What should I feed my cat or dog?

And what shouldn't I feed them?


Dogs and cats are carnivores. Their evolutionary diet is primarily made up of small, herbivorous, prey-species. This is supported by studies in zoology and nutritional ecology.

  • Wild populations of cats and dogs may have a preferred prey source, but they never subsist on just one source. They eat a variety of prey. This will give them a varied nutrient intake. The nutrient composition of the prey will also change with the seasons. As a rule of thumb, we recommend feeding from at least three different prey species over a week. 
  • Wild populations of cats and dogs eat meat, bones, organs, and often tripe too. They do not just eat meat. Feeding an all-meat diet will cause mineral deficiencies, and is dangerous to your pet's health!
  • Wild cats and dogs are able to produce strong gastric acid to help them digest their raw diet, and to deal with any pathogens that may be on their food. The production of strong acidity is dependent on the level of protein in the diet. For this reason, we recommend that you do not dilute the protein content of the raw diet by adding in processed food (which is high in carbohydrate). Feed EITHER a raw diet OR a processed diet, but not both. If we suspect that a dog or cat is not producing adequate gastric acid, we may recommend that they hold off including bones in the diet for the time-being. It is vital that these pets are eating minced product containing ground bone, so that their mineral needs are met.


So - whether you are feeding Raw Essentials product,

or some other version of a raw diet:


We advise that you feed a mix of raw meat, bones, organs (and tripe for dogs) as described in our Essential Rules; and avoid all

  • processed pet foods (biscuits (including grain-free ones), jellimeat, pet roll)
  • starchy carbohydrates (grains, rice, wheat, corn, potatoes, pumpkin, kumara etc) & soy
  • additives & preservatives

Make sure you never feed cooked bones. They splinter, and are very dangerous for the gut.

Check your treats too - they should be made in New Zealand, and not contain any of the above either.

We recommend bone broth for unwell cats and dogs. Bone broth is well tolerated and soothing for an upset gut. You can poach fillets of meat in the broth to make it more filling. If your pet is unwell - let your vet know, and fill them in on what you are feeding!

Some people add vegetables to a raw diet - read more about that here.