San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

"Big or small, we feed them all!"

On Chewing Bones for Older Dogs, Dental Health, Essential Oils to Avoid + Dangers of Raw Tubers

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The below exchange generated a lot of interest recently on our Yahoo Group and I am sharing here just in case it might be of help to others.

Q: What are good Chewing Bones for an old guy?

Our dear Francisco turned 13 this year! He has been enjoying the beef knuckle bones and the occasional calf foot for recreational chewing and to keep his teeth and gums clean. I stopped giving him any bones that had been cut a long time ago, because he would try to break off pieces and then chipped 2 of his large back teeth.

I recently learned that the Green Tripe knuckle bones are not being stocked any longer, so I am looking for suggestions for other bones that might be safe for him to chew – rounded edges are important. He gets tired of gnawing on bones more quickly than he used to, so I am concerned about his dental health. (except at Christmas when he got his last calf foot he took it outside for quite a while over 2 days and kept himself very busy!)

Alternately, I am thinking I should start brushing his teeth, but don’t like any of the canine toothpaste products in the store. they all have glycerine in them which prevents remineralization. I wonder if it would be safe to use the toothsoap made for humans? Are there any essential oils that we should avoid for oral use? The toothsoap has things like clove, cinnamon, fennel, wintergreen, etc. depending on the flavor. Rupam said she could make an unflavored version.

His gums and teeth look ok, but I think they could look better with regular chewing. He pulled a parsnip out of the grocery bag yesterday to chew on (he hardly ever does that, haha!) and it was a bit bloodied, so I am concerned his gums need some attention.

Looking forward to feedback!



A: Hi Deborah!  Congratulations on Francisco turning 13!!!  What an achievement – from the last time I saw him, he’s doing wonderfully! He looks and feels great — a very youthful 13, indeed, thanks to all your loving and exceptionally attentive, good care.


Francisco just before his 13th Birthday — volunteering at SFRAW!

We sell knuckle bones, but they are not necessarily as round/uniform in size and small as the ones GT had. They are inexpensive, just $1.83/lb from BN Ranch (“regular beef bones” from great truly pastured source). We also have gelatinous beef bones from Marin Sun Farms ($4.37/lb) which have a good amount of cartilage attached (some people may refer to them as “kneecaps”) — these are softer for a recreational choice, and work well for many older dogs with the extra cartilage (joint supporting); so long as they can tolerate the fat content of these bones, and do not bite down hard to chew (being the weight bearing bones of large herbivores, they may break teeth).


Have you tried the whole raw trachea from We’ve been getting these again recently and they are good (a lot of people stuff them but they can be fed as is as a pretty easy chew that is not a risk for their teeth at all); their raw hooves are also excellent and very safe to feed. Indeed, their raw hooves are the only chew type product that I feel is actually safe to leave unattended. They are an excellent choice.


We love the raw hooves from! Great for stuffing, we often refer to them as “Nature’s Kong”.

I don’t know if you’ve considered it before, but for dental health/teeth cleaning, I have come to use the following cuts of meats because they are tough/chewy and/or gritty, yet boneless. They can really help clean teeth because of the texture of these muscle fibers, and make for a great chewing option for individuals that are not great candidates for eating whole bones, especially when you feed these cuts in big pieces and frozen:

– Tongue (beef, lamb)

– Cheeks (beef)

– Gizzards (turkey, chicken or duck)

– Beef tendons (special order)

Larger, more complicated bones such as whole duck carcass, whole turkey carcass, lamb heads, and even the lamb breasts or whole lamb necks — all make for nice recreational chewing options for medium/lg sized dogs while also being soft enough to not do damage to the teeth. Feeding these cuts whole/big (and frozen) is an extra trick to making them last longer, and have the animal spend more time on chewing, if needed.

You may also want to look at the oxtails (when available – they can be hard to come by) and bison tails — when whole and not cut into small rounds.  They are a nice option for older dogs, too.

Have you tried the Himalayan dog chews (it is a super hard cheese product made from yak milk)? None of my own dogs have liked them and they are expensive, but they are very popular with some dogs.  I like that they are clean and non-smelly/non-staining — it’s nice to just leave out and so they can chew when they feel the need.  Same goes for the antler chews — there are a number of options for these (deer, elk, etc.) and they have many of the same benefits for stability, being clean and non-staining/non-smelly.  (We don’t have them in stock, but we can order them for you, if you’d like.)

Lastly, our list of RMB feeding suggestions can be found here (it has lists for different circumstances for different dogs/cats — you may see something here that sounds good).

Regarding the tooth powder/dentifrice: Below please find my “go to” list of “Essential Oils to Avoid” that can be found in my favorite book on this topic, Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell. (Remember: ALL essential oils are unsafe for felines and should be avoided entirely)



Bitter Almond






Clove (although I make exceptions for very pure/exceptionally high quality, very diluted, for topical use in small amounts)

Crested Lavender




Hyssop (use decumbens variety only – OK)

Juniper (use Juniper Berry only – OK)





Red or White Thyme





Tea Tree






Her list is fairly conservative but I appreciate a cautionary approach when working with these substances because they are so concentrated and powerful. The risk of toxicity and how dramatically they can act upon the body is not something to be taken casually. She does not recommend EOs for internal use, so I’ll let you decide if you’d feel comfortable with EOs in a dentifrice.

Your question came at a good time as I JUST posted my recipe for tooth powder on our blog here.  As you can see, I use herbs rather than essential oils in my recipe; I think this is much safer while providing excellent benefits.

Lastly, the mention of the parsnip prompts me to just gently remind all readers to be very careful of dogs ingesting large pieces of hard root vegetables (sweet potato, for example – a common culprit in bowl obstructions that require surgical intervention to remove) as they can and do cause very serious obstructions. These foods are not digestible for dogs when raw and whole; they need to be cooked/mashed or ground finely/juiced in order to be digested by a dog’s system.  On this thread — I hope people reading also know that corn cobs are seriously deadly (if ingested); as are any large pits (like avocado seeds) – these pose a risk for possible obstruction.

Few Helpful Links: Here’s a pretty cool article about how to best proceed when faced with a foreign body ingestion situation with your dog and a blog post of someone sharing their story about their dog eating a corn cob (warning: it’s a very relevant story which I think would resonate with many readers, but unfortunately, she uses a lot of swear words throughout, which may offend some people. Fair warning made here, so you are aware of the language used before clicking though.

Hope this helps!  Here’s to gleaming fresh and healthy teeth/gums for Francisco!




Written by sfraw

May 4, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Kasie’s Re-Mineralizing, Healing Herbal Clay Tooth Powder for Dogs & Cats (DIY Guide)

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Photo by showing the dental benefits of a raw fed cat. This cat’s mouth looks just like many raw  fed cats — including my cat, Briar who is nearly 10 years old and has been raw fed since 4.5 weeks of age. Briar’s oral health (and overall health) is absolutely stunning!

Raw feeders know that most dogs & cats enjoy a lifetime of clean, healthy teeth & gums when fed a raw diet, and switching to a raw diet will always improve your pet’s dental health. It’s amazing how even very senior raw fed animals can enjoy absolutely beautiful, white teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath without a single dental procedure ever being done, not even at-home tooth brushing sessions!However, individual animals may experience stubborn/chronic dental/oral health problems despite their diet – we don’t know why this happens but theories include inherited or genetic factors; residual damage to their microbiome from antibiotic use or vaccine damage. Sometimes very ill, hospice and senior animals need assistance with gently improving their oral health situation, but are not good candidates for clinical dental procedures. This recipe was developed for these animals (and can be used by humans, too!). After you purchase and assemble the ingredients, it’s a breeze to prepare and stores well.

Give it a try and please, report back in the comments, as I’d love to hear how it works for you!

YES, of course! We carry/sell and will happily special order every single one of these ingredients for our members in whatever quantity you desire. If you are a SFRAW member, just give us a list of what you need and we’ll put your order together next time you stop in or send us your wish list via email (sfraw @ or give us a call (415-225-0589).


Kasie’s Re-Mineralizing, Healing Herbal Clay Tooth Powder for Dogs & Cats

TOOTH POWDER: Prepare in advance and store in a glass jar with a lid for up to 9-12 months (cool, dark, dry location).

WET INGREDIENTS: Prepare separately, at the time of tooth brushing. Store in refrigerator and use within a few days.

Choose 2-3 of the following, blended in equal parts/volume:

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (Nutribiotic)
  • Aloe Vera (organic, additive/preservative-free brands such as Lily of the Desert Preservative-Free Inner Fillet is 99% with citric acid or George’s 100%). Even better to grow your own and use fresh! Simply open up the inner leaf and scrape the flesh into a bowl/container for immediate use.
  • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Nutiva brand)
  • High quality organic cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • Melted truly pastured lard/fat (good selection from FatWorks)
  • Fermented cod liver oil/X-Factor butter oil (Green Pasture)
  • Raw goat milk yogurt/kefir or raw butter, unflavored/unsalted; cultured (if possible – local sources can be found here)


How to Make Tooth Powder:

Prep: all ingredients should be pre-ground or freshly ground into a fine powder before mixing.

Simply mix the ingredients together – mix well – and place in a Mason glass jar with a lid. You can make a big batch of this as it will last a very long time when stored properly.

How to Make Wet Ingredients:

First, make your mix of wet ingredients:

  • Select three wet ingredients to blend together. Grapefruit Seed Extract, Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil (melted or warmed) is my favorite combo; but you can create your own favorite blend of wet ingredients!

Make a small batch of the wet ingredients each time.

Measure out equal amounts of each ingredient and combine well. Set aside.

Wet ingredients are best for single use, or should be used within a few days; it all depends on the perishability of the ingredients you choose. For most blends, you can safely store a blend of wet ingredients in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

TIP: If you use the GSE, Aloe Vera & Coconut Oil blend you can combine with the powder to the consistency you choose (as is shown in the blue jars in above photo) and keep refrigerated for up to a month.

How to Use:

Wet toothbrush, dental sponge, cloth or Q-Tip with the wet ingredients (above).

Dip wetted brush/instrument into the tooth powder (take some out of the jar and place in a small dish or bowl to keep the remaining powder dry) and rub onto your animal’s gums & teeth, until teeth are clean.

Use daily, of as often as you’d like.

Humane, Stress-Free Handling:

Check out the following resources on how to make tooth brushing as stress-free an experience as possible for your animal:

Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines – International Cat Care

Pretzel Stick Dental Exams

Teeth Brushing: Teaching a Dog to Be Comfortable & Calm (video by Donna Hill)

Dental Care for Cats by Jean Hofve DVM

Remember that your goal here is to provide a healing service for the benefit of your animal. If the experience is stressful for them (and/or you), it is not beneficial for their overall health and not worth doing! You may have to get creative to develop a way to clean your cat or dog’s teeth without stress. Please do your best to find a method to makes tooth brushing a truly enjoyable and bonding experience for you and your animal.

Storing & Shelf Life:

The dry powder can be stored in a cool, dry location (like a cupboard or drawer); dry tooth powder will last for months, when stored properly. Wet ingredients are perishable and should be used within a few days.

Written by sfraw

April 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Satin Balls: Raw, Updated & Revised Version by SFRAW

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Satin Balls are a high fat/high calorie food additive/meatballs mixture that will put weight on and improve the skin/coat and muscle condition for dogs that have a problem maintaining weight. They are frequently used to give an added boost of nutrition/nutrients to:

  • lactating/whelping dogs & puppies failing to thrive
  • working/show dogs
  • undernourished/malnourished dogs
  • recovering from illness or injury that resulted in weight loss, muscle atophy/wasting, changes in coat condition
  • elders/seniors that have a hard time keeping weight on
  • rescued dogs arriving in poor condition


In 1996, a wonderful discussion list called Wellpet was born. Many of us early online adopters involved with raw feeding, holistic health & Natural Rearing were a part of the WellPet community; it was a great group of people the provided a wealth of knowledge through generous and kind sharing of useful information and enlightened discoveries.

One of the members, Diana Carreon, R.N.,C., developed a recipe she called Satin Balls to put weight on her own dogs and help support her dogs nutritionally in competition, breeding, and showing. You can find her original version here.


Photo: VA Rescue’s version of Satin Balls modeled after the original version. Most Satin Balls recipies include poor quality and problematic ingredients.

Satin Balls quickly “went viral” (though we didn’t really use this term yet back then!), and became incredibly popular among serious dog enthusiasts, groomers/trainers and holistic veterinarians. Since the original recipe was posted, there have been a lot of different versions developed by different people. Betty Lewis developed a version that was especially popular with a lot of the Great Dane people, for example. My own last version was done in 2003 – I called them Healthy Green Satin Balls.


Below are images of two rescued brothers, Houston and Dallas, rescued by Chain of Hope KC, as documented on their website: Their volunteers made lots and lots of Satin Balls to feed the rescued pups and they both experienced dramatic improvements in their health within a very short period of time. While other factors were involved in their journey to health (change in their environment; receiving loving foster and veterinary care for their ailments), this is the typical story of dramatic improvements for dogs put on a regime that includes Satin Balls.


My newly updated SFRAW version is *grain-free* and packed with super nutrition – the latest version is way more awesome! The ingredients are as follows:

  • Truly pastured regular fat ground beef
  • Truly pastured ground pork
  • Truly pastured egg yolks
  • Great Lakes pastured beef gelatin
  • Certified organic blackstrap molasses
  • Certified organic spirulina
  • Certified organic kelp
  • Certified organic dulse
  • Certified organic nettle leaf
  • Certified organic carob powder
  • Certified organic Nutiva red palm oil
  • Certified organic & 100% grass-finished whole fat yogurt
  • Certified organic sweet potato puree (cooked)
  • NOW brand bone meal powder
  • Certified organic rosehips powder

SFRAW Satin Balls – $2/each (available in packs of 4, 5 or 6/pack)


The ca:ph ratio has been properly balanced so you can feed these Satin Balls as stand alone meals safely (for periods of time, if needed). Or, simply add Satin Balls as a supplement to any balanced diet (without concern over tipping the nutritional balance of your menu/meals).

We made them into 3-4 oz. flattened balls that you can feed as is, or easily cut into smaller sizes to feed in a few days.

The ingredients are 100% raw, so keep in freezer and defrost as needed. Once defrosted, feed within 2-3 days.

We have them packaged with 4, 5 or 6 Satin Balls per bag; member price is $2.oo for each Satin Ball.


If you struggle to keep weight on your dog, or with achieving a gleaming healthy coat & strong nails, for any dog under your care, try Satin Balls!  This supplement will put weight on quickly; you should notice an improvement in their body composition in just a few days. Dogs on our Satin Ball supplement will enjoy gleaming beautiful coats; less shedding; stronger, healthier nails; improved joint and muscle condition, as well.

Satin Balls are an excellent high calorie/high fat whole food supplement for any hard working or breeding dogs, or dogs that have experienced undernourishment/malnourished for any reason (stress, poor diet, rescue or lactating) and need to get weight and improved body condition.


Satin Balls are not suitable for dogs currently in renal failure or prone to pancreatitis, yeast overgrowth or with allergies to beef/pork/eggs.

Written by sfraw

April 27, 2016 at 7:43 am

Posted in Nutrition, Products

Q & A: What Supplements Do You Recommend Adding To A Raw Diet??

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Wanted to share with our blog subscribers a fun conversation I had this week with one of our Facebook fans, Sergi Rodriguez‎. I thought this may be interesting to to others that may have the same question:
Q: “What supplements do you recommend adding to a raw diet. I know this may vary with age and specific issues related to different dogs but as a general rule what might you consider necessary? Thank you!”   – Sergi Rodriguez posted on the San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW) Facebook page

A: Hi Sergi — Thank you for your excellent question! We are big advocates of providing all the nutrients your dog/cat needs through fresh, whole foods as much as possible.

When you feed a variety of foods: predominantly lots of fresh heart/muscle meat, different cuts of different animals/bone-in with consumable bone; rotating between 3-4 different proteins, a variety of offal (5% liver + others, including green tripe – which should be fed up to no more than 30% of the diet) – this is a good start. These animal derived foods should always be the foundation/cornerstone of an ideal diet for dogs & cats.

However, I do find it beneficial and best/a big improvement to also include small amounts of the following:

  • nutritive herbs
  • small amount of seaweeds (dulse, kelp, wakame and others – I think adding kelp/dulse in small quantities is important, not optional)
  • raw ground or soaked/sprouted seeds (my favorites are pumpkin and sesame; you might like to use flax – if your dog is not allergic to flax),
  • raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (optional)

I think it is important to make good use of seasonal foods such as:

during the warm seasons:

  • raw goat milk
  • yogurt/kefir (from raw milk sources)
  • truly pastured eggs

during the cooler seasons:

  • properly prepared bone broth for added gelatin/minerals

FUR/FEATHERS: If your animal enjoys eating fur & feathers (whole prey), this is especially beneficial for insoluble fiber/prebiotic function and connective tissue.

LIVE INSECTS: Some cats (and even some dogs) enjoy added live feeder insects, for treats — such as crickets, mealworms, butterworms, the occasional moth, etc.

VEGGIES & FRUIT: In addition, or alternatively, you can add small amounts of pulped green veggies, over-ripe fruits – cats sometimes enjoy melon and dogs can truly love their green “smoothies” — these provide added fiber and is a great source of antioxidants, plus some minerals. Fermented vegetables is an excellent choice when prepared with limited quantities of mineral-rich, unrefined real salt.

When you feed a nice variety of whole foods, we don’t see the need for additional supplements, for healthy animals.

For example, instead of an EFA/fish oil supplement, we recommend feeding whole sardines, anchovies, and/or a good source of salmon (please read about how to feed this safely here) as part of the regular diet.

Alternatively, we make a nice “EFA supplement” that is a grind of various fish fillets, including salmon, called Seafood Medley that works nicely for adding in fish to the diet for the omega/EFA benefits.

We also make two EFA/beneficial fat supplements that are not fish based, White Gold & Red Gold — they are traditionally rendered truly grass-finished/pastured beef/pork fat: rich in CLA and omegas. Red Gold is this product boosted with the addition of fresh organic turmeric, organic black pepper and organic/unrefined Red Palm Oil for the added anti-inflammatory benefits and additional carotenes, Coenzyme Q10, and all of the forms of vitamin E. You can also make your own easily if you have a good source of truly pastured pork or beef fat.

Of course, individual needs will vary and you may need to use supplements to treat specific imbalances in an individual animal — some animals require more of some things or metabolize foods differently.

I don’t think probiotics or digestive enzymes are necessary, unless you have an animal with a condition that would benefit from the addition of these supplements.

If you have a hard time sourcing all these goodies, you can look to some nice whole food based supplements — for example, the “Whole Body” products made by Standard Process are nice.

These are my own standards and guidelines that I feel confident suggesting after feeding raw, advocating for raw and researching animal (& human) nutrition for over 25 years. I hope this helps! – Kasie Maxwell, Founder/Owner San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

Q: Yes, SUPER helpful!!! Thank you so much for that information!! I did see your recommendation of red palm oil somewhere else and I think I’ll be adding that to balance the Omega 3 oils. I’m currently feeding the pork mix with 30% fat, is this rich in omegas? Also what is CLA? One last question, for dogs who are sensitive to chicken meat, do they have the same sensitivities to chicken eggs? – Sergi Rodriguez

[Note: Sergi may be referring to our blog post about the use of Red Palm Oil here or about the importance of supplementing with vitamin E or vitamin E rich foods when feeding fish as a regular part of the diet here.]
A: Hi Sergi, Great questions!

First, we use/sell & recommend Nutiva brand organic Red Palm Oil — there are other good ones, too, but this brand is not harmful to the environment/wildlife or people/those working to provide this product.

Unfortunately, there are a number of Red Palm Oils that are produced in a manner that atrociously harms the local wildlife population (terrible harm to orangutans!) and ecosystem (though deforestation), as well as being involved with unfair labor practices. Nutiva’s Red Palm Oil is an excellent choice from a local company (to us) that has none of these risks or concerns involved, and the product is very high quality.

Yes, if you are feeding a pork mix from a truly pastured pork source (Marin Sun Farms products labeled as “green” for ruminants or “yellow” for non-ruminants, for example), then the fat will be rich in “good” fats/omegas: up to two to four times more of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals, up to five times more CLA, plus vitamin A, carotene, and vitamin E (meat from the pastured cattle is four times higher in vitamin E than conventionally raised cattle, for example).

As you may be aware, natural food source of Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant that is anti-aging, protective of cardiac diseases (in humans), and cancer (in all animals).

Pastured/grass-finished beef and pork fat/lard is also the second highest food source of natural vitamin D, just after cod liver oil. One tablespoon of lard contains approximately 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D – which is impressive – but this is not true with all lard/fat, only unrefined/minimally processed (traditional low-temperature rendering, for example) fat from truly pastured or grass-finished animals.

About CLA: meat (specifically beef) and dairy products from grass-fed ruminants are the richest known source of a specific type of fat called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture up until harvest/slaughter, their meat/fat contain from three to five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets. CLA is known for being protective against cancer – an obvious and very important benefit of feeding grass-finished/truly pastured meats & poultry! CLA is considered a beneficial fat because it has shown to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-atherogenic, anti-diabetagenic, immunomodulatory, apoptotic and osteosynthetic effects on the body. CLA has been linked to a reduction in asthma and food-induced allergic reactions – which is beneficial for dogs & cats that experience symptoms from food intolerances and allergies.

Interestingly, dogs/cats that are allergic to chicken are not necessarily allergic to chicken eggs. You would need to do a trial or diagnostic testing to determine if this is true or not for your individual dog. Also, some tolerate chicken great but are sensitive/intolerant to all eggs – you just never know how an individual is going to respond to a specific food (or food from specific sources). Fortunately, you can also try pastured duck eggs or even quail eggs, if you have a source for these. These are worth giving a trial with to see how your dog does. You can fed them raw, or slightly cook the egg whites, which I like to do since I am feeding multiple species and this works best for all involved. If you feed a lot of eggs, the yolks are nutritionally at their best fed raw, while the whites should be heated a bit because it deactivates/denatures a natural protein (avidin) found in the egg whites that binds tightly to the B-vitamin biotin and prevents its absorption. Biotin is important for a number of vital body systems (including healthy mental functioning/mood, skin and hair), so just be sure you are not overdoing it on the raw egg whites. Hope this helps!
Q: Wow! That’s a lot of great information. I honestly had no idea pastured/grass finished beef and pork contained all the nutrients you mentioned. Since pastured Beef and pork contain higher levels of vitamin E, do you recommend just a small amount of red palm oil? – Sergi Rodriguez
A: Yes, pastured/grass-finished meats, poultry, eggs & raw dairy should all be more nutrient dense when compared to commercially raised/handled products. This is just one of the many reasons why we are so committed to sourcing from these producers!

Yes, adding moderate amounts of the Red Palm Oil is still a good idea. Vitamin E is more abundant in these foods, but Red Palm Oil has a different/unique profile of nutrients, including additional forms of vitamin E. And, because you are relying on foods, rather than isolated or synthetically or naturally derived supplements, it is safe to use reasonable and moderate amounts in the diet for the added benefits these foods provide without the issue of hypervitaminosis.

Thank you sooooo much!!! – Sergi

You’re very welcome! – Kasie

Written by sfraw

March 30, 2016 at 5:18 am

Fresh Food Diets from SFRAW: Caleb’s Story

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Thrilled to revive an exciting and worthy project that I first started work on in 2005/2006 and then “put on the back-burner” in 2007. Yes, it’s been a while.


I am honored to post Caleb and Shirley’s story as our first in a series of SFRAW member profiles! We will be sharing their answers to a series of interview questions that reveal the inspirational stories and interesting, insightful experiences of feeding a fresh foods to their animals, and being involved with SFRAW.

PREFACE (my original email to the SFRAW members about this project from 2005):

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be the leader/organizer of a group with such a wonderfully diverse group of people. We’ve got cat people, dog people, breeders, rescuers (and many breeders that do rescue), pet professionals like groomers, walkers, trainers, veterinarians, those who provide care for a large number of animals through a sanctuary, people with one beloved animal, those who feed pre-made, home-cooked, kibble w/ some raw, BARF, Pitcairn, prey-model, old-pros, newbies, giant dogs, tiny dogs, and those who only pastured-grass fed meats for health/animal-welfare/environmental reasons – the variety seems endless and I just love it!

This diversity is something very unique to our group these days. The tolerance/acceptance we enjoy for each other’s very different diet/animal lifestyle choices here seems (regrettably) rare from reading through some of the other raw feeding groups/lists. Many of raw-feeding groups have become, quite frankly, very dogmatic and sectarian. I very much cherish the diversity of people we have as members of SFRAW (group hug moment – awww!), and all the different feeding (and animal lifestyles) styles represented here. I think it would be instructive and interesting to experience/share this diversity in the written form.

To this end, I’m thinking of putting together a SFRAW book titled, Fresh Food Diets from SFRAW. This title works for everyone since, while we all feed fresh foods, not everyone feeds raw – some of our members feed cooked meals, too! Our book will profile individual members; describing their experiences with feeding raw, what kinds of dogs/cats/other animals they feed, what foods they fed, give recipes, menus, describe their feeding style, etc. I am thinking of organizing the book by sections that feature each member with a photo (of the person and/or their animals) with a short bio, Q/A section, followed by a contribution of their choice that best explains what they feed – be it a recipe, menu, list of favorite foods, statement with images, whatever. <snip>

I look forward to hearing from those interested in working on such a project. It would be appropriate to discuss this project on the list – so please send responses to the list for public discussion. – Kasie Maxwell, 2005 SFRAW Yahoo Group message”



AFTER: “Like a different dog!” Dramatically improved weight and muscle gains; noticeable change to his demeanor (he feels GREAT and is full of joy and curiosity); incredible improvements to his coat condition. He now has an impressively thick, full, smooth, shiny, healthy coat with a (totally different!) gorgeous, rich color. No more bald spots or thinning, dry hair. Here Caleb is pictured with his mom, Shirley, visiting SFRAW on 2/27/2016 — so HAPPY & HEALTHY!

2-16-2016 photos 356

BEFORE: July 2015. Recently adopted photo shows Caleb before switching to raw. His condition was poor and as is typical of many rescues. Most common in Greyhounds is the bald or bare patches of fur along the flanks (“Bald Thigh Syndrome” or Canine follicular displaysia). He was also underweight, and the condition of his coat was thin/sparse, flaky, dry like straw, and dull. He didn’t feel good – while his sweet temperament always shone through; his vitality and energy were obviously depressed, especially compared to how he feels now!

2-16-2016 photos 358

BEFORE: Caleb was in poor condition before the change to his diet.


Your Name: Shirley
Your Business or Vocation: Finance Analyst 
Are you involved in animal sports/competition or animal welfare causes? If so, please describe. I have adopted two greyhounds from Golden State Greyhound Adoption and attend meet and greets to let potential adopters know what great pets these dogs make. There are so many myths surrounding this breed but when people discover they sleep most of the day, they are amazed.
Species of animals you feed SFRAW foods to: Dog
Number of mouths you feed: one
If under FOUR animals: gives names, ages, and breeds (if known): Caleb, 3 YRS, greyhound


AFTER: Caleb is so incredibly handsome. Just look at his excellent muscle tone; rich, velvety color; and dramatic improvements in his body composition and skin/coat condition!



When did you join SFRAW? July 2015

What are the benefits of being a SFRAW member? For me, not having to worry about where the product is coming from. Knowing Kasie has done the due diligence in ensuring the product was sustainably raised with the welfare of the animals in mind. Knowing the product does not contain hormones, antibiotics, and additives. Peace of mind.


When did you start feeding raw/home-prepared foods? I adopted him in July 2015 with the intention of feeding him raw.

Why did you change from commercial kibble/canned to a home-prepared or raw diet? With my last greyhound, I cooked her meals and fed her kibble. She developed allergies and died of osteosarcoma at age 8. I had thought of feeding her raw but was too intimidated. When I decided to adopt another greyhound, I knew I wasn’t going to cook for the dog and I didn’t want to feed commercial food. I had heard and read about SFRAW and a friend encouraged me to go and talk to someone there. Drew was manning the register that day and he was so laid back about the whole thing. I remember after my first mentoring session, I thought, I can’t do this and Drew said, “you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want.” I felt the pressure slip away when he said that. Then I went home and broke down the process to make it work for me.

2-16-2016 photos 420

AFTER: Just look at that incredibly thick, healthy coat — not a single hair missing anymore!

Where do you live (apartment, house, urban, suburban, rural)? We live in a house in San Francisco

Where do you feed your animals (crate, kennel, kitchen, placemat, outdoors)? That took some figuring out. I feed Caleb in the pantry which has a tiled floor. I lay down two pieces of cardboard (5’x5’) and a vinyl tablecloth (also 5’x5’) on top of the cardboard. He lays down on that to eat his RMB. I clean the tablecloth with vinegar when he is done. I initially used bleach but he will lick the tablecloth so I switched to vinegar.

Do you use dishes/bowls for serving meals in? His muscle meat formula is fed from a bowl.

How would you characterize your feeding style? RMBs in the AM and formula in the PM with healthy people snacks throughout the day (fruit, broiled salmon, etc.)

Please describe the changes you have made over the years/months in what you feed/how you feed it? I try to give Caleb different protein and cuts every day. I don’t want him to develop allergies to any proteins.



Describe, in detail, what you regularly feed to your animals:
a. Raw, cooked or both? Give percentages. He mainly eats all raw 100%. Sometimes I’ll give him a taste of cooked salmon, slice of cheese, etc but not enough to make a meal.

b. Do you ever feed kibbled or canned foods? In what capacity and how? I don’t keep dog kibble or canned dog food in the house so it’s raw or fast.

c. What types of muscle meat do you feed? Percentage/amt. muscle meat? He eats turkey, beef, and lamb muscle meat mixed in Kasie’s recipe. He eats RMB in the morning and muscle formula at night (55/45).

d. Which organs do you feed (including tripe)? Percentage/amt. organ meat? He eats tripe once a week. About a pound per meal. I will add liver or kidney in the formula mix if the muscle meat does not contain any organ meats.

e. Do you use any of the pre-made foods or pre-mixes? I started by purchasing the pre-made formulas then took two mentoring classes and have since mixed my own based on Kasie’s recipie.

f. Do you buy grass-fed, pastured, organic? If so, how frequently and why? If SFRAW is selling grass-fed, pastured, organic, then I am buying all of the above. I visit SFRAW weekly to pick up items b/c my freezer is too small but that’s going to change soon when I buy my big freezer.

g. Describe/list which cuts of bone you feed. Percentage/amt. bones? Lamb breast, duck wing, neck, head, feet, chicken back and feet, turkey neck, goat bones, salmon heads and fillet. I think 50-60% of his meal is RMB

h. Do you cut or grind bones, or feed them whole? I feed whole bones. Caleb is good about chewing although, he is a fast eater.

i. Do you feed:
 Grains (if so, which ones – cooked, soaked and how often)? no
 Eggs (how often)? I’ve read eggs are a great source of nutrients so will add some to his food but have not done so yet.
 Seafood? He eats salmon once a week and an anchovy or half a sardine every night except for the days he eats salmon
 Dairy (if so, raw or pasteurized, cow/goat, and how often)? I add raw goat milk to his vege mix and sometimes he will eat goat yogurt as a snack
 Herbs? I rotate the herbs on Kasie’s list in his formula. I add herbs depending on how Caleb is doing. If his stomach is gurgling, I’ll put in digestive healing herbs. If I think his skin/coat could use a boost, I’ll add skin healing herbs. I always add the anti-cancer herbs.
 Fruit? Bananas, apples, pears. Tried blueberries but he made a mess so no more unless I add into his formula.
 Veggies? Kale, chard, broccoli, parsley, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, beets, zucchini, yellow squash
 Nuts/Seeds? Almonds and walnuts for snack. I add flax seed, pumpkin seed, or sesame seed to his formula. 

[editor’s note about nuts: do not feed dogs macadamia nuts, but small quantities of high quality, fresh/never moldy, organic raw/unsalted walnuts and almonds are a-ok!]
 Functional foods (carob, seaweeds, coconut oil, spirulina, etc.)? Carob, brewer’s yeast, kelp, lecithin, dulse are all rotated into his formula.

Screenshot 2016-02-28 05.32.26

Example of Caleb’s menu for a month.


Please provide a typical week or month’s menu, or one of your primary recipes. Please see attached calendar (January 2015 feeding calendar)

Do you feed supplements? If so, which do you use and how often? No

Do any of your animals have health conditions requiring a particular diet? If so, what do they get that is different from the others. Nobody is on a special diet

Any challenges you have had with this diet? If so, what? How did you work through these challenges? Caleb chews his food and LOVES it. No problems so far except for fasting days; he does not like fasting days.

Anything else you want to add? Benefits you have seen with this diet, why you feed what you feed, etc.? I don’t know what I expected when I started feeding him raw, but I never expected his fur to come in so thick and soft although it doesn’t surprise me b/c that seems to be the common denominator of all the dogs fed on a good raw diet. He has no dander. His muscles have grown too. He’s definitely not the scrawny creature I adopted in July. Everyone has noticed the difference. He’s alert and happy. I’m really happy with this diet.

Look at Caleb now!!  What you don’t see in these images is how completely transformed he is as far as his energy: how happy and vibrant he now is — his energy has changed dramatically! Caleb is SO incredibly happy when he visits SFRAW — he has gone from being a bit reserved and clearly not feeling great/low energy; to a prancing, smiling dog — full of life and just bursting with joy. Now Caleb glows from the inside out!


AFTER: Caleb at the end of his visit at SFRAW on 2/27/2016. He didn’t want to go — he loves visiting and we love having him. He’s so full of joy and looks so good; Shirley has done an incredible job with him and we’re so happy to see this transformation.

This is our goal and we LOVE seeing success stories like this.  Thank you so much to Shirley and Caleb for sharing your inspiring story with us.  Our hope is that what you have shared here may resonate with a reader and they will be motivated to finally make a change for their animals sake – to feed them better and improve their lives!

Thank you!

NYT Blog: Organic Meat and Milk Higher in Healthful Fatty Acids

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Wanted to share this NYT post (Organic Meat and Milk Higher in Healthful Fatty Acids) about some new research regarding nutrients found in organic meat & milk vs. conventionally raised products.

Yes, thoughtful sourcing of meat & dairy does matter when it comes to nutrient density! We know this and this is why the meat and dairy products used in SFRAW products and what you will find for sale at SFRAW, meet higher standards and can be very different than your average grocery or meat market.

To learn more about how we carefully consider every ingredient we use and sell at SFRAW, check out the SFRAW Rating System. Put in place many years ago, this is how we determine, review and consider new vendors/suppliers and ingredients that we use and make available for you at SFRAW.

Sensitive animals (dogs/cats) do respond differently to meat & dairy raised in different ways (conventional vs organic vs truly pastured). I only wish they had distinguished between

 organic and truly pastured and/or grass-finished because there is a tremendous difference between these ranching methods and, I can only imagine, the nutrient profiles of the food produced through them.

Also, to consider: what breed of animals are they raising — heritage breeds or modern industrialized breeds? Then, there are distinguishing methods used at slaughter (is it humane/stress-free) and after slaughter — (air-chilled, dry-aged, non-irradiated and non-pasteurized, etc.)

We carefully consider all of this when we source meat and dairy products for SFRAW and I wonder how all of these different methods and influences compare when you consider the nutritional analysis and composition of the meat & dairy by the time it is consumed…?

More about SFRAW’s standards and sourcing can be found here:

Eat Wild

Food Issues

Raw Milk Vs. Pasteurized Milk – A Campaign for Real Milk

Heritage Animal Breeds and Heirloom Crop Varieties

Best Wishes for the Best Health Possible,


Written by sfraw

February 17, 2016 at 11:16 am

Posted in Producers

Rad Cat Turkey & Chicken Product Change & Our Position on HPP

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Pascalization, bridgmanization, or high pressure processing (HPP),[1] is a method of preserving and sterilizing food, in which a product is processed under very high pressure, leading to the inactivation of certain microorganisms and enzymes in the food.[2]  To learn more about HPP, we recommend reviewing this article on the subject by Wikipedia here.


Disappointed to learn, as of this month/Feb 2016, Rad Cat is now HPP-ing their poultry (chicken & turkey) flavors. We have discontinued the sale of these flavors due to this change. We will continue to sell their beef, lamb and venison flavors – which remain wholesome and unadulterated/are not HPP. We very much appreciate Rad Cat’s honesty and transparency in announcing this change to their processing and product handling.

SFRAW only sells wholesome, unadulterated, non-denatured (with the exception of the addition of ground fresh raw bone) and minimally (ground/frozen or traditional methods of fermentation or dehydration only) or un-processed whole foods & will never sell products that have been irradiated, microwaved, pasteurized, or high pressure pasteurized.

So far, only one container has the HPP information on it, and we will be returning this to our distributor. The remaining Rad Cat chicken & turkey inventory that we have on the shelves now is the last that we will sell.

To learn more about our stance on HPP, check out the following links. We concur with these assessments and have the same concerns against HPP foods. We stand firm on our position that HPP is it not safe and it is our opinion that HPP foods can no longer be considered “raw”, fresh or wholesome:

What is HPP High Pressure Processing | Safe for Dog and Cat Food?

Dogs Naturally Magazine The real reason Why Your Dog’s Food Isn’t Safe

HPP (and irradiation with more than just poultry/all meats) is a controversial topic amongst raw feeders but has, unfortunately, become common practice for almost all poultry products sold as “raw” pet foods & treats in the USA. Apparently, the industry concerns over common bacteria found in poultry outweighs a commitment to producing genuinely raw, unadulterated products. It’s too bad. But this is just so common now…most of the big companies are now on the HPP bandwagon and it is one of the reasons why we don’t sell many commercial pet products.

As a food purist and yes, an idealist, I personally just don’t think HPP is safe. I think that, like hydrogenation/transfats, pasteurizationirradiation, and other modern food processing technologies, we will eventually learn just how damaging HPP really is to the health of our animals (and us!), I’m pretty confident about that hunch…so you’ll find no HPP foods at SFRAW.

BACTERIAL/MICROBIAL CONERNS: If you have an animal that is immune compromised and considered at very high-risk for bacterial/microbial infection, we recommend and fully support the switch to a home-cooked diet. We are more than happy to make recommendations on how to do this safely and properly. It is our position that the loving preparation of home-cooked meals for your animals using high-quality, truly pastured/organic, fresh, wholesome ingredients is going to be much more health promoting and healing diet than any product adulterated by modern food processing techniques.


Written by sfraw

February 17, 2016 at 10:50 am

Posted in Nutrition, Producers


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