said there are many variation on this. Many raw dog food feeders like to feed the Prey Model which is based on the concept of “whole animals” or as near as you can get to them. This is an all meat diet with no veg, often based around the ratio 8:1:1 which is 8 parts meat, 1 part bone and 1 part organ meat (that being the makeup of your average small mammal). We slightly differ as we believe dogs need a little fibre (veg) in their diet considering we tend to exclude the more usual fibre additions such as hair, feathers, hide, nails etc. Also, the dog is shown to have the ability to process a small amount of carbs in their diet, indeed some dogs can benefit from their inclusion (sprinting breeds, northern types, young and active pups). It also cuts the food bill a bit for people. Thos site is about getting as many people on to a fresh, homemade diet as possible and price is a concern when feeding “all meat”. A dog moving from a dry, nearly all plant-based product (50-60% cereal with much of the protein and fat also coming from plant sources) to a home made diet of 5:1:1 is lucky indeed.
For all those reasons, when looking for the ideal pre-made diet you should be looking for:
A company that uses butcher-grade meat, the same quality that we eat. If possible buy the meat whole so you can see what you’re buying. If buying minces, make sure they’re chunky, not ground mush, which can be a deceptive mix of carcass (skin and bone) and blood. Dogs can eat some of this but as it is the foundation of a dog’s diet you need your mince to be meaty as meat muscle builds muscle and organs and skin and hair and bone.
I not trust the paté-like raw pet foods. who can use carcass as their meat portion by finely grinding it with some blood. It looks meaty to you but it’s red fat and bone. Look how meaty sausages look, there is nearly zero meat in them. One way to test the true fat content of your minces (not just what is written on the packet) is to boil 100g of it for 15mins then allow to cool. The fat will float to the top and solidify. Now you can and measure how much fat is actually in there.
You want products that use as big a variety of organ meats (liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, heart) as possible in their products. This is the sexy stuff for dogs. It should be 10-15% of the diet.
Many competitors will dress up what are poor quality meat mixes with fancy additions to catch your eye. Don’t fall for this window dressing. But if the first few ingredients are in order then some additions are to be welcomes. We like a little Irish seaweeds which are packed with vitamins, minerals, trace elements and unique bio-active compounds. Maybe a dash of pure coconut oil or the likes. Often bits like rosemary and vitamin C are included, usually as a natural way to control the micro contents of the products but they also have great benefits to the dog.
Made in Ireland:
I trust meat from Ireland as we have the highest, domestic animal welfare laws in Europe. Our birds have the most amount of space. Our farmers are much slower to use antibiotics. Our department of agriculture runs a very tight ship. As a result we have the lowest Salmonella levels in our poultry in the world. If you guy in a product from outside of Ireland you have to trust that product, while maybe manufactured in the UK actually uses meat sourced in the UK etc. Sadly we have no raw dog food producers in Ireland.
You don’t judge a book by its’ thickness and you shouldn’t buy meat based on price. Something has to pay, usually the animal going into it or the animal eating it.
So What so Recommend?!
All these thing considered, I must repeat my mantra on buying raw dog food. Just because raw dog food products are on the right side of the nutrition debate does not make them angels though invariably they are far superior, nutritionally speaking, for your dog. Many people are involved in the raw pet food sector for the same reasons they get involved in the dry food sector. That is, they see a profitable market for what are generally waste meat products (such as carcass) and wish to exploit it. Hence we see meat producers and farmers getting involved, folk that are not necessarily up on what’s best for dogs (but certainly know what is the best for their bottom line!).
For example, duck carcass and veg can be called “Duck & Veg”. This would be considered quite low quality, OK for occasional feeding but not long term. Some are now adding the required dry vitamin and mineral mix to these poor mixes which enables them to call these mixes “complete” (despite not containing much by way of meat muscle, organ meats etc). The thing is your dog will do well on these mixes, compared to dry. However, as a result of being on both sides of this industry, I cannot stand over any product that has been ground to a fine mush. There are simply too many tricks employed to make you believe your €3-€4/kg is actually buying meat muscle. I always recommend going straight to Irish butchers and making your own, so you know what you’re buying.
The thing is your dog will do well on these mixes, compared to dry. However, as a result of being on both sides of this industry, I cannot stand over any product that has been ground to a fine mush. There are simply too many tricks employed to make you believe your €3-€4/kg is actually buying meat muscle. Hence I no longer really promote any raw dog food brand. I now only really trust butchers. Invariably, their meats are top quality.
In this respect, I recommend you consider making dog food yourself. You should consider using your local butcher. They have bins full of stuff! Supermarkets. Wholesale meat suppliers. Local butchers, what’s he got in the bin? The reduced aisle of SuperValu and Tesco’s. Or try any of the numerous online Irish butchers. Kerrigan’s do great deals and offer free delivery nationwide. I personally use the lads at Carnivore Kellys.ie, their stock mixes are ideal as a base line for dogs, in my opinion. Almost all butchers do “value packs” (make sure the meat is Irish, in so far as possible). You usually have to pick these up though. Eg. Michael McGloughlin Butchers (2 T-bone Steaks, 2 Full Chickens, 6 Burgers, 4 Chicken Fillets, 4 Pork Chops, 1 lb of Mince, 1 lb of Liver, as well as 1 lb of Sausages and 5 Spicy Chicken Portions for you) for only €30! This was you’ll know what you’re buying.