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Vital Essentials Common Q&A

We’ll do our best to answer your questions. If we’ve failed, use the form below to ask yours!

Raw Feeding

Q. Are freeze-dried Moo Sticks okay for dogs to have?

A. Yes, freeze-dried Moo Sticks are a great source of hydroxyproline, which helps support healthy joints. Offer this treat to your dog to help with healthy teeth and gums as a delicious snack between meals. Moo Sticks are USA sourced, made & packed, and are made with no added hormones or antibiotics, no added fillers or flavorings, no artificial preservatives or colors, no synthetic vitamins or minerals and no rendered by-products. Moo Sticks are made from beef esophagus and are Certified Gluten Free® and grain free.

Q. Are Bully Sticks or Bully Twists good for dogs?

A. Yes, Bully Sticks and Bully Twists are safe and help support your dog’s health. Made from raw, freeze-dried beef pizzle, these single ingredient treats help support teeth and gums. Offer your dog this snack as a great source of protein and energy. They are USA sourced and packed, made with no added fillers or flavorings, no artificial preservatives or colors, no synthetic vitamins or minerals and no rendered by-products.

Q. Are freeze-dried Duck Hearts good for dogs?

A. Yes, Duck Hearts are rich in minerals that are nutritious for your dog’s health. This snack helps support the immune system and it’s packed with iron. Give this treat to your dog between meals as a gluten free and grain free snack. Freeze-dried raw Duck Hearts are made with no added hormones or antibiotics, no added fillers or flavorings, no artificial preservatives or colors, no synthetic vitamins or minerals and no rendered by-products.

Q. Is it safe to give dogs freeze-dried Chicken Necks?

A. According to Dr. Robert Patton Ph.D., our nutritionist, any of the freeze-dried poultry necks that are available in the VE RAW BAR are safe for dogs or cats to eat. “Freeze-dried necks do not have any long bones. They are all vertebrae and soft, short bones and they crunch up just fine,” states Dr. Patton. Additionally, this snack has nutritional benefits like protein and fatty acids. Chicken Necks provide a source of calcium, phosphorous and trace minerals. Like all other VE RAW BAR snacks, Chicken Necks are Certified Gluten Free®, grain free and are made with no added hormones or fillers.  Most importantly, pets enjoy these types of snacks.

Q. Are freeze-dried Salmon Skins good for dogs?

A. Yes, Salmon Skins are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Offer freeze-dried raw Salmon Skins as a treat to your dog to help support a healthy coat and skin, healthy teeth, and a tasty snack between meals. This gluten free and grain free single-sourced protein is USA sourced, made & packed and made with no added hormones or antibiotics, no added fillers or flavorings, no artificial preservatives or colors, no synthetic vitamins or minerals and no rendered by-products.

Q.  Are freeze-dried Duck Heads good for dogs?

A. VE RAW BAR Freeze-Dried Duck Heads are a crunchy, nutritious dog snack that makes use of the whole animal as these parts are not thrown away. Dogs love the taste of the duck heads and it is good for your dog’s teeth as well. They are USA sourced, made & packed and are made with no added hormones or antibiotics, no added fillers or flavorings, no artificial preservatives or colors, no synthetic vitamins or minerals and no rendered by-products.

When you get over the icky factor, this is a really good dog treat.

Q: What are the benefits of a raw diet for a cat or dog?

A: When it comes to feeding our four-legged family member, we only want to provide the best diet possible. What changes can you expect to see when transitioning from a kibble to a raw diet? Dr. Richard Patton, Ph.D discusses the differences between kibble and raw diets, and how it can help your pet live a longer, happier life.

Q:  How do I know if my pet is obese?

A:  Animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton, says there are some easy signs to determine if your cat or dog is obese in this “Ask Your Pet” segment.

Q: Can you mix raw food with kibble?

A: Of course! A grain free, high-protein, raw meat diet is much healthier for your pet because of the lack of insoluble carbohydrates that it contains. However, a strictly raw meat diet can be fairly expensive. An easy solution is to mix raw and dry pet food together to make a meal that both your pet and your wallet enjoy. Read this blog post about how to incorporate raw food into your pet’s diet.

Q. How is a raw food dog or cat diet complete and balanced without fruits or vegetables?

A: In the wild, herbivores consume a large number of plants, and carnivores consume a small number of herbivores. In the process, carnivores indirectly receive all of the vitamins and nutrients of fruits and vegetables.

Q: Is it beneficial for me to regularly switch proteins that I feed to my pet dog or cat?

A: If you’re feeding your pet a quality source of protein (such as a raw meat diet), there are no health benefits to switching proteins, which is mostly a matter of preference among you and your pet.

Q: What is an “Alpha Prey-Model Diet”?

A: In the wild, when a pack of carnivores catches prey, the alpha eats first (usually the yummy vital organs [heart, lungs, kidneys] and bone). These are loaded with essential nutrients, so the stronger, healthier animal develops the best immune system and makes healthy offspring. A raw meat diet is exactly what nature designed dogs and cats to consume. You can provide the alpha prey-model diet to your pet. Vital Essentials uses only fresh, whole, single-sourced USDA animal proteins. We DO NOT use grains (corn, rice), fillers, artificial preservatives, or rendered by-products. It’s a complete and balanced raw diet that’s virtually identical to the alpha’s diet in nature.

Feeding Guidelines

Q: How many treats should I give my pet per day?

A: While treating your pet can be fun and enjoyable, please keep in mind that our products are purely raw. Should your pet not have had exposure to a raw product previously, we advise to take it slow at first. An abrupt change to a new treat or snack can disrupt an animal’s digestive system. Once your pet is acclimated to our treats and snacks, we advise to use your best judgement on how many treats are too much for your pet. We also recommend to pick a treat or snack that’s appropriate for your pet’s size and weight.

Q: How much should I feed my dog or cat?

A: While we provide feeding guidelines, we understand that each pet is a unique individual. Dr. Richard Patton, PhD, explains this concept perfectly: “Feed with your eyes, the pet will talk to you. Does it look the way you want? Does it act the way you want? Then you’re feeding the right amount.” Feel free to contact our customer service team for any specific questions regarding feeding amount.

Q: Can I use the dog treats on my cats? Or can I use the cat treats on my dog?

A: Yes, absolutely! All of our treats are Gluten Free, Grain Free, Guilt Free®! With purely raw ingredients your dog or cat can’t resist the meaty snacks we have to offer. As a recommendation, choose a treat or snack that is appropriately sized for your pet.

Health Questions

Q: Why is my dog eating poop?

A: Why do some dogs eat their own poo, and what can you do to stop it? Dr. Patton answers these questions in this episode of Ask Your Pet! Read other odd dog behaviors and what they mean in this blog post.

Q. How does a raw diet benefit pets with skin allergies?

A: Allergies occur when the microflora in your pet’s stomach becomes used to receiving unnatural ingredients from regular dry kibble. With a raw diet, the lack of unnatural ingredients allows your pet’s microflora to reset to what it naturally should be, which helps control allergies.


Q: What is the carbohydrate content of your dog and cat foods?

A: Due to the fact that Vital Essentials entrees do not contain any fruits, vegetables, or grains; there is less than 1% carbohydrate content. This small amount of carbohydrates is naturally occurring from animal tissues. Read more about dog nutrition and if your dog should be grain-free.

Q: Where do your meats come from?

A: The meats for Vital Essentials raw dog food products and raw cat food products are raised without added hormones or antibiotics. We are proud to source U.S.A. farm-raised, pasture-fed, free-run, and wild-caught ingredients.

Q: How is product quality affected by being “sourced, made, and packaged” in the U.S.A.?

A: Sourcing means that Vital Essentials raw meat materials are harvested in the U.S.A.

We make 100% of our own food. There are no third-party processors, co-packers, or private equity ownership involved with Vital Essentials. We own and operate 100% of our manufacturing, freeze-drying, and finished products storage facilities in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Packaging is vitally important to ensuring the delivery of fresh, safe, and marketable raw pet food, treats, and snacks. Because Vital Essentials packages its own products at its own facility, consumers can be assured that they are getting the freshest food, treats, and snacks possible.

Product Questions

Q.  What is a Moo Stick?

A.  Freeze-Dried Moo Sticks are cow esophagus. These freeze-dried snacks are approximately 10″ long,  high in digestive enzymes, and make a great alternative to bully sticks. All of the VE RAW BAR chews offer raw functional benefits, so they give your dog more than just something to chew on.

Q: What is freeze-drying and how does it work?

A: Our freeze-drying process is done uniquely by putting the product in our dryers for a total of 48 hours from start to finish. Watch our video on our freeze drying process to learn more!

Q: How long does freeze-dried product last once the food or treat bag is opened?

A: Vital Essentials uses no preservatives in any of our products. Once a product has been opened, we recommend to use the product within 30 days after opening to maintain optimal freshness.

Q: Is it required to store freeze-dried pet food in the refrigerator?

A: Not at all, the beauty of freeze-dried food is that it’s a convenient way to feed your pet a raw diet, without the thaw. We advise to store freeze-dried food in the original packaging in your pantry, out of direct sunlight.

Q: How many freeze dried mini patties are in a 1 lbs. bag for dogs?

A: Although this product is packaged based on weight, there are approximately 25-30 mini patties per bag.

Q: How many mini patties are in the Vital Cat frozen and freeze-dried entrees?

A: Although this product is packaged based on weight, there are approximately 14-15 mini patties per bag.3939_4_Cat_FD-Mini-Patties_Duck_8_18


Each package contains enough food for 7 meals.

Q: How many patties are in a 6 lbs. bag of frozen dog entrees?

A: There are 12 individual frozen patties per bag and each weighs 8 oz.

Q: Do I have to add water to the freeze-dried entrées?

A: Depending on your pet’s preference, there are two great options: mini nibs and mini patties. The mini nibs are great “as is” with no water needed. The freeze-dried mini patties are great with water added to them before serving to your pet. If your dog or cat rarely uses the water bowl, choose the mini patty option with water to help balance out moisture intake.

Q:  I’ve tried to add water to the freeze-dried mini nibs, but they don’t seem to re-hydrate.  How should I feed Vital Essentials Mini Nibs to my pet dog or cat?

A:  Actually, Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs should served “as is” without adding water, unlike other similar products you may find at your local pet store.  Freeze-dried Mini Nibs offer a great crunchy option for those dogs and cats the have a preference for dry foods, but with an added boost of raw goodness. This is an excellent option for pet parents looking to feed complete and balanced meal or for those who want to add in the mini nibs to their pets’ current diet to get added nutrients and protein.

As with any diet, please be sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your pet at all times.

Just ask Toby what he prefers…

Q: I’m interested in your brand to use on my pet, do you provide samples of your products?

A: Thank you for your interest in Vital Essentials and feeding your pet a raw food diet. Occasionally, we will have samples of our products, but it’s best if you check with your local Vital Essentials retailer to see if they have any in stock.

Q:  Why don’t you use fruits and vegetables in your pet foods?

A:  Dr. Patton shares his knowledge on why pets don’t need the excess soluble carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables.  They receive all the nutrition they need from our foods.  Any beneficial nutrients found plants are contained in the proteins used to make our foods.  Learn more on our Ask Your Pet segment.

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