Podcast: Cali Raw Dog Food

CALI RAW dog food

Cali Raw founder Brandine Strand and her Frenchie, Bohdi

PODCAST (19:05)Cali Raw is a raw dog food company located in Newport Beach, CA, whose founder and president, Brandine Strand, was an interesting guest on our 5/31/20 program.

She sold me on the concept of raw feeding — I had many questions and concerns before our chat. I have also researched the company, and Brandine answered questions thoroughly and completely.

We had Brandine on after my co-host, Laura Pakis, bought some Cali Raw dog food and tried it at home with her animals. Laura was quite impressed. I plan to buy some to use as a topper for the Wellness-brand canned food we feed at home.

Laura’s husband, Phil, however, did not like the appearance of the raw diet, and I think some of it ended up lightly-browned before being offered to their 14-year-old dog. Feeding dog food raw may not be for the squeamish. The dog, however, loved the food.

And you can eat it yourself! Cali Raw uses HUMAN-GRADE meat sourced from the same companies that serve Southern California restaurants. Human-grade has become an issue in high-end dog food circles because of all the garbage meat it rules out. 

Raw Dog Food Looks Good to Me

Here is a picture of a pound ($6.25) of the turkey diet. It looks as though it has been thawed or had not yet been frozen. Doesn’t look gross to me. 

cali raw dog foodThis diet is 79% meat, 20% vegetable, and 1% salmon oil.

The guaranteed analysis is:

Crude Protein (min)….15% 
Crude Fat (min)…6%|
Crude Fiber (max)… 1%
Moisture (max) …. 76%
Carbohydrate (calculated)…. 1%Calorie Content (ME As-Fed): 1,099 kcal/kg, 31 kcal/ oz

What you should look for in the food is the 80/20 ratio of animal to vegetable and the addition of specific nutrients necessary to make the diet complete in every meal. 

That’s how people who try to manufacture raw food themselves can easily mess up by not including all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that dogs need for optimum growth and health. A properly-constructed manufactured raw diet will not have such a problem.

Here is the list of ingredients of the turkey diet:

Turkey Neck, Turkey, Turkey Heart, Turkey Gizzards, Carrots, Turkey Liver, Broccoli, Squash, Apple, Salmon Oil (Source of DHA), Magnesium Proteinate, Sunflower Oil, Zinc, Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Inulin (Extract of Chicory Root), Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Iodine Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement

Everything in the list makes sense to me and looks like an excellent diet for any dog a year old or older. 

The company offers beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb adult formulas. The puppy diets, designed for the nutritional needs of dogs under a year of age, are combined chicken and beef and turkey and lamb mixtures.

Does it work?

Like everyone who promotes raw feeding — or merely improving commercial dog food — Brandine makes claims that science cannot substantiate. CBD, I should add, is pretty much the same.

It’s not that a raw diet isn’t a better, more healthy option for dogs. It’s what we don’t have the science necessary to prove it. So we are stuck with mostly anecdotal evidence of what raw is better than big-company canned diets. And we all know kibble is a poor choice.

I find a general claim that raw is a better choice than highly-processed food to be credible. That a well-designed species-specific diet is better than the doggie-equivalent of Mickey D’s makes good sense to me. But I can’t prove it, and I am not sure anyone else can, either.

Pros and Cons

I would love to be able to offer my dogs (and cats) a raw food diet. On the Pro side, I do believe it would be better for them and would make them happier and offer better health outcomes.

But the downside, for me, is insurmountable:

  1. The diets — Cali Raw and everything I’ve seen — are, for me, expensive. A one-pound package feeds a 30-pound dog for one day. Cali Raw food costs more than $6.00-a-pound plus $15-$20 for shipping and sales tax. (Here is Cali Raw’s feeding calculator).
  2. If we had only one dog, we could afford raw feeding. But with our small pack, feeding raw would more than double what we are paying Chewy each month to deliver canned Wellness-brand food to our door.
  3. Plus, where would we store an order of maybe 35 pounds of frozen dog food? We would have to purchase a small freezer, and it would require electricity to run, another expense related to a raw feeding adventure.

None of this dampens my enthusiasm for Cali Raw. But I am known for being enthusiastic in an inverse ratio to whatever it is I want but cannot afford.

I will probably purchase some of this food and use it as an addition to our canned diet, and when I can do that, I’ll report back on my and the dogs’ experience.

If raw feeding is within your ability and budget, I’d recommend it at least as something to try. And Laura’s experience with Cali Raw and my discussions with Brandine and research gives me confidence in the company and its products.

P.S. If you live in the Orange County/Los Angeles area, Cali Raw offers free delivery and a pickup option you should investigate.

Do you have experience with raw feeding? Comments or questions about this story? Please share them (below) with us and your fellow readers and listeners!

 

 

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