How I shop for my pets at the Iowa Food Co-op



by Dr. Franchesca Zenitsky, DVM, MS


The IFC is not just good, local food for savvy people; it offers lots of wholesome food choices for our pets too! My own dogs and cats thrive on a raw diet and have been eating locally through the co-op for years. As a holistic veterinarian, I enthusiastically recommend it as a trusted resource to my clients who want to do the same for their pets.

A raw diet is really very simple and all the basics can be found at the IFC. The three primary daily foods include:

  • Muscle Meat with Fat – approximately 80% of daily rations

  • Organ Meat – approximately 10% of daily rations

  • Edible Bones like necks, backs, and wings – 7% to 13% of daily rations as tolerated

Variety is important for pets too, so I typically stock up on ground beef, whole chickens, all kinds of chicken parts including leg quarters, meaty backs and necks, luscious capon breasts, beef and chicken liver, and the grab bag from Griffieon Farm that may include liver, heart, tongue, lamb fries, or kidney from beef, pork, and lamb. I occasionally treat them to pork and lamb cuts. Other essential and beneficial foods include:

  • Tripe -15% to 18% of overall diet

  • Eggs – A couple times a week, preferably raw, the white and the yolk

  • Vegetables & Fruits – For dogs: 1½ % of diet; about 1/2 to 1 tbsp. of select vegetables per pound and a half of ground raw meat-organ-bone and an occasional select fruit treat. It is said that cats do not metabolize plant based foods well, but I sometimes give them veggies.

  • Recreational Bones – Several times a week for 20 to 30 minutes

I long for the day when green tripe will be offered through the IFC as part of my idealistic dream to expand their raw food offerings for pets, but until then I’ll crack open some gorgeous chicken and quail eggs into the food bowls. My dogs love the meaty bones from Griffieon Farm – and, we only feed raw bones, beef, chicken or otherwise. For veggies and fruits, we roll with what’s seasonal. My favorites include sweet potatoes, winter squash, apples, garlic, turnips, carrots, and other root veggies in the fall and winter and new potatoes, beans, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, melon, and berries in the spring and summer. Dark, leafy greens seem to be available most of the year now and they pack the most nutrition, so my guys get a lot of good greens.

To round out the diet, I add Calcium to balance Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio when feeding boneless meats, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Kelp / Alfalfa or a Vitamin-Mineral Supplement, and Taurine – For cats: Cats cannot produce this essential amino acid. I have also used nettles, honey, and bee pollen from the IFC as supplements for my allergy dog, Tony.

And, where would life be without treats? Although my dogs, my patients, and I are heartbroken that Iowa Pet Adoptions has ceased production of their addictive dehydrated liver, I just found out that the IFC has a new producer of pet treats and we are testing them out now. I also like to treat my dogs and cats to IFC’s milk and yogurt, which they love. And, because cats need more fat in their diet, they all get a little bit of butter regularly. Don’t forget the fermented foods!

My belief is that the key to good nutrition for any species is eating a broad variety of biologically appropriate foods and the IFC has that covered. I love that I can feed my animals a fresh, wholesome, local diet from producers that I know and trust.


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