This post is sponsored by Instinct® and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Instinct Raw but Rubicon Days only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Instinct is not responsible for the content of this article.
I get ridiculously excited about dog food. My pantry is always stocked with a huge variety of high quality foods of different proteins and formats that I can incorporate into The Ginger Sisters' rotation diet. I am confident that I take wonderful care of my girls and they are healthy and happy, but I confess to feeling a pang of guilt once in a while that they are not on a raw diet, because raw feeding is all the buzz in the dog community, considered by some to be the best and only option. I've given it a lot of thought and am not interested in feeding a fully raw diet for several reasons; however, this doesn't mean I can't incorporate raw elements into their meals. Enter Nature's Variety Instinct ®! I was excited and even a little bit nervous about trying the Frozen Raw Bites out for my girls. Although I've fed dehydrated and freeze-dried raw, frozen is far less processed and seemed like the real deal.
Boca accompanied me on our shopping trip and made sure the food was safe in its insulated bag all the way home. I selected the Venison Formula, because I like to integrate novel proteins whenever possible. I feel like they get plenty of chicken and beef as they are so often components of other foods and treats. For dogs with sensitivities or on a limited ingredient diet, several Instinct formulas contain a single animal protein. My first choice was Rabbit but the store did not carry that variety. I was very impressed with the ingredient panel for the Venison Raw Bites - packed with 95% real meat ingredients and other natural additions I believe to be beneficial:
Venison, Ground Lamb Bone, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Heart, Lamb Liver, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Apples, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Broccoli, Cod Liver Oil, Salmon Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Dried Chicory Root, Blueberries
Instinct Raw Bites could not be easier to store and serve. Some of the things that prevent me from feeding raw dog food are concerns about storage, safety and proper nutritional balance. As a vegetarian at home (I will eat seafood in restaurants) I am not used to having raw meat in the fridge or freezer. The Instinct Raw Bites can be kept in their resealable bag in the freezer and easily portioned out at feeding time. There is no cutting, grinding or even much thawing required - due to their small size they can sit out for just a few minutes and are ready to eat. I wash the dogs' bowls after every meal already, so there was little change to our routine. The food is complete and balanced, so there is no guess-work involved.
My dogs are used to changing foods frequently, but when incorporating something new into your dog's diet you should always do so slowly, gradually increasing the ratio of new food to old food. For their first meal with Instinct Raw, I mixed less than 1/4 cup of the morsels with their current kibble and increased the amount from there. So far we haven't done a full meal with the raw bites, but I would not hesitate to do so. After breaking up some areas that were frozen together, the food was easy to scoop out in the portion I wanted.
Boca loves food - all food - so she is not a very discerning taste taster. Ruby, on the other hand, is my picky eater and my main inspiration for rotational feeding in an effort to keep things interesting for her so I consider her the ultimate authority on palatability and enjoyment in food trials. Not only did Ruby love the Venison Raw Bites, but she actually picked around a kibble she was previously very enthusiastic about. You can see a few pieces of rejected kibble on the doormat in the picture above, while she is zeroing in on a last morsel of Instinct Raw! The second time I served the frozen Raw Bites she was actually whining and obsessing over her supper as we waited a few moments for them to thaw. It's no big surprise that Boca cleaned her plate as well.
I had an even better experience with Instinct Raw than I expected, and based on The Ginger Sisters' reactions to it, I will definitely be adding it to their grain-free evening meal rotation. The main drawback to this food is the price, and this is one of my favorite things about the rotation diet. It would be cost-prohibitive to feed solely, but I can easily incorporate Instinct Raw as a topper or occasional full meal. I love being able to add more quality to their diet when I discover a new product that will benefit them. If you're like me and have been nervous to try raw, this is a great way to ease into it with all the convenience of kibble, especially in a flexible rotation diet. If you'd like to see for yourself, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, use the store locator to find out where Nature's Variety Instinct is available and get a $3 off coupon here.