When we launched CDK9 Raw over 2 years ago, the raw feeding movement in Australia was still in its infancy.
There were so many misconceptions around what dogs need in their diet and the traditional Pet Food Industry had a lot to do with this.
While we took a leap of faith opening this lil' business, as long-time raw feeders the benefits were already clear to us. We also recognised that the tide was changing and people were questioning existing industry standards, practices and products.
Our mission then and still now is stronger than ever: to drive this change through education and products backed by leading nutritional and scientific research. Basically to help you build happier, healthier dogs!
As we’ve grown from our (modest!) first delivery in Sydney to weekly deliveries in over 795 postcodes across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, we’ve resolved to never lose sight of why we started on this journey.
We’ve continued to test, research and strive to do better for our four-legged friends, which now include the felines as well as the canines!
We’ve also continued to bring you all the latest information, flagged the many food scandals that have arisen and taken a look into what some would call the dark arts of the commercial pet food industry.
With the New Year kicking off then, it seems fitting that a little over two years after we published our very first blog, that we revisit the very same question we posed at that time:
Why Feed Raw?
It's what they were meant to eat!
This is the most convincing argument for raw feeding: it’s simply how dogs are designed to eat.
This one is such a kicker as unless you've done a little reading before, A LOT of Australians are unsure whether raw meat is even safe to feed dogs.
The amazing thing is that despite visual changes, as dogs have evolved from their wild counterparts - wolves, biologically they have remained almost identical!
Their gastrointestinal tract and gut flora are specifically formulated for the digestion of raw meat. Their digestive systems are more elastic and higher in acidity than ours, which means they break down proteins and fat in a completely different way. Added to that is a jaw structure and chewing technique that is typical to a carnivore.
All of this put together means highly processed dry kibble and cans of heat-treated slop are not going to lead to the best health outcomes for your pup. The same applies to cats.
Kibble, in particular, has long been linked to a whole range of health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Allergies (skin & digestive)
- Early-onset arthritis
- Tooth decay
One of the best aspects of our journey so far has been the feedback we’ve received from so many customers who changed from commercial pet foods to a raw diet.
We've had the pleasure of delivering to thousands of customers over the last two years. And time and time again, we hear stories of how our food has transformed the health and wellbeing of dogs and cats alike.
What people are seeing includes:
- Improved and more consistent energy levels (in both young and older pets)
- Skin and digestive issues clearing up
- Calmer disposition in previously hyperactive animals
- Reduction in inflammation and improved mobility
- Fussy eaters discovering an appetite…
The list has gone on and on.
One of our favourites, though, has to be:
- Better puppy cuddles because of less stinky breath!
Thousands of people have seen the results for themselves and it’s something we’re immensely proud of.
It's also a matter of trust
When we wrote those very first blogs, the Melamine contamination was perhaps the most prominent commercial food-related issue in peoples’ minds. This lead to the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats across North America, South Africa and Europe.
We speculated at the time that, with such poor industry practices, it was only a matter of time before something similar hit us here in Australia.
Unfortunately, we were correct. (We really didn't want to be right about this one!).
Since then, there have been a succession of recalls, illnesses and even deaths in Australia due to contaminated foods - and from the biggest and most well-known companies. These include, but are not limited to:
- More than 70 confirmed cases of megaesophagus from the consumption of Mars’ Advance Dermocare brand, including members of the Victoria Police K9 Unit, who raised the alarm. Several dogs had to be euthanised
- Hills’ Pet Nutrition recalls due to excess levels of Vitamin D in their food, leading to Hypervitaminosis D. Hills are currently embroiled in a class-action lawsuit in the U.S over pet deaths resulting from this issue
- Woolworths’ Baxters range being recalled due to more than 200 reports of sickness and death due to eating this food
This list is far from exhaustive and a quick internet search will show many more.
What we're trying to drive home is: how can we trust these companies??
These are multinational conglomerates who’s only motivation seems to be profit. And as we outlined in 2017, the fact that most pet food brands are owned by junk food manufacturers shouldn’t really fill anybody with confidence.
- Royal Cannin
- My Dog
- Purina (incl. Beyond, Dog Chow, ONE, Pro Plan, Veterinary Diets)
- Lucky Dog
The other big player in Australia is Hill's Pet Nutrition, an American subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive. Hills' focuses are the ScienceTM and PrescriptionTM diets.
It turns out, if you trademark some reassuring words (no actual evidence necessary) it makes us trust you more!
These ‘Big Three’ have all been involved in food recalls and health problems, while simultaneously propagating myths about the “dangers” of feeding raw.
The truth though is that study after study is showing that, far from being a risky practice, feeding raw is the healthiest way to go. In fact, many of the so-called ‘premium’ brands were found to be not even meeting their own AAFCO standards.
Why Trust Us?
From the outset we were pretty clear that we were doing this for the animals. Yes, it’s a business that needs to sustain itself in order to succeed, but we’ve never lost sight of why we do this. And we’re pretty confident that the results speak for themselves!
Apart from the quality of the food, we have also built a reputation for unparalleled customer service. We may not always get it right (no ones perfect despite what Joe tells us!), but we always listen and try to make it right.
A direct result of this feedback was the launch of our Complete Mixes earlier this year and just in time for the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show!
Previously, we recommended the addition of certain extras (e.g. sardines for Omegas) in order to make the raw diet nutritionally balanced. The risk many DIY raw feeders run is missing out on key nutrients and we recognised the difficulties associated with getting it right.
We went back to the drawing board, buried ourselves in the latest nutritional and scientific research, underwent rigorous testing and emerged with exactly what you were seeking - a genuinely Complete and Balanced raw range that satisfies the full nutritional profile.
Now you can be confident that what goes into that bowl is not missing anything and you don’t have the worry of making sure all the nutrients are there. They are!
These mixes have been a huge hit and the feedback has been wonderful. We were even lucky enough earlier this year to get a paw-some review from Australian Dog Lovers Magazine!
Now, as always, we remain determined to improve. We are constantly on the lookout for new additions to the range and keep abreast of all current scientific studies.
We're working on big new things and can't wait to share some new exciting products this year! We're also continually working on opening up new delivery areas to spread all the goodness.
In the meantime, we wanted to say thank you to every person who has given us a go, taken a leap of faith with raw, or shared us with some paw-rent they know.
PS if you haven't shared the wonders of raw with a paw-rent who should know, why not share this blog with them and see what they think? You never know, you might create another amazing raw feeder (gosh horror!)