Archives for the day Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Decoding Frozen raw dog food:Stella & Chewy Chicken dinner

 In the previous entry titled “Decoding kibble:Nutrish Real beef with brown rice recipe“, I have explained what each term means in the ingredients list and convert the kibble into improved raw diet menu and homemade diet menu.

This time, I would like to do the make over recipe for the raw premade frozen diet patties into simple raw diet menu you can prepare, and also the homemade diet version for those who are not just yet ready to feed raw diet but would like to feed fresh food.

 This time,with make over homemade diet menu, I would like to use the popular mainstream method for the homemade diet in the states: figuring out the kcal you would like to feed your dogs and then, adjust the amount/type of ingredients to their preferable ratio of protein, carbohydrate,fat percentage; 29% protein, 32% fat, 39% carbohydrate.

The 29%-32%-39% ratio was what I was recommended by homemade diet mentor when I was looking into feeding Palette homemade diet.

If you feed kibble, it is good time to think about rotating foods possibly with different companies rather than the same company with different protein source because often times, I find that base ingredients are same,formula is similar and simply protein source is swapped from one thing to the other.

Therefore, if you rotate different companies’ formula, base ingredients/formula will be different, and it will be more beneficial to your dogs.

Now and then, I see people asking others if XYZ brand dog food is better than ABC brand dog food, and often times, so called “good kibble brand” name comes up as suggested kibbles.It is because they find dog magazine’s approved kibble list published annually, which they are known for.

Personally, no matter how premium, how high quality kibbles the companies say they offer, or how pretty packaging it got or maybe someone famous is having their own line of kibbles,the finished products are still process food.

 Even if there were better brand than the other, what they offer is convenience, not nutrition packed food for furriends.

If we would like to provide best possible nutrient dense menu to our furry furriends, I think it should be via fresh food diet;homemade diet or raw diet.

Advantage of feeding good homemade diet or raw diet are as followings.

1. You will be able to pick the ingredients goes into your dog’s food.Therefore, ingredients are always freshand properly stored, and you know where they are coming from.

Big pet food companies might use ingredients imported from outside the countries they cannot observe every step away on how they were grown/raised under different regulations in the countries.

 The countries might not have the same standards in growing/raising food to the states.

2. By observing how dogs do on food you provide, you can tweak the menu if necessary.

If you feed kibbles, and if your dog did not good on, you cannot change the company’s formula yourself, and only option is to switch the kibble companies,meaning, you will buy another brand of kibble, to see if other formula can fit to your dog’s need.

That being said, some of you may not be ready to move on to the fresh food diet just yet and,  I thought I would give you the recipe you can try cooking for your dog on their special day.They would love the fresh food very much.

When you decided to feed your dog raw diet and start looking for the option, you would find two ways; you would make your own dog’s menu by purchasing meat,bone, and organs etc.. and make the custom diet menu that suits to your own dog OR, you would purchase premade raw frozen dog food patties.

Raw frozen premade patties are mainly for convenience for those who would like to feed raw diet but, not ready to start feeding on their own custom menu. They are not cheap either.

With frozen raw patties,although since ingredients are kept frozen, they tend to have mixture of protein source with vegetables and fruits with or without added synthetic form of vitamins. It is like raw food version of kibble,especially if you were to purchase the premade raw frozen dog food patties that has the statement that says “complete and balanced” since they must meet the nutrient level required by AAFCO. They contains various synthetic vitamin mix and added salt just like kibble would.

I find that many frozen raw formula starts with protein source with bone as top ingredients,and many are mixed with pre selected fruits and vegetables.

With raw diet, bone is what makes stool firmer and, each dog has different amount they need. Some dogs need more bone than others and, if you purchase pre mixed products, you would not know how much of bones are in the products and whether the amount of bones are more or less than what your dogs would need.

Some big raw food companies such as Oma’s pride that offer fresh cut products also carry frozen raw mixture but with them, you can choose with or without vegetables.

Often times, they are offered with meat,bones,and organ without vegetables, although ratio of each ingredients are pre selected and you cannot change the ratio of each ingredients when your dogs did not do well on them.

In this entry, I would closer look on frozen raw dog food patties from Stella & Chewy “Chicken dinner” in the series :  Decoding raw frozen dog food patties.

Just like the series “Decoding kibble”, I will be picking one product at a time and explain pro and con on the ingredients in the list to understand what to consider if you were to feed the same raw frozen dog food patties for the long period of times.

Decoding : Chewy’s Chicken Dinner (Stella & Chewy )

 Ingredients as followings:

1. Chicken Ground with bone

Raw, cage free chicken.

** Poultry is high in Omega 6 fatty acids (inflammatory) and, if the diet was heavy on poultry, you would need to add Omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory).

** In the raw diet menu, bone is the calcium source

2. Chicken liver

** Liver is a good source of Vitamin A, and also great nutrient packed ingredient. However, vitamin A from animal protein source can be stored in the dog’s body when excess amount of liver is fed than the amount dog can utilize. Be very careful especially if you feed Turkey liver. 

** Turkey liver contains more than double the amount of chicken or beef liver in the same volume (weight). One ounce of raw Turkey liver deliver 20.264IU Vitamin A, and one ounce of chicken liver deliver roughly 3,102 IU Vitamin A.

3. Chicken gizzard

** with human perception, gizzard is organ but in raw feeding, gizzard are fed as “muscle meat”

4. Pumpkin seed

** I do not see the dog needs pumpkin seed, but the company told me that they include this pumpkin seed for the fiber

5. Potassium Chloride

6. Organic cranberries

** Cranberries are good for UTI to prevent the bacteria to adhere to the bladder wall

7. Organic spinach

It is leafy green and it sounds great one, but if it was fed excess, it could interfere the absorption of calcium, and if your dog were stone former, spinach and kale has high oxalate and you would probably do not want to feed it.

8. Organic broccoli

 Cruciferous family vegetable such as broccoli,cauliflower, kale, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts,turnips,mustard green etc.. can suppress thyroid function if fed in excess.

9. Organic beets

10. Sodium Phosphate Monobasic

11. Organic Carrots

12. Organic Squash

13. Organic Apples

14. Organic blueberries

15. Choline Chloride

16. Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product

17. Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product,

18. Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product

19. Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product

20. Taurine

** In raw diet, animal heart like Beef heart is the great source of Taurine.

21. Tocopherols (Preservative);Vitamin E

Meat and eggs are good source for Vitamin E. Vitamin E gets destroyed by the heat.

 You can also give Sardine, Halibut,Cod,Turkey,Beef liver,Egg etc as source of selenium (form of anti oxidant) as part of the diet.

Many Vitamin E (tocopherols) is delivered from soy bean oil.

22. Calcium carbonate

23. Zinc proteinate

24. Iron Sulfate

25. Iron Proteinate

** Your dog can get Iron from red meat, egg, liver, kidney etc..

26. Vitamin E Supplement

Meat and eggs are good source for Vitamin E. Vitamin E gets destroyed by the heat.

 You can also give Sardine, Halibut, Cod, Turkey,Beef liver,Egg etc as source of selenium (form of anti oxidant) as part of the diet.

Many Vitamin E (tocopherols) is delivered from soy bean oil.

27. Niacin

28. Copper sulfate

29.  Copper Proteinate

30.  Manganese sulfate

31. Sodium selenite

32. Manganese Proteinate

33. Thiamine Monohydrate

34. Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

35. Vitamin D3 Supplement

Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that not many food can deliver the nutrient. However, dogs can get Vitamin D from animal heart, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardine, and herrings, beef liver, egg, and sun light.

36. Calcium Iodate

34. Vitamin B12 Supplement

** Vitamin B 12 can be provided by animal protein source such as liver,fish such as mackerel, red meat such as beef, and eggs.

** In chicken, raw breast with skin on, it has 0.1 mcg, 1 ounce raw beef chuck contains 0.5 mcg B12

As many people know, pet food ingredients are listed in order by weights. With this method, even if rice was main ingredients (more weights than protein source), by splitting, it can make lamb or any other protein source look like most weight ingredients.

For example, with above raw frozen dog food, I have grouped them up by different colors.

Blue is protein related ingredients, purple is vegetables,green is fruits ingredient, dark brown is other miscellaneous ingredients.

You can see that it looks “good” at glance knowing the ingredients list starts off with protein source, but when you group it up, you can see that you find more purple and green ingredients than dark blue ingredients. To me, it looked more vegetables and fruits than actual meat-bone-organ.

However,the company told me that their classic dinner is made up with 95% of meat-organ-bone (the break down of those are company’s secret and they did not tell me), and 5% is vegetables and fruits.

I am not certain whether percentage is via 95% meat weight vs 5% vegetable/fruits weight or 95% kcal meat vs 5% kcal vegetables/fruits.I have received the reply from the company saying that 95% of overall diet is meat-organ-bone, 5% of overall diet is fruits and vegetables” but this reply really does not specify whether “overall of the diet” means based on kcal or on the food volume (weight).

With so many kinds of vegetables and fruits in the food, I do not know how they manage to keep them under 5%. Especially if they meant “5% of total weight of the food”.

Even if trying to figure out with 10 oz food, of the 10 oz food, 5% means 0.5 oz and how do they put all of these fruits, vegetables: apple,blueberry,cranberry,beets,broccoli,carrot,spinach,squash,and carrot, into 0.5 oz allotment,

One thing I suspect is that, they may have 2 recipes;one for meat-organ-bone, one for vegetables and fruits. Both being ground separately and they will take 95% of the meat mix and 5% of vegetable and fruits mix. Otherwise, I do not know how they do 95%-5% ratio with so many vegetables and fruits.

If that was the case, it is more problem as to how much of the bones are in the products.

They say their formula is based on prey model raw diet but,  I know that many true prey model feeders do not feed vegetables and fruits in the dog’s diet and, to me, it sounded they are misunderstanding the difference between the BARF diet and prey model diet.

The Barf diet feeders believe that the dogs in the wild woulds eat the stomach contents. That is why, when they feed the raw diet, they tend to feed vegetables and fruits.

Personally, I can say that my way of feeding to Palette is modified prey model diet (since I feed parts by parts,rather than whole prey), and I don’t feed vegetables or fruits in her diet. I do use vegetables and fruits when I make her cool down treats so, she is getting small amount of vegetables and fruits but not the large amount.

My personal belief is that, raw meat-organ-bone can offer pretty much everything except fiber that vegetables can offer and dogs can digest animal protein source better. Therefore, I do not see much advantage in vegetables/fruits in dog’s diet.

On top of that, National Resarch Council,which publish nutrient requirement for cats and dogs states that they do not consider carbohydrate that include “fiber” as necessary nutrient in the cats and dogs diet.

That means, your dogs do not need to eat potato, green beans, rice etc.. They are not necessary part of their diet.

Because of that, cats and dogs cannot develop nutrient deficiency for the fiber/carbohydrate. In kibble, or homemade diet, fiber’s amount control visual poop consistency.

The more fiber/carbohydrate you feed to your dogs, the more volume you see in their poop (waste amount). When you switch your dog to raw diet without carbohydrate, you will be surprised how compact their poop becomes.

Palette goes poop once a day, and the poop volume is about 3rd or 4th of what it used to be when she was on kibble. About the size of pinky finger. With raw diet, it is such a digestible diet that there are not much waste to poop out.

To me, it looks like fiber is added in kibble especially for more of visual look than nutrient requirement. Plus, vegetables and fruits are much cheaper than meat and you can sell carbohydrate heavy food with much cheaper than meat protein source heavy products.

However, if you do feed vegetables and fruits, you should know vegetables/fruits pro and cons and plan the meal accordingly because some vegetables are not great to feed a lot to the dogs. Also, we should know that human and dogs have different digestive system and we are two separate species and what is good for us does not necessary means, it is good for dogs.

If you follow my blog entries, you would have read on new processing called “HPP;High pressure pasteurization”  here for raw frozen dog food patties.

Stella & Chewy company does HPP treatment for all of their products incluyding freeze dried treats.

They will send the products to the 3rd party company and, after receiving the products, they use a series of devices that emit low levels of pathogen-fighting gases such as ozone and hydrogen peroxide to prevent contamination by surface and airborne pathogen during the processing.

Therefore, things to consider when you feed frozen raw dog food patties are as followings

1. Food ingredients ratio is pre determined by company’s formula,which means, you do  not know if your dogs do well on the ratio the company has determined

2. HPP treated via 3rd party company

3. Contains lists of synthetic vitamins and minerals so the companies can say “complete and balanced”

4. Just like kibble ingredients list, they have long lists of ingredients; with Stella and Chewy chicken dinner, it has 37 ingredients

 I believe that nothing can beat the wholesomeness, full of nutrient content with fresh food. Not the commercially made fresh food but true fresh food you prepare at home.

If you prepare your dog’s menu by yourself, you know where your ingredients are coming from, how they look (quality), how they are process (from start to finish), and they will be synthetic vitamin and mineral free and also, it is more flexible when it comes to tweaking the diet menu when/if your dogs needed some tweaking the  diet menu so it will fit to their needs.

You do not have to waste the expensive commercially made raw frozen dog food then, just because the formula did not agree with your dog.

If I convert this “Stella & Chewy Chicken dinner” food into fresh food (raw diet) form, it can be like this.

***  Palette’s simple raw diet version of “Stella & Chewy Chicken dinner” ***

Her daily intake amount is 10 oz – 12 oz

 To calculate daily feeding amount, fill the blank below.

 Guideline is to feed 2%-3% adult dog ideal weight.

Dog’s adult ideal weight x 16 x 0.02= daily feeding amount

Dog’s adult ideal weight x 16 x 0.03= daily feeding amount

I follow 80% meat, 10% bone,10% organ guideline.

Divide the daily feeding amount into 80% meat -10% bone -10% organ

With that being said, if we use chicken as main diet menu, her raw diet menu would look like this.

AM; Raw chicken drumstick with bone 6 oz

PM; Raw boneless chicken breast 5 oz, raw chicken liver 1 oz,raw chicken gizzard 1 oz

With this menu, Palette will be getting 614 kcal,which is equivalent kcal to stella & chewy chicken dinner recipe formula (but without vegetables and fruits) if I feed their food to Palette.

As you can see, it is that easy to prepare your dog’s raw diet menu. You would need only 4 ingredients! How simple is that.

You can see nutrient detail at here.

Of course, depending on what she is fed, with my way of feeding, the kcal can be different from one meal to the other and nutrient she gets via form of food can be different as well.

However, feeding variety is the great thing because each food provides different set and level of nutrient and it balances out over time.

If this Stella & Chewy Chicken dinner is going to be converted into homemade diet,it will have more ingredients than raw diet menu since they use vegetables too, but less ingredients than kibble ingredients list without additives, vitamin/mineral spray mix to make up the lost nutrient during the processing the food.

 If I am going to make something special for Palette, homemade diet style, American way with food kcal based method,then, the makeover menu for this would look like this.

However, trying to meet the % of each protein,fat,and carbohydrate without grain or something starchy, using only the ingredients from the Stella and Chewy’s Chicken dinner was somewhat impossible to be able to feed everything on one sitting or two.

For one thing, vegetable is empty calorie ingredients but gives volume and cooperating it into the one meal,using everything was difficult.

Too many vegetables and too little meat… but I can give you the breakdown if you like to use the ingredients from Stella and chewy Chicken dinner and trying to come up with the way you can make into one meal.

The kcal with the ingredients list below is close enough to the stella’s meal and close enough for the homemade diet recommended breakdown of protein-fat-and carbohydrate %.

How I did to make the homemade diet dish based on this food is as following.

When you visit their website here, you can see that Palette’s weight 31lb feeding recommendation is instructed to  feed small 9.5 patties a day.

Then, it also says 1 small patty of their food is 65kcal each. So, 65 kcal x 9,5;617.5 kcal.

From there, I used recommended guideline protein  %,Fat %, carbohydrates % ratio guideline and using the ingredients Stella& chewy chicken dinner has, I came up with the dish below.

If you were to use everything in one recipe, the way you would like to cook with, you would need..

1 oz apple, 1 oz blueberry, 1 oz cranberry

3 oz Beets, 6 oz broccoli, 6 oz carrot, 6 oz spinach, 5 oz yellow squash

0.5 oz chicken breast, 5 oz chicken,  0.5 oz chicken liver, 0.5 oz gizzard

This one recipe makes 619kcal, with ratio of 34% protein-27% fat-39% carbohydrate. The nutrition breakdown is here.

My makeover dish for Stella & Chewy’s Chicken dinner is “K9 Spinach soup with chicken meatloaf”, and each chicken meatloaf gives 37kcal,and makes 10 of them.Therefore, if you give all 10 meatloaf, it will give 369kcal.

The nutrition breakdown is here.

Since you are adding bit of spinach soup plus berry beets sauce for the dish, technically, the dish is kcal from chicken meatloaf plus some added kcal.

This time’s homemade make over recipe is not complete makeover recipe but, this is something you can make on your dog’s special occasion. Palette loved them very much.

I had so much spinach soup left and, I will simply freeze it and give as cool down treats, or I can add a bit of flour and make the biscuits dough and bake them, or I also can add it to Palette’s favorite salmon soup to flavor it up.

One good thing I can tell you about Stella & Chewy’s  company is that, they are the transparent cmpany,and they will tell you what you ask and they are very responsive in timely manner.Their customer service staff is good one.

If you have more question on their products, ask away.They will tell you unless things are company’s secret.

K9 Spinach soup with Chicken meatloaf..

<K9 Spinach soup with Chicken meatloaf>

Ingredients for K9 Spinach soup:

5 oz carrot chopped

5 oz broccoli chopped

0.25 oz chicken liver chopped

1 oz apple chopped

5 oz yellow squash chopped

6 oz frozen spinach

Ingredients for K9 Chicken meatloaf:

0.5 oz chicken breast

0.5 oz chicken gizzard

0.25 oz chicken liver

5 oz chicken thigh

1 oz  carrot

1 oz broccoli

Ingredients for Berry beets sauce:

1 oz cranberries

1 oz blueberries

3 oz beet chopped

<K9 spinach soup>

1. In the skillet, add 1/8C water, and add 5 oz carrot chopped, 5 oz broccoli chopped, 5 oz yellow squash chopped, 1 oz apple chopped, and cook till soften

2. Add 0.25 oz chicken liver chopped, and add 1C water and cook through

3. In the blender, add 6 oz spinach, and some of the contents in the skillet, 1 C water and puree them

4. Pour it out into container and add rest of the skillet ingredients with 1/2C water and puree them

5. Pour it in the container and stir

Makes: 1Quart soup

<K9 Chicken meatloaf>

0. Preheat the oven at 425F

1. In the food processor, add chicken breast 0.5 oz, chicken gizzard 0.5 oz, chicken liver 0.25 oz, chicken thigh 5 oz, carrot 1 oz, broccoli 1 oz and puree them

2. Place the baking pan with non stick foil and, using the bone shaped cookie cutter, shape the meat-carrot-broccoli puree into the bone shape and drop them on the baking sheet

It should make 10 of them using 2″ bone shape cookie cutter.

3. Bake them in the 425F oven for 15 minutes

Makes; 10 2″ bone shaped meatloaf

<Berry Beet sauce>

1.In the skillet, add 1/4C water, and add 1 oz cranberry, 1 oz blueberry and cook trill thick and squishable

2. Using the kitchen sieve, strain the berry sauce over the small container

3. Using the same skillet, add 1/4C water,and add 3 oz beet and cook to tender

4. pour the beet over berry sauce and stir

*** How to assemble ***

1. In the plate, pour about 3-4 spoonful of Spinach soup, and place meatloaf on top

2. Drizzle Berry beet sauce around the meatloaf

3. Serve

** Since too much fiber can sometimes works opposite;diarrhea, give spinach soup with smaller amount.

 Since this recipe does not offer calcium source, you may want to add ground eggshell as source of calcium source (1/2 tsp per pound of food served) or feed bones to go with this meal.

Also, if you look at Omega 3 fatty acid amount recipe can offer, it got more omega6 fatty acids than Omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, you would want to supplement the recipe with fish body oil. If you feed it as part of dog’s diet.

If you were going to have this recipe as staple menu,then,please talk to your vet.

Palette really loved the special menu for her.

Palette thought that it was super extra meal and she really loved them.

If you could come up with better meal ideas using everything in the Stella & Chewy Chicken dinner in one dish as homemade diet version not as part like I had to, I am interested.Please share the recipe.

I am waiting,mom..


Here is the video of her super whiny for the special meal. She returned me squeaky clean plate

Palette and K9 Spinach soup with chicken meatloaf..

As you can see,Palette really liked it. I would still prefer to feed regular raw diet menu but,I think once in a while she can get super special meal like this

I hope this entry has given you some insight of decoding raw frozen dog food patties, and gave you the tool to understand what are in the food,how they are made etc.. better.


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May 04, 2014 | Comments are off | Dog Diet