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Gently Cooked Vs. Raw Dog Food-What Is The Difference?

Gently Cooked Vs. Raw Dog Food-What Is The Difference?

There is a lot of debate about gently cooked food vs raw, and we get asked this question alot! We thought we would give you the low down on what gently cooked dog food means and why we opt to gently cook our food over serving the raw diet. 

It is important to firstly say that through this blog it is not our intent to provide a negative perspective on raw food as in our opinion, the raw vs gently cooked debate is far less important than the real issue at stake which is the need to feed your dog REAL nutrients as opposed to processed foods. We want to give you the information about both these diets so you can make an informed choice that makes sense for your pup!

What is gently cooked dog food?

At Puppy Gang Fresh Foods we gently cook our food to the requirement recommended to kill pathogens such as salmonella, listeria and e-coli - this kills the bacteria but still preserves the nutritional integrity of our ingredients.

We utilize a blend of hormone and antibiotic free muscle meat, organ meat and bone meal as a natural calcium source (to learn more about why we use bone meal in your recipes click here), fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure a mix of micronutrients in each of our recipes and natural supplements such as kelp powder.

Some of the benefits of a gently cooked dog food diet are:

  • Increased energy
  • Lowered risk of disease and illness
  • Shiner coat
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Better digestion
  • Less body odor
  • Weight management (read our blog post to learn about the Canine Obesity Epidemic)
  • Increased health and reduction in vet costs longer term
  • Firmer Stool

What is raw dog food?

  • A raw food diet emphasizes raw meat, eggs, whole or crushed bones, fruits, vegetables and sometimes dairy
  • Proponents of the raw food diet argue that this is how dogs ate historically
  • Raw food diet can lead to a shinier coat, increased energy level, cleaner teeth, healthier skin and smaller stool

However, when considering whether or not to feed your dog a raw food diet it is important to understand how to treat the raw food as there are some significant risks involved if not dealt with properly. Some of these risks include:

  • Raw meat can contain deadly bacteria if not treated in the right way, that can cause harm to your pet and be transmitted to humans (according to a veterinary study, 86 percent of products contained potentially dangerous bacteria)
  • Risk of cross-contamination can be high when dealing with raw meat and requires careful handling and preparation
  • Vulnerable populations such as children and elderly are particularly at risk for the transmission of diseases such as e-coli virus which can be transmitted by a dog simply by licking one’s face
  • Raw diets can lead to nutritional imbalances by being too high in fat or too high in protein (ie. not enough micronutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables) if not formulated carefully

If you do choose to go down the raw food diet, we encourage you to do your research and ensure you treat the food in the right way to reduce the above risks for you and your pup.

Whatever food you choose to feed your dog, remember that selecting real whole ingredients is always best. Even supplementing dried dog food with whole ingredients can increase your dog’s lifespan and decrease their risk of disease and illness. Check out our delicious and nutritious Puppy Gang Fresh Foods meals!

Did You Know About The Canine Obesity Epidemic?


The obesity epidemic that is plaguing North America has implications for our furry friends as well. The Canadian Animal Health Institute estimates that over 50% of dogs in North America are obese. There are several negative health impacts to an overweight dog including:

  • Increased risk of cancers
  • Risk of diabetes, heart disease and increase blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing, skin and coat problems
  • Decreased liver function
  • Digestive disorders
  • Damage to ligaments, bones and ligaments (prior to Kalinda’s weight loss journey I was recommended $5000 knee surgery from three different vets due to strain on her joints from the excess weight).

All of these add up to long term expensive vet bills for you and a shorter lifespan and increased illness for your furbaby!

What are the causes of dog obesity?

  • Feeding your dog a diet that contains processed ingredients or preservatives (such as kibble or canned food)
  • Feeding your dog a diet that contains an overly high amount of carbohydrates
  • Feeding your dog frequent treats
  • Overfeeding your dog

What can you do to improve the life span of your furbaby?

It has been proven that feeding your dog nutritious food can double their lifetime! If you can’t go all the way to making the switch, even adding real and nutritious food to your existing regime will make a significant difference to their health and longevity. 

If your dog is overweight, there are many things you can do to improve their diet and get them down to a healthy weight. These include:

  • Checking your pet food labels to ensure the ingredient list contains REAL food and does not list refined carbohydrates. In Canada, it is a requirement that ingredients are listed in order of highest volume to lowest - so look out for what ingredients are at the top!
  • Feed your dog a fresh diet containing real proteins fruits and vegetables such as our Puppy Gang Fresh Food meals. This will help you to take preventative measures early and will reduce your long term vet bill!
  • Monitoring your dog’s caloric intake. Puppy Gang Fresh Foods meals contain 2 cups in every pack. We recommend feeding around ¾ - 1 cup of food (half a pack) for every 10 lbs of ideal body weight-though you should give more or less depending on the age, breed and activity level for your dog.
  • If you have questions about a weight regime for your dog or feeding your dog a fresh food diet you can contact us here
You can read more about the causes and implications of dog obesity here.

Did You Know That Dogs Need Bones?

dog with bone
One of the ingredients you may have noticed on our ingredient list is bone meal. Bones have been an integral part of a dogs’ diet for thousands of years. This is because they have many positive benefits such as helping with teeth cleaning and aiding in distracting from negative behaviour as well as contain important nutrients your dog needs. 
A study conducted by Open Heart Journal indicated that, whenever possible, we as humans should be looking for food sources of calcium in our diet. This is the same for our furry friends.

Bones are a highly digestible and natural source of calcium which provide a variety of benefits for dogs, including:

  • Maintaining healthy bones and teeth
  • Helping heart functions by supporting contractions in the heart
  • Supporting nerve transmission
  • Muscle building and signaling
  • Helping with hormones secretion

You can feed your dogs bones in two ways:

  1. Whole bones as an activity to chew on (this will keep your dog occupied and serve as a natural teeth cleaning activity). We love the brand Jaker’s Treats for wholesome bones as treats for our pups!
  2. Including ground bone in your pup’s food 
A common misconception we hear in the pet food industry is that kibble is needed for teeth and gum health. However, since kibble is primarily formed from refined carbohydrates, kibble can actually INCREASE plaque and tartar buildup on dog’s teeth. This is why bone is best and you should be looking for food and treats with natural hormone and antibiotic free bone sources for your pup such as the bone meal found in Puppy Gang Fresh Food meals!

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