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3 Key Differences Between Raw Pet Food and Kibble

When most people think of pet food, they probably picture a bowl of dry, brown kibble. But there are a wide variety of options available, including raw diets. And more and more pet parents are looking to transition their furry family members to these more natural, healthy diets.

Raw pet food is minimally processed, safe, nutrient dense, made with real, natural ingredients, and never cooked to keep nutrients intact. All these things help it stand apart from kibble — and that’s not even getting into the amazing benefits it can have on your pet in the long-run. Keep reading to decide for yourself whether raw pet food or kibble is the right choice for your household.


One key difference between raw pet food and kibble is that kibble is cooked to kill pathogens and to extend its shelf life — potentially sitting in stores for months at a time. Sometimes it’s even cooked three times! Unfortunately, this process also strips away important nutrients, as processed foods contain fewer beneficial nutrients and more cooking toxins. Many of the nutrients in food that are destroyed by heat are known to have antioxidant activity and possibly help prevent chronic debilitating diseases.  Cooking toxins (known as advanced glycation end-products or AGEs) are formed during the heating process, and are thought to cause inflammation in the body. This means that long term use of dry and processed foods can lead to the development of inflammatory and degenerative diseases earlier in life than necessary.

This is why it makes such a difference that raw food isn’t cooked at all. It keeps the beneficial nutrients intact to provide your pet with optimal nutrition versus just the essentials you’d find in ultra-processed, dry foods. In most pet foods, cooking is used as a kill step. At Instinct, we use High Pressure Processing (HPP), which uses pressure instead of heat, to make sure our raw recipes are totally pathogen-free and safe to eat. In fact, if you’ve ever enjoyed a container of guacamole from a grocery store, you’ve probably enjoyed the benefits of HPP yourself. This allows us to keep important, heat-sensitive compounds like creatine and flavonoids in there while also serving your pet a dinner worth begging for.


Instinct Raw pet food is made with real, whole-food ingredients you recognize, like cage-free chicken, grass-fed beef and lamb, apples, blueberries, spinach, and apple cider vinegar. Kibble, on the other hand, is made with processed ingredients that are then re-processed as the food is formed. Many kibble products use lower quality ingredients, like by-product meals, fillers (like corn and potatoes), artificial colors, and preservatives. Raw pet food also has three times more meat and organs than most kibble.


While kibble may be cheaper by the pound than most raw pet foods, that small price comes at a much larger one to your pet. Studies have shown that pets fed exclusively kibble have poorer health outcomes than raw-fed pets. Feeding raw, on the other hand, is an investment in your pet’s lifelong health; a healthy pet means fewer vet visits, saving money in the long-run. So of course, with high quality ingredients, minimal processing, and high protein, raw pet food costs more than traditional kibble.

That’s because you are investing in not just pet food, but in your pet’s health and lifespan. Feeding Instinct raw meals has been linked to better digestion, increased energy, more mealtime excitement, weight improvement, and more extraordinary benefits. And if you’re worried about the cost of feeding exclusively raw, fret not: research shows that feeding as little as 20% raw can help them reap these benefits.

Switching to raw pet food is easier than it sounds. Here’s how to get started.

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