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New Zealand vet offers petfood line based on diets of wild cats, dogs

An Auckland, New Zealand, veternarian launched a range of uncooked petfoods designed to replicate the natural diets of cats and dogs in the wild.

Dr. Lyn Thomson recently opened the second shop for her petfood company, Raw Essentials, which she created because so many of her veterinary clients questioned the nutritional value of traditional, processed petfoods. Her Raw Essentials petfood line is made primarily from ingredients like rabbit, hare, possum, chicken, sheep and fish, she said.

Dr. Thomson said that in the wild, cats and dogs normally prey on vegetarian animals and eat all of their prey, including the bones, skin and meat. They receive the necessary plant nutrients through the partially digested plant matter in their prey's gut. Since dogs and cats' digestive systems have developed to process these types of ingredients, many pets may have a hard time digesting processed petfoods that often contain grain, vegetable-based products, and additives like flavor enhancers and preservatives, according to Dr. Thomson.

"Dogs and cats, our pet carnivores, need to rip and tear at their food," Dr. Thomson said. "Raw, real food provides all the nutrients our pets need, is easy for them to digest, keeps teeth healthy and improves mental wellbeing."

Dr. Thomson said that after she came up with the idea to package the food line for clients, she found it difficult to source the ingredients. She approached the staff at Auckland Zoo, who referred her to the same South Island abattoir the zoo gets the food for its carnivores from. Although Raw Essentials is a small company compared to the dominant multinational companies, Dr. Thomson said she believes her company will continue to expand in the large petfood market and growing niche in which she operates.

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