FAQs: Frozen Raw Food

Many people are nervous about parasites and "germs" in raw meat. Here in our facility, we practice strict safety precautions and we are stringent about keeping sanitary working conditions. We perform regular microbial testing on our batches of food and have procedures in place in the event a recall ever became necessary. As long as you use common sense when feeding a raw diet to your pet, the chances of either of you becoming ill from raw meat are extremely small.
See our Sources page for full details on where we get our meats.
Also see our article entitled What About Germs?

There is a persistent fear of eating pork that has been around for so long that most people don't even remember or know why it ever started. They just think it's "bad" to feed pork. Once upon a time, there was a risk associated with consuming pork that had to do with a parasitic worm that causes the disease trichinosis. Raw or under-cooked pork meat could contain the parasites and eating the meat would infect the person eating it. In our modern world, cases of trichinosis are very rare now, thanks to improvements in farming techniques and meat processing practices. The pork we use is humanely raised and very unlikely to be infected with any parasites. Just to be sure, the meat is frozen at 5 degrees F for 20 days or more, which is the CDC recommendation. This practice will ensure any parasites in the meat are killed by the freezing temperatures and pose no risk to your pets.

All of our meats and poultries are from animals that are free-range, grass-fed, humanely raised and killed, non-medicated (no growth hormones or antibiotics), USDA inspected and graded for human consumption. Our non-meat ingredients come mostly from small, local, eco-friendly farms. Not every single one of our ingredients is necessarily "certified" to be organic, but the farmers are following all the rules even if they have not yet achieved certified status under current USDA and NOS regulations.

The Guaranteed Analysis of each of our recipes can be found in our online store (products: Frozen Items).

For an expanded GA comparing each of our formulations with the established AAFCO guidelines for maximums and minimums of each nutrient, click on Dog Food or Cat Food.

Very carefully and with fingers crossed! Nothing in life is guaranteed. For complete details regarding methods of shipping, please visit our Policies page.

Yes! We are now offering curbside pickup by appointment only. Please call or email for further details.

For our current pricing, please visit our online store to view the items of your choice. Please note that the prices charged by our retailers are not under our control, and may vary from one location to another.

We offer a 10% discount on all orders of $500 or more of frozen items. If your needs are even greater, please contact us. We may be able to offer a greater discount in some situations.

See our Feeding Chart for assistance.

Nothing! That's the beauty of a complete, well-formulated fresh-food diet, based on whole food ingredients. We do have a few minor suggestions, for anyone who really wants to add something to the dinner dish. We recommend the addition of a high quality oil, high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as flax seed or fish oil (not cod liver oil). For those so inclined, we also recommend the addition of Vitamins C and E. You may use an all purpose vitamin/mineral product formulated for dogs or cats, such as our All Systems Go! Total Health Aid. You can't "overdo" it, or "unbalance" it, as there are no synthetic vitamins and minerals in Aunt Jeni’s Home Made®.

Vitamin C is the most delicate of all vitamins. It is very easily destroyed by: heat, light, moisture/water, and air. If you add vitamin C at the time of preparation and do not serve it immediately, all of the value of the vitamin is lost, unfortunately. With the high cost of this vitamin, and the potentially terrific benefits from consuming it, it seems a shame to throw that all away by adding it ahead of time. We definitely think vitamin C is a wonderful supplement to use. However, it is one that does not adapt well to being thrown into the mix ahead of time. Best to keep it on your counter or in the cupboard (away from light) and add it daily, just before feeding.

Vitamin E will also oxidize quite quickly once exposed to air. This is what makes it a powerful "antioxidant" inside your body. Many manufacturers use vitamin E (and C) as natural preservatives for their foods. While they may accomplish this job, there will definitely not be anything leftover to act as a beneficial supplement to the pet consuming the food. We feel it's misleading to consumers, who see "vitamin C" and "vitamin E" on the label, and mistakenly think they do not need to give these vitamins to their pets since they are already in there. We'd rather have you spend your money on your own fresh vitamins that you can care for properly, and add yourself, so your pet will truly benefit from them.

Yes, there are ground flax seeds in Aunt Jeni’s Home Made®, and they are very beneficial. However, the seeds lend more in terms of fiber, while the oil provides a greater benefit in terms of Essential Fatty Acids. We don't add oil to Aunt Jeni’s Home Made® because of the volume of our batches and the handling involved--mixing, packaging, etc. Oils go rancid quickly, and that process is speeded up by exposure to air. We feel that the quality of the oil would be compromised, and that it's best to add oils just before feeding to get the best quality and make sure your pet receives the full benefits. Oils can be safely frozen without harming their integrity. But once you have opened the bottle of oil, the oxidation process begins. This is why they must be stored refrigerated and kept tightly closed.

There is nothing wrong with or “bad” about using cod liver oil (CLO) as a supplement. However, many people mistakenly believe that “fish” oil is the same thing as “cod liver” oil and this is not the case. Fish [body] oil, extracted from the bodies of cold water fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardine or anchovy, is very high in beneficial Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. These Omega 3 EFAs are usually pretty deficient in most diets, so most pets (and people) can benefit from supplementation, regardless of their diet. Cod liver oil, extracted from the liver of the Cod fish, is quite low in Omega 3 EFA, so supplementing with this oil will not help if you are trying to provide EFAs to your pet. Also, CLO is very high in two fat soluble vitamins: A and D. Any excesses of these vitamins are stored in the liver, where they could potentially accumulate to a toxic amount. We suggest that if you choose to use CLO as a supplement, you use it sparingly—perhaps a few times a week rather than daily.

Please follow the instructions on the label, particularly if you are using a brand that is not Aunt Jeni’s. Differences between manufacturers/brands make it difficult to give universal dosage recommendations. If you have purchased a product formulated for humans, adjust the human dosage by weight. The dose on the label is usually based on a 120 lb person, so if your dog weighs 60 lbs you use about half the human dose.

Yes, some. We use all-natural, human-grade, pure ingredients, safe and effective for use in dogs and cats. Our supplements consist of specially formulated combinations of ingredients, developed by Animal Nutritionists, to address specific health needs. To purchase individual vitamin products or herbal remedies, we suggest a trip to your local health food store. For more information about our supplements, please visit our online store.

Calcium is one of many minerals that are vitally important to the health of our pets. Calcium, along with some other nutrients, is made less available to your pet's body by a substance known as phytates. Phytates (also known as phytic acid) are found in grains. Since most commercial dry or canned pet foods contain a high percentage of grain material, the presence of high levels of calcium is extra important for pets fed these diets. It is our opinion that pets fed a raw food, grain-free diet have a lower requirement for calcium. Equally important to the amount of calcium is the balance between calcium and phosphorous, known as the calcium/phosphorous ratio, abbreviated Ca:P.

Each of our Aunt Jeni’s Home Made® varieties has a Ca:P balance that is well within the AAFCO established guidelines. All of our recipes contain real, raw, finely ground bones, with the bone coming from the same source as the muscle and organ meat. For example, our chicken formula contains chicken meat, chicken organs, and chicken bones. The only exception to this is our Beef variety. There are no bones in our beef variety, because beef bones are quite hard and too difficult for our equipment to handle safely. However, this does not mean the Beef version of Aunt Jeni’s Home Made® requires supplementation. The source of calcium in our beef formula is egg shells and high-calcium vegetables instead of bones, and the Ca:P ratio is still adequate.

We currently have 7 varieties for dogs: Beef, Chicken, Fish, Goat, Lamb, Pork, and Turkey. We have 4 varieties for cats/ferrets: Beef, Chicken, Fish and Turkey.

Our minimum order is 12 lbs. For a complete explanation of all options, please see our Policies page.

No. Due to the perishable nature of this product, it is not possible to ship out free samples. Our minimum order is 10 lbs; we cannot ship less than this. If you live near one of our retailers, you can purchase a single tub of food to try on your pet. Most pets absolutely love Aunt Jeni’s Home Made®! Visit our Taste-imonials page for some great photos and letters from some of our customers.

The amount of honey is quite small in the overall recipe. There is not enough honey to harm your pet, even if he/she has diabetes. In fact, honey is a more simplified, raw form of sugar, which is easier for diabetics to assimilate. We do not use honey to "sweeten" our food. Honey is far more than just something sweet! Honey is a whole food, rich in enzymes and minerals, with many health benefits. It also happens to be a great anti-bacterial, which helps decrease the possibility of "contamination" of the food.

It is not true that garlic is dangerous for cats, or for dogs. Garlic has many wonderful health benefits, including: immune system booster, blood cleanser, and anti-bacterial properties. It is also believed to be effective in making your pet less "lovable" to pests like mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Garlic is in the same genus as onions (Allium). However, garlic does not contain the same compound that onions do, a poisonous alkaloid called n-propyl disulphide. This compound inhibits an enzyme in red blood cells, causing them to denature. For this reason, onions should be on the Forbidden Food list for our pets, but garlic is "safe" in moderation.

Not all of our recipes contain garlic, but in the ones that do the amount is very small, and poses absolutely no health risk to your cat or dog. If you are still concerned about garlic-induced anemia, your veterinarian can do a blood test to determine the presence of Heinz bodies (an indicator of anemia).

Absolutely! A natural diet, based on real, fresh foods in their natural form (raw) is the #1 kindest and smartest thing you can do for your pet, whether s/he is ailing in some way or seems perfectly healthy already. In the case of bladder and kidney stones, one of the keys to controlling their occurrence lies in manipulating the pH of the urine. This can be accomplished by altering the foods fed. Dry, processed commercial pet foods contain a long list of synthetic vitamins and minerals. Feeding these foods is like "force feeding" pre-determined, set quantities of vitamins and minerals. Contrast this with feeding real, raw foods. The nutrients in raw foods are much more bioavailable--your pet's body is easily able to absorb what it needs, and excrete what it does not need. Raw meats tend to be acidifying, while veggies tend to be alkalinizing. The acid/base balance of our product is the proper one to maintain a correct pH in your pet's system, to avoid problems with stone formation. We have many FUS cats and kidney stone dogs successfully and happily eating Aunt Jeni’s Home Made® with no further problems attributed to their condition.

Absolutely! The only difference between our dog and cat/ferret formulas is the ratio of meat to vegetables. Our dog Chicken, Lamb, Beef formulas are 65:35, while our dog Goat and Turkey formulas are 75:25. Our cat/ferret Chicken, Beef formulas are 85:15; the Turkey formula for cats is 90:10. If you are looking for a higher meat content for your dog, the cat food may be an option for you, but the cat recipes are not necessarily nutritionally formulated for dogs.

Sure! There's nothing in there that will harm your cat. We have acquired many cat food customers by happy accident when their owners discovered them stealing the dog’s raw food! However, on a long term basis, you will want to provide more meat in your cat's diet than our dog formulas will give him/her.

Our food is formulated to be complete and balanced, and does not require you to add anything to it. Some people like to feed a separate meal of Raw Meaty Bones or Green Tripe. This works quite well, for people who are comfortable with feeding RMBs. In some cases, you may want to add additional veggies, or additional meat. We don't suggest doing this unless there is a health-related reason to do so.

Not really. We do not suggest doing this for a couple of important reasons. Kibble and raw foods digest at very different rates: 12-14 hours for kibble, v. only 4-6 hours for raw. Mixing them together invites trouble in the form of digestive upset. Furthermore, your pet is never going to experience the true benefits of a raw diet if you continue to feed kibble. He or she cannot possibly "detox" when the "toxin" is still being pumped in on a regular basis! Despite our recommendation, we do have customers who report that they are successfully mixing kibble and raw food in their pets' diets. If you feel you must do this, please at least keep the two things entirely separated. For example: if you feed twice a day, make kibble one meal and raw food the other. If you feed once a day, alternate days. Check our online article What’s Wrong With Pet Food? for some further info on this subject.

Don't give up! It can be done, but some cats make it challenging. You need to proceed slowly, with much patience and persistence. Do not set down a heaping bowl of Aunt Jeni’s Home Made® and be disappointed when your cat doesn't attack it ravenously. Instead, take the sneaky approach. Use the tiniest bit of food you can imagine, about the size of a pea, and put it next to your cat's favorite food. This introduces a new aroma, taste, and texture more gradually. While doing this introduction, you should defrost a tub of food, divide it into portions in baggies and refreeze all but one bag. This way you don’t wind up wasting a lot of food. If this fails, try lightly cooking the food in the beginning. For some reason this tends to persuade cats to give it a try. If it works, then gradually reduce the cooking time until you are able to feed the food raw. For more assistance with this issue, see our article here.

No. We are not able to accommodate requests for customized recipes. Formulating a pet food to be "complete and balanced" takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, as well as an intricate working knowledge of various food items and ways to combine them for optimum bioavailability. We cannot compromise our carefully constructed recipes by making random changes at customers' requests. We must comply with strict labeling regulations, which include disclosing our complete ingredient list, and providing a Guaranteed Analysis. The moment we deviate from our established recipes, by adding, omitting or substituting ingredients, our label no longer accurately reflects what is in the package. It would be illegal and unethical for us to sell unlabeled, unanalyzed "custom" combinations of ingredients.

Taurine is a sulfur-containing, essential amino acid. It is found in meat, and is especially concentrated in certain body tissues, including the heart muscle. Like all the other amino acids, vitamins and minerals in our food, taurine is plentiful in the raw ingredients we use. You will not see it listed separately as an ingredient because we do not add it (or anything else) in synthetic form. There is no need to supplement with synthetic taurine. You can find the taurine content of each of our recipes listed in the Guaranteed Analysis.

Apple seeds are overhyped as being poisonous to pets. The amount of cyanide within a few seeds is so minimal that it’s really not a concern. See Dr. Marty Becker's answer in full here.

Please keep your packages of pet food frozen, and thaw as needed.

We suggest thawing by placing the containers in your refrigerator, following proper handling procedures for raw, frozen foods. If you should forget to thaw enough pet food ahead of feeding time, it may also be thawed by submerging the closed container in a bowl of hot water, or by defrosting in your microwave for several minutes.

3-5 days.

Not to worry: there should be a “best by” date stamped on your container. The food remains safe to feed as long as it stays frozen, for up to a full year.

Yes! Feel free to repackage smaller serving sizes in Ziploc bags or any type of container that is convenient for you. Re-freezing will not compromise the nutritional integrity of our pet food: rather it will preserve the nutrients and enzymes.

To Feed Raw: We highly recommend that you feed this product to your pets raw, so that they may obtain the maximum benefit from their food. Simply thaw and serve the product. Warming to room temperature is kind to your pet’s tummy!

To Feed Cooked: If you prefer, our food may be cooked right in the container in the microwave (loosen the lid first). Alternatively, you may choose other cooking methods such as baking or pan frying.

We recommend a gradual transition, phasing out the old diet while mixing in the new food. Take 5-7 days for a healthy pet, longer for an older or ill pet, or if you encounter digestive upsets. Cats and ferrets may require extra perseverance! Use very tiny amounts of new food at the beginning. Cooking the food may help convert finicky pets. We suggest gradually reducing the cooking time until the product is being fed raw.

Our food is nutrient-dense and highly bioavailable. We generally suggest feeding ½ pound (i.e. 1 cup) of food daily for every 25 pounds of body weight. For smaller pets, this translates into ¼ cup for 5 pounds of body weight. If you feed twice per day, divide these amounts in half. Remember, each pet is an individual, and may require more or less than the amounts suggested here, due to age, gender, activity level, or other factors. You are the best judge of your pets’ needs. By watching your pet’s weight, you will easily be able to adjust the amount of food s/he needs. *NOTE* Puppies and kittens require higher daily amounts of food than what is shown here. We recommend feeding as much to your youngster as s/he will require at his/her full grown adult weight. Again, keep an eye on your baby and do not let him/her become “roly poly”. A lean puppy/kitten is a healthy one!

See our helpful article here!