Xilo, the owner of Raw Instincts, educates pet owners on the harmful effects of kibble and the benefits of raw food for dogs and cats. Located in Miami, Florida, local to me, her small business sources local and fresh ingredients to provide meals to pet owners. Raw Instincts claims that their food can help reduce pet allergies by providing a healthy balance of hydration, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to alleviate irritation and positively impact pets' health.
My dog, Yenko, tried their Beef, Pasture-Raised Lamb, Lamb with Mackerel, Pork, and Goat. In this blog post, and as always, we will focus mainly on their beef products. However, I do like the amount of variety they offer.
Beef Product Detail:
Their raw beef is great for those following the Prey Model Raw (PMR) guidelines. Each bag includes a mix of 80% muscle meat, 10% bones, and 10% liver and kidney. According to their website, the beef used in this meal is human-grade and sourced from Ocala, FL, and Jacksonville, FL.
Pre-grinded meal includes:
Ground-up beef meat that includes heart, lung, and tail
Organs are made up of beef liver and kidney
Beef bone is composed of ground oxtails (cartilage, marrow, and bone)
Detailed percentages: 80% Muscular Meat, 10% Pure Bones
10% Organs (5% liver)
Guaranteed Analysis: Protein 18.5% Fat 5% Moisture 69% Fiber 0.5%
Is it Complete and Balanced?No, this beef meal is not complete and balanced and requires additional whole foods or supplements to cover nutritional gaps.
I enjoy that this meal is low fat and high in protein (the average from other raw companies is about 15%). It could be because of the heart, lung, and oxtail that pushes the protein over; I know what you are thinking...oxtails have meat?! While not abundant, it is a nice mix of meat, marrow, and cartilage (connective tissue in the same category as bone) full of collagen. I appreciate the touch. On the flip side, the calcium to phosphorous is not balanced or even close, which should be noted (Calcium is 2.52%, Phosphorus 1.59%. If my math is correct, the ratio is close to 5:3, but don't quote me on the math.) The calcium and phosphorous ratio for canines should be between 1:1 and 1.5:1 at most. This is essential, especially for growing puppies and active dogs, because calcium and phosphorous work together and against each other to support bone health and their skeletal structure, among other things these minerals do for your dog's body.
Weight and packaging of the product: All their meals come in multiple sizes; we tried a variety of bags, some 2.5 pounds, others 1 pound. There needed to be more consistency in weight.
I wouldn't say I like their packaging either; they use mylar bags. While they provide a strong light, moisture, and oxygen barrier, it is not ideal for meat. With mylar, storing food with a moisture content of 10% or more for an extended period will not do well; the moisture contained reduces the shelf life. There are glimpses of this that can be observed as you open the packages; the top of the meat is usually oxidized. However, I see that as a manageable problem since most keep the raw dog food for a month at most...at least, I do.
Visuals of the meat: Besides the oxidized portion towards the top of the packaging, the meat looked good. You can see bits of marrow, cartilage, and bone making up the oxtail. As for the ground meat, it is ground a bit chunkier than other companies we have tried previously. From my experience with Yenko, he enjoys it more than finer blends (maybe because it's more realistic to him).
While it is not convenient for everyone, I love that this meal didn't try to be complete. Raw Instincts didn't add any supplement; I am not guessing what kind or quality of fish oil or powder additive they added in this meal to make it complete; I am in control of what my dog needs. I thrive on this because I can use real foods. Again, it is not convenient for most, but Xilo does educate on this and does offer solutions.
Taste: The usage of oxtails is the star of the show with this meal; on our taste test, the marrow came through, and dogs and cats probably like the taste mainly because it is there.
Yenko ate all the meals; it seemed his favorite was the goat.
Poop: Our dog, Yenko's poop, varied depending on the protein given; his stool was a good shape but hard, so I added a bit more fiber to his diet.
Price: Depending on the protein and weight, their one-pound beef starts at $8.99.
Delivery: Ordering from their website is easy; you can pick it up, have your order locally delivered, or have it shipped. Since we are local, Xilo delivered our items to us. It's an excellent opportunity to get to know her; if you have questions, she can help you. It's nice, what other raw food company does that?!
Other things to Note: Please don't confuse this with Instinct Raw; it's an insult.