Some might say that when you have a pet you love more than anything, your life revolves around them. But sometimes, no matter how much we dote on our pets, the rest of life tends to just…get in the way. Every pet parent has had that groan-inducing moment when you open up your freezer and see only a few lonely packs of raw left.
Maybe it’s because your busy schedule is preventing you from making it to the store right away, or perhaps your preferred store is just waiting for new stock to come in. There are more drastic reasons that you may be running low on your pet’s food too: the last few years in Canada (and BC in particular) have seen a significant rise in forest fires and floods, which can limit your ability to get more raw food on short notice.
Whichever reason is stopping you from being able to stock up, sometimes you’re left with having to try and stretch your dog or cat’s raw meal supply over a few days.
With that in mind, let’s discuss 5 simple tips to help you prepare for those inconvenient moments when your stock at home is running low!
1. Share From Your Plate
Okay, maybe not directly from your plate because you probably put spices on your own food...but you can still share by putting some aside before you flavour and cook it!
Supplementing your pet’s meals with veggies like broccoli, cucumber, spinach, squash, carrots, or apples (remember to remove the seeds and core) can be a great way to extend your pet’s meals. Additionally, you can take unseasoned store-bought meats and lightly cook them.
We’re a raw company, so why the heck are we suggesting you cook the meat? This is because grocery store meats are meant to be cooked and aren’t often safe from harmful bacteria without exposure to heat.
Avoid feeding highly processed foods with high levels of salt or fat—despite the age-old adage, your cat (or dog!) should not indulge in cheeseburgers.
If your pet has any medical or dietary needs, remember to consult with your vet before you go off-book.
2. Boost Bowls With Bones
It might be time to go digging through the archeological layers of your freezer and find some raw bones buried there. Bones are a great bowl booster because they’ll not only round out a meal and fill your dog or cat’s tummy, but the endorphins released by focused chewing can help them relax.
Remember, bones aren’t one-size-fits-all for every pet, and if you are a multi-pet household, then the bones you have left might not be appropriate for every one of your furry friends, depending on their size and chewing style. In addition, don’t forget to monitor your pet while they’re going to town on a raw bone.
Pro Tip: Keep the bone slightly frozen to extend the time your dog or cat takes to finish it!
3. Use Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated Raw
A bag of freeze-dried or dehydrated raw is an excellent shelf-stable option to have as a backup in case you start to run low. While dehydrated or freeze-dried raw isn’t quite as nutritious as fresh raw foods, they still offer more benefits than plain old kibble, and they can be fed to both dogs and cats (in the correct formulas, of course). All you need to do is add a bit of warm water, and you’re good to go!
Pro Tip: Though similar, dehydrated and freeze-dried raw undergo different methods of processing that affect their nutritional value. If you have to choose the healthiest option as a backup meal extender, go for freeze-dried raw first.
4. Budget Accordingly
Sometimes low quantities at home occur because of conflicts with your wallet—it can happen to the best of us!
The best way to avoid this is to do the math ahead of time: learn exactly how much your pet eats in a month and how much you have to allocate for their diet. If you find your freezer and bank account are running low at the end of the month, you might find that small adjustments can make big differences. Just one less takeout meal a month can make huge changes in your pet’s diet!
If you’re already living frugally, there’s nothing wrong with looking into more affordable meal plans that don’t compromise on quality nutrition. Our Everyday Raw meals for dogs include blended proteins for easy-access variety while still being easy on your bottom line—these meals only cost approximately $2.00–$3.50 a day, depending on the size of your dog!
On the other hand, if you enjoy meal prep and have a lot of vegetables in your fridge already, you might enjoy our Base Mixes, which are made with the same ethical, high-quality meats, organs, bones, and probiotics as the rest of our meals. These base mixes are available for cats and dogs, and leave the mixing in of vegetables up to you, so you have complete control over your pet’s meals—and your budget.
5. Mix it up!
Obviously, we’re not huge fans of kibble. But with that said, there’s a time and a place for kibble, and that’s as a last-resort emergency backup bowl filler!
You can help make your raw food last a little longer by reducing the amount of raw in each meal and balancing it out with high-quality kibble. This can be done by either making their morning meal kibble and their dinner raw (or vice versa) or mixing raw and kibble together in one meal. Please note that we only recommend mixing raw and kibble if your dog doesn’t have GI issues, as mixing the two can occasionally cause an upset.
For cats, it’s a little different. We’re adamantly against feeding cats kibble, as they’re less likely to seek out water than dogs, and kibble can exacerbate their dehydration. If possible, supplement your cat’s raw meals with canned wet food. However, if desperate times are calling for desperate measures and all you have is kibble on hand, soak it in lukewarm water for a few minutes before serving.
Keep in mind that while kibble may seem cheap and convenient, it’s easier on your pet (and your wallet!) to supplement their bowl with fresh foods before falling back on kibble.
Pro Tip: If life has been taking you by surprise lately or your city is anticipating a storm coming in, having a backup bag of kibble is an option, but shouldn’t be your first choice. Because the sprayed-on fats in kibble tend to go rancid quite quickly once they’re opened, so choose a small, high-quality bag to keep in reserve if you must. Carna4 is a trustworthy Canadian kibble brand, so you can feed confidently until you can restock your freezer with raw.
One Last Tip
Life has a way of throwing us a curveball when we least expect it, and as we mentioned, every pet parent has had that moment when they realize they forgot to grab another box of food and consequently, mealtimes start to look like slim pickings. Don’t beat yourself up; just do the best you can until you have a chance to restock.
Remember not to panic, because a few days on an alternative diet won’t be the end of the world so long as you can accommodate any dietary issues your pet may have. And who knows, running low might come with a silver lining—maybe you’ll discover your dog’s new favourite veggie topper or that your cat enjoys bones!