Tomorrow, Mina and I are traveling about an hour to Washington, Virginia to visit Epicurious Cow, or ECOW, and a demo by Chow Now Petfood. They’re handing out samples and I’m eager to find out if Mina will like it.

I sent an e-mail note to their addy with a list of questions:

  1. Can I get a list of all the ingredients in the canine raw diet?
  2. Do you have nutritional information such as calories, fat, protein, fiber?
  3. Are there any added nutrients?
  4. You mention the farms raise their animals humanely. Does that mean following the Humane Slaughter Act or are the animals pastured, allowed to roam freely (not thousands of chickens squeezed into a warehouse)?
  5. What is the “digestive enzyme product” recommended for the transition phase?
  6. Where can I buy your product?

What I got was a terrific, detailed response from Carole:

1. Lamb Formula ingredients: 100% grass fed and chemical free Lamb/bones/organs, certified organic produce: mixed greens (collards, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, radish greens, bok choy), apples, alfalfa, kelp, orange tomatoes, red tomatoes, parsley.

Chicken Formula ingredients: Truly pasture raised and chemical free Chicken/bones/liver/heart, certified organic produce: mixed greens (same as in the lamb formula), alfalfa, kelp, winter squash, summer squash, yellow tomatoes, red tomatoes, Asian pears, parsley. The Chicken Formula Cat Food contains the same ingredients but in a ratio of 90% protein/10% produce.

Our formulations are tried and true – no mixed proteins, no known allergens and we don’t add in vitamin or mineral mixes to meet Association of American Feed Control’s “complete and balanced” diet requirements – we believe that true nutrition comes from a varied, whole foods based diet. We have the backing and endorsement of knowledgeable and respected holistic veterinarians. I’ve been doing individualized animal nutritional consultations and diets for many years and am a Certified Veterinary Assistant.

With all foods, it’s all about the quality of the ingredients. We are very proud of the fact that we buy direct from farms in the Commonwealth of Virginia that we have personally visited, vetted out and developed relationships with – no middle men, feed lots or auctions. These are farmers that are doing the right thing and it’s not the cheapest or easiest way. This is simply not done in the pet food industry, until now. We believe it’s the only way to ensure the best and safest food supply for our beloved companions.

2. Chicken Formula – Crude Protein (min) 12%, Crude Fat (min) 7%, Crude Fiber (max) 7%, Moisture (max) 64%, Calcium (min) 1.6%, Phosphorus (min) .7%. We don’t do calories as we have found it’s better to feed individuals as individuals, based on weight/exercise/metabolism requirements.

Lamb Formula – Crude Protein (min) 16%, Crude Fat (min) 8%, Crude Fiber (max) 7%, Moisture (max) 66%, Calcium (min) 1.6%, Phosphorus (min) .8%.

3. The listed ingredients are all that’s in the foods – nutrients are most bioavailable in their whole food forms – we have specifically formulated our foods to include the widest spectrum of naturally occurring vitamins (from A to U) and minerals.

4. I’m a pescatarian (I know, a hypocritical vegetarian :0)) and one of the reasons I started Chow Now is I was no longer comfortable with any of the commercial foods out there and wanted to help people find a healthy and humane alternative. The farm animals all live on small, family run farms – we even ruled out a “certified organic” chicken farm as they were raising 25,000 chickens at a time and didn’t meet our exacting humane standards. Our standards meet and exceed the Humane Slaughter Act. Chickens are truly pasture raised and moved to fresh pasture daily. The lambs are freely pastured and chemical free. Their animals are protected from predators by livestock guardian dogs, alpacas and llamas instead of guns and traps. We use a small, custom facility that has a full time USDA inspector on site who is also a holistic veterinarian. They are known for being compassionate and I have personally gone through a simulated process with them to ensure that the animals are treated humanely, with dignity and minimal stress.

5. There are several good digestive enzyme products available – Prozyme and Standard Process products are recommended by many holistic vets and we have heard of another line called Vetzimes made by NESS (800-637-7893.

6. Locally you can find us in the frozen foods section at ECOW and the Marshall IGA. We’re also available at For Goodness Sake in Leesburg, Singing Stones Animal Wellness Centre in Vienna (clients only), and four stores in Charlottesville – Animal Connection, Organic Butcher, Rebecca’s and Whole Foods.

We’ll be skipping the lamb formula. I really appreciate that this pet food is all locally produced and I have another excuse to visit the freaky Marshall IGA. I’ve sent this information via e-mail to Dr. Birnbaum, so we’ll see what she says but it looks like a great diet for my little omnivore pooch. Anyone else have any experience with raw diets to share?