Feeding RAW Q & A with Cotswold RAW

We recently took to social media to ask our followers for their questions about feeding RAW. From experienced RAW feeders to dog owners who had never tried it before, there was such a good range of questions. I narrowed them down and asked the Cotswold Raw team and their nutritionist to let us know the answers.


What’s the difference in DIY vs Completes – is one better than the other?

DIY can be a can good way to vary your dogs diet alongside feeding a complete food (dried or raw) . On a smaller scale you can source the meat & game from a very local source – such as your local farm shop or butcher.

Dogs do require a full range of nutritional building blocks and a failure to provide these over a sustained period will cause health and development issues. However, items sutch as raw meaty bones and natural supplements can be a great way to start to add in your own elements to your dogs diet. The Dogs Naturally Magazine (found online and featuring the wonderful Dr Karen Becker) has some great content around safely approaching DIY.

Someone told me they feed RAW mince from the supermarket – is that ok?

Whilst not complete, raw beef mince can be a great way to bring puppies onto mince alongside what their mum is providing at 4-8 week period. However on its own, it does not contain the necessary building blocks for a natural and biologically appropriate raw diet.

One key area you will be missing is calcium. Raw bones are a complex source of calcium and a wide variety of nutrients, minerals, essential fatty acids and vitamins. The central parts of most bones contain marrow, which is highly nutritious. Our recipes include ground bone which will provide the above mentioned nutrients. However, for more behavioural and emotional benefits let them have a gnaw at a raw meaty bone.


Do you offer a discount for bulk orders over 80kg?

We have some discount scales in place.

We offer a 7.5% discount for those setting up a regular order, regardless of order size

We offer 20% discount for registered breeders.

In store we offer a loyalty card scheme – The Butchers Dozen – giving you your 13th pack free.

What is the consistency of Cotswold RAW like?

As dog owners and raw feeders ourselves, we have always preferred a coarser textured mince. We believe the dogs do too! So we set our stall out at Cotswold RAW to maintain this quality in our product. It enables you to see the ingredients and looks more inviting as well!

If you feed DIY how do you know your dog is getting all its needs?

Well in short you don’t but many responsible dog owners do feed DIY very successfully.

Ultimately FEDIAF and the EU set the recommended minima for the twelve minerals that are essential for dogs. This is the best measure as foods can vary in energy content significantly (and a dog will eat enough food to satisfy its energy needs and so it is that amount of food that has to contain the requisite of minerals and other nutrients). If you are DIY’ing many companies, such as Cotswold RAW, do sell natural canine herbal mixes – full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements required to help promote equilibrium in the body for a healthy dog.

What is your packaging like? Environment friendly?

Ultimately we are bound by an EU regulation stating all raw meat should use leak-proof containers.

This is the practice for all human food, is a legal requirement for pet food (EU Regulation 142/2011) and is plain common sense from a food safety point of view. This means a sealed tray should be used. We use clear trays to enable the vast majority of them to be recycled widely across the UK. Having our own delivery vans means we do minimize the use of couriers.


How does RAW food benefit dogs, and why is it better than normal dog foods?

There are several key areas where you will see the benefits from feeding raw. Raw food is the natural diet for dogs and has a beneficial effect on both physical health and behaviour

* Digestion – Some believe that problem behaviour in dogs can be linked to artificial additives in processed foods. Research into omega-3 fatty acids (which are abundant in raw food made with high quality, grass-fed meat) has shown that they maintain mood levels and a sense of well being.

* Teeth and Bones – To keep teeth and gums healthy in the wild dogs would gnaw on the bones of their prey, a practice which gnawing on our raw bones simulates. While you still have to get them checked, it can be helpful for dogs who are prone to gum disease. Our complete meals might also support a dog’s dental health, as raw dog food also contains naturally occurring enzymes, which helps to protect teeth and gums.

* Coat, skin and Joints – raw dog food helps to support a dog’s joints, coat and skin. When dog owners begin feeding a raw dog food diet they may discover that a dog’s coat becomes much shinier, and in better condition than it was previously. Our philosophy is always to provide essential vitamins and minerals in their natural form – a highly bio-available form. In addition to the natural building blocks of protein, enzymes and amino acids the natural herbs are full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements required to help promote equilibrium in the body for a healthy dog.

My dogs have raw bones which they love. Some have visible fat on them but I read somewhere not to give dogs fat, is it ok?

Fat is the best, most easily digestible and usable energy source for dogs. It provides more than twice as much energy per gram as protein and is the preferred energy source used during aerobic respiration. Dogs also don’t suffer from the same cardiovascular issues as humans and they can tolerate very high levels of fat. Fat is also required to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K.


What if I forget to defrost it?

The 500g packs do defrost quickly in a sink of tepid water. You can use a microwave but please only use the “defrost” function – so it doesn’t alter the nutritional value.

Is RAW literally raw? Can I feed my dog any whole food I would feed myself?

Raw dog food is carefully chosen, prepared, and stored in such a way that feeding it raw to dogs is not only totally safe, but also provides optimum nutrition in a digestible, highly appealing format.

The process of cooking a food of any type does more than just heating it up – it changes the nutrient levels and alters the qualities of the food (including its texture and taste) on a cellular level, which is exactly what we, as people, are looking for when we cook meals that were designed to be heated.

However, raw dog food isn’t intended to be heated, nor to undergo the changes that cooking causes, and cooking raw dog food can cause a range of problems for your dog. https://www.cotswoldraw.com/blog-headlines/why-you-shouldnt-cook-raw-dog-food/

Can I feed my dogs any kind of treats whilst they’re on RAW?

Training treats and raw meaty bones are still a great addition to a complete raw diet. Please always be mindful of over feeding though. If we are using a raw meaty bone you should look to cut back on the complete mince at meal times.


I don’t even know where to start with RAW, do you have any tips for a novice?

There is some great video content out there to help you get started.

Convenient complete meals are intended to provide a cost-effective alternative for busy dog owners who are keen to feed their dog the type of foods that they would naturally choose in the wild – but that don’t have the time or know-how to create a bespoke-designed diet from scratch.

Raw food is delivered and sold frozen to ensure that it arrives in optimum condition, and can be placed straight in your freezer to defrost later,

How do I choose a RAW food brand? What do I need to look for in their food?

Apply the same methods you do in your own diet. We look for traceability and transparency in ingredients and an assurance of quality. We should and can apply the same points to our pets’ diet. Within the UK pet food sector looking for DEFRA approval on the production facility, PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers Association membership), quality and transparency of ingredient sourcing and looking at past customer reviews can all be key drivers for choosing the right brand.


A big thank you to Cotswold Raw for giving such good responses to your questions, full of info and advice. But also thank you so much for everyone to sent in questions, we could have created a mini novel with all the messages from you. If you’ve still got some questions that are stopping you from transitioning to RAW just message myself or contact the Cotswold Raw team, we’d be happy to help!

Thanks for reading,

Megan, Woody & Wilma


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