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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

I’ve been a vegetarian for maybe 12 years. Just a personal preference, but in some ways a health decision too. So there have been times I’ve wondered about my pets. Would vegetarianism also be a good option for dogs and cats?

One day I asked a friend of mine who’s a Vet Med professor at the University of Illinois (my alma mater, GO ILLINI). He explained that, for many reasons, dogs and cats are really designed to be meat-eating carnivores. When I gave him my best “skeptical salad-eater” look, he described a whole bunch of physical clues that back this up.

Let’s take teeth. Humans are omnivores, meaning we can eat a range of foods. Our saliva is designed to break down carbohydrates and simple sugars before they go through our digestive tract; and our teeth include squared, flat molars that are good for crushing (think about a flat potato masher creaming parsley and steamed potatoes). But my friend said that dog saliva is actually formulated to break down proteins — and showed me how a dog’s teeth are very sharp and pointy, all the way back. These teeth are designed to tear and slice (think about a wolf taking down and devouring prey). He also told me that scientists now realize dogs are only .02% genetically different from their direct ancestors, wolves. So a dog’s body is actually optimized to process and thrive on the amino acids, fatty acids, and enzymes found in meat-based proteins – and a cat needs many of these compounds just to survive.

 

Humans are omnivores, and our flat molars (left) are optimized to crush and mash. Dog and cat teeth (right) are all sharp and pointed -- designed for tearing meat proteins.

Humans are omnivores, and our flat molars (left) are optimized to crush and mash. Dog and cat teeth (right) are all sharp and pointed — designed for tearing meat proteins.

It made sense, and we started feeding our dogs a raw diet of Stella & Chewy’s. This company stood out because it places such a strong emphasis on holistic pet nutrition. Stella & Chewy’s has been in business for ten years, and their formulations are minimally processed. They’re made with organic produce; raw, free-range, USDA-inspected meats; wild-caught fish; plus added vitamins, minerals and probiotics.

I spent years nursing multiple rescue dogs through a series of health and allergy woes. I finally started checking labels, and realized that commercial pet food is some of the most hyper-processed stuff on the planet. Heating food above 117 degrees Fahrenheit breaks down much of its nutritional value. Stella & Chewy’s natural dinners and treats are made in the company’s own Wisconsin plant, but they aren’t cooked like most commercial pet foods. They’re either frozen raw, or freeze-dried using Hydrostatic High Pressure (HHP) processing. This is a heat-free method used with many human-grade meats and cheeses. It kills bacteria that can cause spoilage and food-borne disease, while preserving natural flavor and nutrients.

Not to sound too overjoyed, but feeding freeze-dried has made pet parenting WAY easier. Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried patties are great as a food-topper for picky eaters (even mine). They come in a lightweight bag that’s super-easy to take along on trips, and you can serve them dry or add water for a complete, balanced meal. I’ll admit that early on, I was still unsure about food safety – I’d see the word “raw” and picture scary microscopic squiggly things, like E. coli and salmonella.

So I did a little more checking. Did you know that Stella & Chewy’s is the only national pet food brand that has never had a recall? Their dedicated cleaning crew comes in for 8-10 hour shifts to dismantle and disinfect ALL of their equipment EVERY DAY. You can read more about their strict food safety protocols here . This patent-pending process made me feel a lot better – and Stella & Chewy’s makes my pets feel a lot better.

 

The small freeze-dried patties are easy to break or crumble, so they're even great as treats or food-toppers.

The small freeze-dried patties are easy to break or crumble, so they’re even great as treats or food-toppers — and they’re lightweight, because liquid has been removed.

Want to see for yourself? Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask a Team Member about their favorites, plus handy single-serve packs (we might even sneak you a sample or two)! Take it from this vegetarian – when it comes to doing what’s best for your best furry friends, it’s never too late to turn over a new “leaf.”