Category Archives: Raw Cat Food

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Northwest Naturals the Shape of Things

Over the past few months, we have adjusted the shape of our Raw Frozen & Freeze Dried Nuggets and Freeze Dried treats to a shape that is better suited for our equipment and manufacturing processes.

There have been a few questions from our customers about this change. We want to assure you that we are still the same great food your pets love.

With this change there are a few things to remember:

  • The weight has not changed. There is still the same amount in every package as before.
  • The ingredients have not changed. NWN contains the same wholesome ingredients as before.
  • The shape of nuggets are CLOSE to the same and we recommend that you weigh the food to be certain your pet gets the right amount. Please follow the Feeding Guidelines on the package or on our website.

 

With these changes in shape we have saved on our ever growing cost of energy, labor and ingredient costs.

This allows us to keep the finished product cost in check and provide you, as always, a great value.

Northwest Naturals has always kept the environment in mind when making any decision about changes to equipment and how we produce The Original Raw Nugget Diet. We have updated our equipment to be more efficient and energy conscious.

We have changed our treats from a ground and formed shape to a sliced and diced shape to be more ergonomically friendly to our production team.

We are always looking at ways to improve and reduce our carbon footprint.

We love to hear from our customers! Reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

And keep sending us great stories and photos of your pets.


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Why A Raw Diet Is So Important For Cats

True Carnivores

To truly understand why a raw food diet is so important for cats, we must first understand a few basic facts about cats:

  • Cats evolved in an arid, desert climate
  • Cats are obligate carnivores
  • Cats are very successful hunters
  • Cats have different nutritional needs than dogs

There are approximately 600 million housecats in the world and all of them evolved from five lineages, traced through analysis of mitochondrial DNA to the Near East region of the world. The climate in the Near East is dry and hot, with little to no vegetation and with very low annual rainfall. Water is scarce, and animals in the region have had to adapt to these climate extremes with very specialized systems. For cats, this means a protein-only diet, obtaining nearly all of their moisture requirements from the foods they eat. Many of the health issues we see in domestic cats are a direct result of dehydration. Most of these can be avoided, and sometimes repaired simply by switching the cat to high moisture, highly digestible raw meat diet.

Cats are Obligate Carnivores, or “true” carnivores, which means that they depend only on the nutrients found in prey animals for survival. They have a need for an Essential Fatty Acid, or EFA, called arachidonic acid which plays a vital role in fat utilization and energy production. This particular EFA is found primarily in raw meat. Cats do not actually require any plant material at all in their diet to thrive. In fact, a diet high in vegetable matter can lead to an overabundance of glutamic acid which will cause sporadic vomiting and a thiamine deficiency.

SquareCatGrass1

Obligate carnivores will, in very few cases, eat plant material (especially that found in the stomach contents of smaller prey that are eaten whole) even though they lack the digestive enzymes to break down and metabolize such foods. Additionally, cats cannot synthesize certain essential nutrients from plant matter, such as taurine and retinol (Vitamin A), and must obtain them from the proteins they consume. Another characteristic of true carnivores that cats exhibit is a very short, straight digestive tract. This is because cats do not need to break down tough plant cellulose. In fact, the higher the amount of fiber in the diet (plant or grain), the higher the level of taurine is required in the diet.

In the wild, and even in their own backyards, cats are very good hunters and can easily catch the prey they wish to. Cats differ from other carnivores, such as dogs, in that they do not have to scavenge for other food if they do not catch the prey they were hunting. Dogs are somewhat sloppy hunters and do not always get to eat their preferred meal and so have had to adapt to eating less-than-optimal foods that they can scavenge, like berries or roots. Cats would rather forgo eating altogether if they cannot have the food they wish to eat. One result of cats being such successful hunters is that they are “imprint eaters”, and as such tend to imprint of the foods fed to them as kittens. Though this can make switching their diet more of a challenge, the health benefits far outweigh the temporary frustration of making the diet switch.

The differences in hunting methods/success and anatomy between dogs and cats mean that they have very different nutritional needs. Cats must obtain most, if not all, of their nutrition from protein to thrive, whereas dogs can obtain nutrition from a few other sources in addition to proteins. It is for this reason that we promote the philosophy of feeding cats and dogs a species appropriate diet, specific to their unique needs. Northwest Naturals Cat Formulas do not contain any produce. The Dog Formulas contain approximately 18.5% produce. It would be difficult for a cat to thrive on a diet with such a high percentage of produce. When a cat consumes large amounts of materials that they are unable to digest, their digestive systems are overworked, their metabolism is exhausted, and extra fat and toxins are stored.

The most important thing to remember when feeding cats is that we must try to cater to their needs as much as possible and provide a diet that is as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible. Northwest Naturals Raw Frozen Cat Formulas were specifically formulated with this in mind and provide the highest nutritional value possible for your feline pet.


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The Facts about Raw Salmon

The salmon used in the Northwest Naturals Chicken & Salmon Raw Dog Recipe and Freeze Dried Salmon Treats is wild caught from Alaska. For human consumption, Wild Pacific caught salmon is preferred. However, salmon from the Northwest can carry the parasite Nanophyetus salmincola that in turn may be infected with Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Since consuming fish infected with Neorickettsiais is usually fatal to dogs, all salmon used in our facility is manufactured in accordance to the FDA guidelines for freezing fish to kill parasites.

 

Salmon

Northwest Naturals diets are flash frozen -30º at the time of production and then are maintained at -20º until shipped. NW Naturals Chicken & Salmon diet – Salmon used is Alaska Wild Caught Salmon Below you will find the FDA Guidelines. 4.2. Freezing – Unlike bacteria, molds, and viruses, most parasites are relatively easy to destroy by holding the raw material or finished product at freezing temperatures for a specified period of time; of course, this is dependent upon the internal temperature of the material. The Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guide recommends a temperature below -4 oF (-20 oC) for 7 d or -31 oF (-35 oC) (internal) for 15 h to kill the parasites of concern (FDA 1998). Although, based on the data currently available, these recommendations may appear stringent, it is because they were developed for the parasites that are considered most resistant to freezing (G. Hoskin 2001; personal communication; unreferenced). Already in 1975 (Food Chemical News, October 1975) Dr. G. J. Jackson cautioned that the anisakid nematodes vary in their ability to survive at low temperatures. For instance, certain species of anisakids have been reported to survive up to 52 h at -4 oF. A number of other time and temperature regimes have been prescribed to accomplish the inactivation of parasites. Another such option prescribes holding the fish at -10 oF (-23 oC) for 60 h (Ching 1984). Alternatively, E.U. regulations require freezing at a temperature of no more than -4 oF (-20 oC) in all parts of the product for not less than 24 h in order to control parasites in fish. While the parasites can be killed by freezing the finished product, it is generally considered more appropriate to freeze the raw material prior to processing. Nematodes in particular will attempt to depart the gut during processing and will then establish themselves in the muscle during salting or smoking (Hauck 1977). The result may be the presence of nematodes on the surface of the finished product, often perpendicular to the surface. Their presence becomes a quality issue resulting in an aesthetically unwholesome (although safe) product. For this reason, it is a good practice to freeze susceptible raw material, even for hot-smoked fish.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/SafePracticesforFoodProcesses/ucm094578.htm

 


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The Facts and Fears about Garlic

When it comes to your pet’s health, do you want to follow facts or fears? Unfortunately, garlic has come under attack. This is primarily as a result of garlic’s close cousin onion’s reputation for triggering hemolytic or “Heinz factor” anemia (where circulating red blood cells burst) through its high concentration of thiosulphate. With onions, a single generous serving can cause this reaction.

Garlic

Garlic simply DOES NOT CONTAIN THE SAME CONCENTRATION of this compound! In fact, it is barely traceable and readily excreted (not stored in the body).

Despite this fact, garlic is falling victim to mass hysteria spread through the internet. Yes, there are 51,174 sites devoted to warning about the “toxicity” of garlic, this hysteria has even prompted the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to place a warning on garlic although there is little scientific data to back this claim other than the fact that thiosulphate is also found in garlic. Yet, there are also over 400,000 sites still proclaiming its benefits, many of them from reputable holistic veterinarians who have widely used garlic in their practice for many years! How can an herb suddenly turn so bad?!

There is no doubt that onion, due to its concentration of thiosulphate, will cause Heinz factor anemia. In addition, as stated by Wendy Wallner, DVM, “Onions are only one of the substances which can cause Heinz body anemia. Other substances such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and benzocaine containing topical preparations can also cause Heinz body anemia in the dog.” The latter probably accounts for many cases as it is prevalent in creams often recommended for allergy-suffering pets due to its ability to numb the itch. It is absorbed through the skin and builds up in the blood stream. This other substance is likely to have been involved in cases where garlic was suspect.

For centuries, as long as humans have been using herbs, garlic has been a primary remedy turned to in a majority of cases. For as long as people have been using garlic, they have also been feeding it to their animal companions. Its properties have proven far reaching, easy on the body and safe to use. In the past fifty years, during the rebirth of holistic medicine in the United States, garlic has been in the forefront. Every text that I have researched on herbal health which mentions pet care has recommended it, especially for its incredible anti-parasitic and anti-septic properties. In my own experience, garlic has also benefited pets with cancer, diabetes, liver, heart and kidney disease, uncontrollable staph infections and a host of other conditions, as well as been a staple in my recommended preventative protocols. It has been widely used by hundreds of thousands of pet owners with no reported negative side-effects – except its effect on their animal’s breath – until now.

This is the point; garlic has suddenly become a “suspect,” not proven the culprit. Do not let mass hysteria determine a holistic care program for your dog or cat. Follow hundreds of years of “proven use” rather than recent “suspicions” in regards to this miracle herb, as garlic is known to be. As with anything, do use garlic in reasonable doses, and do know that you can trust history over hysteria.

Since 1982, Dr. Newman has been a world renowned pioneer in the field of natural pet care. The author of nine books, including her latest, Three Simple Steps to Healthy Pets: The Holistic Animal Care LifeStyle™, Dr. Newman is also the formulator of Azmira Holistic Animal Care Products and Diets.

©2006, Dr. Lisa S. Newman, All Rights Reserved