WilderBites Helps Dogs Reach Their Raw Potential
From squid to quail, the Oakland brand offers a new kind of protein treat.
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DIYing pet food is a trend that has continued to grow in recent years and for good reason. Prepping home-cooked meals is cheaper, better for the environment, and potentially healthier for your animal. It can be an enticing concept, especially when faced with a fickle dog — which is the exact situation Stephanie Iwasaki found herself in two years ago.
After wrestling with her new puppy, Kuri, to eat pretty much anything conventional, Iwasaki turned to raw feeding. Kuri had made a habit of rejecting dishes but following one devoured raw ensemble, Iwasaki was a convert. Shortly after this dinner-time victory, she began sharing similar treats with friends and family before soon WilderBites was born.
Naturally, a strictly raw meat diet for dogs presents a few question marks but the brand primarily focuses on treats, still allowing for traditional kibble as a main source of nutrition. Not to mention, all WilderBites meat products are dehydrated which can mitigate many of the health concerns associated with the trend.
However, if you do want to try a complete raw feeding program with your pup, WilderBites has a system in place to help get you started. By using the traditional Prey Model Raw (PMR) metrics of raw eating, the company offers guidance on how to properly introduce the diet with ready-to-eat meals. This model states about 78-80 percent of a dog’s food intake should be muscle meats, with the other 10 percent being secreting organs and 10-12 percent being bone. Of course, it might be best to consult your primary vet before diving headfirst into this eating plan.
That being said, if you or your dog are particular about the animals they eat or just want to try something new, WilderBites has a selection of animal meats that’d make Teddy Roosevelt blush. The brand offers treats made from traditional sources like chicken or beef to more exotic options like duck or squid. And each comes packed with its own unique nutritional benefits. In fact, WilderBites follows many beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which positions food as a resource for energy and healing. Additionally, it believes that maintaining a balanced intake of food is key to achieving its rewards.
To accomplish this, WilderBites breaks its proteins into four groups that follow the TCM structure — cooling, warming, neutral, and hot. Cooling proteins are specifically helpful for dogs prone to allergies and inflammatory issues. For this, the brand offers wild sardine chunks, rockfish, mussels, and flounder. Beyond that, it also features just about every part of the duck — and that’s not an exaggeration. At WilderBites, you can purchase duck gizzards, hearts, livers, and even heads if you’re into New Orleans-style voodoo.
The hot and warming proteins are meant for pups with stiff joints or arthritis and include treats like wild anchovy, lamb kidneys and livers, chicken necks, chicken feet, and antler chews. Finally, the brand’s neutral protein goodies include beef liver, pork hearts, and an entire dehydrated quail so maybe next year your dog can also inhale a whole bird.
To classically trained neurotic millennials like myself, that might seem like too many options for our little indecisive hearts but don’t run to the CBD yet. WilderBites offers a variety pack of each protein family, so you don’t have to decide between your dog’s favorite duck parts. Here, our top picks:
Disclaimer alert: This article is here to share information. But, much like pineapple on pizza, the topic may be controversial. Meaning, not all vets or pet professionals agree. Because every pet is a unique weirdo with specific needs. So, don’t take this as fact or medical advice. Talk things over with your vet when making decisions, and use your best judgment (about both your pet’s health and pizza toppings).
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Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and whose behavioral issues rival his own.