Types of Recipes
A raw recipe is primarily made with raw meat ingredients, though NRC raw recipes typically include a small amount of fruits and vegetables, and cooked whole starches such as quinoa or barley. Raw recipes can include a raw meaty bone, which is a source of calcium and chewing enrichment.
A 100% homemade raw recipe would fall under standard full formulation services, such as a proactive adult dog or cat recipe.
A cooked recipe is made with all cooked ingredients. This is typically mainly meat ingredients, with low to moderate amounts of cooked whole starches such as quinoa or barley. Cooked recipes are more easily digested and are more palatable, which make them the ideal choice for pets with sensitive GI tracts or for picky dogs.
A 100% homemade cooked recipe would fall under standard full formulation services, such as a proactive adult dog or cat recipe.
Partial Kibble Recipe
Incorporating kibble into a homemade recipe can be a great option for busy owners who don't have time for a full homemade diet. It can also be good for owners who prefer to keep them for training treats, enrichment, convenience or health reasons.
For dogs who are doing well on their formulations and need only a small amount of toppers on top of their kibble, a Toppers Recipe would be the best fit.
For dogs who only need a very small amount of kibble in their diet, or are eating below recommended guidelines, a full formulation would be better.
Partial Commercial Raw Recipe
Using a commercial premade raw in a homemade recipe can also be a great option for busy household to cut down on prep time.
However, the quality and the type of premade raw varies widely between suppliers. A 80/10/10 grind may need significant amounts of toppers or supplements to be complete and balanced, while an AAFCO raw blend might only need boosting in a couple of key areas to make it ideal for your specific pet.
Recipes using commercial raw blends are considered full formulation services, such as proactive adult dog or cat recipes.
Quick Prep Recipes
For owners who want to do a fully homemade diet but are struggling with long meal prep times, we can design a "quick prep" recipe.
Quick prep recipes typically use pre-ground or small ingredients that do not need to be trimmed or chopped. They also generally have fewer ingredients. This can significantly cut down the amount of time spent preparing recipes, but does mean that more supplements may be necessary.
Quick prep recipes would be considered full formulation services.
Budget Friendly Recipes
Feeding a homemade diet can increase feeding costs very quickly. However, a partially or full homemade diet is often feasible for smaller budgets with some creativity and flexibility.
Cost effective recipe use meat cuts that are reliable and affordable(for US, this might be whole pork loins or chicken breast), limit expensive ingredients like seafood, and bring fat and carbohydrate contents higher (within the pet's acceptable range). These changes can make it more affordable to feed fresh diets. However, these choices sometimes mean more supplementation is necessary, but the cost of supplements is typically much smaller than the cost of the fresh ingredients.
For clients who are open to feeding partial kibble diets, a toppers recipe may be a good option as well.
Types of Ingredients
Raw Meaty Bones
Raw meaty bones are a natural source of calcium and provide a opportunities for enrichment during feeding. They can be incorporated into any type of raw recipe.
Raw meaty bones should be fed with caution as there are choking and dental injuries. RMBs must be selected carefully based on the pet's size and abilities and should always be supervised.
As there is not a lot of reliable analysis on raw meaty bones, they are not typically used for therapeutic formulations.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables do not provide essential nutrients but they do provide beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber, which can power your pet's gut flora. They can be a great addition to your pet's formulation.
If you strongly prefer not to use fruits and vegetables, we can use alternative ingredients such as fiber supplements, though they do not provide the whole food benefits that fruits and greens can provide.
More information on cats being obligate carnivores: https://rawfedandnerdy.com/what-is-an-obligate-carnivore
Starches, such as whole grains, squashes and seeds, can another non-essential but beneficial component of recipes. Most people feeding homemade food prefer to keep their recipes mainly meat based, but might miss out on the nutrient boosts starches can provide, such as magnesium, manganese and potassium.
Dietary carbohydrates are also useful in therapeutic recipes to tightly control levels of protein or fat when necessary due to health conditions. They can also be helpful in growth and reproduction recipes, to provide readily available glucose so that the body does not have to spend resources metabolizing glucose from proteins.
Meal completers are multivitamins that are designed to be mixed into a recipe (typically a mix of meat, starch, and oil) to create a complete and balanced recipe. The most common US meal completers are BalanceIT, The Honest Kitchen, Just Food for Dogs, and Dr. Harvey's Paradigm.
The nutritional effectiveness of meal completers depends on the specific product. When it comes to fully formulated NRC recipes, they are not very helpful as they typically boost nutrients that are already amply provided by the whole foods without boosting (enough) nutrients that are low in the formulation.
In rare cases, such as very low energy dogs or significant weight loss cases, meal completers can be convenient to cut down on the number of supplements the owner needs to prep.
Most NRC formulations will include at least 1-2 supplements.
While whole foods are used as much as possible to meet nutrient requirements, sometimes nutrients fall short, especially if dogs have low calorie intakes or there are significant ingredient restrictions (due to allergies, cost, etc). Most typical NRC recipe have 4-6 supplements.
Even in formulations that maximize nutrients from whole foods, there are two supplements that are always present - vitamin E and iodine. You can read more on this topic here: https://bettercellsnutrition.com/supplements-in-nrc-diet/
Treats are a significant part of many dog's lives, especially when it comes to dogs with frequent training for obedience, sports, or behavior. In many of these cases, the volume of treats needed for the owner and dog's lifestyle surpasses the recommended 5% of the dog's diet daily (by calories).
In these cases, treats can be incorporated directly into the recipe as that they are accounted for. Most commonly, freeze-dried raw, kibble, or cooked meat are used as treats that can still provide nutrients toward the dog's daily requirements.