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Raw Food FAQ

Also see Raw Food Education and Resource Boxes on home page.

What is the date stamped on the bag? What is the shelf life of the frozen products?
The date is the day of processing, NOT THE EXPIRATION DATE. Shelf life is 1 year minimum on frozen foods, 2-3 days in fridge.
Why do your labels state that the product is for "supplemental or intermittent feeding" only?
Any food that is not submitted for food trials have to be labeled supplemental or intermittent feeding only. AAFCO establishes the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. Considering some of the foods labeled as "complete and balanced" and comply with AAFCO nutrient requirements we have no faith in these guidelines and choose not to submit our foods for food trials. I address feeding and variety on the home page, raw feeding info box. Click on dogs and read the FAQ's at the bottom.
Your bag says to keep frozen, what is best way to thaw?
Thaw either in cold water or fridge. Portion into the size you need and refreeze or use with in 2-3 days if kept in fridge. Refreezing meat does not affect the nutritional values.

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?parentnav=FAQS_BYTOPIC&FAQ_NAVIGATION_ID=FOOD_FQ&FAQ_NAVIGATION_TYPE=FAQS_BYTOPIC&contentid=faqdetail-16.xml&edeployment_action=retrievecontent
Why does the ground meat/bones/organs have a grayish color?
Can I cook your food?
Carnivores were designed to eat raw meat, bones, and organs. Please do not feed cooked bones to your pets. If you must cook then only cook products that are boneless.
Can you give me medical advice for my animal?
I am not a vet and can not give you specific medical advice. I offer many links on the website for feeding a species appropriate diet. Look at the information box and click on raw diet info. Our products are intended to be fed raw. If you are offering kibble [death in a bag] and trying to feed your pet raw at the same time you are asking for digestive upset. Again educate your self on a species appropriate diet. Your pet will thank you.
Are your products grass fed and free range? What about organic and GMO feed?
I don't raise all the animals here. We raise some beef and goats on our farm.

We have Amish neighbors that raises rabbits.

Pork, beef, llama, and sheep are sourced from local farmers [no feed lot animals] and processed in a licensed state facility.

All poultry, fish and exotics are USDA inspected all natural and sourced from a USDA wholesale supplier.

All grinding, cutting and packaging is done in our shop.

All our products are hormone and antibiotic free.

If you click on details it brings up the product description. Some products have a "product web page" option, but not all. I try to link websites when ever possible to tell people where the meat is sourced. A lot of companies will not tell you sources. They will say that it is proprietary information but I feel as a consumer you have the right to know the sources.

Poultry and fish have links as well as the more "exotic" meats such as bison and venison. The larger animals such as beef, sheep, pork, etc do not as they are sourced locally from my neighbors. I deal with a lot of Amish neighbors and also 2 state inspected local processing facilities.

Free range, grass fed is also a question I get often. People in general love the idea of free range grass fed meats and I agree that animals should be raised in a healthy natural environment. However not ALL animals are meant to be free ranged. Example would be rabbits. A free range rabbit would not last long in a true free range environment. A predator would kill it pretty quickly.

I even had a person email me once that wanted to know if the mice we offer were free ranged. I emailed this person back and said no mice were not free ranged and I could just see myself standing in a field with a big net trying to catch free range mice! A little common sense goes a long way.
Another factor in grass fed is the season. In the winter time we are buried in snow so there is no grass.

Hay in our area is usually a timothy or fescue grass which is lower in protein then a hay such as alfalfa. Because it is lower in protein most farmers either supplement with a protein block or some grains in winter months. In the summer months when there is plenty of pasture grain is usually not fed or in minimal amounts.

GMO FEED: We are not certified organic and although we do not use chemicals on our pasture and harvest hay from our land I can not guarantee that animals that are fed grain or commercial feeds such as rabbit pellets is GMO free. The only way to insure GMO free is to purchase certified organic feed which would triple all product costs and make it not affordable to the average consumer. GMO is a controversial subject but my research indicates this is not a concern with animal feed. Please read this link for more info http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/3-genetically-engineered-food/6-genetically-modified-animal.htm

If you want GMO free meats you will need to source a supplier of certified organic meats.
My one concern is that the bags sometimes have leaks.
During shipping the jostling around may cause some small holes. There is not a lot I can do about that besides going to a thicker bag. I use a 3 mil bag when most other places use 1.5 mil so I already use double the thickness. I could upgrade the bags to a 6 mil but the cost to use the thicker bags would increase product cost .30 lb to cover this cost. Being most people want to keep product pricing as low as possible the general consensus is they would rather deal with small holes then pay more.

Thaw in fridge in a pan or container to catch the blood or if thawing in cold water put in a Tupperware type container that has a tight lid and float that way. You could also put the bags in a Ziploc bag and then put in cold water so it is double bagged to retain the blood loss.

The meat is still fine to feed even if the bag has a puncture.
Can I eat your food?
A lot of our products are USDA inspected, human grade but we are licensed for pet food manufacturing and all product that leaves here has to be labeled as such. I legally can't sell this to you to eat. Have I ate it, yes. Can I tell you to eat it, no.
Can I thaw and refreeze?
You can thaw and refreeze. If your meat arrived thawed this is the best time to portion and refreeze into the serving sizes you need. If you food arrived frozen thaw in fridge or sink in cold water and once thawed enough to break apart, portion and refreeze.

Here is a link from USDA that addresses this http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/freezing-and-food-safety/ct_index
Do I need to add a supplement for my cat or ferret feeding whole carcass grinds?
Because freezing decreases some nutrient values in meats and organs the general consensus is to do a basic supplement with cats. Cats especially need taurine, which is water soluble so better to feed more then not enough.

Our Alnutrin supplement covers the basics and is formulated to go with our ground meat/bones/organs. This can be used for cats and ferrets.
https://hare-today.com/category/nutritional_supplements

Fish oil should be added for the Omega 3 fatty acids.

IMO additional fiber is not needed. Some people recommend this to help with stools if the cat has a tendency to be constipated. Typically though you can tweak the diet a bit by adding more meat to resolve this issue.

Also when feeding whole prey with fur, feathers, etc the insoluble fiber also helps with any constipation issues.
Your products are higher then the 80/10/10 ratio recommendations?
The 80/10/10 is the ideal but the 10% organs means secreting organs such as liver, kidney, spleen, brains, etc which typically you can not get these organs except liver in USDA poultry and the liver you want 5% which we do.

If you notice your pet is having constipation issues with the higher bone content then add in a bit of boneless mixed in with the bone in ground meats or feed a few boneless meals to offset the higher bone content. The key to raw feeding is balance over time, not necessarily at every meal.

If you want to dilute the ground meat/bone/organ, look at bone content in the product description and then add enough boneless and or organs to reduce to 10% bone. Example ground turkey/bone organ has 27% bone. If you take 1 5 lb ground turkey/bone/organ and mix with 1 5 lb boneless ground turkey and 1 lb ground turkey organs you will be right around the 10% bone ratio.

Personally I think it is easier to feed some non ground boneless meals separately. The benefit of feeding boneless separately is that by offering chunks of meat your dog or cat is ripping and chewing meat which helps clean teeth and gives jaw exercise. If you feed all ground your pet does not get that benefit.
Where do you source products from?
I try to link sources when ever possible. When you click on the product there will be a "more info" box. If you click on that it will show my source. Some companies will not tell you where they source from and say it is proprietary information but I feel as a consumer you have a right now know the source.

These links are available for poultry, fish and exotic meats. The larger ungulates such as beef, goat, llama and sheep are sourced locally and do not have website links.
4 D Meats and Denatured Meats, what is this?
4D stands for meat from animals which are dead, diseased, dying or have been destroyed. Usually salvaged for rendering.

We NEVER use 4 D meats!! If I wont feed it to my dogs I am certainly not going to sell it to you to feed.

Denatured: US Law states that meat not fit for human consumption must be denatured before it is removed from the slaughterhouse and transported to a rendering facility to be made into the meat and bone meal that are used in commercial pet foods, both wet and dry.

Although almost all of my products are human grade some items such as green tripe, beef gullet and beef lung are examples of some products considered not human grade.

Denaturing agents can be a charcoal additive to a cocktail of different chemicals and or dyes.

My supplier will mark the "non edibles" with a couple drops of green food dye. This keeps the inspectors happy and we then discard the items that are marked with the green dye.
This keeps everyone in compliance with USDA regulations.
How much do I feed a day?
Cats and Dogs typically will eat 2-3% of their ideal body weight per day.
Here is a feed calculator https://hare-today.com/raw_food_feeding_calculator
For more info go to raw food education https://hare-today.com/raw_food_education
Also resources https://hare-today.com/resources
Allergies, allergy testing, cooling foods?
When people tell me their animal is allergic to poultry or other meats it typically is not the poultry [or other meats] that is the issue.

A lot of the poultry [as well as pork] offered these days are enhanced. An enhanced solution is injected into the meat. Typically this is salt, sugar, possibly MSG, etc. The solution is what causes skin and allergy issues NOT the meat itself. It is very rare for an animal to be allergic to meat. Read sodium contents if purchasing meat form the grocery store or contact the manufacturer if buying pre-made, the sodium content should be less then 100 mg per 4 ounce serving. Any more then that it is enhanced. Even labeling can be tricky as some producers label all natural and still enhance with salt which is a natural ingredient. Also if buying kosher meats this also is very high in sodium.

Premade raw or dehydrated products usually contain added ingredients [my products do not]. These added ingredients are fruits, vegetables, herbs, yeast, etc. You must read ingredients. Fruits and root based vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes are high in sugar. Sugar converts to yeast which can cause skin and ear issues. There is no nutritional need for either in a carnivores diet.

Cooling foods: This is based on Chinese medicine. Personally I don't buy into that and would only try that as a last resort once all inappropriate ingredients where eliminated and was feeding a proper raw diet for 6 months minimum and then if there where no improvements then possibly try that as a last resort.

Also vaccines can cause long term immune issues. If vaccinosis is suspected a classic homeopath needs to be consulted. This is NOT the same as a vet advertising as holistic. Just because a vet advertises as holistic does not mean they are knowledgeable on a raw diet or vaccine issues. I have met a few that have had no clue!
Go to this link for more info https://hare-today.com/resources

Allergy testing: Unreliable and I would not waste my money. Only way to know of a true allergy is by doing an elimination diet. An elimination diet is feeding one meat only [with bones and organs] for 2 months. Ideally using a novel protein the dog or cat has not had before. After that you introduce 1 new meat into the diet every couple weeks. This way if your dog or cat has a true allergy it is very easy to pinpoint but again this is very very rare.
Mixing kibble and raw, my pet is vomitiing, why?
Typically stomach acid will soften bone before going through the intestinal tract so size of bone is not normally an issue. In the wild a carnivore would not grind their food prior to eating it.
However with that being said you mentioned feeding kibble. Why?

Kibble has so many unneeded ingredients in it and digests much slower because of this. It can take up to 12 hours for kibble to digest and raw will digest in 1/4 of that time. When you feed both you are slowing down digestion and this is what typically causes vomiting and or diarrhea.

The other factor to keep in mind is that when a dog anticipates being fed they will create more stomach acid anticipating food. If they have an empty stomach they can vomit bile. The way to eliminate this is to vary feeding times so they don't always anticipate being fed at a certain time.