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What is cold-pressed dog food?

What is cold-pressed dog food?

Read time: 4 minutes

Answering your questions about the latest dry dog food craze

Perhaps you’ve been researching how to feed your dog a healthy diet, and you’ve come across cold-pressed dog food. Cold-pressed is becoming increasingly popular, but you may be wondering what cold-pressing means, and how it can help your dog.

I was once in your shoes too. I wanted to develop an affordable diet for dogs that offers all of the great benefits as raw, whilst being convenient. One of my biggest beliefs is that it’s important for pet parents to know how their dog’s food is prepared. I wanted to provide you with some information about cold-pressed dog food, and how the food can benefit your dog for the better.

What does cold-pressing mean?

The term ‘cold-pressed’ refers to how the food is made:

1. To begin, our natural, nutritious ingredients are chopped into small pieces and mixed with water. We use water as an aid to bind the ingredients together.

2. This mix is gently pressed into pellet moulds at low temperatures, without any steam. Pressing removes most of the water used to initially mix the ingredients together, so what’s left is delicious cold-pressed dog food!

Cold-pressed dog food can be compared to lots of today’s food and drink items, such as fresh juices or oils. To achieve juice or oil, fruits or seeds are placed in a large hydraulic press. The ingredients are pressed quickly to remove as much liquid as possible. Cold-pressing dog food uses the same method, except the liquid is discarded and the end product is kept. The end product in our case consists of the natural ingredients, which have been gently bound together to form a convenient, easy-to-feed and healthy food for dogs.

Because the ingredients are pressed at low, gentle temperatures (42-47°C), the important nutrients and oils are retained in the food. This means there’s no need to spray additional artificial vitamins and minerals onto the food, unlike with commercial dry food diets.

What are the benefits of cold-pressed food?

Feeding your dog a healthy, nutritious diet will help to improve their overall health and wellbeing in lots of ways!

Gentle on sensitive tummies

Firstly, because cold-pressing uses very low temperatures, the food maintains a high nutritional value. It’s suitable for dogs of all ages, from puppies 4 weeks of age onwards, to senior dogs. The process of cold-pressing reduces bacteria levels in the food, which makes it perfect for puppies with delicate tummies. Lastly, unlike commercial dry kibble, the absence of unnecessary fillers and bulking agents in our cold-pressed food means reduced risks of poor digestion.

Suitable for dogs of all ages

Ella’s cold-pressed is suitable for dogs of all ages, from puppies four weeks of age onwards, to senior dogs. The food softens quickly in water, making it easy to chew and digest. This means it’s perfect for new puppy teeth and older dogs who might be prone to dental issues.

Fresh & convenient

Cold-pressed food doesn’t require any special storage. The food is stable at room temperature and can be stored in your kitchen cabinet. We make all of our products fresh, in small batches and all of our food makes its way to your dog’s bowl within 1-2 months of manufacture.

Great for fussy dogs

Ella’s cold-pressed food contains high-quality, human-grade ingredients and is nutritionally superior to standard kibble. Its natural aromas and rich meaty flavours are enticing, improving palatability and making it perfect for fussy eaters.

Healthy skin & coat

Because the process of cold-pressing uses very low temperatures, the food retains high levels of natural omega and essential oils. These help to hydrate the skin barrier, which keeps the coat soft, healthy and glossy. A healthy coat and skin means less irritation and scratching! Cold-pressing also prevents free-radicals forming in the food, which can be known to damage a dog’s skin, coat and metabolism.

How does cold-pressed food compare to commercial dry dog food?

You might be wondering how cold-pressed food differs from kibble – and most importantly, how it is better. It is not just the manufacturing process that sets cold-pressed apart from kibble, but the ingredients that are used too.

Commercial dry dog food

Commercial dry dog food is extruded using extremely high temperatures and pressure to form a hard biscuit, typically referred to as ‘kibble’. The problem with commercial extruded dry dog food is that unfortunately, the high temperatures destroy the natural nutrients and proteins. This requires the essential vitamins and minerals to be artificially sprayed back onto the food at the end.

While dogs can survive on kibble, they cannot thrive and it can damage the immune system over time. Digestion can also be affected by dry kibble, as it can swell in the stomach and take hours to break down. Dogs with sensitive tummies might display digestion issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea when fed kibble, as their body struggles to digest it.

Ella’s cold-pressed

Ella’s cold-pressed food retains all of the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals which occur naturally in the nutritious ingredients. Because of this, there is no need to spray artificial vitamins onto the food at the end.

Cold-pressed food is very gentle on the stomach. It digests naturally by breaking down from the outside in, rather than swelling in the stomach. This can be visualised by placing kibble and cold-pressed in separate glasses of water, and watching how the food reacts and breaks down. You might notice that the kibble starts to swell in size and floats to the top, whereas cold-pressed will break down from the outside and settle at the bottom of the glass.

Cold-pressed food is nutritionally dense and packed with wholesome, healthy ingredients. The food has a larger ‘calorie-density’, which means less food is often needed to be fed compared to kibble.

Our protein sources are natural and UK-sourced. We do not use meat ‘meal’ which is often used in commercial kibble diets. Meat meal is a highly processed protein powder, usually consisting of unknown animal derivatives. It is extremely unhealthy and holds very little to no nutritional value.

Now’s the perfect time to upgrade your dog’s diet to Ella’s cold-pressed!

I hope this blog has offered some useful information about how cold-pressed dog food is made, and more importantly how nutrition can play a huge role in your dog’s overall wellbeing. I understand that not everyone is able to feed their dog a raw diet. That’s why I set out to create a cost-effective alternative that provides your dog with many of the same nutritional benefits as raw food.

It’s important to make sure that you research the best food for your dog. Every dog is different, and the requirements for one can be different to another’s. If you need any more advice, or if you have any questions about Ella’s cold-pressed food, you can reach out to me at

James & Ella x

James’ Top Tip

Some dogs have different nutritional requirements. For example a diet low in fat for Pancreatitis, or one lower in protein for Kidney disease. It’s therefore really important to always ask for advice from your vet before switching your dog’s diet.

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Festive foods your dog should avoid this Christmas

Festive foods your dog should avoid this Christmas

Read time: 5 minutes

It’s Christmas Thyme!

This time of year gives us the perfect excuse to come together, celebrate, and relax to that last straining hole on your belt. While there are plenty of tasty temptations on offer for us, we need to be wary of some types of food that our pets could come across.

Here is my guide, detailing the festive foods and drinks you should take extra caution with around your pets this Christmas. An emergency vet trip on Christmas day is the last thing you need!

Cheeses is the reason for the season: starters

It can be easy to forget about festive starters, left unattended on plates and low side tables, especially during the bustle of a Christmas afternoon. It’s common for snack-like bites to be available as starters, in order to make sure everyone has room for the roast dinner that is to come.

However, if there are dogs present in the household, it’s easy for them to snaffle any snacks which have been left out for people to graze on. Here are some common Christmas starters which could pose a risk to your dog if they get their paws on them!

  • Avocado: You may have heard that avocados are toxic to dogs. If a dog ingests all or even part of an avocado, it is likely that they will suffer from persin poisoning. Persin is the toxin present in avocados – with the pit and skin containing the largest amounts. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, which is often determined when a dog puts itself into a ‘praying’ position. If your Christmas meal plan contains avocado, make sure to keep the rubbish bin closed and dog-proof. Especially if disposing of avocado pits and skin.
  • Figs: Are you contemplating a delicious cheeseboard this Christmas? Perhaps accompanied by chutneys, jams, and figs? Figs aren’t technically poisonous to dogs, but they should still be kept out of reach of any sniffing noses. Figs contain ficin, which can be an irritant to some dogs. Their high fibre content can also cause diarrhoea, which is not what you want to be cleaning up on Christmas day!
  • Macadamia nuts: Though they’re a staple human snack during the Christmas season, it must be warned that macadamia nuts are not for canine consumption! If ingested, these little nuts can cause tremors, lethargy, a high temperature and stiffness.The symptoms can be much worse in smaller dogs and puppies, so it is essential to keep nuts out of reach of dogs at all times – especially naughty dogs like Inka, who will eat anything she can get her paws on!

So be good for goodness steak: the main course

The course everyone waits for, the roast dinner! Whether you have opted for ham, chicken or turkey – with steamy vegetables, scrummy yorkshire puds, cranberry sauce and lashings of gravy, this meal truly is worth the wait!

Although this iconic meal is delicious for us, there are parts of this dish that dogs should be kept away from, no matter how much they beg.

  • Stuffing: You might not think it at first, but stuffing can be toxic to dogs due to the onion content. Foods from the onion family should never be eaten by dogs; cooked or raw. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and eventually anaemia. Just one medium-sized onion would be enough to cause dangerous toxicity levels in a 20kg dog.
  • Gravy: Gravy tends to contain high levels of salt, which could lead to sodium ion poisoning in dogs. Symptoms of this can include vomiting, diarrhoea, depression and seizures, and would require emergency veterinary attention. If gravy is spilled on the floor, it should be mopped up quickly if there are any dogs around snooping for dropped food! A 5kg dog would only need to consume approximately 20g of salt to reach dangerous salt poisoning levels.
  • Cooked bones: Leftover bones from your roast can pose a real danger to dogs. They can easily splinter in the digestive tract, causing serious internal injuries. If you would like to treat your dog this Christmas to a tasty bone, opt to feed them a raw meaty bone to gnaw on. If you are able to source one from a local, organic butcher – even better!

‘Tis the season to be jelly: sweets and treats

Christmas is the perfect time of year for those with a sweet tooth! But as you probably know, most desserts should be kept away from dogs. This is especially important during the Christmas season, as festive treats contain some particularly dangerous ingredients for dogs.

  • Raisins and sultanas: In the UK, traditional seasonal desserts include Christmas cake, plum pudding and mince pies. However, these desserts must be kept out of reach from dogs, due to the toxicity of raisins, sultanas and alcohol. Raisins and sultanas are extremely poisonous to dogs, and can cause kidney failure if ingested even in small amounts. Only a few raisins or sultanas per kg of body weight can cause dangerous toxicity levels in dogs! It’s important to seek urgent veterinary attention if you suspect raisin poisoning in your dog. I definitely learnt this the hard way during Christmas Eve 2018, when Mabel found the Christmas cake that had been soaking in rum for six weeks! That was a fun trip to the vets…
  • Chocolate: Chocolate is plentiful during the Christmas period, but it must be kept away from pesky paws! Chocolate (especially dark) contains a toxic chemical called theobromine. It can cause vomiting, hyperactivity and seizures. Anything containing chocolate should not be easily accessible to dogs, such as in wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree!
  • Artificial sweetener: Several festive treats include the artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause symptoms such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), vomiting and liver failure. Common xylitol-containing foods can include pudding cups, ice cream, fat-free greek yoghurt and a common dog favourite, peanut butter. My dogs love peanut butter, but I make sure to only treat them with dog-friendly peanut butter, to avoid xylitol!

Have yourself a bloody mary Christmas: the beverages

Social festivities tend to come hand in hand with drinking, whether alcoholic or not. It can be easy to leave drinks unattended during Christmas gatherings. Extra care should be taken to avoid dogs gaining access to festive drinks, which could cause them harm.

  • Alcohol: It goes without saying that alcohol is toxic to dogs, but do you know which signs to look for in your dog which could indicate alcohol poisoning? Ethanol toxicosis can produce symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, seizures, depression and lethargy. Most dogs will start to show symptoms within an hour of ingesting alcohol. It is therefore crucial that they are taken to a vet if you suspect they have lapped up a few mouthfuls of your Christmas cocktail!
  • Caffeinated drinks: We know how exhausting the festive period can be! Sometimes all we want to do is sit back with a hot tea or coffee and relax. Be careful not to leave your hot drink unattended if your dog is around. Caffeine is toxic to dogs, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, excessive thirst and urination. It would take approximately four teaspoons of instant coffee to be fatal for a 2-3kg dog or puppy, but it’s best to keep caffeinated drinks out of reach of all dogs.

The final sleigh

Hopefully this blog has been helpful in listing some of the common foods that your dog should avoid this Christmas. It’s important to note that for many of these foods, smaller breeds and puppies are at a higher risk due to their weight and size. Whereas larger dogs are able to metabolise toxins in larger volumes.

That said, the severity of the side effects depends on the toxin consumed, the size of your dog, and how much has been consumed. In the event of your dog ingesting anything toxic, contact your vet immediately.

If you feel like treating your dog this Christmas, my new Limited Edition turkey treats are the perfect healthy snack this season. With added cranberry for extra festive flavour and antioxidants!

I wish you and your dogs a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

James & Ella x

James’ Top Tip

Don’t forget it’s not just foods that can pose a risk to your dog this Christmas! Make sure other dangerous festive items such as fairy lights are secured and out of harm’s way. Keep any poisonous seasonal plants up high, and ensure chewable plastic decorations are out of reach from wandering paws!

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How many treats should you feed your dog?

How many treats should you feed your dog?

Read time: 4 minutes

A detailed guide on how many treats your dog is allowed to eat

Treats are more than just a tasty snack for your dog; they make an excellent tool for training and reinforcing good behaviour. As a dog owner, I understand how tempting it is to indulge your dog with all the treats they desire. However, there are guidelines to follow when doing so, to ensure you’re not overfeeding or encouraging bad behaviour.  

Here’s my advice on giving your puppy or dog treats, whilst keeping things healthy and fun for them!

Navigating the 10% rule

If you’ve not heard of it already, the 10% rule is the best rule to follow when treating your dog. The 10% rule means your dog’s treats per day allowance should take up no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.

To work this out, it’s useful to know the number of calories you should be feeding your dog per day. These can be provided by your pet food’s manufacturer or found on the back of all dog food packaging. Then, work out the calories per gram of your chosen treats. Make sure that on any given day, you are never feeding treats worth more than 10% of your dog’s overall calorie count.

If you’re unsure of the calories your dog will need a day for a healthy weight, contact your vet for advice. The 10% rule is to prevent overfeeding your dog. You don’t want them to become greedy either!

Factors that influence your dog’s treat allowance

Despite the 10% rule, there are many other elements that play a part when figuring out your dog’s daily portion of treats.

Firstly, is your dog of a healthy weight and body condition for their age and breed? If your dog is overweight, you should speak to your vet about a weight loss plan before considering treat allowances.

The activity level of your dog can make a difference to how many treats they are allowed.

  • If your dog is considered a high-energy breed and enjoys regular exercise, you can safely feed them up to their 10% treat allowance. 
  • If your dog is overweight or prefers to snooze on the sofa all day, you should be cautious of how often you’re treating them.
  • If your dog is within their ideal weight range, including their allowance of treats, then you have definitely mastered the perfect balance of treats! 

It’s important not to overfeed treats, as it can easily be done. This is really important for fussy dogs too, as they may be less likely to eat their staple diet at meal time. Treats shouldn’t be a replacement for a complete meal, and of course too many treats can contribute to weight gain.

What about puppies?

When you first take a puppy home, you are limited with the treats you can give them. Some pet food manufacturers make treats that are only suitable for puppies aged four months and older. It’s advised to research the best treats for your puppy prior to training.

You don’t want to spoil your puppy with high reward training treats too soon, as they may turn their nose up at their own food! This can happen with dogs at any point in their lives; I would recommend using small pieces of your puppy’s food as their reward, and then incorporating treats further down the line.

Using natural treats for your puppy, adds nutritional value to your dog’s diet. There are so many nutritious fruits and vegetables that are beneficial for puppies.

Training and rewarding good behaviour

I give my dogs treats in moderation, usually only when training. When Nala was a puppy, I certainly used more treats than I do now, because food is such an effective incentive for puppy training. 

Whenever you treat your dog, it should always be for good behaviour. Giving a “sit” or “stay” command before the treat is given will help to reiterate the expectations you have of them. I always like to make sure my dogs are showcasing calm behaviour before treating them.

If you’re using treats consistently, it’s a better idea to instead use a portion of their regular daily food intake. For example, I might take 10% of Nala’s freeze-dried raw nuggets and use this when working on recall or heel training with her. This would ensure I wasn’t overfeeding her with additional treats.

Read the packaging  

The label is where you’ll find the ingredients that make up your treats. The main things to watch out for are fillers, grains, preservatives, sugar and colourings. Always double check; your dog will thank you.

If you’re unsure about what to choose for tasty and healthy dog treats, then James’ Treats are a good place to start. The air-dried chicken, game or fish flavours are all locally sourced and made with human grade ingredients. They are also suitable for puppies; I have them to thank for Nala’s impeccable behaviour!

Bonding time is the best treat of all

You want to make sure you’re rewarding your dog for the right reasons with high-value, healthy treats. This is so the treats aren’t only valuable in terms of training, but to your dog’s wellbeing too! Using the correct amount of treats along with your dog’s food will ensure they are healthy and happy.

Treats are exactly that: treats. They can be used and given to help aid your dog’s happiness and support their training. However, it’s important to use them in moderation, and also treat your dogs with love and attention to show praise and reward. 

The healthiest treat I could ever give my dogs is my attention, love and affection. Playing with them, walking them and bonding with them are all things that treats can’t replace. With busy lifestyles, it can be easy to spoil them with treats to make up for lost time with our pets. But attention, love and affection are the best low calorie treats you can give to your dog.

Hi, I’m James, founder of Ella & Co.

I’m on a mission to make my dogs lives as happy and as healthy as they make mine. At Ella & Co this means feeding them the best possible diet.

Join me and my pack today!

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Dry vs raw dog food

Dry vs raw dog food

Read time: 5.5 minutes

Exploring different types of dog food

The world of dog food can seem confusing when you’re overwhelmed with conflicting information on what’s best for your dog. It’s a highly debated and contentious topic that affects current and prospective dog owners. Finding the perfect food for my dogs was certainly not a straightforward experience.

For many decades, there was only one choice of commercial dog food; mass-produced as a dry extruded kibble. This is still the staple diet for many domestic dogs today. 

The number of people welcoming dogs into their family is growing more than ever. This in turn has led to a huge (and long-awaited) expansion of the dog food industry. Now there are more variations of dog food than ever before. Here’s my take on dry vs raw dog food and how to choose the best high-quality diet for your dog.

Why did I change my dog’s diet?

I’ve been on a long and challenging journey with my dog’s diet. It’s been a tricky path to navigate; not knowing what’s best for them, but wanting to do all I can to give them the best. I used to believe I was feeding the highest quality food, without even knowing how to read a dog food label properly.

Researching my dogs’ food was a learning curve for me, like many others who take this journey. Discovering raw food and finding how to balance my dogs’ nutrition was the biggest aha moment for me. After everything my dogs have done for me, I’m doing all I can to pay them back. For me, the best way I can do this is through their diet.

What is dry dog food?

Historically, the most popular form of commercial pet foods has been dry food, due to its accessibility, price and convenience. These processed foods, which became prolific in the 1960s thanks to mass production, tend to favour convenience over nutrition. 

Dry dog food is typically served in the form of kibble, as the food is extruded in the cooking process. Extrusion is a process that uses heat and extremely high pressure to create what is usually a disc-shaped biscuit. 

It’s not so clear-cut on what industry standard kibble actually consists of. It’s when we look closer that we start to realise the reality of the ingredients hidden inside. As the commercial pet food market started to boom, so too did health problems in dogs. Obesity rates, ear infections and cancer all skyrocketed like they never had before. 

Weighing up the pros and cons of kibble

There are advantages and disadvantages to feeding your dog a kibble diet. 

Kibble generally comes at a low cost, with no preparation required. It can be stored at room temperature with a low risk of salmonella, due to the extreme heat used in the extrusion process. It can be bought in bulk and is usually suitable for all dog’s life stages.

Despite these conveniences, unfortunately, most manufacturers display a lack of quality ingredients and use grains, cereals, soya and other cheap derivatives. These filler ingredients may cause bloating, loose stools, and some are even known carcinogens.

Kibble also typically has a low shelf life of around one year. It can become stale and bland if the bag is left unsealed.

There are a number of independent kibble brands that produce a top quality product, with great care and consideration. There are many more that care little about our dog’s health and wellbeing, compromising nutritional value for profit. Larger corporations have even been known to subsidise veterinarian training or offer commission to recommend their food in veterinary practices. In the pet food industry, this is essentially “buying” a Vet-approved sticker.

What is raw dog food?

Dogs are descendants of wolves, sharing 99% of their DNA with them. Wolves and dogs alike have survived for thousands of years on a raw diet, consisting of muscle meat, organs, bones and other scavenged foods such as fruits and vegetables. It’s referred to as a “species-specific” diet; meaning it is the natural diet chosen in the wild, in order for a pack to thrive. This is why many owners choose to feed their dogs raw food diets.

Raw dog food gives me full oversight on what ingredients are implemented into my dog’s diet. There’s no question of my dogs eating harmful fillers or ingredients, in turn damaging their digestive systems in the long term. Feeding a raw diet is fast becoming a global trend among educated pet owners, looking to improve their dog’s health through nutrition.

Why I love raw feeding

The immediate effect of raw feeding my dogs was undeniable. I noticed glossier coats, brighter eyes, fewer stomach issues and the best part: much healthier poo. There is a multitude of other benefits of raw food including healthy white teeth, meaning fewer vet bills for dental work!

Obesity is less likely with a raw food diet, since it contains only healthy fats and slow-release carbohydrates. It can also help reduce bladder stones and improve urinary tract health through vitamins and minerals.

What are my options?

The variations of raw dog food diets are fresh, frozen and freeze-dried raw. 

Fresh or frozen raw dog food diets can either be homemade or bought commercially as prepared raw foods. If you’re feeding your dog fresh raw food from scratch, you need to ensure you’ve researched the ingredients and the diet plan is vet-approved.

Fresh or frozen raw dog food has been known to pose issues such as potential salmonella if it isn’t prepared safely, just like with raw human food. It can also be costly to continually buy fresh ingredients for your dog, especially when raw ingredients won’t last long unless frozen. You’ll need to consider these costs within your monthly food budget.

Maintaining a raw diet can be a lot of hassle and feel overwhelming. This is why freeze-dried raw dog food is considered a pioneering innovation in the pet food industry.

Freeze-dried raw dog food has a much lower risk of contamination and food spoiling. It can be stored at room temperature and has a shelf life of 3 years. The ingredients of freeze-dried food create a complete and balanced diet. 

Freeze-dried raw dog food is a fantastic alternative to fresh or frozen raw. Your dog will obtain all the goodness they need in their diet, with minimal preparation or fussy storage requirements! My dogs have been eating freeze-dried raw food for many years.

Make an informed decision

Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages to feeding your dog either dry food or raw food. With either option, you need to make sure your dog is receiving the perfect balance of nutrition from all desired food groups. I would recommend discussing your chosen food with a pet nutritionist, to be certain of its benefits to your dog’s health. You could also choose to research your dog’s diet on All About Dog Food, a leading independent dog food rating website. 

Although some food choices may cost more than others, quality food makes up for this in the nourishment they provide for your dog. There are many benefits to raw feeding; it’s time to move forward from the dry kibble lifestyle. My mission for my own dogs is to do everything I can to make them happy and healthy, and I want to share that with you too.

Ready to change up your dog’s diet to raw? Read my beginner’s guide to raw food for dogs.

Hi, I’m James, founder of Ella & Co.

I’m on a mission to make my dogs lives as happy and as healthy as they make mine. At Ella & Co this means feeding them the best possible diet.

Join me and my pack today!

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How to start feeding your dog raw food

How to start feeding your dog raw food

Read time: 6 minutes

A beginner’s guide on transitioning your dog to a raw diet

Being a responsible dog parent means investing in your dog’s health, and doing this through nutrition is key to their overall wellbeing. I believe the best thing you can do for your dog is feed them the best possible diet. For me, this means feeding a raw diet.

Dogs need meat, vegetables and fruit; and that’s what you get with a complete raw dog food. They don’t need cereals, grains and other fillers that we so often see in kibble diets.

Feeding your dog raw meals for the first time can be a little daunting though. This is why I wanted to put together a beginner’s guide on how to start feeding your dog a raw food diet. You won’t be disappointed with the results! Expect happier dogs, fewer trips to the vet, and a thriving pack, just like mine.

Why raw food?

After extensive research, I felt my dogs deserved more from the food they ate. Our switch to raw changed their lives for the better; both physically and mentally.

Within days of changing their food, my dogs had brighter eyes, shiner coats and their tummy troubles cleared up. They were also more eager for meal times, had sustained energy levels, and best of all – much healthier poo!

Feeding your dog raw food has a plethora of benefits and allows them to more easily absorb a variety of nutrients through their food. It offers a healthy balance of fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals; each of which serve a purpose to support your dog’s health.

  • Crude fat, such as those found in chicken fat or oil, cover all fatty acids. These contain all of the amino acids and oils necessary for your dog’s skin, coat and joint health.
  • Healthy carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, are an excellent form of slow-release energy, giving your dog sustained energy levels.
  • Vitamins A, C and D, found in fruit and veg, provide antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system, muscle, bone and cognitive health.

You can truly see a happier and healthier dog when changing to raw food; I know I did with my pack.

Changing your dog’s diet

Many raw feeding advocates believe most dogs should be able to stomach an immediate switch to raw, since it is their natural diet. However, it is my belief that any new diet should be slowly introduced to your dogs. If dogs are transitioned onto new food too quickly, it could lead to stomach upset. To avoid this, a gradual change over 7-10 days is the best way to swap over your dog’s food.

Start off by adding small quantities of the new dog food to the current food. Increase the quantity until you have a full ratio of the new food. You could also choose to alternate meals between their original food and the new raw food.

If your dog has a particularly sensitive stomach, it’s best to make this process steady and gradual. You want to avoid further stomach upset or loose stools!

You might notice that your dog will start to turn their nose up at their old diet during this transition period. This is due to the new diet’s stronger smell and better taste. I noticed immediately that my dogs preferred their new raw diet; and I’m sure you will, too!

Fresh raw: making your own

My first experience with home raw feeding, though challenging, was also a lot of fun. However, it involves plenty of research and can be very time-consuming. 

I found that maintaining a balanced and healthy diet was the trickiest part. It takes a lot of ingredients and care to produce a diet that contains the correct nutrients for your dog. Some pet parents I speak to worry they won’t get this right and can find it overwhelming. 

Raw feeding, such as BARF (​​Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods), follows a golden ratio rule; but this can often be confusing. The ratios of what to do best can change, with more research coming out every year to support home raw feeding. Currently the best practice recommended is 64:8:8:20: meat; bones; offal; veg and fruit, respectively.

When incorporating fresh raw muscle meat into your dog’s diet, it’s best to stick to one type of protein. This is until your dog is fully accustomed to eating raw; after which it’s a good idea to offer multiple sources of protein. Beef, lamb, chicken and pork can be used and you can source mince too. I would recommend you research the best types of raw protein for your dog based on their age, breed, weight, and specific dietary needs. 

Raw meaty bones (or RMBs) are a crucial component of a balanced homemade raw diet. It is best to find the most appropriate edible bones according to your dog’s size. I find that my cocker spaniels love goat knuckle bones; whereas Mabel, my golden retriever, is better suited to a tasty lamb rib.

My dogs absolutely love offal, or organ meats, such as kidney, liver and spleen. They play a very important role in raw food too. Secreting organs are a nutrient rich protein, containing many amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Not only is it nutritionally rich, but offal often gets wasted as a byproduct, which is such a shame. 

Raw fruit and vegetables have incredible antioxidant benefits, and they help to grow good gut bacteria. This helps maintain bowel regularity (that’s the healthy poo I was talking about!) However, it’s important to feed your dog fruit in moderation, as excess sugar can lead to tummy upsets or inflammation. 

To create fresh food BARF diets from scratch yourself requires a lot of research, and also lots of passion. I would always advise you to speak with a vet or a qualified dog nutritionist to create a carefully balanced diet.

Frozen raw: buying complete food

For beginners, nutritionists recommend buying a complete raw food. This means it’s premade and already balanced with all the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to thrive.

There are plenty of complete raw food brands available on the market, but I’d recommend checking your local community groups first. There are often excellent boutique raw food suppliers, who collaborate with your local butcher or grocer to source high quality ingredients. Not only will buying locally ensure you’re supporting these local businesses, but it will also reduce your carbon pawprint.

Most commercial raw food comes in frozen packets with daily serving suggestions for both puppies and adult dogs. You need to thaw and use the food within specific time frames. Because of this, ensure you have a freezer to store it in. Keep the raw food on a designated shelf in the refrigerator whilst thawing, so you know there’s no risk of contamination. 

Freeze-dried raw: a new breed of pet food

I became frustrated with the inconveniences of home-prepping fresh raw diets, and the enormous amount of freezer space needed for frozen raw. This is why I looked for an alternative, which brought me to freeze-dried raw food. I started my journey to give my dogs the very best in dog nutrition, without the hassles of conventional raw food.

Freeze-dried raw dog food is a more convenient option to feeding your dog conventional raw, with minimal fuss or preparation. It’s made with human grade ingredients from all vital food groups; just like regular raw food.

The process of making freeze-dried raw dog food involves the extraction of all moisture in a vacuum chamber – with no exposure to heat. The removal of liquid lowers the risk of bacterial contamination, but crucially, the food remains microbiologically raw. 

Freeze-dried raw food is extremely lightweight, making it much more convenient compared to hefty bags of dry food. Since it is room temperature stable, it doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated or frozen and requires no preparation. This is ideal for bringing your dog’s food with you anywhere, especially if you’re looking to take them on holiday! This is why I love it for my dogs: it provides all the goodness of raw, with the convenience of a kibble.

It’s the perfect solution for anyone unsure of how to make the switch to feeding their dog a raw diet.

In conclusion

The key points to remember when starting your dog on a raw diet:

  • Always introduce new food slowly so they can become accustomed to it.
  • Always refer to feeding guidelines for your dog’s weight and age.
  • Follow the appropriate storage instructions and maintain a high level of hygiene.
  • Always maintain correct ratios and nutritional balance.

Following these steps will ensure that your dog loves their new food. You will start to see the positive changes to their health, just like I did with my own dogs! You won’t miss that old kibble diet once you start seeing a healthier, happier dog.

Hi, I’m James, founder of Ella & Co.

I’m on a mission to make my dogs lives as happy and as healthy as they make mine. At Ella & Co this means feeding them the best possible diet.

Join me and my pack today!

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Guide to storing dog food

Guide to storing dog food

Read time: 4 minutes

The glamorous world of storage requirements for dog food

Navigating the vast abundance of different dog foods can be tricky, especially when it comes to appropriate pet food storage. I know, like many other pet owners, that I’ve wasted food for my dogs in the past by neglecting proper storage requirements. 

There’s a great variety of dog food to choose from: frozen raw, freeze-dried raw, dry, canned or home-cooked food. As each type of dog food is made differently, there are specific ways on how to store each food type to guarantee the freshness is preserved and you are safely handling your dog’s food. 

Researching the best ways to store pet food might not seem glamorous, but it could be the difference between a healthy dog and a sick dog. It’s something that plenty of pet parents often overlook. Efficient dog food storage keeps it tasty and fresh; keeping your dog healthy and happy!

Raw Dog Food

Raw dog food is available most commonly in the form of frozen and freeze-dried, each with varied storage requirements.

When feeding your dog frozen raw, it must be properly stored to prevent harmful bacteria breeding. This is whether the raw food is bought as a complete food, or if you’re making your dog’s raw diet from scratch. The best way to store raw pet food is to put it in the freezer as soon as you bring it home. For my pack of six dogs, this would mean clearing out half my freezer space, but it’s the best way to ensure the food stays fresh.

Make sure frozen raw is completely thawed prior to serving it to your dog. Defrost raw dog food in the fridge, in a seal-lock storage bag. If you’re planning to go on holiday with your dog, ensure your accommodation has the appropriate facilities to store your dog’s frozen foods correctly. 

Freeze-dried raw dog food

The main difference between frozen raw dog food and freeze-dried raw dog food, is that freeze-dried raw contains all the goodness of frozen raw food, but requires no freezing or refrigeration! This was the biggest factor for me when looking for an alternative to standard raw food. It is also lightweight and easy to travel with, which is why it’s the best food for me and my pack.

Freeze-dried raw food is ideal for picky dogs who may not like the texture of traditional raw food. It’s also perfect for dog owners who are new to raw diets, since the food is complete and balanced. Your dog will get all the nutrients they need through the nugget-shaped freeze-dried food.

Whilst freeze-dried dog food is technically raw, it has a fantastic shelf life as it can last for years. This is due to its unique method of removing 98% of the moisture from the food. Freezing raw food keeps the water content still, whereas freeze-drying removes it!

Once opening your bag of freeze-dried raw food, it is advised to keep the food in the original zip-locked storage bag, or in an airtight container to maintain the flavour of the food and to prevent it becoming stale.

For any kind of raw dog food, all utensils used for preparation and serving must be thoroughly sanitised afterwards. This includes washing your hands and surfaces that have come into contact with raw food. Remember to always check the best before date as this may vary depending on the product.

Dry and canned dog food

Dry dog food, like kibble or cold-pressed, doesn’t need to be frozen or refrigerated the way conventional raw food does and can be stored at room temperature. Make sure your dry dog food bag is stored in a cool, dry and dark place. Too much moisture can lead to mold, and exposure to air can lead to oils becoming rancid. If dry dog food is stored incorrectly, it can impair its flavour and potentially cause stomach upset if eaten.

Canned dog food should be consumed soon after opening it to avoid it spoiling and being unsafe to eat. Once opened, the food needs to be kept refrigerated and consumed within the given timeframe. You can buy plastic lids or use plastic wrap to cover the food whilst it’s in the fridge to keep it fresh and prevent odour escaping.

Home-cooked food

Some dogs may prefer a home-cooked meal, which can also be rich with nutrients! The same rules apply; home-cooked food still needs to be stored appropriately. If you’re making your dog’s food in batches, you can keep it refrigerated for up to three days in plastic bags or containers. 

Always ensure cooked food is cool all the way through before refrigerating. Any heat left in the food can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

You might choose to meal-prep your home-cooked food to save time. You can then freeze it in portions in dated containers or freezer safe storage bags.

A handy way of ensuring your dog is receiving the correct portions of food is by signing up to a monthly subscription service tailored to your dog. This saves you time on meal preparation, making mealtimes seamless for you too! 

Keep it fresh and tasty!

No matter what type of dog food you wish to incorporate in your dog’s diet, it’s important to keep the food in a cool spot away from direct sunlight, keep it fresh, and always check the expiry date. Even if the food looks or smells normal, it can be dangerous to feed your dog any food that has exceeded its use by date.

By following correct storage instructions, you’ll not only ensure the food is safe to consume (and tasty!) but it also means less wastage and one happy pup.

Hi, I’m James, founder of Ella & Co.

I’m on a mission to make my dogs lives as happy and as healthy as they make mine. At Ella & Co this means feeding them the best possible diet.

Join me and my pack today!

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