Nutrition · Product Reviews · Uncategorized

Raw Pet Food Project: Reel Raw

For our Raw Food Pet Project, the first company we had the pleasure of testing and writing about is Reel Raw – a raw pet food supplier based in Maine that offers a diverse variety of do-it-yourself raw pet food (muscle meats, organs, raw meaty bones, recreational bones, and freshly made treats) as well as a speciality service that ships pre-measured, ready-formulated, prepackaged meals to your doorstep on a recurring basis. We have been long-time customers of Reel Raw because we love their product offerings, variety, and seamless ordering process but we had never tried their pre-measured service until recently. Read on to hear our thoughts!

Pup Appeal: 9/10

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Every meal was received with excessive drooling, tail wagging, and butt wiggling. Alaska took to every meal eagerly and cleaned her bowl in a matter of seconds. She generally loves all her raw meals, but I find that with DIY raw where I prepare her meals myself with the individual ingredients she is more picky about what is in her bowl. In the past, she has turned her nose up to whole quail and beef lung. She wouldn’t eat the quail even when I chopped it up and mixed it with other ingredients, and she only ate the beef lung after I dehydrated it into treats. However, with Reel Raw formulated meals that had both these ingredients in some of their food, Alaska had no issues eating any of them.

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Stool Rating: 6/10

The only undesirable comment I have about Reel Raw’s pre-measured meals is that it made Alaska’s stool very unpredictable and inconsistent. Her stools were brown and firm one day, white and crumbly the next, and runny or mucousy the following day. These variations mostly depended on if she had the ground-up patty for a meal versus the raw meaty bone. I divided a day’s worth of food into patty only and some patty with raw meaty bone. The meal with only ground patty (muscle meat and organs) yielded solid, firm stools while the meal with the raw meaty bone and a morsel of patty left dry, crumbly, white stools.

Packaging rating: 5/5

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I liked the simplicity of the packaging; each day’s worth of food was packaged in a small resealable plastic bag. These small bags did not take up too much surface area, allowing me to store them in the freezer without a problem. Rather than receiving a large volume of raw food in one big bag, this pre-measured and pre-portioned service makes it very  convenient to serve because I would just thaw one bag a day and portion it at feeding time. The bags came to us in good condition; there were no bloody leaks or open bags upon arrival, which often happens with raw food during the shipping process.

Price rating: 6/10

The regular cost of this plan (biweekly monthly delivery for 25 pound dog) is —- with free shipping. While this price is justified by the service, quality and convenience that other raw food suppliers do not offer, it is a bit above our price range. We have ordered from Reel Raw several times before and 3.5 months of food for Alaska costs between $150-200 (to give you a cost comparison). While I will not use Reel Raw’s pre-measured service on a continual monthly basis, I will definitely use it during months where I have an extraordinarily busy schedule or when I am traveling for work and need to leave Alaska in someone else’s care, but still wish to feed raw.

Quality: 8/10

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For the ground patties that consist of muscle meat and organs, the consistency is identical to any patty of ground raw meat (think a raw hamburger patty). What I liked was that the grind wasn’t a sloppy, loose consistency. Rather, it was firm yet separated easily with a fork. For the raw meaty bones, the majority were poultry necks. The bones in general gave Alaska too much calcium which resulted in white, dry and crumbly stools (too much bone in a balanced raw diet). My only critique is that I would like to see more raw meaty bones that contain more meat than bone, such as chicken thighs versus chicken necks. This would offset the imbalance and make for more consistent stools in the long run.

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Variety of products: 4/5

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Besides wanting to see more variety of raw meaty bones, I liked the variety in proteins that were offered for the ground patty. We received chicken, beef, lamb, rabbit, tripe, quail, duck, salmon, and turkey.  The combination and rotational feeding of these proteins offers a nice variety of essential vitamins, minerals and fats. For raw feeding, variety is key!

Delivery and ordering: 5/5

Ordering was as simple as 1, 2, 3. I simply had to input Alaska’s current weight, age and activity level and Reel Raw takes care of the rest. Other information such as your dog’s allergies and food sensitivities, your shipping address and payment information will be asked upon checkout.

There is a shipping chart and schedule available on Reel Raw’s website which give you estimates on when you can expect your order to arrive. Alaska’s two biweekly orders came in a very timely manner, so we had no issues with shipping.

The best part – ALL customized meal plans ship FREE regardless where you are located in the US.

Further Thoughts

For our Raw Pet Food Project, Reel Raw earned a rating of 43/50 when you take into consideration the totality of the food, service and quality. Overall, I would highly recommend Reel Raw for raw feeders just beginning to transition their pets to a raw diet as Reel Raw’s pre-portioned meals offer great variety and convenience for first timers. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my first time trying out their pre-portioned option, but Reel Raw is one of my go-to online suppliers for raw food because I can almost always find what I’m looking for at a reasonable price and for free shipping. Raw feeding doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful for you; it can be just as simple as feeding kibble/canned food. In the long run, it will save you money on veterinary bills and your pet will thank you!

 

 

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