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"Complete" Raw Food- What is it?

By: Mia Lund

What is meant by a “Complete Meal” and will it offer your pet the balanced nutrients they need on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? There are a number of raw suppliers who offer complete meals or "whole grinds" to their customers but are they what we as PMR feeders require?

Here’s what to note when choosing a food which is sold as a “complete” and not a complimentary food:

1. If you are new to raw and transitioning from kibble/cooked/wet food, it’s not recommended to start with a complete as it will be introducing bone and organs too early in the game and this may result in digestion issues.

2. Does the complete follow the PMR (Prey Model Raw) recommendation of 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other secreting organs?

Please note that heart, tripe, gizzards, tongue etc are not secreting organs and if no other secreting organ is in there (like kidney, spleen, pancreas, brain etc) it’s not a complete mince.

Also note that you need to watch your dog’s stools, as often even if 10% bone content is stated, some completes can have much more than that in their mixes and your dog/cat can get issues. Another one to watch is if the mix is a beef mix and has ground beef bone, as some pets have issues with digesting beef bones well (even if ground up finely.)

3. There needs to be a variation of the meat proteins in the completes, not just one source or just one mix that you feed for any length of time. So do rotate the completes in order to offer at least 4-5 different meats. For example one with beef as a base, others with goat, lamb, turkey, pork or venison as bases.

Chicken or turkey as a base for all your completes is not ideal, but simply a cheap option. They are not red meat and red meat needs to be at least 50% of the diet for a dog/cat.

4. If fruit, veggies and grains are included, it’s not a complete PMR meal. Furthermore, peas, beets, beans, potatoes, legumes, oats etc are just fillers and not bio-available proteins for carnivores. Your complete should only contain meat/bone and organs and no other fillers, synthetic supplements or other extras.

5. Completes and feeding only minces, will not help clean teeth, strengthen and exercise jaw and neck muscles or give the emotional, mental and physical stimulation that a diet with whole meat, big bone-in meat and even feeding chunks will.

Feeding bone on top of completes that already contain bone is not recommended as it may cause constipation and impactions from too much bone. You can still feed bone though, but a good idea is to perhaps a couple of days per week feed a DIY diet where you give bone- in meat combined with boneless in the right proportions. Most important of all, poo-watch!

6. Check carefully that the minces/mixes/completes are not denatured and where the meat is sourced from. You do not want 3D or 4D meats in there. Find out what meat parts are in the minces as they need to be varied as well.

 

7. Be aware that there are some drawbacks with grinds/minces, unless you grind the meat yourself just before feeding. One of them is the surface bacteria which gets multiplied deep into the mince, another is the loss of taurine and possibly Omega 3. Furthermore, dogs and cats lose the benefits of feeling fuller when they can just gulp down food without any effort at all. They may also get “bored” with the texture of meat, and prefer DIY instead...

However completes are much better than kibble and good for stand by and also for new to raw people who may get too overwhelmed otherwise or anyone who is short of time and want a convenient food that can just get pulled out of the freezer and fed.

You can also make your own completes if you have a grinder and time and energy for meal prepping. That way you can tailor the ingredients and ratios exactly to your own pet’s needs.

Some pets with dental or other medical issues can still be fed raw with completes, in spite of them not being able to handle/digest DIY type foods. Also premades/completes are handy if you go away on holiday, have a pet sitter or in a kennel/boarding situation.

 

Completes are fine to feed, just be aware of the above points. It’s perfectly OK to feed only completes if they are 80/10/10 and have at least 4-5 different protein bases that can be rotated. We also advise to add fish/seafood (if not in the mixes) and eggs as extras to your complete meals (if overweight, best count into overall meal amount).

 

If the premade/complete you are feeding is too high in bone, you can do the following. Let’s say you have 1 kg of a premade and instead of the 10% bone it has:

15% bone/kg = 150g bone, so that needs to be a 1.5kg batch with extra meat added

20% bone/kg = 200g bone, so that needs to be a 2kg batch with extra meat added

30% bone/kg = 300g bone, so that needs to be a 3kg batch with extra meat added

if higher bone % than that, I would look for an alternative Supplier.

 

However, you will also need to adjust the organ content as there will be a lot less in the new mix, because every time you double a batch, you 1/2 the amount of organ....

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