Did you know that feeding our four-legged best friends a species appropriate, balanced, raw diet doesn’t have to be complicated? Had I known how easy and convenient raw feeding can be, I would have started much sooner than I did!
This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about their Kickstarter Campaign, but K9sOverCoffee only shares information I feel is relevant to my readers & always provides 100% honest reviews. Balanced Blends is not responsible for the content of this article.
I began feeding my pups Missy & Buzz a raw diet in early 2015, shortly after Missy had won her battle against thyroid cancer. To be quite honest, it was her cancer diagnosis which gave me the kick in my behind I needed to finally jump over my shadow and incorporate nutritional and lifestyle changes for both pups in hopes of a healthier future (fast-forward 12 months and their annual wellness exams speak volumes about their healthy bodies!).
I’m not going to lie – I had heard repeatedly about the many health benefits of feeding a raw diet:
Reduction of Allergies
Healthy Skin & Coat
Improved Digestion – Less Poop
Better Oral Health
Increased Energy Level
Better Weight Management
However, the thought of being solely responsible for putting together their food was daunting and kept me from following through with my intention of raw feeding for quite some time.
My main concern was figuring out how much to feed each pup, and, more importantly, what exactly a raw diet needed to consist of to ensure that Missy & Buzz would get all the nutrients they needed.
Taking The Guesswork Out Of Raw Feeding
I found out that the easiest and most convenient form of raw feeding is to have someone else figure it out for you – someone like Balanced Blends. They made it their mission to know what a balanced raw diet needs to consist of and put it together for you.
All YOU have to do is place your order with them, receive it, thaw, & serve. Feeding a raw, balanced diet really doesn’t get any easier!
Who Are Balanced Blends?
Balanced Blends is a Boulder, CO based company launched by three enthusiastic founders interested in feeding their dogs & cats a species-appropriate, fresh diet. Together with veterinarians and a PhD nutritionist, they created complete & balanced, raw diets for both dogs & cats. Balanced Blends delivers their pre-mixed raw food within the continental USA (lower 48 states).
Benefits Of A Pre-Mixed Raw Diet
A pre-mixed raw diet is essentially raw goodness in its most convenient form! As mentioned above, it arrives pre-packaged at your home, in a frozen state.
All that needs to be done is to thaw & serve it. No worrying about the right kind of ratio of meat vs. bones vs. veggies/fruit/minerals/vitamins and no time-consuming meal-prep!
Tip: I like to place the frozen meals into a food storage container while they thaw in the fridge in order to avoid leakage. Once they thaw, there will be some blood which can easily be dealt with in the container.
As you can see, the beef (left) and chicken (right) come with their very own juices!
Conveniently Delivered To Your Home
You can set up a subscription to have the complete and balanced diets delivered to your home. Again, all you need to do is thaw and serve. You are able to manage your subscription on the Balanced Blends website, allowing you to edit, change, pause, or cancel your subscription conveniently.
Our Balanced Blends Chicken & Beef meals were delivered in a cooler covered with dry ice – this is the standard delivery method of raw food. After Buzz inspected the order, I removed the frozen meals from the cooler and placed them into the fridge to thaw (they came in 1 LB pouches).
The thawing process took about 1 day; you can speed it up by placing a meal into a container with room temperature water. NEVER place it in hot water or warm it up in the microwave – that would get rid of the healthy nutrients and negate the benefits of feeding raw.
What exactly do Balanced Blends Raw Diets Consist Of?
Balanced Blends follows the B.A.R.F. model of raw feeding, translating into Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (consisting of raw meat, fruits, vegetables, and bone) – as opposed to the Prey Model (raw meat & bone without fruits and vegetables).
90% Meat, Organ, & Bone; 10% Produce & Vitamin and Mineral Mix (all ground)
Their diets are formulated to meet AAFCO “Complete And Balanced For All Life Stages”, and are 100% free of grains, gluten, fillers, artificial colorings & preservatives.
Where Are Their Ingredients Sourced?
All ingredients for Balanced Blends raw meals come from high quality, local farms which are USDA inspected.
Balanced Blends currently offers two protein choices: Chicken & Beef.
Chicken: Cage free, antibiotics free, no added hormones, UDSA inspected & approved.
Fruits and Vegetables – Organic.
Beef: Natural, antibiotics free, no added hormones, UDSA inspected & approved.
Fruits and Vegetables – Organic.
Is Balanced Blends’ Safe To Feed?
On top of all best practices in making their raw food – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP’s), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s), Balanced Blends raw diets are applied with high pressure processing (HPP) in their final packaging to eliminate recontamination.
They also use the “Test and Hold” protocol where their foods are lab tested by third party laboratory and only released for sale after the pathogen test results come back negative.
Transparency – Nothing To Hide
Balanced Blends believes in being 100% transparent and invites you to just ask them anything about their food. They will be happy to answer any questions you might have about their food, ingredients, and operations.
They answered a question I had about their ingredient list – I was wondering why salt was added to the recipe.
I found out that Balanced Blends uses a tiny amount of salt in their food because it is a good source of chloride & sodium, both of which are essential and also part of the AAFCO nutrient panel for “complete and balanced” diets.
Salt helps in maintaining the balance of the cellular fluids of the body.
To put it in measurable perspective, about 1/3 of a container (like Morton) we can get from the grocery store goes into 1000 LB of food. It is almost unmeasurable in their daily portion.
The exact amount of salt Balanced Blends uses is the result of the calculation by their board certified PhD nutritionist.
I was beyond satisfied AND educated with this detailed response.
How To Transition Your Pup From Kibble To A Raw Diet
If your pup has never been fed raw meals before, you should allow 7-10 days to make the switch– essentially just as long as switching from one kibble brand to a new one. Slowly decrease the amount of old food and increase the amount of new food until you’re only feeding the new, raw food.
Are There Any Downsides To A Pre-Mixed Raw Diet?
One of the benefits of feeding your pup raw, meaty bones as part of his raw diet is the oral health aspect. Since the bone has been ground in a pre-mixed raw diet, it can’t act as a natural toothbrush by helping scrape away soft plaque deposits.
You can either continue to brush your pups’ pearlies manually, or give him a raw meaty bone (such as a duck neck or a chicken leg quarter, depending on the size of your pooch) once or twice a week in addition to the pre-mixed raw food for ultimate oral health benefits.
Is There Any Room For Improvement?
For now, Balanced Blends offer raw chicken & beef meals, but I’d also like to see some other protein sources such as lamb, venison, and/or fish. Rotating proteins is important in order to keep mealtime interesting and avoid potential protein intolerances.
As far as serving the raw meals, I would have liked a more effortless opening of the pouches the food came in. Since they don’t have an EZ peel opening, I had to use & dirty scissors to serve the food… granted, not the biggest inconvenience in the world, but if it’s going to be convenient, I want convenient all the way!
…a little birdie told me that an EZ peel opening will be added to the product in the very near future, and that more protein choices will also be added to the menu 😉
Pre-Order Your Raw Meals On Kickstarter
Get your paws on your very own raw pre-mixes during the Balanced Blends pre-order launch on Kickstarter – their “Early Cat/Dog special” saves you $20 to $30 on 10 LB of raw food. Now THAT’s a deal, especially when you have several mouths to feed!
Additionally, all backers will get 5 LB extra for every 20 LB order of the same item from the Balanced Blends website, for 3 or 6 months, after the Kickstarter campaign ends, depending on which tiers were backed.
All pre-orders will receive free shipping (ships only to lower 48 states); after the Kickstarter campaign will be over, regular orders over 20 LB from the Balanced Blends website will also receive free shipping.
*****No Risk – Money Back Guarantee****
If for any reason you are not satisfied with Balanced Blends’ food, they include a money back satisfaction guarantee with every order you place.
Should you not be satisfied with your order, please contact Balanced Blends directly at 1.800.446.0979 or via [email protected] and they will be glad to discuss how they can help resolve the issue. If, for any reason, they are unable to resolve the issue, they will be happy to refund your order.
Are you new to raw? Do you have any additional questions about the transitioning process? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!