If you’re trying raw food for your dog or cat for the very first time, you may be wondering if you need to worry about which kind of meat to feed them first.

Generally speaking, unless you already know a particular reason your pet should avoid a certain kind of meat you don’t need to worry about it when first trying a raw diet.

We encourage feeding a variety of meats because each one offers a unique nutritional profile. Rotating through three different kinds of meats, for example, provides a range of nutrients while also helping to avoid problems that may occur from feeding only one meat long-term, such as allergies or nutrition imbalances.

You may decide to avoid a particular meat because you’ve already seen that your pet has a sensitivity to it, and that makes sense. If you’ve only been feeding highly processed food, though, you should consider trying again after your pet has had some experience eating raw. Many dogs who seem to have a problem when fed a dry food with a specific meat don’t have any problems when that same meat is fed raw.

If your pet has a medical issue such as chronic pancreatitis or liver disease you’ll want to start out with a meat that is lower in fat. Turkey is usually a good bet, and beef heart can be too, but always double-check the specific formula or brand you’re trying out, and have our staff help you.

We advocate offering raw as a small snack when giving it for the first time. This is also a great way to offer different meats as a taste test. Your pet may have an opinion on which meats they want, especially cats (we have a Pet Health Guide on how to “help” cats switch to new foods).

“At least three meats, at least three brands” has always been our mantra for encouraging variety in the diet. You should feel comfortable meeting that goal from the beginning.