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2022 01 12

It’s raw, but not as you know it: the story behind Hug’s cookable, bone free pet food

As an animal-obsessed team of vets, veterinary nurses, and nutritionists, we have years of experience in pet nutrition and health. But what brought us together? A deep understanding of raw feeding, disillusionment with standard industry advice, and, most importantly, a belief our cats and dogs deserve better than kibble. 

This is the story behind the creation of Hug’s cookable raw pet food range. It’s the only one out there, and we’re pretty proud of it.

The raw vs kibble debate

It started years ago. As our careers progressed, we became increasingly aware of the benefits raw whole food diets offer pets. Each one of us kept returning to the same old question: ‘Why are we told kibble is the best option?

Kibble and raw pet food

Others were asking themselves the same thing. The raw industry sprang up and grew quickly, but, critically, it lacked relevant legislation around balance and safety. Quite rightly, vets questioned (and still question) the nutritional balance and pathogen content of raw diets, and many a passionate debate was sparked regarding the appropriateness of raw feeding pets.

As a rising number of owners chose to raw feed their pets, we became ever more frustrated that vets couldn’t see past the risks of raw. Crucially, this led to a lack of education on raw nutrition in vet clinics, and pet parents were often better informed than the professionals themselves. Ultra-processed kibble continued to be the default recommendation.

Raw like never before

We didn’t feel it was fair that the dogs and cats were missing out on high-quality, species-appropriate pet foods – ones designed to improve their lives, not merely sustain them. That’s why we decided to create our own bone free, cookable raw pet food, made from natural, human-grade ingredients. Simple, healthy recipes, as nature intended. 

We knew many owners wouldn’t feel confident feeding a raw diet, and we understood their safety concerns. We also knew some pets (or pet parents) might have health concerns that made feeding raw food unfeasible. Our answer? To provide all the goodness of a raw diet while resolving the hotly discussed issues: balance, bacteria, and bone content. That way, nobody needed to miss out. 

We put our extensive experience into practice and developed an incredibly exciting, versatile whole food range for pets – one that can be served raw or cooked. But… how did we pull it off? 

The bone issue

Let’s start with the bone issue. There are many horror stories of bone causing ruptured intestines and blockages in pets’ digestive systems, leading to hospitalisation or, worse, surgery. The presence of bone in raw recipes also prevents owners from cooking their pets’ meals, as bone can become brittle and hard to digest once cooked. To remove the risk once and for all, we took bone out of our cookable recipes and replaced it with natural sources of calcium, plus tasty veggies. 

Our bone free pet food

Calcium in bone comes in the form of calcium hydroxyapatite; as canines and felines evolved, this was their primary source of calcium, and, therefore, it’s always the preferable option.

The second most readily available source of calcium is calcium carbonate; this is the most common form of calcium in pet foods. Calcium hydroxyapatite isn’t available as a registered supplement in pet foods, so we include calcium carbonate and other naturally occurring minerals in our bone free pet food. By doing this, we properly replaced the goodness that’s naturally delivered by bone. The addition of seasonal veggies helps cultivate well-formed, non-smelly faeces – a well-known perk of raw feeding your pet! Just thought we’d mention that.  

Addressing the bacteria concern

But what about the bacteria? For decades, the public has been educated about the risks of handling and eating raw meat – and with good reason. E. coli, Salmonella… you know the score, and it’s serious. 

Unsurprisingly, many people are against the idea of storing raw meat in the fridge and feeding it to pets – especially if they have children in the home. However, using top-quality, human-grade meat and correctly storing it can dramatically reduce the risk of contamination. We only source our meat from ethical suppliers who share our high standards of quality and hygiene, plus there’s no green tripe hiding in our food, so it’s fine to store in your fridge or freezer.

And we go one step further…

Bone free pet food you can cook!

Still not keen on raw? No problem. The absence of bone in our cookable meals allows you to safely cook them, eliminating concerns around contamination. If you, your pet, or a family member is immunocompromised, cooking food keeps the risk of bacterial exposure as low as possible. 

Microwave in kitchen

You can heat through Hug’s cookable pet food range as much or as little as you wish, without ever having to touch any raw meat – our packaging is suitable for the microwave. All it takes is a few minutes’ heating, then, hey presto, it’s ready (please check the temperature before serving). Warming the food also increases palatability, making it irresistible to your pet – ideal if they’re fussy or struggle with a low appetite. 

Alternatively, we also offer a premium cold pressed range and a working dog range that is served raw.

So, that’s the story behind our cookable raw pet food range. It’s the only one of its kind, and, if we say so ourselves, it’s exactly what every pet deserves. 

Got any questions or concerns? That’s what we’re here for.